Motivation Monday: Be it Resolved

res·o·lu·tion   /ˌrezəˈlo͞oSHən/

1. A firm decision to do or not to to something.
2. A formal expression of opinion or intention agreed on by a legislative body, committee, or other formal meeting
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary, )

Today, all over the country 102,344,000 people will make one or more resolutions. The Journal of Clinical Psychology published a research article regarding a study which found that 45% of Americans make a resolution leading into the new year. Of those who make a "firm decision" to add or delete something from their life, 75% made it through the first week, 50% are maintained beyond six months, and only 8% report sticking through and succeeding. The study also revealed that 39% of Americans keep their resolutions if they are in their 20's, while only 14% of those older than 50 reach their goals.

No, this post is not going to encourage you to make healthy resolutions to help you reach your fitness goals (although not a bad idea). I hope that you have decided to make it a part of your everyday lifestyle. All year, I have been blogging about simple ways to make changes that will have BIG impact. Things such as taking the stairs at work, parking further away, replacing processed snacks with healthy ones, and finding something fun to do that also gets the heart pumping. Simple things, right?

Wrong. In a previous post about the Slight Edge Principle, I discussed how EASY it is to make changes, and how easy it is not to make changes. So you can make all of the resolutions you want, but if you do not make the decision in your heart before taking action, you may set yourself up to be one of those who do not make it to the six month or one week mark.

Since the world did not end as speculated, starting January 2, all gyms will be filled at capacity. You will not be able to find a single treadmill, dumbbell or yoga mat unoccupied. Vitamin companies and health food industries will receive their biggest pay raise of the year just because people made a resolution. As we all know, the gyms will quiet down again in March.

What will you be doing in 2013? Set some goals. List action steps on how you will achieve those goals. Find an accountability partner, and move forward. What will be your motto or mantra for the upcoming year? What changes do you want to see in your life? And in advance, have you made a commitment to see those changes through no matter what it takes?

When Michelangelo was asked how he carved the statute of David, he said,

"I simply cut away everything that was not David."

What can you cut out (or even add) to your life to ensure that you are the best that you can be in 2013?

I believe in leading by example. So since I am encouraging everyone to set goals and work a plan, here are some things that I plan on cutting or adding to enrich my life in 2013.

Q. Olivia's 2013 Resolutions

1. Read More Books: Draft a list of 13 (for 2013) inspiring and motivating books that I can read and apply to my life, business, marriage, and passions.
2.  Read one book a month for pleasure

1. Set one macro and one mirco financial goal.
2. Save regularly from every paycheck
3. Read at least one personal finance book (can be counted towards the list of 13)
4. Create a budget... and live by it
5. Organize receipts, business expenditures, etc

1. Find a healthy cookbook to work through
2. Try one new recipe challenge a month
3. Support local farmers by shopping at the farmer's markets on Saturdays
4. Limit my eating out

1. Compete in my first bikini/fitness competition! Wahoo!!
2. Continue with meal prep days for lunch/dinner
3. Go to the gym/workout at least 5x a week
4. Run one 5K a quarter
5. Lose 15 pounds and retain lean muscle mass. Drop body fat by 10%
6. Consistently blog
7. With the exception of an occasional glass of wine with dinner, give up alcohol (it really impacts my fitness goals)

1. Have weekly date nights
2. Pray together in the mornings before starting the day
3. Constantly affirm my husband and encourage him; remove all negativity from my speech
4. Celebrate our two year anniversary in New York City
5. Read a great marriage book
6. Learn to pick my battles (I can be argumentative, so I've heard)

House/Home Life
1. Create a cleaning schedule for the home so I do not end up doing one long day of cleaning the entire apartment
2. Organize paperwork regularly
3. Open my mail within 24 hours and take action (as required) within 48 hours

1. Get a raise (applying for my supervisor's former position)!!!
2. Improve on leadership skills
3. Join the Morale Committee
4. Be an active presence in the community (on behalf of the agency)

1. Become a Big Sister (complete application process by January)
2. Become active with the Houston chapter of Soldier's Angels

1. Continue attending church weekly
2. Go to Sunday School
3. Be a leader in Women's Ministry
4. Become a youth leader
5. Join the Women's Guild
6. Daily Quiet Time (prayer and scripture) before work
7. Become an active Prayer Warrior

1. Communicate more regularly with friends and family by writing letters, making phone calls, or emailing
2. Send birthday, anniversary, and other special occasion cards
3. Make some new lady friends in Houston (its pretty lonely without my best friends around)
4. Find a way to be involved with dance (teaching or performing)
4. Scrapbook and organize memories better
5. Take more pictures
6. Limit my social media activity to 30-45 minutes a day

Business (Rivers Empire)

1. Grow clientele with new, loyal customers every month
2. Qualify for bonuses and leaderships
3. Achieve the Platinum Level of Leadership
4. Utilize our mentors and take advantage of every resource, conference, and learning opportunity
5. Make a difference and create change in our lives and others
6. Business Cards
7. Attend 3-4 vendor markets to promote products

Now, you may be thinking that I have a lot of resolutions and goals, but so many of these go in hand-in-hand, they are really overlapping. Also, many of them I am already doing, but want to continue do or become even better. And finally, for those who know me, I thrive on being busy and productive.

These goals are in no particular order, just how they came to mind as I was typing, and how I categorized them in my head. And some of these goals, are things that I wanted to accomplish in 2012, but failed to do so. Since I never give up on the things I want, I will try again to work towards both the new goals and renewed goals :)

So as we go forth, let's be better. Let's dance a little more. Sing a little louder. Enjoy the sunshine, and even the rain. As Edith Lovejoy Pearce said,

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

Starting writing your book for 2013. Best of luck in the New Year. May it be filled with love, joy, prosperity and peace. 

Until Next Year ;)
~ Q. Olivia


Tasty Tuesday: Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

As everyone knows, reaching your fitness goals is mathematically broken down as 20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen. We have heard many fitness models and spokesmen say, "Your abs are made in the kitchen."

To honor that important aspect of fitness, I will incorporate a Tasty Tuesday in this week's blogging. For those who know me personally, or even impersonally, you probably know that I do not like to cook. It is not one of those activities that I would put on my top 50 things to do for fun. Thank goodness I was blessed with a husband who loves to cook, and enjoys cooking for me.

So for this week, I will feature a delicious and easy recipe that is clean, quick, and can last you all week when you need to grab something on the go. I present to you: Turkey Meatloaf Muffins.

These little guys are perfect for when you are in a rush running out of the door, OR you simply need a snack to curb your appetite in between your meals. Since they are filled with protein, a snack pack of vegetables would be a nice complement to the turkey muffins.

  • 2lbs ground turkey
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup cooking oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dry yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 celery stalks

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Spray muffin pan with olive oil or use cupcake liners
3. Mix all ingredients together in one large bowl
4. Roll the mixture into balls and place in the muffin pan
5. Bake for 40 minutes

Makes 12 muffins

Serving Size ~ Women: 2 muffins, Men: 4 muffins

Calories: 182
Total Fat: 8g
Total Carb: 4.6g
Protein: 22.2g

Bon Appetit,
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday: Over the Hill Slumps

Let's face it. Working out is not always as fun + glamorous as they make it seem in movies or on TV. Everyone seems excited, motivated, and energized... ALL the time. Seriously, no one wakes up everyday eager to throw those skin tight clothes on and sweat it out for 30 minutes to an hour, unless you are on Prozac (no judgement if you are).

Realistically, there are days that you draaaag to get out of bed and put clothes. Then you drag through your workout. And even after you begin working out you are still dragging to push out reps or to run another mile. For most of us, we usually begin to feel better once the blood starts flowing and we are actively doing something. But every once in a while, even when we are done working out, we drag ourselves back home and wonder, "Did I even get a real workout?"

The answer is yes, and this week's motivational image will show you why....

In this picture, you see one hill after another. A very daunting and intimidating task. The only road block is... your mind. Your goal is obviously to get to the top of the hill, so how do you get up there? One hill at a time. I know you knew I was going to say that. Here's an example.

Just last week my husband Lee, who is training for the Houston marathon shared his emotions and experience on a particularly challenging long run last Saturday of 17 miles. When I picked him, as usual I asked him how his run had gone. He informed me that from the moment he woke up, not a single part of him wanted to go running. When he started, every single mile hurt. He never found his sync or a good rhythm/pace. His mechanics were off (breathing, posture, focus, etc). He knew he did not perform his best and he trudged through all seventeen miles.

Despite how he was feeling, he focused on the BIG PICTURE. He knew the workout would benefit him down the road. He continued to trudge mile by mile, step by step. He did not stop until he had completed his goal. Although he felt like crap pretty much the entire time and did not feel confident, that run helped him so that he could do 20 miles this past weekend (which went very well, once I found him and picked him up in the middle of Nowhere, TX).

The point is, that even when you have a "bad workout day," you just have to do it. Although you may think it was the worse workout and that you burned - 0 calories, it may be the perfect challenge your body needed to conduct the next workout.

Just like with life, not everyday you are at the gym is a land of shiny dumbbells and glistening water fountains; there will be days that just feel 'blah' from start to finish. The important thing is that you finish. Get to the top of your slump hills, and know that the next day will be better! CHIN UP(s)... Get it?? Haha!!

Until Next Time....
~ Q. Olivia


Workout Wednesday: Jump Rope

I just joined a new gym in Houston about a month ago and it is really awesome. I love the environment and all of the different types of equipment that allows for me to get a full workout. The gym is also popular and during peak hours it can be a challenge to get on the machines I need.

So, in the meantime, I always pack some basic workout tools in my bag that I can use upstairs in the stretch room. A weighted ball, ankle weights, and... a jump rope. Now, for those of you who can remember spending your recess time with the other girls singing about Ms. Mary Mack and Strawberry Shortcake while jumping rope, you may think it was just a lovely time with friends. For those who are fitness minded and have recently used a jump rope, you know it has greater purposes than entertaining elementary girls.

I recently purchased a weighted jump rope and a few minutes utilizing that simple instrument left me winded and sweaty. I was shocked!! I have since then tried to incorporate a few minutes of jumping rope into my workout plan; from those workouts I have come to the conclusion that there are 3 main benefits of jumping rope:

1) Weight Loss
2) Increased Cardiovascular Fitness
3) Muscle Tone

Weight Loss
I know this may seem crazy, but let's break it down with some numbers. There are 350 calories in one pound, which means to lose one pound a week, you have to eliminate 700 calories a day. You can either a) cut out those calories from your diet or b) burn them off with exercise. Personally, I love food (healthy of course) so I prefer using a combination of both. Did you know that jumping rope for 30 minutes burns 300 calories. THREE HUNDRED!!! I am not a fan of math, but I do know that if you jump rope for thirty minutes every day and cut only 400 calories from your diet, you can lose a pound a week. It sounds crazy, but it produce HEALTHY weight loss. And isn't that what we all want?

Muscle Tone
If you want to be lean and tone heading into 2013, jumping rope is the best way to get those muscles in shape, especially in your lower body (legs, glutes, and calves). This is where the benefits of a weighted jump rope comes in. These ropes are a bit heavier than your average jump rope in the toy section, so are a bit more expensive, but is a great investment in your fitness goals. With the extra weight in the handles of the jump rope, this improves muscle tone for your upper body (chest, arms and core). It now becomes a full body tone session!!

Increased Cardiovascular Fitness

As I mentioned earlier, my first time jumping rope since childhood left me in a puddle of sweat!! This simple, but powerful exercise really gets the blood flowing, which is obviously great for the old ticker!! Additionally, it will increase your ability to do daily tasks without losing your breath, and help increase your stamina when you are working out. This is great for me, because I have three flights of stairs that I go up and down multiple times a day just to get to my apartment... and I tell you there are times I just want to stop and pop a squat on half way up.

So there you have it, three benefits of jumping rope. And I assure you there are many more, but I dislike long lists!!

I encourage you to go out and make an investment and get to jumping. It is something the whole family can do; or with a partner you can switch back and forth to do minute-long intervals with one person jumping and the other taking a break. And if you like... you can sing a little nursery rhyme while you get your workout it in. I promise I won't judge.

Until Next Time...
~ Q. Olivia


Motivation Monday: Find Your Fitness

Good Morning Friends!! I have returned to the land of blogging. I took a brief hiatus because of our business and in general a busy life, but definitely not from fitness. I hope everyone is doing great; I hope workouts are still challenging, and the nutrition is still clean + healthy, with a few cheat days in the month, of course.

In the last month and some change, I have been preparing myself to enter a new workout program that will propel me into the new year as I prepare to get ready for competition. I started my new program yesterday and am looking forward to something challenging, yet doable.

2012 has brought us many new exercises, workouts groups, and fitness techniques. Today it is hard not to go online or turn on the TV and not see an advertisement for fitness related activities... and I LOVE IT. At first it can seem overwhelming when you are trying to figure out a fitness regimen that works for your lifestyle, but eventually you find something that fits your groove.

Unfortunately, the challenge with us is not the vast array of options, but finding the one or two things that work for you. Often times, I see friends who are diving into all kinds of fitness programs, workout clubs, and boot camps, and they are not seeing results. Why? Because they have yet to find the thing that is right for them, and give it time to work for their body. When you jump from one program to the next, or switch up your meal plan before the day is over; your body is not going to have to time to adjust and make changes, it is constantly going to be guessing and never develop a routine.

So this week's motivation and challenge is to FIND YOUR FITNESS:

Everyone is different, so rather than follow the most popular thing out there, it is important that you find what works best for you. You cannot be the best at everything; but you can be the best and most fit you.

What is your fitness? Yoga? Pilates? CrossFit? Running? Basketball? Dance? Powerlifting? Walking?

Mine is strength training/bodybuilding. And it fits me perfectly. I love it, and I look forward to it.

Find yours this week and tell me all about it.

Until Next Time....
~ Q. Olivia