January has flown by and in trying to figure out how to stick to my goals, I haven't had time to blog about it!
Work and family and winter and relaxing are all real day-to-day factors that "interfere" with my plans. But - I am trying to use all of these potential distractions to my advantage in order to reach my goals. A concept my husband and I have come across is "mise en place" and I wanted to share how, even in a busy life, you can be better organized to get the best results.
Mise En Place
This concept has truly changed my life. It is a culinary term, meaning "everything in it's place". Chefs use it to keep the flow of creating dishes efficient, every ingredient is ready and in reach.
But I have started using this in all areas of my life. In cooking, but also in getting myself ready for the day. I prepare breakfast, lunch and snacks the night before, choose and iron my clothes for work, pack my work bag, get anything out for dinner that can be set out or moved to the fridge from the freezer, etc. It decreases my morning stress exponentially! For some reason I can choose an outfit in 5 minutes in the evening, where the added stress of the morning would make that a 15 minute affair. I wake up and get ready with no stress at all. I cannot emphasize enough the difference it has made to my morning and thus the rest of my day.
Another benefit of mise en place is that I get off my tush in the evening to get things ready for tomorrow. This time was often spent sitting on the couch watching mind numbing TV, adding absolutely no value to my life. Now, I move around a bit before bed and get something accomplished! And I never think, "I wish I was sitting around watching TV".
It also makes a huge difference to my health and diet. When you try to put together a healthy breakfast or lunch in the morning, when you are pressed for time and need to get to work, you are more likely to cut corners or give up for that day entirely. You grab a bagel or sugary breakfast cereal and hope to do better tomorrow. When you get ready the night before, you have time to think and prepare something, and then you just grab it in the morning. Preparation is the key, it really is the best way to stick to a goal! In the book Knives at Dawn, the author states when you mise en place "you are set up for success". I couldn't agree more!
Mise en place is the main reason I have been doing well with my goal of eating a healthy breakfast every day. I have been making an apple muesli that is really easy, just a quick pulse in the food processor. It's simply apple, unsweetened dried cherries, almonds, unsweetened coconut and a dash of almond extract. I pour unsweetened soy milk over the top in the morning and am ready for breakfast (It's crazy that I have to specify "unsweetened" next to everything, but so many products are loaded with added sugar, I want to make sure anyone who wants to make this recipe finds the best ingredients)! I make two days worth each time, so I only have to make it every other day. Here is the recipe:
1 apple, chopped (use any variety you like)
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup unsweetened dried cherries
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or other unsweetened milk- almond, coconut, cashew)
Makes 2 servings, each with a full serving of fruit
-Place almonds in a food processor. Pulse until broken into smaller chunks. Add all other ingredients except milk to food processor and pulse until combined and apple is in small bits.
-Portion into two storage containers or bowls. Lasts up to 36 hours, so you can make the night before and eat for two days.
-Top with 1/2 cup milk up to one hour before eating.
Note: you can make this with any nut or any unsweetened dried fruit. Use dried apricots or raisons, pecans or hazelnuts!
-adapted from therawtarian.com
For my January goals, I have found that reaching 10,000 steps every day is even tougher than I thought - and I knew it would be tough! I usually get there with some hard work, so I figured this was one reachable goal without too too much planning. But I am finding that I really need to be thinking about it all day long, or when I am winding down at the end of the day I find myself 3,000 steps short. I have been coming at this goal with too negative an approach, thinking "I can't get 3,000 more steps tonight, and if I can't reach my goal I might as well just give up and relax". It finally struck me today that this is such the wrong way to approach it! If you really don't think you can get to 10,000, maybe you can get at least 8,000, or more. Anything extra is better than just where you are. It at least moves us forward and closer to our goals. I think changing my perspective and looking at it like this will make a big difference to me. I can go to bed with a positive "hey, I got 800 more steps than I would have"!
I have been much more active at work. I go to the printer each time I print something, versus waiting until I'm done printing and going to pick up everything. I run to the bathroom (all the way across the building!) every time I feel the need, versus waiting until the last minute. I also take the long way over to that side of the building - to get ice water or heat up lunch - going down the stairs and back up on the other side of the office. This helped me reach 10,000 on a day where I would normally be falling short before dinner. Have you found ways to increase your activity at work? Let me know any ideas you have!
My 2016 February goals-keeping them all the same this month because they still need work!
1. Eat a healthy breakfast every day
2. Exercise 6 days/week
3. Get to 10,000 steps every day
4. Drink 16oz of water during the work day
5. Eat 5 fruits and/or vegetables every day
6. Keep a food journal
7. Meditate 2 times per week
8. Be in the moment while driving and listening to podcasts
9. Take my vitamins every day
10. Limit junk food
What are some of the things you are working on this month? Are you willing try the mise en place for breakfast or lunch?