How to stay focused on your health goals.

Are you starting to wonder how you will stay on top of your health goals, now that the new year is in full swing?

School is back, we are back at work and the rhythm of the year starts to kick in – mornings become getting kids out of bed (if you have them), getting ready for work, the kids to school, then work itself, then the afternoons are kids activities, our own activities, homework (kids and our own), dinner, cleaning up and bed to start it all again the following day. Busyness of the day has just gone up a notch, so how do we keep motivated and on track, to achieve any health goals that we set at the beginning of the New Year?

One fabulous tool is Menu Planning. Ok it doesn’t sound sexy, however it will support you in a number of ways:

  • staying on track for your health goals
  • being more organised
  • stop the “What’s for Dinner?” questions
  • reduce or eliminate impulse purchases
  • reduce the weekly food costs
  • reduce food wastage
  • reduce takeaways, as there is “nothing in the fridge!”

So how do you menu plan?

Pick a day where you can sit down and plan the following weeks meals. Ideally this is before you go grocery shopping. Then consider the following:

  • are there any mornings that you have to be out the door earlier than normal?
  • are there any evenings with late commitments (kids or your own), which means preparing and eating dinner is going to make it very late?
  • any days with commitments over the lunch period?
  • do you have any social engagements?


Note any of the above onto your Menu Planner, as you will want to factor these in when planning the meals. For instance, on the mornings you have to be out the door super early, you could plan a ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast for that day like a Green Smoothie or Chia Seed Pudding, which is made the evening before. Evenings when you will be getting home late, you could plan a leftover meal from the night before or have a frozen meal that was prepared the weekend prior. Working through lunch could be, meeting the client at a cafe that will support you on your health goal choices or taking a packed lunch.

This is all about being creative, so that you can still focus on your health goals, with out giving up on them because ‘life’ is too busy and wont let you.

Now that your commitments are on the Menu Planner, fill in the Menu Planner with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas. For me I have accumulated a list of recipes that a quick, easy and tasty, which cater for more than the meal that they are being prepared for. This way I have left-overs for either lunch or dinner the following day. This also allows me to factor in my other commitments. I will also have one or two evenings where I create a meal from a new recipe I have found or one that has inspired me. This way, I am always adding to my growing book of recipes.

Prior Preparation

Another important note to add to the Menu Planner, is any prior preparation that is required. There is nothing worse than pulling all the ingredients out for dinner and realising that the nuts needed to be soaked or a sauce had to be made the day prior. On the Menu Planner, I will note any prior preparation on the day before, eg if I require Almond Milk for the Green Smoothie for Wednesday, I will note on Tuesday that I need to put the almonds onto soak. This way on Wednesday, I can make the Almond Milk and then make the Green Smoothie. If Wednesday is a ‘grab-and-go’ day, then I will note on Tuesday evenings to make both the Almond Milk and the Green Smoothie.

Once the Menu Planner is completed, I will list all the ingredients I require including the amounts. This includes the spices and herbs. I will then check the pantry to see what I already have, marking them off the list. I now have my shopping list for the week.

Like any new habit, initially menu planning can take some time, however with practice, it will become easier and the time taken to plan for your week will decrease. What I love most about menu planning, is knowing that I am focusing on my health goals and those times when I am not feeling very inspired, I know that I have the ingredients to create a yummy meal.

Here is the Menu Planner I use.

Have you tried menu planning? What has been your experience? Do you have any tips to share, that have supported you when menu planning? I would love to hear so please leave a comment.

In vibrant health, Vicki

Achieving New Years Resolutions

Are you finding that things are now starting to crank up again as we head into 2016? New Year's resolutionsDid you make any New Years Resolutions or decide on any goals or dreams that you want to achieve this year?

Even though it is only two weeks into the new year, I have already started working towards achieving my goals. Like so many people at the beginning of the year, who are pumped up and enthusiastic going into the new year, we set goals and New Years resolutions that we wish to achieve, however as the weeks past our enthusiasm reduces or disappears all together, life gets in the way and when we get to the end of the year we have not achieved what we wished to. This year I plan to achieve my goals and I invite you to join me. How is this year going to be different to other years? I have started this year differently!

At the end of 2015 I sat down and took stock of the year that was coming to a close through Karen Knowler’s New Year Ritual. There is so much to this process that I highly recommend it. For the purpose of this post, part of what I looked at was what goals and desires I had at the beginning of 2015 and what I had achieved. If I had not achieved these goals or desires why not. New Year Heart Hands - pair of female hands making heart shape with red orange pink colored sparkles behind on a dark background with copy space and the words NEW YEAR running along the bottomThis process was about honesty, not about making excuses but being really honest with myself as to why I had achieved the goals or why I had not. By being truly honest I could then learn from this – what had helped me and what had hindered me. For instance one of my goals was to run the 25km trail run from Woodford to Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains on 30th June in under 3.5hrs. I achieved this in 2.52hrs, even though my training had not gone according to plan. I had had about 6 – 8 weeks off where I could not run the distances I needed due to muscle issues around my T7 vertebrae interfering with my breathing – you kind of need to breath when you run :). To read more about my achievement. So why did I think I achieved this goal even with so much time off towards the end of my training? Yes, I had employed a personal trainer to put together a program that I then followed and which was updated every 6 weeks, however that was not the reason. I could have googled training plans for this type of run, there are plenty out there. The reason why I achieved my goal was that I was accountable to someone. My trainer, Rebekah, called me every week to see how I was going, discuss any challenges and celebrate my achievements. If I had not been accountable, I know that in those challenging 6 – 8 weeks where I was unable to run any distances, I would have just given up. So for me, having accountability is SO important if I wish to achieve my goals.

Since coming back from my holidays in Adelaide, I have on a daily basis been choosing 3 priorities to focus on and entering them into them into an app called Commit to 3. These tasks have ranged from personal things to do, to doing some exercise or something for my business. I can then tick off each task as it is completed. The reason why this is more powerful than using a piece of paper to jot down your 3 tasks for the day or putting them on your to do list (which always grows and rarely gets shorter), is that you can involve family, friends or colleagues. You now have an inbuilt accountability system, as they receive advise of your tasks for the day and then receive advise as you tick each one off. Who wants to finish the day not completing their tasks when friends, family or colleagues have. As I mentioned above, accountability was one of the reasons why I was able to achieve my trail running goal. In the short time that I have been using this, I have found that if I loose focus through the day on my tasks, when I receive a message from my partner saying she has ticked off one of her tasks, it has helped me re focus and come back to what is really important for the day. If you would like to know more, Michel Kripalani, in this You Tube clip, chats about how important accountability is and how he developed Commit to 3.

Another habit that I have started this year is setting the alarm for 5am – yes 5 o’clock in the morning, even on the weekend and getting up to do The Miracle Morning. This is a hour long practise that has been incredible, involving affirmations, reading inspirational material, journaling, visualisation, meditation and exercise. Do not make resolutionsThe first day that I started, I almost hit the snooze button as I had had a late night. I am so glad that I did not. I got up and by the end of the hour I was energised, centred, positive and peaceful, ready to start the day. What was even more amazing for me was that I felt centred the whole day and the monkey mind that I usually have, was turned down, way down. To have a day where I achieved my 3 tasks in a state of centeredness, all the while having a quieter mind was incredible. I was very excited going to bed that night, to then be waking up the next morning at 5am. How is that possible?

Having started the New Year in a very different fashion, knowing more about myself and what I need to support me in achieving my goals and my growth, I am feeling very positive and excited about 2016. This IS going to be a magical and amazing year and I am looking forward to the end of the year where I will be able to look back and say “WOW I really did achieve all of that”. I hope that you are inspired also to change the way you have been looking at your goals and working towards them (or not) and I would love to hear from you:

What support have you decided to put into place to achieve your goals and dreams?

What are you doing differently this year to achieve them?

In good health, Vicki

Note: I do not receive any commission or payment from these products.

Achieving the impossible

Woodford to Glenbrook 25km runFive months of training finally saw me run the Careflight Woodford to Glenbrook 25km run on Sunday 28th June. Was I lucky with the weather. A beautiful sunny day that also had warmth in the sunrays allowing me to leave my jumper with Jannine at the start of the race and run in a t-shirt. Last year when Jannine had run the 25kms it had been FREEZING and windy with a chill factor of -6 degrees. Who ever organised the weather I am so very grateful.

I almost quit twice during the training, the last time being 4 weeks prior to the race. Why? When I had decided to train for the run I knew that it would be hard work and require commitment however I did not realise the amount of time required to prepare for the run and the mental and emotional ‘stuff’ that would come up. I also had a period of 6 – 8 weeks in the middle of my training where I was not able to train any where near the intensity I needed to train at, due to a jammed T7 vertebrae which affected my breathing. By the time I got to 4 weeks out I had had enough. “I’ll train for it next year” was what was going through my head but then I thought about it and asked myself “Did I really want to start all over again and have to train for 5 months again?”. Hmmm NO! So even though I was not as prepared as I wanted to be physically I decided to run it anyway. As long as I came across the finishing line under the 4 hour cut off and injury free then I would be happy. Ok between you and me and the competitive part of myself, I wanted to be across the line under 3hrs and 8mins as I had completed a 25kms training run in that time.

The views on the run where amazing and there where times when I even got into ‘the zone’ and my body moved easily and fluidly. I’m so glad I did the run now. What have I taken away from the five months of training:

  • even with a plan, things (emotional, personal, physically) may come up that have to be dealt with. This is life. Having a plan helped me stay focused on my training (most of the time) and in the end I was much better prepared than if I had not had a plan in the first place.
  • telling people what your goal is helps you achieve your goal. Four weeks out I wanted to quit but part of the reason for not quitting was I had told my family, friends, clients and business colleagues what I was training for and I wanted to be able to say “I did it!”.
  • I have been able to work through some emotional and mental things that would not have come up if I had not decided to do something that would really push me physically and because of that I am now not carrying that baggage around.
  • I can achieve what at times looked impossible. Interestingly I am currently wearing the t-shirt has the following printed on it “It always looks impossible until it is done” Nelson Mandela
Woodford to Glenrbook 25km runfeetSo how did I go? I finished the 25kms in 2hrs, 52mins and 43secs. A huge 16mins off the last time I had run 25kms (two weeks prior). I also recovered wonderfully. The following day my feet did not feel like they had run the previous day – they could have gone for another run. Even though my legs where sore by Wednesday my whole body felt great. I attribute my recovery to, having a training plan which also involved stretching and rolling, fortnightly massages and then closer to the run acupuncture, green smoothies, my diet and my home made raw energy goos and of course the support of my partner Jannine.I hope that in reading this that even if you feel that what you are undertaking is impossible, you are inspired to take another step towards your goals as who knows, that might just be the step that has you across your finishing line.

In good health, Vicki

What are Vision Boards?

Vision-BoardVision Boards, also known as Treasure Maps, Dream Boards or Vision Maps are a collage of different pictures, words, affirmations and images of what you would like to achieve in your future, your dreams, and what makes you happy.

The images and words on the Vision Board helps you stay focused on where you want to go and what you want to achieve. It can help to motivate you, stay positive and inspire you towards your goals especially in the times when you are facing challenges.  It can assist you to visualise these goals or dreams as if they have manifested.  By focusing on what you want to achieve and where you want to be, you are tapping into the Law of Attraction, the belief that ‘like thoughts attract like thoughts’.

To make a Vision Board decide if you want to focus on an area of life or the ‘whole’ you encompassing many areas of your life.  As with Goal Setting, here are some suggestions:

  • RelationshipsVision-Board-Business
  • Home Environment
  • Physical Activity
  • Education
  • Career
  • Finances
  • Creativity
  • Health
  • Spirituality
  • Social Life

Once you have decided what area you would like to focus on:

  1. Collect images and pictures that relate to that area.  These can be found in magazines, books, photographs and the internet.  These images need to inspire you and create the feelings you wish to experience when you have achieved your goal or dreams, like excitement and joy.
  2. Collect words or affirmations that also relate to the area you wish to focus on.
  3. Initially lay out the images, words or affirmations onto a board.  Ensure that each piece is where you would like it to be and that it fits with the other pieces on the board.  Take your time with this.
  4. Once you are happy with the layout.  Glue or pin the images, words and affirmations onto a board.
  5. Hang your Vision Board in a place where you will see it every day.
  6. At least once a day spend time looking at the images, saying the affirmations, and feeling what it will be like when you achieve your goal or dream.

Vision-Board-personalVision Boards are great tools to use in conjunction with setting goals. They are a visual representation of what it is that you wish to achieve and brings in the creative aspect of your brain.  Once you have achieved your goal or the Vision Board does not inspire you then create another Vision Board.

I have used Vision Boards for a number of years and enjoy the process of creating a visual collage of my goals and dreams. As mentioned earlier the Vision Boards can be general or be very specific.  The top picture is a Vision Board I created a few years ago and looked at a number of areas of my life (health, fitness, my children, my relationship, joy etc).  The other two pictures are of more recent Vision Boards each one looking at a specific area of my life.  Vision Boards can be abstract like the one I have done for myself or more tangible like the one I am working on for a holiday to France and so I have pictures of places and experiences that I wish to have while in France. There is no right or wrong way to do a Vision Board as long as it inspires you and the images, words or affirmations resonate with you.

Have you used Vision Boards before?  What has your experience been?

In good health, Vicki

Winter Solstice and Setting goals

It has been a crazy couple of weeks here to the lead up of the Winter Solstice! The longest night and the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. The Winter Solstice is between 19th – 22nd June which represents a time of reflecting on the last year, releasing of the old and negative things like feelings, behaviours, habits and beliefs and focusing on what you wish to achieve for the coming year.  The days start to get longer and it a great time to write down exactly where you wish to be in the coming year and then take action.

Look at all the areas of your life, here are some suggestions:goal-setting

  • Relationships
  • Home Environment
  • Physical Activity
  • Education
  • Career
  • Finances
  • Creativity
  • Health
  • Spirituality
  • Social Life

and then rate how satisfied you are with each area.  There is no right and wrong answers it is just an exercise to give you a starting point.  Then pick one or two areas that you would like to work on for the next 3 months then answer these questions:

  1. In 3 months what would you like to have achieved in that area of  your life?
  2. What will it look like?
  3. What will it feel like?
  4. How will you know that you have achieved your goal?

For example for me I am not satisfied with the area of Physical Activity so I am going to focus on that.  So to answer the questions above:

  1. I would like to be consistently running 3 times a week and able to run 9kms.
  2. Each Tues, Thurs and one day on the weekend I go for a run.  Tues and Thurs are either intervals, hills or a shorter run.  The weekend run is a longer run.
  3. Each week I add kms to my long run so that I am able to run 9kms in 3 months time.
  4. I will know that I have achieved my goal because in Sept I will participate in the Sydney Running Festival Bridge run – running across the Harbour Bridge to the Opera House.  I will run the entire way which is 9kms.

Your goals need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.  smart-goals

My goal to run 9kms is just this:

Specific – to run 9kms

Measurable – I can measure 9kms so will know if I have achieved this

Attainable – this goal is a stretch, so will put me outside my comfort zone, yet is is achievable

Relevant – I’m wanting to increase my physical activity

Time-Bound – The Sydney Running Festival in on 21 Sept 2014 and I have already entered my details

Once you have implemented the action needed to achieve your goal in the area of your life that you have picked and it is becoming a habit start on another area that your where not satisfied with.

Also get support from family, friends, groups etc.  It is much easier to achieve goals when you have support from others. This support can be in the form or helping to be accountable, a family member or friend who also wants to achieve a similar goal, a group that meets weekly, like for meditation, running, business etc.

What area of life are you focusing on and what is your goal?