New Year – New Focus

As we’re still fresh into the new year, I often find that my goals, as well as others, often revolve around working out, eating healthier, losing weight, or spending less money. However, we’re overlooking the small goals, changes, and obstacles and places around us.

As I sit here writing today, the sun is beaming through my window. It’s rather annoying because it’s kind of blinding; however, the sun hasn’t “shined in three damn days.” You bet I just squeezed a little Kid Rock in there! I put my computer and thoughts down for a while to sit there any appreciate what nature has to offer. I’ve been complaining (one thing I’m trying to do less) about the dreary weather and lack of sun shine lately, so I was truly trying to live in the moment.

This year, I plan to focus on what surrounds me on a daily basis. Whether that be stopping to take in the view on a walk or run, or being out with friends and family and truly appreciating the people I continue to surround myself with.


Set a big REALISTC goal, but don’t forget to set multiple small goals to help get you there. For example, “I want to lose 70lbs in 2 weeks.” First of all, that’s not healthy nor is it realistic. Think big, but start small.

Step 1: Think big, “I want to lose 70lbs in 12 months.”

Now that goal is more realistic!

Step 2: Think Small, “Now, what steps do I need to take in order to achieve my goal?”

  • Maybe you’ll start off by getting a membership to a local gym or facility. From there, your next step will be to plan the days and times you will be present at the gym. Consistency is key here.
  • You will want to pick a section(s) of your body that you would like to focus on each day.
  • Once you have the gym routine down and you feel comfortable, start thinking about incorporating healthier foods into your diet. Don’t go cold turkey on the things you love, but rather slowly wean off of certain foods each day.
  • If you love pasta and don’t plan on giving it up (I don’t blame you), try switching over to whole wheat pasta. If your life revolves around pizza (uh, doesn’t everyone’s?), check out Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Pizza Crust. It’s DELICIOUS, I promise. Trader Joe’s also sells a frozen cheese cauliflower pizza as well if you’re not one to prepare food.
  • Start cooking for yourself rather than eating packaged/frozen foods. Also, limit eating out at restaurants. Your wallets will thank you.
  • Consider walking or biking to work if you’re close enough. Divvy is a great option for Chicagoans! If you’re not close enough, maybe get off public transportation a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. If you are still unable to work in any of the above options, take a walk during lunch. It’s good for your mind as well as your body. If you have a fitness device, set step goals or stand time to help motivate you! I currently use the Apple Watch Series 3 data version.
  • Get more sleep! This is so important! On occasion, I am guilty of being either in bed or asleep by 7 or 8 pm during the work week. By focusing on my sleep schedule I have found waking up at 5:30am each morning a piece of cake (cake sounds so good right now).
  • Hold yourself accountable. While many people don’t care to hear it, I find that when people tell other’s about their goals they are more likely to stick to it. Motivate one another! In today’s world, people are going to post their fitness experiences and I truly hope that spreads some motivation. There is no reason to be ashamed for your goals and success!
  • Lastly, don’t be hard on yourself. Progress takes time and certainly does not happen overnight. Take it ONE step at a time. If one day your goal doesn’t go as planned, take a step back and breathe. Think positive and you will go far!


Try giving up alcohol for a month (if you drink). I found this to be way easier than I expected. Coming off a busy holiday season and dreary weather probably helped. Just because you plan to give up alcohol for a month doesn’t mean you can’t go out with friends, socialize, or remain creative on the weekends!

  • Go old school: whip out that deck of cards or that 2,000 piece puzzle. This may not sound fun, but don’t knock it until you try it.
  • If you’re truly craving a cocktail or a glass of wine, try pouring yourself a glass of San Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral water with freshly cut lemon wedges to change it up a bit. I like to call this a mocktail!


Take a month off of sugar and sweets. I like tackling this goal in February since it’s the shortest month. Ok people, seriously, I could be a professional sweet consumer. My love for sweets is no hidden secret and I believe I have my dad to blame for that one. However, February is a short month (I’m only 5 days in and if I had a dollar for every time I told my boyfriend “I NEED CHOCOLATE” I’d have my own chocolate factory by now), so find a realistic goal and stick to it. To be honest, I miss my Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds after dinner but it’s pretty doable and the cravings diminish over time. *Day dreaming of chocolate right now*


Try limiting unnecessary expenses for one month. For example, try riding a bike or walking to work instead of taking public transit. The daily transit fee may not seem like much depending on where you live; however, small costs add up over time. You could save hundreds of dollars each month and put that money towards a savings account, or you could apply that money saved towards something that has always captured your interest. Treating yourself is always an option!


Another option would be to start cooking for yourself rather than ordering out. Not only will you save money, but you will also be able to control what goes into your food (and impress people of course)! Saving money and eating healthier seems like a win-win situation in my opinion.


Personally, I’d like to focus my future goals on complaining less, thinking positive thoughts, and really focusing on what’s around me as well as focusing on myself. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.


As my dad once said, “don’t sweat the small stuff.”


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