Fit, Fabulous, and Forty…Something!

Just put one foot in front of the other…There comes a time in every woman’s life, where she finds herself at a crossroads. A place of making a decision between forgetting her worth and letting herself go or saving herself from herself and showing the world. Just. Who. She. Is. Over the course of the past few months, I have found myself in such a place.
For far too many years, I have let myself go. I have battled depression, anxiety, failed relationships, trying to go to back to college full time while working a full-time job. We have all been there, that place where life has us pulled in so many directions, and nothing seems to be going right. I’ve eaten out of pity, I’ve eaten through the tears, I’ve gotten frustrated and angry with myself for trying to eat away my pain, and then eaten more because I was depressed because I had done so. It is a vicious cycle, and it is all to easy to fall in to.
The important thing is to learn to not beat yourself up for those moments of weakness, they say. Yet, when we give in and do such damaging things to our bodies and, ultimately, our already fragile self-esteems, it is all but impossible not to shame ourselves for such behaviors. Especially, when we know better. Yet, here I am, about a hundred pounds overweight.
Over the past couple of years, however, my life has changed in a very drastic way. I met someone, much younger, but very special to me. Despite my sense of practicality and the well-meant advice of many friends and family, I took a chance on dating him. I thought I would just see where it would go, and if it was not meant to be, I would just let it play out, knowing for a brief moment, I went after life with reckless abandon and enjoyed every moment I had been given. Ironically, to date, things have not played out. They are amazing, in fact. We have gotten married and are planning to move to Florida soon and start a new life, living it up in the Gulf of Mexico.
During the beginning of our relationship, things were great for my fitness goals of getting back into shape and dropping all of that depressed weight I had been carrying around. We went hiking often, we joined a gym together, and we were at the lake often. We were very active and wide open. It was fantastic, we were both getting in very good shape, over all. Then he was moved to second shift on his job. I still tried to work out and walk when I was home by myself at nights. That lasted a little while and was going great. Until he convinced me to go back to school while he was gone at night, I would have plenty of time to work on my assignments. He was right. I did not take into account, however, that after a twelve to fourteen-hour day at my job, I would be coming home at night and spending another three to four hours trying to get my assignments completed. And, just like that, working out went right out the window. He has since gone back to day shift, and we had decided to get back into hiking. Only, we found out really fast, that it has been far too long since we were that active with our marathon hiking weekends, and we were almost dead after a couple of less than five-mile hikes. Aside from that amazing husband of mine, I have two very incredible granddaughters. One is only about to turn a year old soon, and the other is almost four. I enjoy being with them so much, but they are very mobile and quite active now. After a few hours with them, I find myself needing a three-hour nap. And that has become more motivation for getting back active.
I have often heard it said that age is just a number. I have seen people in their seventies who are in prime shape and phenomenal active condition, and I have seen people in their thirties who can barely walk up a flight of stairs. So, I suppose it is true that it is never too late to start. I have decided to challenge myself to a hundred days of working out. Today was day one, and I got up before four a.m. to go to the gym. I did not do a very good job of getting anything laid out and ready last night and spent almost a half hour looking for everything to get ready. Therefore, I only had about an hour of time available for the gym before I had to get home and start getting ready for my day. But hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? And they say, the journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step. An hour of something is better than a day of nothing. I feel good after accomplishing that. It is hard to want to get up before four a.m. and it is even harder to jump out of bed and jet off to the gym. I know many people do this on a daily basis, and I truly admire them!
More than just getting fit, this journey I have committed to, is about living a fabulous life. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful family, and a great future to look forward to in a quaint little beach town. Why not grab life by the horns and make the most of it all? They say now that forty is the new twenty, so why not rock those forties, and be fabulous? That is what I am aiming for. This one-hundred-day journey will take me far beyond just working to reach my fitness goals, but also losing the metaphoric weight of past regrets and failures. Depression and anxiety are real life problems that we all go through from time to time, but there is no hard and fast rule that say they have to define you, or control what you are capable. It is time to show the world. Just. Who. I. Am. Day one of one hundred, out.

5 Books That Can Change Your Life


Mel Robbins packs a punch in her no nonsense, no BS delivery of the “5 Second Rule.” Mel teaches how to thrust yourself out of your own comfort zone by utilizing activation energy. Mel tells the story of how she invented the 5 second rule after watching NASA launch a rocket ship into the air, as a means to combat her unyielding habit of hitting the snooze button in the mornings and get out of bed. She begins by counting down, as counting up would be counterproductive because you could just lay there and continue indefinitely counting numbers, then sprung herself out of bed. Over time, she realized that throughout her day, she was constantly faced with decisions that within 5 seconds, she would back out of taking the desired action. Mel introduces the reader to the progression principle, in which you commit every day to do one thing that will move you toward your goals. In theory, whether it is speaking up during a meeting at work, introducing yourself to someone you have been wanting to meet, or going to the gym, if we allow ourselves time, as little as 5 seconds, we can second guess our decisions and allow fear and doubt to cloud our judgement. Then, sitting quietly through the meeting, letting that person leave without any exchange of words, or ending the day with no workout, becomes moments of opportunity that are lost forever. Mel forces the reader to take an honest look at what is holding them back, and by the simple action of counting down 5-4-3-2-1, completely shifting your train of thought, and taking that step forward!


Sarah Knight is a rock star, and she holds nothing back in “get your SH*T together.” Sarah leads you on journey of mental decluttering and passionately pursuing the life you dream of. Sarah delves deep into all the things that we allow to steal our time away from us uncecessarily, such as scrolling on social media, sitting in front of the television, always volunteering to stay late at the office to help out, and even uncommonly thought time stealers like going out after work with coworkers, when you just want to get home and work on a personal project. Sarah forces you to take an honest, and sometimes harsh, look at the things that you give your time to throughout the day that serve you in a positive way, and work diligently toward eliminating those things that are left that steal away from you sense of peace. Sarah teaches her system for prioritizing the things that need to be done by what must be done and get those things completed, how to stop worrying about the things that should be done, but are not mandatory, and to free yourself to be able to live your life doing the things you want to do.


“The Law of Attraction” seems to be popping up everywhere these days. But, in his book Michael Losier provided the simple tools for readers to apply positive thinking into their lives to attract the things they want in their lives through positive thoughts, using the ideaology of “like always attracts like. Martin Seligman who is the founder of positive psychology, based the stufy on the ideas of what makes life worth living. While positive psycology is different from the law of attraction!, they both rely on the premise that fundamentally, it is each individuals own ideas and perception of happiness that define what makes a truly good life for that individual. Where positive psychology differs from the law of attraction is that positive psychology is scientifically based, and therefore subject to exhaustive research. Whereas, the law of attraction relays a clear message that you attract what you think. Therefore you can attract positive or negative experiences into your life, simply by the thoughts in your own head.


In Marie Kondo’s “the life-changing magic of tidying up,” she delves deep into what is making you hold on to all that clutter. Marie incorporates the KonMari method of decluttering your home, and ultimately, your life. KonMari is a system of sorting through one’s belongings by one specific grouping at a time, touching each individual item at a time to ask the question if the item brings you joy, and then letting go of everything that does not. Then finally, providing a system of organization! for a place for everything and everything in its place. Marie also gets to the hart of why so many people hold on to far too many things and, no matter how craftily they try to disguise it, their homes get consumed with clutter. Hoarding, even in its most miniscule and unintentilal means, is a form of someone’s unhealth attachment to items that they feel holds the bond to specific memories or feelings. Many people hold on to boxes or drawers full of items, such as old photographs, baby clothes, or childrens arts and crafts projects because they feel connected to their children when they were at those young ages. When in fact, the truth is that the memories that one holds of their children can still be experienced and fondly appreciated, despite spending countless hours meandering through a drawer or plastic storage box of various had written cards or ice cream stick reindeer christmas tree ornaments. Marie helps the reader to identify those “emotional” attachments to things, and sort out what truly brings joy into the home. Ulitmately, with a home and a life that is tidy and clutter free, you can enjoy a much less stressful and enjoyable world.


Jen Sincero will have you laughing and nodding in agreement with her witty writing style and straight forward advice in “You are a Badass.” Jen teaches how to let go of your limiting beliefs and see the true potential that dwells within you. Jen’s whimsical means by which she shows the reader the impact of negative self-talk can have on every aspect of our lives. Self-doubt can invade every decision we make throughout our day in our jobs, relationships, and just about anything we do. At the core of the hilarious tactics in which Jen relays the message, the reader is empowered to stop allowing negative self-talk to invade their choices and embrace the potential they possess. As Jen implores, “It’s just as easy to believe we’re awesome as it is to believe we’re giant sucking things.”

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Get Shit Done!

We all have that list lying around, tormenting us from time to time. The dreaded to-do list. I know mine seems to haunt me on a daily basis. I keep telling myself I do not have time to get everything done that I have on the list. Yet, ironically, I have the same twenty-four hours in my day, just the same as everyone else in the world. It comes down to priorities and simple want to. I either want to get those things accomplished, or I do not, there is no in between. Generally, I give in to the do not want to, and opt to be lazy instead. But what is being lazy really saying about the things I need to get completed?

Tony Robbins, entrepreneur and motivational speaker, says that, “People are not lazy, they simply have impotent goals- that is, goals that do not inspire them.” Therefore, you must look at the root cause of being lazy. See beyond the task itself and focus on the end result. What am I trying to accomplish by completing the tasks on the list? There has to be a motive present to persuade every action taken. Maybe the end result is a clean house, a book report completed before the deadline, or maybe it is feeling more confident in a bathing suit at the beach this summer. Whatever the motive is, there then needs to be a call to action.

In the book “The 5 Second Rule,” Mel Robbins talks about how in as little as five seconds, we can talk ourselves out of important, and often, life changing decisions. Decisions to act- speaking up in a staff meeting at work with a great idea you have, approaching that person that you have been admiring for some time but have been afraid to talk to, or signing up for classes to pursue your dream career. Regardless of the desired result, if you talk yourself out of taking that first step, the opportunity is lost. And sometimes, those opportunities, do not come back around. Therefore, there must be a shift in the mindset. As the saying goes, change your stinking thinking! you have to take the “what-ifs” and the “maybes” out of the equation, and just go for it. Or, as Mel puts it, “The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will stop you. 5 4 3 2 1 Go!”

When you have stuff to get done, you need to evaluate the reason why it it needs to be done, and prioritize those reasons. If you have things on your to-do list that will improve your quality of life, such as furthering your education or work goals, those things are important. Daily tasks, such as cleaning the kitchen or buying groceries are important as well. However, organizing all the shoes and color coordinating your closet, may be something that can be put on the back burner. Unless, you really want to have organized shoes this weekend. The idea is knowing what has to be done, what needs to be done, and what you just want to do, and then developing a plan to tackle them all. Jen Sincero wrote an amazing little book called, “You are a Badass- How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life” in which she details hilarious and inspiring ways to change your habits and thinking to create the life you want. One thing Jen says is, “In order to kick ass, you must first lift up your foot.” That is it! You just have to get up, and get shit done.

Tom Bilyeu says it best, “No one can give you heart. No one can give you discipline. No one can make you unstoppable. Those are things you must decide for yourself. But make no mistake, it’s a decision. It’s not a genetic gift. It’s a mindset.” No one can make you do the things that you need to do, and no one can set the scale on how you prioritize those things. The call to action comes from within you. The decision to hit the snooze or get out of bed; the decision to speak up at the meeting, or sit by quietly; the decision to submit an “A” quality term paper or turn in the minimum required- those decisions come from within you. And only you have the power to make them. Successful people are not lazy. So, if you desire to have success in any aspect of your life, whether it’s being a perfect housewife, an honors student, or promote up the ladder of success within your job, you have to do the things that are required. Being lazy will not get you your dream life. So, get up, and get shit done!

Stop Playing the Victim.

Have you ever had someone in your life that you just dreaded being around because they are always so negative and complain about everything? Often times, these are the people who love to play the “victim” role, and they continually love to remind everyone about how shitty their life is, usually at someone else’s fault. They may complain about their life sucks and they barely survive on their current wages but seem to always cycle their current situation back to a specific incident, perhaps a childhood trauma or an early relationship that impacted their lives. Then, there are some people who seem to be so negative that their entire life is one series of hardships right after the other. It is as thought their whole life is nothing more than a never-ending horror movie. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand completely that there are things that we can experience that are extremely hurtful to us and can have serious long-term impacts on our lives, or future relationships. I never take that type of thing lightly.
Many people, if not most, face hardships at some point in time throughout our lives. I am certainly no exception. I was physically and sexually abused as a child, I endured adult relationships that were physically and/or emotionally abusive and found myself in my forties living with my mom as I was trying to get myself in a position to face living on my own with my daughter with no home or car that I owned, about one hundred pounds overweight, and no financial security for my and her future. I could have been pissed at the world. I could have blamed my parents for my fucked-up childhood, or my ex-husband for crushing my spirit and destroying any sense of self-worth I may have ever had. I could have blamed everyone else for my failed life. Granted, because of the choices and actions of others at times, I have been placed into unwanted situations that altered my life plan, but I ultimately had to choose whether to let that defeat me or fuel me. I learned some harsh lessons about other people, but I learned so much more about myself. I made a list of my top ten goals, and then I started doing the work that I needed to do in order to see those goals come to fruition.
Do you ever just want to shake those eternal “victim” card playing people and scream in their face, “we all go through hardships, YOU have to bring yourself out of it!!”? I find myself wanting to do just that. It is difficult to be around those kinds of people. They constantly play the “woe is me,” “my life sucks,” and the “nothing good ever happens to me” cards, and quite honestly, it gets old. People who live to play the victim, will get angry at you when you try to point out that, in fact, not everything about their life sucks. They can shut you out and avoid you. They often times will talk negatively about you to other people. Basically, they resist hearing the truth because it forces them to admit that they are not accepting responsibility for their own role in controlling their own life situation. People go through hard times and heartbreak every day, and some people go through absolute hell on a regular basis, yet they still can manage to find the strength inside of them that pushes them to get better and be willing to fight through any hardship to change their circumstances. People who refuse to accept that responsibility and continue to blame others for their situation, is someone who is unwilling to accept that they are capable of putting in the work to change the situation. It becomes easier to blame others for their own laziness. And, that is what it boils down to, when it becomes easier to lay in bed all day and be pissed at other people who hurt you throughout your life than to get up and get busy making yourself happy, that is lazy. Muhammad Ali said, “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.”

A Busy Girl’s Guide to Successful College Learning.

To be successful in college, one the student must be willing to put in the time and effort necessary to complete the lessons, read the assignments, and properly study for exams. The importance of the effort required to be successful can be stated as, “Academic success in college requires a combination of active study habits such as completing assigned readings before class, taking effective notes during lectures, and studying course materials regularly (Credé & Kuncel, 2008; Lei, 2015).” (Heinicke, Zuckerman, & Cravalho, 2017). The student is going to need motivation above all to put in the kind of effort and time that will be required to be successful, as stated in a report by Everaert, Opdecam, and Maussen (2017), “Moreover, high intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation have a significant positive influence on deep learning.”
Proper planning and spacing out the study plans will be key to getting most of the time that is put into the lessons and study time. As stated, “The results indicated that self-regulation, specifically planning, as an important factor for explaining student success and satisfaction in an online course.” (Inan, Yukselturk, * Kurucay 2017). The best way to plan out the course is to set with a planner or calendar and a copy of the course syllabus prior to first day of class, and mark important dates, such as exam dates, lesson and assignment due dates, and any rough draft work for any final written assignments for end of course work. Once those dates are written down on the dates, it is wise to look at the reading assignment for each week, for number of chapters covered and look at length of chapters, then break the reading assignment into segments that will be short enough for retaining the information covered, yet not so long as to overwhelm the reader to prevent recalling any of the information.
In relation to studying for exams, use of study tools such as flashcards, practice exams, study guides, taking good notes, and highlighting have proven to aid in the success of performance on college exams. As noted in the following study by Bartoszewski and Gurung.

Bartoszewski, and Gurung (2015) study determined the following:
“Five techniques, summarization, highlighting, keyword mnemonics, rereading, and using imagery for text learning, have low utility although they relate to learning. For example, students who use imagery, creating a mental image for the text, learn better (Leutner, Leopold, & Sumfleth, 2009). Highlighting has also been used to assist a student in understanding the required text. Readers who were able to identify the most relevant material as evidenced by highlighting, achieved higher overall exam scores in the course (Bell & Limber, 2009). Three other techniques have moderate utility: Elaborative interrogation (generating an explanation for why a concept is true), self-explanation (relating new information to old information), and interleaved practice (studying by mixing different kinds of material within a single study session). For example, elaborative interrogation improved a student’s learning of factual information (Woloshyn, Paivio, & Pressley, 1994). In addition, self-explanation enhanced a student’s learning of the series of steps that needed to be taken for a specific task, especially when researchers gave specific instructions to the student (Rittle-Johnson, 2006). Only two techniques got top billing. Dunlosky et al. (2013) rated a final category of techniques as having high utility—practice testing (or practice retrieval) and distributed practicing (or spaced practice). In one study, practice testing benefited a student the most when a student was able to correctly recall the initial concepts three times, and in addition, relearnt the concepts over a long period of time (Rawson & Dunlosky, 2011). Learning is more likely to occur not only when the student is able to recall the item, but also when a student had successfully retrieved the items twice (Karpicke, 2009). Some students spread out their studying, a technique referred to as distributed practice (Dunlosky et al., 2013). An example of the way a student may engage in both high utility techniques is by using flashcards. Students using flashcards are practice testing, and they tend to also space out their practice over time (Wissman, Rawson, & Pyc, 2012). Overall, students would most likely perform better on tests if they space out their studying over the course, despite differences in the way distributed practice is carried out (Bain, 2012).
Based on the results of the study, it would be recommended to being on day one with the reading assignment, and highlight specific information to go back and read again. Making an outline of the chapter with headings listed throughout the chapter would be a good start on going back to find information for an open book exam. Going back after making the outline and making a study sheet from the highlighted notes from each section of the chapter would provide a study sheet to reference to create test questions for practice testing. Also, making word cards by using index cards to write down vocabulary words and definitions would be beneficial for becoming familiar with the terms, and help with better understanding of the practice test questions. The days before the exam, start with a quick review of each chapter covered on the exam being sure to add anything missed on to the study guides, notes or word cards, and on the day of the exam, allow time for reviewing the notes and study guides. Be sure to get plenty of rest the night before the exam, and do not stay up late trying to cram all the information in last minute. As Blerkom (2013) warns, “Studying for college exams requires a high level of motivation. You can’t just do a quick review the night before the exam and expect to learn all of the information. There’s just too much material to master.” (p 239). Eat a healthy breakfast and/or lunch (depending on timing) on the day of the exam. Relax, with proper time management, motivation, and effort put into completing lessons, reading the chapters, and preparing the study materials, the information on the exam will become familiar.

Bartoszewski, B. L., & Gurung, R. R. (2015). Comparing the relationship of learning techniques and exam score. Scholarship Of Teaching And Learning In Psychology, 1(3), 219-228. doi:10.1037/stl0000036
Blerkom, D.L. V. (2013). Orientation to College Learning, 7th Edition. [CengageBrain Bookshelf]. Retrieved from
Everaert, P., Opdecam, E., & Maussen, S. (2017). The Relationship between Motivation, Learning Approaches, Academic Performance and Time Spent. Accounting Education, 26(1), 78-107.
Heinicke, M. R., Zuckerman, C. K., & Cravalho, D. A. (2017). An evaluation of readiness assessment tests in a college classroom: Exam performance, attendance, and participation. Behavior Analysis: Research And Practice, 17(2), 129-141. doi:10.1037/bar0000073
Inan, F., Yukselturk, E., Kurucay, M., & Flores, R. (2017). The Impact of Self-Regulation Strategies on Student Success and Satisfaction in an Online Course. International Journal On E-Learning, 16(1), 23-32.

Steps for Effective Goal Setting

The 7 characteristics of goals:
Goals should be self-chosen- which means they should be something that you care about, are passionate about, or just simply something that you want for yourself. They should not be someone else’s goals for you.
Goals should be moderately challenging- which means they should be something that you have to work toward. If everything is handed to you on a silver platter, there would be no reason to make any effort.
Goals should be realistic- which means that your goals should be something that you can actually do. Getting my degree in human services is a goal that I can actually achieve, while buying a villa in Cabo San Lucas and becoming the president of Mexico is not a very realistic goal for me.
Goals should be measurable- which means, you should be able to see them. Saying that I want to “do good” in my course is too vague, whereas, saying I want to get a B on my midterm exam is a more defined measure of my success.
Goals should be specific- which means, your goals should be clearly defined. Saying I want a job close to home is rather vague, but if I specify that I would like to get a job working for Bartow County Government narrows the goal into a more specific and attainable goal.
Goals should be finite- which means that your goals should have a deadline. Saying that I am working on my degree is broad. It does not imply what type of degree or how long I am working on it. It would be better to state my goals as, I plan to have my bachelor degree in May of 2018. That provides a deadline that I can measure courses completed and final grades to courses needed and required GPA for graduation.
Goals need to be positive- which means the goal should be something to work toward that will improve your life. If the goal does not add to the quality of your life or situation, there will be little motivation to complete it.

5 steps to writing effective goals:
The steps to writing out effective goals should begin with your goal statement. Secondly, you would list the obstacles or challenges you expect to face in obtaining your goal. Then you would list the available resources you have or plan to have that can help you work through those challenges and put yourself in a better position to obtain the goal stated. You would then list the motivation for the goal. Your motivation can be whatever the driving force is behind achieving this goal for yourself, whether it be your family and making a better life for them by the financial gain of the goal, or personal, such as the sense of accomplishment you feel from achieving your goal after others told you that you could not accomplish it. Then lastly, you would review your goal statement after completing the lists of obstacles and resources in comparison to your motivation, and revise the goal statement.

5 Step Action Plan

Step 1- Tentative goal statement:
What is the desired outcome of your goal? What are you hoping to achieve or gain from this goal?
Step 2- List of obstacles.
List all of the obstacles, including work and family requirements that need to be considered when working to achieve your goals.
Step 3- List of resources.
Make a list of every resource you have available to help you in working tow
Step 4- List your motivation.
Your “Why”- list the greatest benefit from realizing your goal. .
Step 5- Revised goal statement.
I will do the work necessary to -Make this an action statement directly related to achieving your goal. .

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