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Veterans Day Sale

It’s almost Veterans Day! I’m planning on spending the day with my family-who, other than the kiddos, are all Veterans! I will be taking advantage of a few Veterans Day deals and I wanted to offer one of my own.

Obviously veterans hold a special place in my heart. We know the depression, anxiety and suicide rates are higher than ever. In fact, I work 1-on-1 with many veterans. I know it really helps them to have someone who understands, will listen, but also hold them accountable–not unlike they were used to. It’s familiar.

So, this Veterans day I want to offer a special to veterans for just $99. What does that mean?

Veterans Day Special

1 hour coaching session + 1 customized plan

$99.00

  • 1 hour session
  • 1 customized plan

Their coaching session can focus on any of the the following areas:

  • Health (Fitness & Nutrition)
  • Money (Budget & Debt)
  • Home (Organization / Productivity)

As many of you know, I’ve expanded my practice from just personal training (NASM Certified) and nutrition advising (NASM Nutrition Specialty) to also financial coaching (I’m a Dave Ramsey Certified Master Financial Coach). I also lead my clients through ideal schedule (productivity) and getting their home in order (Less is More mindset shift, then minimizing then organizing). These are the things I’ve found most folks can really use hope & action-oriented coaching with. I’ve coached dozens of clients through all of them.

So, depending on what area we focus on you (or your veteran) will receive a 1-hour coaching session. During this time we set aside space to talk about you. We get to the root of things and I coax the answers right out of your own brain! You will leave feeling empowered & hopeful. After that, I’ll send over a plan based on what we talked about. So, that might be a meal plan, a workout plan, a budget & debt payoff plan or a calendar & journal prompts to get your home in order.

Alrighty, so that’s what it is.

Why is it? First of all because I want to. Second of all, how about some stats about veterans?

☝ 44% of Veterans said they were stressed about their finances in 2018.

☝ Between 2000 and 2012, the VA estimated a 327% increase in reported anxiety disorders among military members

☝ In 2014, the VA reported that 78% of Veterans were overweight or obese

Next, some stats about Americans.

☝ The top two chronic health conditions driving health-related costs for employers were depression and obesity, research showed.

☝ 78% of people are living paycheck to paycheck. 64% of Americans couldn’t cover a $1,000 emergency without going further into debt while 34% have no savings at all.

☝ A 2017 study of 1,600 workers found that nearly half of employees who are worried about their financial health miss work occasionally & are less productive when they are at work, spending at least three hours of work time dealing with a personal financial issue.

☝ 67% of people surveyed believe they could save up to 30 minutes a day if they were more organized.

You can imagine that some of those stats overlap. And that’s what this sale is all about.

Buy for you or for a veteran you know.

Buy it now, give as a Christmas gift.

Buy it now, use it next year when you’re ready.

It’ll be redeemable for a year!

Veterans Day Special

1 hour coaching session + 1 customized plan

$99.00

5 tips to stop feeling meh & finally get fit

Take a minute and listen to your body. How is it feeling today? Maybe it’s feeling energized. Maybe it’s feeling tingly, excited! Or, more likely, it may be feeling tired. Maybe it’s feeling sluggish. Maybe you & your body are just feeling meh.

I’m here to tell you that your one and only life is precious to me. I desire for you to be feeling like this (minus the sugar):

You work too hard, love too much and God has way too much planned for you to feel meh. It’s just not good enough. You & your body were meant for more.

But maybe you can’t remember the last time got dressed and felt confident. Maybe you’ve noticed every time you go up the stairs or chase after the kids you’re a bit out of breath.

I understand friend.

Let’s look together at 5 tips for you to stop feeling meh and finally get fit.

1. Get REAL clear.

Many times I’ll have clients who come in and “want to lose weight.” Or maybe they’re here to see me “because their doctor told them to.” Then again, sometimes it’s just about to be bathing suit season or they’ve got a wedding coming up.

Those are all okay goals, I guess. They’re a good way to get an inkling of motivation. But we need to get REALLY clear. We need to really see the vision of what you’re going to look like, feel like and be like when you’re the ideal version of yourself.

You see, there are two versions of you. The one you’re living as right now and the IDEAL version of you. This ideal version of you has a lot going on. She’s pretty incredible, actually. She doesn’t have time to be bogged down by unnecessary weight or bad nutrition. She’s got hopes, dreams, goals and plans. She’s living life to the fullest. You need to get really clear on what her life is like. You need to get so clear that you can taste it!

You see fitness is a gateway to good things. Through this gateway you finally admit to yourself that you want something. You finally set aside the time to get it. You finally get the discipline to do what you need to do. Because of that, you’re going to find those skills ready and available in other areas of your life. It’s going to be incredible.

BUT FIRST! Let’s taste it. Let’s look at all the whys, the desires, the goals, the dreams of what getting fit really means to you. Guess what? It’s way more deep than “losing a few inches.” It’s OKAY to have desire. It’s OKAY to dream. It’s OKAY to want to feel and look good. It’s more than okay. It’s freaking awesome. Our world is going to be SO MUCH better when you’re on fire.

2. Come up with a plan.

You may have “accidentally” gained a few pounds or gotten out of shape. But it’s not going to be an accident to lose them and get in shape. It’s going to be according to a plan. You need a plan for your nutrition and you need a plan for your fitness. The good news is we can make this plan according to YOU. It doesn’t have to be someone else’s running / keto plan. Unless you like running and don’t like carbs. No, we can come up with a REALISTIC plan that you’ll actually stick to and enjoy.

How to make a plan:

  1. Establish your current level of fitness & your weight / inches / body fat. Establish your realistic goals.
  2. Pick or let me help you design a workout plan that has you moving at least five times a week doing something you enjoy. We can start slow and small, but we need consistency at all costs!
  3. Figure out what you’re going to eat and when. We are going to stick 80% to food God made. Man made stuff like bread, soda, etc is not on our plan.
  4. Figure out how you’re going to stay accountable to your plan & track your progress.
  5. Reflect & redo the plan each week or month. Understand it’s a new habit that will take time to get good at and find your sweet spot.

3. Track, track, track.

There’s a quote out there:

You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure. 

It’s true. Imagine your personal financial budget. You can’t manage your spending if you don’t track it. Think about your kids’ attendance in school. Think about how much coffee is left in the pot!

Seriously though, you’ll never know if your plan is working if you’re not measuring your progress. You need to measure how often and how effective your workouts are. That can be as simple as an x on a calendar and making sure every few weeks you can do more squats, add heavier weights, hold Warrior II longer or run a little faster. Track what you’re eating, whether you liked it, how it made you feel. Whatever it is, let’s measure it. Get a little obsessed with this. It will help you stay focused.

We’re also going to measure your body metrics. We need to measure your weight, your inches and your body fat percentage. Listen, measuring that many things helps you have lots of ways to win! That’s a good thing. I know some of you have a “bad relationship” with the scale. I understand that. I have enough experience to tell you it’s not the scales fault. Yes, sometimes the scale is a bit stubborn or late with math. But it’s just math. What I DO know is that if you’re NOT tracking we won’t know if your plan is working or not. Listen, if your plan has pizza and beer every Friday night and your scale says it’s working, we’re going to STICK TO THE PLAN. If your scale says the plan isn’t working then we need to adjust something. And we won’t know that if we aren’t tracking. Got it?

4. Deal with the emotion.

Part of the reason #3 is so hard is because of our emotion. Most of the time when we’ve gotten ourselves into and overweight our out of shape state, there are some underlying emotions we aren’t aware of or are trying to numb.

You’re bored, so you eat. We need to deal with why you’re bored more than we need to deal with the food.

You’re upset, so you drink. We need to deal with why you’re upset more than we need to deal with the alcohol.

The best part of your week is eating out at the restaurant. We need to create different best parts of the day.

Most of the time when we’re snacking or eating, it’s to literally NUMB some of the feelings we don’t want to face. It may or may not be a conscious decision.

Then we have the other emotions. The dread of failing at yet another goal. The shame of letting it go so far. The embarrassment that you need help. The feeling, deep down, that you don’t deserve to be happy. As you read those, I know you 1) understand them and 2) know they aren’t right. They’re not right in that you shouldn’t feel that way but they’re not right also in that THEY ARE UNHELPFUL. They are time wasters. However, if we don’t deal with them–and I mean REALLY deal with them, your getting fit journey won’t work or it won’t last.

We have to deal with the emotion. So, get a journal out or schedule a session with me.

5. Don’t half ass it.

If you want to get half-ass results, then go at this at about a 5 MPH pace. If you’re READY, then treat this like a second job. This is your new hobby. This is what you’re totally focused on right now and you’re going all in.

When I teach folks how to get out of debt, we tell them get SUPER INTENSELY focused. Like nothing else matters until the debt is gone! That’s what I need you to do with this little journey. The more you focus, the faster your wins will come and the faster you’ll see progress. This doesn’t mean you’re going to be a self-obsessed gym rat forever. This means until this new lifestyle becomes habit and automated, you’re going to give it your full ass. Got it?

Okay friends, those are 5 of my tips to stop feeling meh and finally get fit. To review they were:

  1. Get REAL clear.
  2. Come up with a plan.
  3. Track, track, track.
  4. Face the emotion.
  5. Don’t half-ass it.

Now you know I’m a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. In fact, I’ve also got a specialty in nutrition. If you want help, you need to fill out the form below. It’s a fairly simple.

  1. You’ll talk. I’ll listen.
  2. We’ll come up with a plan that includes your dreams, your budget and your debt-payoff date.
  3. We’ll work the plan together until you’re ready to do it on your own.

I’m here to help. You’ve just got to fill that form out below.

5 tips to stop feeling broke & fighting about money

I bet you work hard but you’re been living paycheck to paycheck. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you talked about money with your spouse without it turning into a fight. Maybe you’ve noticed every time you get a raise your bills do too.

I understand friend.

Let’s look together at 5 tips.

1. Put all the cards out on the table.

Yes, I know you don’t want to really face everything, especially all at once. How do I know? Because I’ve been there. I thought it felt better to have my head in the sand than to face the full truth of my financial reality. But you know what?

I was wrong. Actually, once I got every last bill, every last debt, every last dumb decision out of my head and onto the table…I felt instantly better. No longer were all the bills and worries pinging around in my brain like a pinball machine of anxiety. No, things were where I could see them. Sure they we’re pretty, but at least they were all in one place. That was a start.

How to get it all out on the table:

  1. Schedule a meeting with your spouse.
  2. Get a blank piece of paper and brain dump everything about your finances that you’ve been worried about. Write out all the facts, thoughts and emotions.
  3. Now, get a fresh new sheet of paper. Go through your brain dump and find the things that you can make sense of. List them in order of priority.
  4. Talk with your spouse at the meeting about everything that you’ve come up with. Own your part of the mistakes. Be humble. But get it all out. No more skeletons in the closet.
  5. Reflect on how you feel.

2. Come up with a plan.

You need a plan for your money. We call this a budget. According to John Maxwell, a budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. You see, sometimes people watch their money go where it’s supposed to go-like to the bills. But that’s not the same as using a budget. If you don’t know how to use a budget, don’t feel bad. Only about 32% of households use a budget according to a Gallup poll. That’s where financial coaches come in. We walk you through the process below.

How to make a budget:

  1. Establish your total household take-home income.
  2. Assign your very first dollars to the most important expenses: food, shelter & transportation.
  3. List out all outgoing expenses. Get clear on needs vs. wants.
  4. Review expenses, percentages and see where you can/should cut.
  5. Communicate & redo the budget each month. Understand it’s a new habit that will take time to get good at.

3. Dream again.

Living in the daily hustle and bustle can cause you to lose sight of any dreams you once had. Now you’re spending every last dollar on Netflix, Target and Amazon. If your goals were more clear, you’d be happy to put that money into a vacation fund for Ireland next year.

No, really.

We stop dreaming because we get bogged down with the daily burdens. But you, your spouse and your family have a fun, exciting future in front of you. Learn to dream again. Then use that dream to motivate using that budget and sticking to it.

How to dream again:

  • Try to remember what your dreams were when you were younger.
  • Think about what you would do if money wasn’t a factor.
  • If you have $5,000 to spend, what would you do other than pay bills?
  • What is one thing you’ve wanted to do/see your entire life?
  • What is something you always wanted to take your family to do/see?

4. Get out of debt.

I know culture has taught us to think debt is normal. Did you know 3 or 4 generations ago debt wasn’t a thing? Yeah. It’s a new normal-and not a good one. Think about how much debt you have. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Add up the car payments, student loan payments, furniture payments, credit card payments and whatever else is lurking behind that credit score. What could you do with that money every month? What if that money was paying for your future instead of your past?

Debt is a thief as Chris Hogan says. It steals your income. It steals your wealth. You don’t need debt. You don’t. You need to save up and pay for things. Here’s a game changer:

If you can’t pay for it in cash, you can’t afford it.

Oh dang. Yeah. Getting out of debt will make your monthly financial situation so much lighter and less stressful. You’re not going to fight as much because there simply won’t be as much to fight about.

5. Focus on the positive.

I know, this is annoying. “Sure Shana, I’ll focus on the rainbows and butterflies and all my stress will float away.” Hear me out!

I want you to get another piece of paper. I want you to fill it with things you have to be grateful about. Fill the entire page. Get real specific…like the fact that your football team isn’t looking as bad as my beloved Cowboys right now. Or the fact that your favorite shirt still fits. Think about your friends, family, health, job, car, house…whatever you can think of. I really want you to do this so I’ll wait. Go ahead now, go on.

Now, when you look at all you have to be grateful for, doesn’t it make you feel less stressed? This is what we call contentment. If I had nothing else but I had the health of my three kids, I would be content. Right? If I had nothing else but I had a roof over my head, I would be content. So, what if I get to combine so many things like that? It makes my finances not seem like such a big deal. Furthermore, it makes my desire for Amazon shopping seem a little less severe.

Another trick to this exercise is to walk around your home and think about all the things you used to want that you now have. Think of younger you. 5 years younger you. What did he want? A home? A new car? A new surround sound system? A table saw? Think of 20 years younger you. What did she want? To be married? A new phone? A career? Friends? A good relationship with her mother?

You see how powerful this exercise is? Yes, yes you do. Share it with someone you love. Try not to get choked up. Oh, and realize how not stressed you feel.

Okay friends, those are 5 of my tips to stop being stressed about money. To review they were:

  1. Put all the cards out on the table.
  2. Come up with a plan.
  3. Dream again.
  4. Get out of debt.
  5. Focus on the positive.

Now you know I’m a certified financial coach through Dave Ramsey. In fact, I’m a preferred Ramsey Coach. If you want help, you need to fill out the form below. It’s a fairly simple.

  1. You’ll talk. I’ll listen.
  2. We’ll come up with a plan that includes your dreams, your budget and your debt-payoff date.
  3. We’ll work the plan together until you’re ready to do it on your own.

I’m here to help. You’ve just got to fill that form out below.

Thought download today!

I love Mondays, they’re my favorite! (Did you picture Will Ferrell from the Elf?)

One of my favorite exercises on a Monday is what we call a thought download or a brain dump. Here’s what you do:

  1. Get a blank piece of paper. 
  2. Set a 10 minute timer. 
  3. Dump all your thoughts onto that paper!
  4. Don’t stop until the page is full!

Don’t discriminate, just write. If you can think of anything, just start writing “I’m writing because Shana said so.” Fill the page. 

This exercise is a gift to your brain. It’s a moment for yourself, a moment to check in, to clear your head. I promise it’s worth it. 

Have a wonderful week!

Stop stressing & fighting about money.

Communication contract

Let’s talk about communication today.

A survey of 100 marriage counselors revealed that the #1 cause for divorce is poor communication. That’s not surprising to you, is it?

In fact, I’d venture to say your own relationship struggles also stem from poor communication, be it a spouse, a teenager or a coworker. Am I right?

So, if communication is such a problem, why don’t we tackle it head-on? Why don’t we be proactive with our communication?

The more you know, the better you’ll communicate. Do you know if you’re an over-communicator or an under-communicator? I learned about this from Alli Worthington’s book Breaking Busy.

YOU MIGHT BE AN OVERCOMMUNICATOR IF:

  • You’re always thinking of the next thing you’ll say in a conversation
  • If you say goodbye several times in a phone call
  • You’ve been accused of hijacking a conversation or meeting.
  • Sometimes talk a lot without saying anythings

YOU MIGHT BE AN UNDERCOMMUNICATOR IF:

  • You think people don’t follow your directions well
  • People often fail to live up to your expectations
  • You find yourself doing things you don’t want to do because you don’t want to speak up
  • Your spouse often complains, “I’m not a mind reader you know!”

Well, which one do you tend toward? Are there any small steps you can take to be a better communicator based on your tendencies?

Let’s keep learning. Have you heard of:

THE FOUR STAGES OF COMMUNICATION

Have you ever said something but it came out wrong? Or said something you didn’t mean? Maybe you’ve misinterpreted something someone else said? These problems are due to what we call the ladder of inference or the four stages of communication. They are:

  • What someone means to say
  • What someone says
  • What the other person hears
  • What they make it mean

Refer to my video here for more detailed explanation.

So, as you can imagine, we can easily mean to say something but the words don’t actually end up reflecting what we mean. Between the mind and the mouth, things get jumbled around or we’re in a hurry or distracted. Right? That’s just the beginning though.

Then, the person listening hears what you say, adds in their bias and your tone. Then once they think about it, they might make it mean something else. It’s like a game of telephone ON STEROIDS. Here’s an example:

Husband gets home early.

What I mean: Yay, he’s home!

What I say: I didn’t know you were getting off early!

What he hears: She doesn’t want me home early.

What he makes it mean: She doesn’t love me.

Sure that’s dramatic, but you get the point. What’s more is you are rarely aware of this entire process. Your brain and thoughts march along without your approval. If you were to stop and think about all of these things, you might come to a different conclusion.

I’ve created a communication contract for you for just that reason! This contract is so you and the person you’re having communication troubles with can actually DO THE WORK that it’s going to require to improve your communication. I promise you, it’s not going to fix itself.

I also advocate for marriage meetings and family meetings. This is time you and your family take to communicate on purpose. It’s time when you know you’ll be able to share and be heard as well as address things that might have come up during the week.

Since money stress is one of the leading causes of divorce, I specifically teach about BUDGET meetings and MONEY TALK in my membership community. For $20 a month, you can learn all about budgeting, communicating, eliminating debt and savings for emergencies along with so much more. You’ll even get individualized coaching plans for your financial situation along with two coaching calls a month where we answer questions and teach on topics. Sign up today, we close the doors tomorrow until next month!

What your kids really want from you

Think back to your childhood. Was your mom stressed out? Did you seem to somehow miss the mark with her expectations often?

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What was the thing you REALLY wanted from your mom? Was it more clothes? Was it for her to be skinnier? Was it for her to do the dishes more or keep the house cleaner? Was it for her to get a better job or to be at home more? Was it for her to go to the pto meetings? Was it for her to have picture perfect farmhouse decor?

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No. I bet we all wanted the same thing for our moms: for her to be happy. We just wanted to see her smile and laugh. Her smile and her laugh could melt almost anything away and swell your heart. You just wanted her to be happy. It meant the world and made you feel so happy yourself.

🤸🏼‍♀️🤸🏼‍♀️🤸🏼‍♀️🤸🏼‍♀️🤸🏼‍♀️

Now, I want you to think about your kiddos. I want you to think about all the ways you’re stressing out. I want you to think about all the pressure you’re putting on yourself in the name of motherhood.

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Then I want you to sink into the fact that your kids just want to be happy. They just want to see you feel carefree and giggle with them. They just want to please you and they desperately wish they could find a way to make you happy.

🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

So give it to them. Today. Be happy. Smile and love and hug and giggle and enjoy them today. Take the pressure and the guilt you’re feeling and cast it off like the heavy garment it is.

🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰

How to tame your food budget

Food is the most important thing you can buy with your money.

Well, that was dramatic, wasn’t it? But it’s true. Besides oxygen and water, food is the most basic survival need. Now, most of us are blessed in that we don’t wonder where our next meal is coming from or if we can afford it.

In fact, we may be a little too blessed if you know what I mean. Yes, as Americans we are the richest 1% of people in the HISTORY of the world. Yay!

SO WHY DO I ALWAYS FEEL BROKE?

Girl, I hear you. We’re feeling broke because money is flying out the window faster that we can make it. One of the best ways to get control of your money is the zero-based budget I teach in my coaching and online community Budget Bootcamp.

Once we get that going we can quickly start to make progress by taming the food budget. Your food budget is typically one of your largest expenses, and rightfully so. But! My my philosophy is that you should be:

Saving money & saving calories

You know fitness and nutrition are one of my top passions, so that is something I say nearly EVERY coaching session. Here are 5 ways that you can save money and save calories

1. STOP EATING OUT. (DUH)

Please don’t get me started. You know that fast food is no longer fast nor cheap. You know that it’s WAY overpriced and WAY over calories. Maybe you don’t know that family dinners are correlated with kiddos eating healthier–not only as a child but as when they leave home too. They’re less likely to be obese now and in the future. Maybe you don’t know that even a salad (dressing) is typically loaded with calories and preservatives that will stall any efforts you are making toward weight loss by PRESERVING water and fat in your body. So, if you can stop eating out you will save 1. time 2. money 3. calories 4. clothing costs. Here are some of my healthy eating staples.

2. MEAL PLAN

Okay, this one is pretty obvious too, right? Well, I’ve been preaching it so long that I feel like it is. But it may not be. What I mean here is plan EVERY MEAL that your family will eat. Then plan what items you’ll need to make those meals happen. Then make a list and ONLY buy that stuff. Likewise, figure out what household things you need each month and buy only those things. For example, we need 2 dishwasher soaps and 1 shaving cream a month. We need shampoo and laundry soap every 2 months. Once you’ve figured out what you need, take the time to see where the shopping is the cheapest. Pick your top 10 items and check each store for prices. Which store wins? Shop there!

3. NIX THE CRAP!

This one will be the most unpopular of all. Stop buying junk food. Completely and totally. Yep. You don’t need it and neither does your family. You don’t need it because it’s obviously bad for you but it’s also a HUGE grocery budget buster. If your family wants ice cream, budget to go out as a family once a month. If you want to have family pizza night, we can talk about that. But the overall chips, crackers, cookies, sodas and whatever else. GONE. The truth is no one is going to go without. There are parties and lunches and cookouts and football games. JUNK ABOUNDS. Therefore, you don’t need to bring it in your home. Again, this will save you time (less time in the store!), calories and money. WINNING. This is especially true because junk food doesn’t provide nutrition so you have to replace those calories anyway.

4. CLOSE THE KITCHEN!

This one isn’t going to be hard if you follow #3. Closing the kitchen means we don’t eat all day. We eat at meal times and maybe a snack here or there. Do you know what NOT having junk food does? It makes people suddenly less hungry, like this:

  • Kid: Mom, I’m hungry.
  • Mom: You can have carrots or almonds.
  • Kid: Nevermind.

You KNOW that’s not how the conversation goes if you or the kids have chips, ice cream or whatever else available. Closing the kitchen means you’re not always a human vending machine. It also means dishes can be done and the kitchen clean sometimes. It means digestive systems get a break and folks might actually eat their veggies at dinner because they were HUNGRY. Not wasting food / being a good steward of food is a great way to save money on your groceries.

5. USE CASH

Okay, I’m going to be totally honest with you. I buy my bulk of groceries on the 1st of the month and then pull out the remainder of my cash to put in a food envelope for the rest of the month. That usually amounts to $40 a week or so because we do eat quite a lot of fresh produce. When you go into a store with only a $20 bill you think differently, you think strategically. Not having the swipe back up forces you to be serious. Studies have show you also spend 12-18% more when you swipe instead of pull out cash.

6. SYSTEMIZE

How can you systemize? What can make your grocery life easier and stress-free? My entire food/household goods life comes and goes each month in 3 stages:

  1. My meat comes from a monthly co-op because I am fortunate to be able to afford that. Because of that I can 100% expect to have the meat I need each month without thinking. Before I’d get all of my meat on the first of the month shopping, looking for discounts and deals.
  2. At the first of the month I order everything we’re going to need at Walmart. I’ve tried finding folks that are cheaper but I can’t. And the convenience is 100% worth it for me. I have a set spreadsheet that shows me what I need to order each month as far as peanut butter and ketchup and laundry soap and hair gel. I order it, pick it up on the 1st and don’t look back. Check out this video for a walkthrough of exactly how I do it.
  3. Each week after church my husband drops me off at the front door of the grocery store and I take my $20 or $40 and grab fresh produce, dairy, eggs or whatever I need to supplement our food. It takes about 20 minutes.

That’s it! I don’t go to the store several times a week. I will say it takes a bit to get used to. But then it’s amazing because I always, ALWAYS have what I need because it was planned that way. So, what sort of system can you set up so that things are automated and the grocery store no longer rules your life?

7. BACK UP PLAN

Sometimes your best intentions and even your best plans may NOT happen. That’s where a back up plan comes in. A back up plan helps us when things get crazy. It helps us stick to our budget with food because we don’t have to rely on fast food. At any given time, I have items on hand to make our “back up meals.” You need to determine your back up meals and make sure you buy for them each month.

Here are 2 example back up plans in case dinner just escaped you:

  • No cook salad. Yes, it’s boring, but it’s doable! Part of your monthly shopping should ALWAYS include things like EVOO, dijon honey, olives, avocado/cheese, the best deli meat you can afford and fresh veggies like lettuce and tomatoes. So fast! (Here’s a from scratch salad dressing recipe) You can put it in a wrap to make it different. And, if you have some turkey bacon on hand, swap a slice or two of deli meat for it!
  • Breakfast for dinner. Again, you’ll have these ingredients on hand because you make it a priority to get ingredients for breakfast on your monthly shopping trip. And breakfast is usually pretty healthy. For example, if I’m really in a dinner bind, I throw a few eggs, spinach and tomatoes in the skillet. Tada! The kids might get the same with some pancakes added in! Fast & cheap & easy. Almost like fast food. 😉

So, what back up plans would work for you & your family?

8. GET BUY IN!

My kids decide what they want their lunches to be each week. They eat a healthy version of a lunchable so they get to write out their choice for fruit, veggie, protein, fat & carb. Because they PICK, they are really good at eating it all not complaining. Likewise, they have a few nights a week they pick dinner like Pizza movie night and pasta night. =D My husband also chooses some of the meals. Getting buy in means folks will actually eat the food you buy and make. THAT is what is going to save money. So, ask them for their input. Let them help you make a plan that way you’re all more likely to stick to it.

9. MEAL PREP

Each Sunday my kiddos make their lunches and my husband grills our dinner + the meat for his lunches (I have shake for lunch, even though I hate that it sounds like a Slimfast commercial–It’s just how I get my vitamins). I’m not going to belabor this point because as a certified personal trainer wit my nutrition specialization, I’ve been belaboring it for years. Here is a link for help. And another one. And another one. And one about the kids. See what I mean?

Okay, but honestly I don’t expect you to get all of this on your own. It’s hard. And like any new skill, you could use a coach to get better. I’m your huckleberry. Fill out the form together and let’s work together for a session, two or more.

Here’s to saving money and saving calories!

Make it fun!

One of the first sounds of my day today was an excited screaming voice memo from a client who is now credit card debt free. I was as excited as she was and it made me pause and think…

Paying off debt isn’t fun for most people.

Yes. Paying off debt isn’t fun. Most people wouldn’t consider the run I went on this morning fun either.

But my rule is to make it fun! In my book, Put Your Big Girl Panties On, I specifically talk about this with your workout. The most important rule is that you enjoy it. If you don’t, you won’t stick to it and it can have negative effects for your fitness. I even talk about ways to make laundry fun. It’s just the way I think.

Deciding to have fun is a choice. It’s an action. You can make anything fun. Likewise, in your mind, you can decide you’re not going to have fun. And then you know what? You don’t have any fun.

If you can look at it through a different lens, you can purposefully turn up the fun. Many times we think that AFTER we finish something, that’s the time we can have fun. But you don’t have to wait. You don’t have to wait UNTIL you’re debt free to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL you’ve lost weight to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL your home is in order to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL the semester is over to have fun.

What we want is a life where we have fun DURING THE JOURNEY. Everytime you pay off a little debt, do a little dance, make a little love and get down that night. Every workout, play your favorite music, dress in cute clothes and do an activity you love. Every meal you eat, have something that makes you smile for it’s natural goodness. Celebrate every shelf or drawer you organize and make pretty. Go to Starbucks or the beach to study, get pretty highlighters and notebooks. Do whatever you can do to make the JOURNEY fun.

It’s kind of like how I got a glass of wine on the airplane on the way to Las Vegas. This was going to be my first vacation with my husband alone since having kids. In fact, it was going to be my first vacation ever. And my first time in Vegas. I didn’t have to wait until I got there to have fun. NOPE. I settled in that seat, ordered the wine and had SO much fun for an hour.

It’s also the way I coach. We’re going to make this fun. Whatever it is, you’re going to enjoy it. You’re going to enjoy our time together and you’ll even enjoy the task at hand. Life is too short to not have fun!

So, here is your challenge:

I want you to think this thought & act out the answer today at least three times:

How can I make this more fun?

So, you’re doing laundry: How can I make this more fun?

You’re cooking dinner: How can I make this more fun?

You’re driving home from work: How can I make this more fun?

You’re doing taxes: How can I make this more fun?

I have a reminder set on my phone that asks this very question every morning at 10am. Here are some ways I make things more fun:

  • Friends
  • Sunshine
  • Get organized
  • Lists (I’m a nerd)
  • Racing/Challenging myself/others
  • Talk on the phone with a friend while __
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Countdown calendar/timer
  • Make it more beautiful
  • Dancing
  • Track progress
  • Celebrate success

How about you? What can you do to make things more fun today? Trust me, you deserve it!

Uniform of the Day

Download the Free Uniform of the Day Planner here!

In the military, you’re assigned a uniform of the day. Different jobs or places you’ll work will determine that uniform. The uniform you put on suits the work you will do for the day. Somehow, pajamas and general frumpiness become the uniform of motherhood. It’s so lame. We think it’s easier. And maybe it is. But it also reinforces a lot of the issues we face as moms like depression, lack of self-worth, isolation and boredom. Putting some clothes on, and maybe even some lipstick, reinforces (even if we don’t believe it yet) that we are still us! We are still the person we were before we had those lovely little rascals. Moreover, it reinforces that we are still valuable, that we have important work to do that requires getting dressed. It pulls us out of zombie mode and back into the realm of the living. It is a first step for many into self-care. 

Professor Karen Pine, author of Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion puts it this way:41


When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it.


Pine conducted extensive research to prove her point. What that means for us is how you dress determines the course of your day. Whether that means pajamas and being lazy on the couch or fitness gear and potentially working out, it matters. Whether that means not brushing your hair and not feeling like you matter or popping on some lipstick and feeling pretty, it matters. It’s not just about productivity, friend, it’s also about self-perception. You are what you wear. 

So simple: get dressed. Choose something that makes you feel good, that makes you feel sassy, sexy, confident (insert your desired adjectives). Also, consider stretchy things, because let’s be real: you never know when you need to lunge for a child or a breakable. Nevermind the fact things aren’t quite as, ahem, in place as they used to be. And, throw some lipstick on. Feel fabulous for the day. Everyday. It takes ten minutes, but it’s a total game changer. It’s a small step in the journey of self care.

Check out my free uniform of the day planner here. Everything you’re reading is from my book Put Your Big Girl Panties On. Grab a copy today from Amazon!

Take Your Brain to the Mental Gym

Like any muscle in the body, your brain grows stronger as you use it. That’s the concept of the mental gym which suggests you treat a “brain workout” as seriously as you would a workout at the gym. That means employing the same intensity, discipline and the same process of stepping outside your comfort zone to get results. Two practical ways you can do this is to intentionally put good stuff in and to intentionally practice being quiet.

Click here to download my free mental gym workout planner!

Our brains are bombarded with information these days, constantly. More than ever before. Unfortunately, most of it is noise or it’s negative. You have to make the conscious decision to put in good stuff. On purpose. What kind of good stuff? Well, there’s all kinds of choices out there from good music to podcasts to audiobooks that you can get in while driving, working out or even folding laundry. 

I remember the first time I considered reading a personal development book “for fun.” I remember rolling my eyes thinking, I don’t even read for fun, let alone for “development.” Mom of three and running two part time businesses! No way Jose. So, I decided to listen to those books instead. I did that while driving the 11 hour drive to see my parents and I did it while setting up for workouts. I did it while doing dishes and I did it while folding laundry. As you might have guessed, I got pretty addicted. It was pretty incredible. It required me to think and question things I’d had on autopilot. It was a way better use of my time than many of the other things I’d been doing or listening to. It set me up to be a better mom, wife, coach and simply a better human. It certainly built the brain muscle.

Then there are these things that usually come in rectangular shapes and are stuffed with rectangular pieces of paper that have lines of ink printed across them. Books! I say that in a funny way because as adulting sets in, reading can be one of the first things to go. And yet, reading is by far one of the oldest and best ways to exercise your brain. After doing the mental work to improve myself and my brain, I suddenly found space in my life to read again. Which was great because while listening is good, reading has that awesome textile element. I like feeling the pages. It also forces you to indulge in some you time, and it probably has to be quiet. Which brings me to my next point.

Click here to download my free mental gym workout planner!

Make it a point to be quiet sometimes. Personally, I have to get up really early in the morning or go to the library to get that around here. I do that because getting quiet, specifically praying and meditating are habits both the most successful and the the most happy people have in common. If you consider Grammys to be a measure of success, then you’d consider Carrie Underwood a success.34 If you consider Superbowls to be a measure of success, then you’d consider Tom Brady successful.35 If you consider wealth to be a measure of success, then you’d consider Mark Zuckerberg to be successful.36 If you consider Oprah successful, then you’re human.37 They’ve all spoken about their daily habits of praying and/or meditating. It’s not a coincidence.

Scientists have an entire field called neurotheology that looks into the changes in our brains when we pray and meditate. And they’ve made a lot of cool findings like increased dopamine and serotonin levels (happy hormones!).38 BUT! They’ve also found that these can develop into permanent changes in your brain.39 Guys! That’s a mental workout, and those changes are the muscles you’re proud to show off now! Moreover, we know that prayer elicits the opposite of the stress response called the relaxation response.40 Most of us have way too much of the former and not enough of the latter.

Thinking it’s a good idea is one thing, doing it is another. Personally, I like to begin the day with time at the mental gym. I like to start the day with prayer and silence for as long as possible. That’s why I get up at 4:30 or 5 am sometimes! Beginning your day quiet, with gratitude and intention is a game changer. Likewise, meditation is simply taking the time to calm your mind and become inwardly focussed. That’s huge in today’s crazy, chaotic, rushed and zoned out world. To change the mindset, to truly change the way we think and believe and speak and see ourselves, we have to work for it. You have to work to get your mind right.