Cliches, Crunches and Chia

Looking for a 2015 mantra? “Life is about preparation meeting opportunity. When destiny comes calling, you’d better have taken the proper actions so you can rise to meet it, or you could blow it” – Jillian Michaels

As we approach New Years Eve and in the spirit of the Blog’s mission, I can’t help but feel compelled to establish a handful of resolutions. In order to develop these resolutions, I thought this workaholic should stick with a structured system that most of us are all too familiar with–SMART goals. The wonderful folks at MIT, have concisely articulated the parameters here, for the curious readers out there: http://hrweb.mit.edu/performance-development/goal-setting-developmental-planning/smart-goals

1. Cliche resolution – I will exercise at least 4 days a week–this will consist of more than just the treadmill and crunches — I have faith that my trainer Paul will ensure I don’t develop a case of the New Years slump in early February.

I could tell Paul and I were a good fit after he called me out on taking it easy the first few sessions–as you can imagine, when I arrive at 6:00am for our weekly training sessions, I’m a step above a zombie, sans coffee, so working myself until I can’t pull a shirt over my head in the locker room to change isn’t always preferable–and I would even admit sometimes I take the easy way out. Although recently, each session I hear the voices of former coaches in my head pushing me across the finish line each time and have managed to shock myself at some of the small accomplishments made before most have even woken up. After all, even at 31 the old college lacrosse mantra holds true–no guts, no glory.

2. Starting next week, I will leave work by 5:30pm at least one night per week, if not more–ever have those last minute nagging tasks that you seemingly put off every day? This workaholic is in fact that perpetual prostrator of all things menial but meaningful and will wait until 4:30pm to try and clean the skeletons out of the closet–bad idea as we all know this typically leads to 2-3 hours of additional work in a desolate and empty cube farm. I affectionately refer to this period each evening as a Lifetime movie waiting to happen–especially considering that I clutch my iPhone and purse for dear life on the walk to the poorly lit parking garage, with my over-active imagination in full swing;

3. I will read at least 1 book per month –amusing/simple idea for many, but for someone who spends > 10 hours in meetings and drafting emails each day, the thought of picking up anything else to read, makes me a little queasy, despite buying what seems like every bestseller advertised on Amazon.com. I’m always open to suggestions on thoughtful, interesting, and/or edge-of-your-seat selections–feel free to leave suggestions in the comment section below.

My first order of business– “Unlimited: How to build an exceptional life” by Jillian Michaels–I’m sure my chance encounter with an episode of The Biggest Loser a few weeks ago had something to do with me searching to see whether the ranch’s trainers had memorialized any of their words of wisdom and life lessons. A copy of the book can be found here

4. Try a new ingredient at least once per month- I’m hoping the wonderful folks at Boston Organics will provide ample opportunity to achieve this with my weekly organic produce deliveries at work. One of this month’s adventures– chia seeds.

During a recent boycott of the breakfast staple, eggs, I was in search of an early morning revelation and stumbled upon what appeared to be another article in the sea of Facebook pages coaxing bored and virtually vulnerable surfers to click on its link here

I have made a concerted effort over the last 20 years to get behind the yogurt parfait movement, but found it to be rather anti-climatic–great sugary burst and then starving 2 hours later. However, Rebecca Judd’s quinoa breakfast parfait–featuring clever little chia seeds, has recently changed my entire breakfast routine; even resulting in a cheeky art installment that magically appeared on the counter after prepping almonds and chia seeds for the week (Chris’s masterpiece- the leaning tower of chia). The combination of the quinoa, Greek yogurt, almonds, berries and chia seeds have been a welcome change–and something that keeps me full until the lunch hour.

As we quickly approach the onset of a new year and fresh start, have you given any thought to what you will contribute to the universe this next year?

So, let’s raise a glass to a year of surprises, challenges, lessons and successes–bring it on 2015.

Happy (early) New Years!

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The Journey Begins

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” –Walt Disney

"The Beginning" Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.

Today I break silence and begin the journey.  I sat at my desk last week before Christmas—it was 8:00 pm and a virtual ghost town across the entire office.  As I got in the car to drive home, I had flashbacks to several months earlier, when the late-night drive home was from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, after a 4-hour intro to cooking class.  Those drives home were spent wishing I could find more opportunities to tune out the noise of work and channel my energy into an outlet that truly fueled my real passions.

It isn’t that I don’t enjoy working with numbers all day, it is that I let the numbers, the managing, the organizing, and the reviewing run away like a freight train earlier on in my career.  I remember 2 years into my career when co-workers boasted about working 80-90 hours a week; seeking imaginary badges of honor.  As I progressed professionally, it became harder and harder to see how having it all would be feasible.  But having it all wasn’t exactly the problem—it was having anything at all, outside of work.

The byproduct of this extreme—nearly 20 additional unneeded, unwanted and tiring pounds, countless gray hairs (masked my frequent visits to my fabulous hair stylist), many wrinkles (also masked by equally frequent visits to my aesthetician), and reminders from family and friends about missed visits, phone calls, emails, etc.

The proposed “fix” for this extreme—carving out time during the work week for at least homemade meal and participate in at least 4 sweat sessions a week, 1 of which will be with my amazing, but brutal trainer.

My goal is to use Foodgawker.com to inspire me to use the many organic vegetables and fruits I have delivered to work each Wednesday.  It looks like this week’s delivery will contain rutabaga—we will see what gourmet ideas are generated after assessing this ingredient.

As a former collegiate athlete, I was stubborn enough to think I knew what it took to get back into shape and motivate myself—what I ended up learning after 9 years of many failed attempts: I’m not an expert and Self magazine can only go so far—I finally swallowed my pride and hired the help of a personal trainer.  Over the last few weeks he has challenged me and shown me how to regain confidence at the dreaded gym.

Food for thought—what inspirations have you used to kick start your lifestyle change?

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