Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Baby Steps

How to have achievable goals

Every New Year’s Eve, it’s almost customary to sit around with friends or family and discuss What We Are Going To Do. Because we have to Do things. It’s not enough that we continue with everyday life and normal functioning, but now we must pledge to Do something. We can’t be one of Those People that let’s the opportunity pass to Do something. We aren’t lazy, undisciplined, presuming ourselves perfect.
We must Do. We don’t make resolutions to think more, to dream more; our goals are lofty and often very nebulous: I vow to lose 50 pounds; I’m going to stop eating unhealthy foods; I’ll write a book. Often that one resolution is lumped together with other resolutions, and if you’re like me, they are written down in a long list. One page has the future of the entire next year mapped out. No one sets themselves up for failure, so they chase that dream. We put our money where our mouth is, buying gym memberships and workout clothes, self-help books, journals and pens. We tell our friends in hopes that saying the words aloud will make us more committed. We spend much of our focus on that one task. The first month after our resolution, we work out fanatically, we make high goals of writing thousands of words a day and maintaining multiple blogs, and we throw away all of the unhealthy foods cluttering our cabinets.
Then Something happens. Somethings always do. We have a bad day. We get in a fight, have a stressful day at work, take a weekend off. And all that momentum just blows away. If I’ve set myself up for a big week and by Tuesday I’ve blown it, I think- I’ll start again next week. I give myself a week to do absolutely nothing. And then when the next week rolls around, I think- why bother? I’ve already ruined the diet, missed too many days at the gym, ignored my blog for too long. For me, the guilt of inaction leads to more inaction. It’s much like a friendship that you put on the backburner for too long; you worry that if you contact them, they will be mad at you for not having spoken in such a long time.
Maybe you pick up again after a few weeks, but the voice lingers- it’s too late for you. Why bother? Look at everyone else achieving their goals- you have put it off for too long.
I’m tired of that voice, and moreover I’m tired of the menacing Do. I Do a lot, thank you very much. Everyday is so crammed with Doing that by the time the kids are asleep, the only Do I want to do is consume a pint of ice cream while zoning out in front of the tv for half an hour before I go to bed before I have to get up and do it again. I’ve seen these blogs and books full of “hustling”. I need to get up at 5 a.m. to hustle my dreams. I often get woken up by my sweet dears of children by that time, and I have to hold them, feed them, comfort them. There’s laundry to do, dishes to do, food to make, groceries to buy. As a Christian I am also told I need to get up early to read my Bible and talk with God. So if I’m getting up to “hustle” my dream, then I’m guilty of not “hustling” for God.
Oh I’m a pro at this. I can think of reasons why I shouldn’t Do anything nearly all of the time.
I know that once I set up a big Do, I will unravel like a ball of yarn. Maybe I will obsess about that Do for maybe a month or two, and then I will hit a roadblock and it’ll be gone. Sure, I’ll think frequently of what I should Do and what I want to Do, but I’ll make sure I don’t.
So this year I have set little teeny tiny baby goals. Sure I want to have a 6-pack stomach and write a super long awesome novel, but instead I’m working on maintainable goals. It’s not realistic for me to say I will work out an hour everyday. Or even 3 times a week. “Everyone has at least 3 hours they can give to their health a week” you say, and that’s just not realistic for me right now. I do 10 squats a day. What? That’s ridiculous, you say. But it’s an achievable goal. Ten squats is such a little amount that duh I can do that many in a day. I can do more if I feel like it. And it is noticeable. Even my husband has noticed the firming up of my backside. And that says a lot because he is oblivious. And somedays whoops I forget. But it doesn’t throw me off because once again, it is such a little goal. I’m trying to read more (a practice that disappeared when I was in grad school and reading 100 pages of the most dense subject matter known to mankind a day). I’m trying to read more of the Bible. I make sure my Kindle is charged up and next to the bed, and that I have a few reading plans going on my phone (YouVersion has a great app for daily reading plans/devotionals- keeps it interesting and focused on basically any subject). That way when I fall into bed and I’m not too tired, I can read a little of my book, read some of the Bible, problem solved. And I want the family to eat healthier, so I’m working of these sneaky smoothies.

Smoothie Recipe (all amounts are eye-balled in the blender- make them and see what you like)
Whatever amount of liquid I use, I do about ½ apple juice, ¼ carrot juice, and ¼ water. I do more if making them for all of us for dinner, or less if it’s just the boys and I for lunch
Handful of raw almonds (we have also used raw cashews- you could do walnuts too)
Small spoonful of coconut oil (this oil has so many health benefits)
Couple spoons full of plain Greek yogurt
Squirt of honey (make sure it’s a good honey, or even raw honey)
At this point, cover it up and blend. The nuts need to be blended before you add much more or the blender has some struggles. Unless you have a great blender, in which case you do you.
Then I get sneaky. I have either kale or spinach (fresh, mind you) that I wash off and then add to the blender. Just a bit. I have tried not adding a bit and end up drinking all the smoothie myself. I take off stems because those are bitter, also all the leaf-webbing or whatever it’s called for kale because it’s stringy and bitter. For kale I add about 2.5 leaves (usually 2 big ones and a baby one), and for spinach about 6-8 leaves. If you’re like me, you need to shove it down under the liquid line so your children can’t see it and comment how much they dislike vegetables and then once again you’ll be stuck drinking it all.
Toss in your fruit. I like to do some fresh and some frozen, but whatever. It’s all good. I like frozen pineapple, frozen mango, definitely frozen blueberries. My husband likes us to add fiber so he will cut the ends off a kiwi and throw the whole thing in. You could toss in a few baby carrots. We’ve tossed in peeled cuties (those little mandarin oranges that are easy peel), berries, etc.
I blend and pour some for my husband and I, and then add 2/3 scoop of this powder we got for our kids- Vibrant Health Green Vibrance Junior for Kids. It adds a slight apple flavor, but is supposed to add protein, fruits, vegetables and probiotics.
I mix one more time and then pour the boys their drinks. And they are pretty good about drinking it. Blend really well if you use sippy cups so it’ll actually go through the straw and not get stuck. That’s personally why I add water, to thin it out a bit. I feel good about at least getting the boys some green in their lives, and the fruit and other ingredients help too. Like I said, you may need to play around with ingredients to get your kids (or yourself) to drink it. My husband likes to add other sundry things, like an entire avocado, which makes it a bit gelatinous in my opinion, but to each his own.
Remember, maintainable small steps. 

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