The Wellness Lab VIP Membership!

The Wellness Lab is officially moving up to VIP membership status! Starting October 1st, it will be a membership-only community offering:

If you aren’t familiar, The Wellness Lab is an exclusive Facebook group that I run filled with nutrition educational videos, accountability, mini challenges, and tools to help you learn how to nourish yourself body, mind, and soul. For a while, I had been running this group, but wanted to offer MORE services and more personal advice, as well as keep the group accountability setting. So, I decided to merge the two and create a special VIP membership. For $19/month, here is what you get!

  • Live nutrition education and Q&A sessions

  • PDF guides on how to build your perfect meal, grocery lists, and more tips

  • Workout tips and motivation

  • A community of like-minded women reaching for wellness in mind, body, and soul

  • And my favorite part, one-on-one coaching with me!

We’ll have biweekly email check-ins where I can coach you one-on-one and help you tweak your meals, workout routine, mindset, or anything else, on a PERSONAL basis as well as what the group will offer. This way, you will get a taste of what having a personal dietitian is like, but also get the benefit of being in a community!

I’ve been wanting to do something like this for MONTHS as a way to build a community and coach you individually at the same time! This is the perfect group for someone looking for group AND personal accountability, wanting meal ideas and guidance, and wanting to learn how to best nourish yourself body, mind, and soul!

For $19/month, you’ll receive these services and the priceless accountability and support that comes from being in a community like this! All you need to have is a Facebook account, and you’ll be good to go! Sign up though the button below and we’ll get started!

The Wellness Lab Membership




Baby #2 is on her way!

Yep, we are expecting our second baby girl and couldn't be more thrilled! Lord willing, we will be welcoming the 4th member of our family at the end of February 2019. We are so excited and blessed and happy Emma will have a little sister!

I blogged through my last pregnancy with Emma, and I want to TRY to do the same with this one. But let me tell you, being pregnant with a toddler is no joke. For all you first time pregnant ladies out there, ENJOY ALL THE REST. Because right now, I feel like I am forgetting that I'm pregnant because I am so busy running around a 16 month old, working full time, and taking care of all the things. It's okay though, God provides His strength and that's the only way I could get through!

I'm 15 weeks now, and finally starting to feel better and shedding that first trimester getting-hit-by-a-car feeling. I thought I'd do a little recap about how this pregnancy has been so far...hope y'all enjoy!

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How far along are you?

15 weeks and 2 days.

Gender:

GIRL!!

How big is the baby?

She is an avocado this week....so cute!

Total weight gain:

I am still below my pre-pregnancy weight since I lost some in the first trimester. I will say that I am definitely hungrier with this baby compared to my pregnancy with Emma, so I am sure I will be gaining weight in no time!

How am I feeling?

Pretty exhausted...the nausea really knocked me off my feet in the first trimester, but I have finally been feeling better the past couple weeks! A bit more energy and being able to enjoy the nourishing foods I love!

Maternity clothes?

Oh yes! I feel like I started showing the minute I found out I was pregnant this time around! It's like my body knew to just pop out!

Favorite workouts:

I do at-home Beachbody workouts because they have gotten me the best results and I've never been as consistent as I am when do their programs! Right now I am doing Liift 4, a 4 day/week program, plus adding their maternity workouts and MMA style kickboxing workouts!

Stretch marks:

None and I hope it stays that way!

Cravings:

Gimme ALL the Greek salad! And can I just say, I am so grateful I've been craving salads because for a solid 2 months my diet consisted of ritz crackers, cheez its, and bread. Those are the only foods that seemed to settle my stomach. It's such a relief to be able to eat some nourishing veggies again!

Sleep:

Sleep has been AWFUL, but it was the same with Emma so I was expecting it!

What I miss:

Intense workouts, more than 1 cup of coffee/day, and having more energy to play with Emma. She is such a good independent player and loves her toys. She sings and talks to me all day long while I rest and sit on the floor with her. I just wish I could be more active with her, but for now I know this will do, and she still loves me! (Mom guilt is real, guys).

What I am looking forward to:

Having two little girls to play with and enjoy! I am an only child and prayed for a sister almost every day of my life, so I feel so blessed and happy that Emma will be able to enjoy that special bond.

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That's all so far on this pregnancy! Thank you for all of your sweet words. We are praying for a smooth pregnancy and healthy baby, and are so excited for our new blessing!

Daily Manna: Chasing Joy

It is so important to find joy in every day. But I am realizing that joy won’t just naturally come to you; you have to look for it. You have to spend your day going out of yourself and find a little bit of joy and gratitude in the interactions you have, the people you’re with, and the places you go.

I used to write these daily manna/day in the life posts a few years ago as a way to get out of my “tent” so to speak and collect God’s blessings for the day (biblical reference in case you wanna look it up!)  

I thought I’d start doing them again as life has been crazy lately and I’ve been full of anxiety and worry and excitement all at once. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoy writing them!  

The past five or six days I’ve been getting up early to do my morning routine. I had been really disciplined about this earlier in the year and craved my mornings with Jesus, but like I said anxiety got in the way this summer and I found myself literally thinking “I have too many things to worry about...I don’t have time for my morning quiet time”...how crazy is that! That’s WHY we still need that time for prayer and reflection...because of all that worry and anxiety. I am so happy I’ve been able to implement it back into my day. This morning, I read a devotional and journaled about a Bible study I’ll be teaching this Friday at our youth group! 

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Then, it was workout time.  I’ve been in a workout rut lately and decided to start a new program this week. It’s been so helpful for me to follow routine and structure again! I’m only using 8 pound weights (I used to use 12-20 lb dumbbells) because I lost a lot of my strength over the summer, but I’m determined to keep going and build that strength back up! 

Instead of being hard on myself for my loss of strength, I decided to be grateful that I can actually move my body, lift weights, and that I am blessed with a home and area to workout in. Looking for your manna or blessings in the midst of frustration can completely shift our mindset and help pull us out of it!

     

 

 

And then, it was breakfast time! I made this shake and it was delicious! 1/2 scoop vegan vanilla protein (love the one from Sprouts!), 1 scoop collagen peptides, 1/2 frozen banana, handful of spinach, 1 tsp peanut butter, and some ice and water/milk! I forgot to snap a picture when it was full and pretty, so this is what it looks like almost done when I got to work!

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I work in a dialysis unit as a Renal Dietitian. The morning was filled with seeing patients, typing up notes, and catching up on emails. As most of you know, I am a working momma and leaving Emma at daycare has been hard on my mommy-heart. The past few months, I have been extra bitter about it, and it's effected my moods and the way I take care of myself. So, I have tried to make a conscious decision to be joyful even though this wouldn't be my ideal situation. At work, I get to use my talents and degree, collaborate with other adults and coworkers, serve and be a light to my patients, and I am able to contribute financially to my family. Again, this mindset shift and finding the JOY in being a working mom has been HUGE for me!

During my busy morning, I definitely needed snacks throughout the day so these were a few of them!

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Even with all those snacks, I was hungry come lunch time! Lifting weights can do that to you! I prepped a burrito bowl for lunch with rice, pinto beans, and peppers, with some chips we had in the break room because why not?

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It’s so funny how afternoons usually come with a dip of energy, but they are the busiest time of the workday for me! I had to fit this snack in between patients though because I was starving! Peaches have been hitting the spot this summer! 

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I've also finally begun enjoying RX bars again! I love these things. We did however just find out that Emma has a cashew and walnut allergy, and while not all these bars have those nuts, I've still been super careful because they are manufactured on the same equipment. I've only been having nuts and nut bars at work (minus peanut butter, which is actually a legume) because she has zero reaction to peanuts thank goodness!) and then brushing my teeth before I go pick her up from school. Hey, at least my dental hygiene is getting a little extra boost!

Around 5:30pm, I left work and went to go pick up Emma, my favorite part of the day! She's been at a new school for the past month and so happy there, so that's been helping my heart as I miss her throughout the day. Once I pick her up, we usually get home and I either cook dinner or heat up food if I've meal prepped. Thank GOD this week, I meal prepped, so we enjoyed my low carb veggie lasagna for dinner! Which was more like a lasagna soup but still tasted amazing! 

 

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and then....Emma had a meltdown. She only napped for 45 mins at school today, and she usually naps 2-3 hours. So we put her down to sleep and she was out by 7pm. My hubby and I settled down to a quiet night of some Netflix, reading, and an early night to bed! 

 

Even though it was a busy and somewhat stressful day, I had so many things to be grateful for! 

- a great morning quiet time and workout  

- a super productive day at work  

- cuddles with Emma before bed (once she calmed down!)  

- a quiet night resting at home!  

 

Always chase joy and look for the GOOD in your day...you’ll be glad you did! 

Addition Nutrition

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a great week, and a great summer so far. It's been a busy summer for our family, full of vacations, exciting projects, and down time with my little family. Overall though, I am so ready to be out of this crazy California heat that we have been experiencing and can't wait to get into the Fall spirit! Anyone else??

I've also had a really fun time running my new wellness community on Facebook! It's free to join and I have been doing weekly nutrition education lessons, plus accountability check ins and even sharing some fun recipes! Click here if you want to join!

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A topic that I recently chatted about in this group is the concept of Addition Nutrition. Nowadays, with all the diets out there, the majority of these plans focus on eliminating certain foods and food groups in order to reach your weight loss or health goals. These diets recommend cutting out meat, bread, fruit, fat, and so many other foods that leave many feeling deprived and reaching for junk food on day 3.

Been there, done that.

But, what I have learned lately in my own journey, as well as what I practice with clients, is the idea of addition nutrition. What can we ADD to our plate, our pantry, and our meals to feel healthier and fuel our bodies better? Can we eat more vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, wholesome carbs, and good quality proteins? Can we drink more water, add a salad to each meal, and snack on some vegetables in the afternoon?

OF COURSE WE CAN. It's all about your mindset and how you view healthy living. If you just follow a diet or plan that is a list of "no" foods, you won't be staying on that for very long.

What I try to do to keep my mind right is focus on the abundance of nutritious and satisfying foods that make me feel my best. Then I go buy those things, prepare those meals, and look forward to all the food that I have on my meal plan. I enjoy my meals because I am not coming from a place of deprivation. Rather, I am looking at all the foods I can ADD to my day that nourish me and fill me up.

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On a personal note, I have struggled with this recently in regards to my gluten free diet. I have a doctor-diagnosed gluten sensitivity, and yet this summer, I found it very hard to stick to my gluten free diet. I started to focus on all the foods I couldn't have, and had a scarcity mindset towards food. BUT, a quick shift in mindset is just what I needed to snap out of it! I am now choosing to focus on all the grains, meats, vegetables, fruits, and other foods that ARE part of a gluten free diet...and let me tell you there are several! The more you approach healthy living with an abundance mindset, the happier and healthier you'll be.

My challenge to you this weekend is to make a list of all the healthy and nutritious foods you want to start ADDING to your meal plan. Then go to the store and stock up on these foods. Prepare some meals in advance if you can, and approach this new week with excitement and an abundance mindset towards healthy living. I promise you, it'll make all the difference!

Friday Favorites

Happy June everyone! I can't believe how quickly this year is flying by. Summer is here and I am so excited for beach days, time in the sun, and enjoying this season with my little tribe. I thought I'd share what I've been digging lately and what I've been grateful for in life, because God is good and I definitely feel blessed!

1. Father's Day cookies. I've posted about these cookies so many times, and you can find the recipe here. These are my husband's favorite cookies. They are so delicious and light, so I woke up early on Sunday morning to bake them for him! We've been munching on them all week, so delicious!

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2. Disneyland days. I am beyond grateful to have the chance to enjoy so many Disneyland days with Emma! We went on Monday and had so much fun! I love watching her learn and notice new things every time we go. She is growing up so fast!!! I also had to stop myself from buying this  cute Beauty and the Beast tea set. Belle is my favorite Disney princess! Who is yours??

3. Limiting caffeine. Ever since becoming a mom, I've gotten into a bad habit of having 3-4 cups of coffee a day. So I've made a more conscious effort to just have 1 cup of coffee/day, and I'm feeling a lot better! I am definitely a bit more tired, but I know that I will get used to it and it's better for me overall, and might help my sleep too!

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4. Free food at work. I used to not give in to the free food at work because it's typically not the healthiest, but this week I definitely enjoyed some! We had an all-day training yesterday and they brought Corner Bakery for breakfast and Panera for lunch...basically all. the. carbs. I ate what I typically don't eat, but health is not about being perfect 100% of the time. It's about eating nourishing food MOST of the time so that your body is able to handle the occasional treats and sweets! That's a much healthier mindset to live in long-term, and I got right back on my healthy eating plan today and feel incredible!

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5. Emma's Mickey Mouse toys. My cousin got Emma these toys for her birthday and she has been OBSESSED with them. Every morning she wakes up and talks to them, carries them around the house, and sets them up all around her. It's absolutely adorable to watch her play and interact and babble! I just love this girl so so much.

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I hope you can also think of some things you are thankful for in your life or the blessings God has bestowed upon you this week! Blessings are all around, you just gotta look for them! Happy Friday, everybody!

Gluten-free does not equal healthy

I got a wonderful and thoughtful question from a blog reader last week, and I thought I’d answer it in a post because I am sure there are a handful of people that are confused about the same thing.

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I know there has been a lot of confusion over the past couple years about gluten free diets and whether or not they are healthy. Let me start by saying I have had my own experience eating gluten free and eating normally over the past few years, and have discovered that, for me, gluten free/paleo-ish is the healthiest way for me to eat for my health, digestion, and mental wellness. BUT, that does not mean that when we eat gluten-free, our diet is automatically healthier.

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One of my blog readers sent me a message last week stating that she saw that I eat gluten free, and that she tried going gluten free herself a few years ago but found that the gluten free breads, pastas, and mixes were all high in carbohydrates from rice and potato flours, and that they weren’t actually healthier. She wanted to know if she was right in thinking this and basically, what the deal is with gluten-free!

I’ll start by saying that this reader is SO smart to pick up on the fact that gluten free products are not healthier than their wheat flour counterparts. Just because a product is labeled gluten free does not mean it is healthier or a better alternative. And frankly, most of the time, it is higher in carbohydrates and sugar than the regular products. All foods are a mix of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals, so whether or not it has gluten in it does not change this fact.

Gluten is simply the protein found in wheat, and when people have allergies, they are typically reacting to the protein in a certain food. Gluten free products are substituted (most of the time) with rice flour or potato starch, plus are found to have even more sugar in them to make them taste good. They are still just has high (or higher) in carbohydrates, are often times devoid of fiber, and are still a treat. Gluten free cookies are still cookies, and gluten free pancakes are still pancakes.

 

 My favorite  paleo cookie recipe  from Against all Grain! And I still treat them just like regular cookies; a TREAT to be consumed sometimes. 

My favorite paleo cookie recipe from Against all Grain! And I still treat them just like regular cookies; a TREAT to be consumed sometimes. 

Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these foods. I love gluten free toast from Trader Joe’s and Pamela’s gluten free pancake and baking mix! But these gluten free treats should still be treated as TREATS. They should be eaten just as often as you would eat a regular pancake or regular cookie. Not an everyday food, but a sometimes food.

So be a savvy shopper. Just because something is labeled gluten free doesn’t mean that we can have bowls and bowls of gluten free pasta and still think that’s a “healthy” food choice.

And if you want to go gluten free, the best thing to do is replace your usual breads, pastas, or cookies, with plants. THAT is the healthiest way to go gluten free. So instead of having a hamburger, have a lettuce wrap with an additional side salad. Instead of having a cookie with your salad, have some more vegetables on the side or some fruit.

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And most importantly, if you don’t have negative symptoms from eating gluten, there is no reason for you to go gluten free. Yes, gluten is inflammatory over all, and I don’t think there is any harm in cutting it out (if done right like I mentioned above, with the addition of plants). BUT if you don't experience any negative side effects from consuming gluten, there is no need to cut it from your diet. It won’t automatically make you healthier, especially if you are still consuming gluten free noodles, cookies, pancakes, and more.

I personally gravitate towards a gluten free diet because it helps me with my digestion issues and my anxiety. I even tried to incorporate some back into my diet as recently as last week (kodiak pancakes are a favorite of mine!) and starting feeling those similar symptoms return. For me, I have a clear reaction to consuming gluten, which is why I avoid it unless a food is absolutely worth it (and trust me, it rarely is worth it for me!) But just because I eat a gluten free diet does NOT automatically mean I am healthy. I eat a ton of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and gluten free grains from time to time, along with those occasional gluten free/paleo treats, and all of that contributes to a healthy diet.

I hope this helps you become more aware of your food choices too and learn to be a detective in the grocery store and not just fall for any marketing that is slapped on our food products nowadays. The more we know, the better we do. And if you all have any more questions, please send them in! I love answering these types of questions I get, so please don’t hesitate!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

 

 

Friday Favorites & Updates

Hello friends! Long time no chat! It's been exactly a month since I've blogged. I've had every intention of keeping up with this place, but with being a working momma and Emma getting more mobile every day, it's been hard to carve out time to consistently blog. It's still such as passion of mine though, so I promise to be more consistent! Anything YOU all would like to see more of in this space? I'd appreciate any ideas in the comments below!

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things that have been on my heart and mind this past month...starting with the best cake smash ever!

1. Emma's cake smash.

Emma thoroughly enjoyed her cake on her first birthday! It was a simple white cake with vanilla frosting and we let her go at it for a couple minutes and then swiftly took it away.

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And yes, it was a full sugar, full flour, totally regular cake. I didn't make anything sugar-free or organic or anything like that because the truth of the matter is (from the research I've done and children I've worked with), when you restrict a child, they are even more likely to rebel and do things that you don't want them to do. She eats healthy vegetables, proteins, and whole grains 99% of the time and I want her to have a healthy relationship towards treats from the very beginning; starting with the fact that treats are "sometimes" foods, and not "everyday foods" and that it's ok to have a treat on your birthday, then move on with your life.

2. Birthday trip to Disneyland

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We took Emma to Disneyland the Monday after her birthday and we had a BLAST! She slept for the first two hours which gave my hubby and I sweet time to walk around, grab coffee, and reminisce about our days at Disneyland when we were dating and just married. Disneyland holds a special place in my heart, and now it's even more special to be able to enjoy it with my little tribe!

3. Being Brave

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I grabbed this book on a whim at Target and I am so glad I did. Almost every devotional, Bible verse, or motivational quote I've read lately has been on the concept of being brave. Think God is trying to tell me something? All that to say, I highly recommend this book!

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4. Cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe's.

This stuff has been blowing up my Instagram feed for weeks, so I finally decided to give in and try it. Oh. My. Gosh. WE LOVED IT! Even my husband who needs meat with practically every meal, thoroughly enjoyed this. We used a pesto cream sauce (literally combined a 1/2 cup lite Alfredo with 1 tsp of pesto and mixed it well). Such a good meal and I'll be definitely grabbing a few bags next time I hit up TJ's!

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5. Kodiak Cakes.

A box of these protein pancakes have been sitting in my pantry for a couple weeks. I finally made them and they were SO good! And all you do is mix the mix with water, so easy! I added a dash of cinnamon to the batter too, because cinnamon. These complemented my spinach scramble nicely and kept me full for quite a while! I highly recommend!

 

I hope you all have had a great week and can pick at least 5 things you are grateful for and are "favorites" in your life! It's always good to have a positive mindset and look for the joy and blessings in our life verses only focusing on what may be stressing us out! Have a great weekend and blessed Mother's Day to all you mommas out there! Not gonne lie, we are rockstars!

Focusing on the FEELING of Healthy Living

Many of us need to find a certain motivation to help us stick to healthy lifestyle. What helps some people is the scale, size of your jeans, an accountability buddy, or looking good for an upcoming event. But, I do believe one of the most powerful motivators is focusing on how you FEEL when you move your body and nourish yourself.

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Numbers don't always tell us the whole truth. Sure, the scale is a pretty good indicator of your relationship with gravity (insert eye roll), but it doesn't tell you anything about how much muscle you've built, how many vegetables you've eaten, or how hard you've worked to get to a place where healthy living is your default.

Lately, what has been motivating me is focusing on how I feel after I choose a nourishing food vs. a not so nourishing food. Or even how I feel just eating one cookie vs. five cookies. Healthy living doesn't have to be all or nothing, but if most of your food choices are fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and good sources of protein, the rest falls into place. The occasional treats take care of themselves, and you will FEEL healthy, strong, and energetic.

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So if you aren't seeing the progress you'd like to on the scale, or can't fit into that favorite pair of jeans quite yet, focus on how you FEEL after a day of healthy eating and moving your body. Write down what comes to your mind to remind yourself of how PROUD you are of your efforts. And let that be enough, because trust me, that feeling can carry you through the times when you want to go off the trails, and the way you feel BECAUSE of your healthy choices can help you go from one good decision to the next!

Set Goals to Grow

It's the beginning of a new month...and you know what that means. It's time to set some goals and dream big for the new month. You can really set goals any time and any day, but there is just something about the freshness of a new month that makes it seem like anything is possible.

I get asked VERY frequently about how I stay motivated, how I set goals, and how I actually achieve them. To be honest, I am a natural list and goal maker. I love making lists and dreaming big, then crossing things off. But I do believe that you can work at becoming this type of person too, even if it is not your natural inclination. You just have to find a way that works for you!

Because the reality is, if you aren't setting goals and working towards them, you aren't growing as a person, which is SO important. We should always be transforming and learning and growing into the person God has created us to be. My mom always says, "there is no destination in life when you are finally done and 'mastered' at something, it's all about the journey." She's a teacher, so it makes sense that she would instill in me that the journey is where all the learning happens. Much of the time, the goal is not as important as the person you BECOME while on the journey to achieving that goal.

If you need help getting started on goal setting, read this post I wrote at the beginning of the year. You can set goals for different areas in your life and focus down your priorities in this way. But what I'm trying to get at here is that if you want to grow as a person, goal setting is crucial, and stretching and growing yourself every day is exciting and empowering.

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I heard this quote this morning and it really fired me up: "a rubber band is useless unless it is stretched." I don't want to be useless in this life of mine. God has given me potential, just like He has given YOU all potential as well. So don't sit back on the sidelines of your life. Make things happen, go after your goals, whether they are career-focused, health-focused, financially-focused, or really anything!

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And most importantly, once you vision and dream up your goals, WRITE THEM DOWN. Writing down your goals is soooooo powerful. Research shows that you are more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. And that means more growth, more empowerment, and more confidence being instilled in you that you actually CAN achieve what you set out to do.

What are some of your goals for this new month? In what areas do you want to grow and stretch? Start dreaming big and thinking OUTSIDE of the box, because you were made for MORE, and God has a lot in store for you! If you've wanted to get healthy, start now! (and I can help!). If you want to save money, make a budget and set goals for how much you want to save each month. If you want to get a promotion, meet with your boss and ask what you can start doing now to set yourself up for your dream job. If you want to write a book, write tpday, even if it is just ONE page...just get started! Whatever it is, set your goals and dreams, write them down, then watch the person you become while on the journey to achieving those goals. Trust me, it's SO worth it to live a life of growth and living into the person God created you to be!