Reflections & intentions

ditch the resolutions_ironwomandiariesHappy New Year! 🍾🎊🎉 I can’t believe it’s 2016!

It’s time to reflect and learn from all that we did—and did not—accomplish this past year. I love what the quote in the image above teaches us: “You are NOT a problem. Create an intention, a positive call to shift, a spark of magic + manifestation rooted in SELF-LOVE and backed with ACTION.”


2015 was the year of exploration and biking. Any chance we could hop a plane to someplace new, we did it. And any chance I could get on my bike and ride, I did it.

In January we saw spectacularly gorgeous beaches on St. Thomas, USVI. St. John, USVIIn February we explored Ecuador from sea to mountain villages to big cities. Markets that smelled of fish and raw meat with blood stains on the floor from the various animals having being butchered on spot. We saw markets that were spotless and smelled fresh. Every market having veggies and fruits of all variety piled higher than our heads. Raw meat stacked sky high as well. We saw guinea pig on a stick and cool whip “ice cream” cones. Lush green hills with dense fog and hot baths with healing powers. We climbed a small mountain and rappelled down waterfalls. So much was explored and experienced and countless memories were made.meat market

Veggies and fruits_market in Ecuador

Over July 4th weekend we ventured to Aruba for a quick trip over the holiday. We drank delicious green juice every morning from a tiny shack on the boardwalk and ate a romantic dinner on the beach as the sun set before us. Eduardo's Beach Shack

For Thanksgiving we stole ourselves away to St. Croix, USVI. We paddle boarded, snorkeled, and won a hermit crab race. We saw bright colored flowers and butterflies that engulfed not only our car but the ditches and road before us like a heavy snowstorm.Legs on the beach in St. CroixMiles and miles were put on my Giant bicycle as I biked to and from my part-time job and on 50-mile joy rides after my “real” job. I raced in my first time-trial, only to not finish. I started a training journal in June that I have continued to write in regularly. This keeps me motivated, let’s out some creative juices, and shows me my progress along the way. training journal

We juiced like crazy. Ate too much peanut butter ice cream. Laughed and cried. Spent time with family and friends. Went for walks. Started running almost daily. Initiated Sunday night pizza night. And fell in love with Joe all over again.  Joe & Coco 2015I drank way too many chai lattes, caramel macchiatos, and flat whites. I didn’t say ‘I love you’ enough. I didn’t see family enough. Work came first too often. I judged myself. I called myself names. I didn’t feel worthy to chase my dreams. I prayed too little. And I too often compared myself to others. But I showed up every day.


All to often my New Year resolutions and goals focus largely on fitness and health. I rarely think bigger, into other aspects of my life. Perhaps you are guilty of this too. This year I am not setting resolutions, I am setting intentions of positivity and growth. I want to:

  • Be more “in the moment.”
  • Volunteer. (This is a big one for me. I really want to help, on a regular basis, those that are in need.)
  • Meditate.
  • Enjoy the outdoors more.
  • Remember how important small romantic gestures are.
  • Continue to run 5-6 times a week.
  • Tell those I love ‘I love you’ more.
  • Do small acts of kindness that brighten someone’s day.
  • Be more giving.
  • Realize the power within me and be more forgiving of myself.
  • Wake up each day with a grateful heart.

May the gift of love, happiness, peace, and warmth be yours as you make a new start. And keep in mind the past so as to gain from it pearls of wisdom as you make a fresh new beginning this New Year.

Happy New Year!

sunset in Wisconsin

A seasonal bucket list [Fall 2015]

It's a new season. A perfect opportunity to do something new something bold something beautiful.I recently read a post by Scarlet Pen, a pen name for the author of the blog 28 and Counting that inspired me. It’s a bucket list post, but not just any bucket list. What I love about this bucket list is that it’s a seasonal one. What a brilliant idea! It’s like a mini goal list of things you want to do that can, for the most part, only be done in that particular season. Since I have a love/hate relationship with fall—love the vibrant colors and EVERYTHING PUMPKIN, but hate to see my favorite season, summer, go—I thought this would be a perfect way to stay positive and focus on everything I love about fall. Scarlet’s list is ambitious at 29 items (you go girl!); I’m going to focus on just 10.

In no particular order, here is my fall bucket list:

  1. Create and bake a pumpkin coffee cake
  2. Go to the apple orchard and sample hard ciders, wines, and apples
  3. Read a book, specifically All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (my mom gave me this book for my birthday last April and I have only read the first chapter…)
  4. Get in one last 50-mile bicycle ride
  5. Take a mini trip back home and:
    • Have a chai latte and scone at my favorite coffee shop
    • Visit my grandma
    • Take a walk in the woods with Coco
    • Sit and relax next to the pellet stove with my dad and step-mom
  6. Get a pumpkin shake at Culver’s (it’s been years since I’ve had one—and seriously they are heaven!)
  7. Surprise Joe with a dinner date to someplace we haven’t been in a long time
  8. “Play tourist,” take a drive, and really soak in the beauty of where we live
  9. Have a Packers (go-Pack-GO!) party with friends
  10. Focus more on the positives and what I can control 💜

What’s on your fall bucket list?

Monday Motivation: New Year’s Resolutions Edition

extremes are easy_colin wright quoteMondays are a great excuse to start a new program/diet/fitness regime, not to mention we just started a New Year. As tradition goes, a New Year means new resolutions, things we want to change about ourselves or our lifestyles for the better in this new year. But how often do we set new resolutions and new goals only to, after a few short weeks or months, have them fall by the wayside? Is it that we set such high, far-reaching goals that we, from the beginning, set ourselves up for failure? Or, what is it that we can do to help ensure that we follow through and reach or maintain those resolutions and goals we’ve set for ourselves? I may not have all of the answers but I think these tips and strategies will help you succeed in actually sticking to your resolutions this year:

  1. Set SMART goals.
    I’m all about dreaming big, and I often do, but when it comes to goal setting we have to keep our goals realistic and our heads out of the clouds. So we need to set SMART goals, which are: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. First of all, you need to be specific. Saying you want to start a new training program is too broad, but saying you want to follow a specific and detailed training plan (of which you either come up with, or find either on the internet or in books), sets you up for success. It’s also important to keep in mind that your goal must be measurable. If you can’t measure your goal, how will you know that you’re succeeding in reaching it? And, as I’ve already mentioned above, these resolutions need to be attainable and realistic. Lastly, make your goals timely by setting a time frame in which you want to have reached your goal. Is this a yearlong goal or a goal that you’ll reach when you cross the finish line of that race in July?
  2. Write it down and track your progress.
    Studies have found that the more you monitor your progress, the more likely you are to stick to your goals. Seeing results, both in the mirror and on paper, are the best ways to motivate you to keep working towards your goal. Tracking your progress will also help you see problem areas and make necessary adjustments to keep you on track.
  3. Make your goals public.
    This helps you in a couple of ways. First, as humans we don’t like to be embarrassed. By making your goals public you will work harder to reach them to avoid embarrassment. Second, in close relation to the first, making goals public is a great motivator. Friends and family will encourage you along the way, some may even join in, and others will ask you how it is going along the way. All of those things will help keep you motivated and working towards your goal.
  4. Invest for success.
    One of the best motivators, for many of us, is to treat ourselves to some new gear. If you set a goal to run x number of miles each week, treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes to jump-start your motivation. If your goal is race in a bike race in June, look to see if registration is open and register now, if not, invest in a new bike outfit you plan to wear on race day. Having the right gear will make it easier to stick to a new fitness plan; plus, now that you’ve invested the money, you’ll find fewer excuses to skip your workout.
  5. Schedule your time and don’t flake out.
    Treating your workout like an appointment or business meeting, one you schedule in your daily calendar and don’t cancel, will help you stick with your plan and turn it into a habit. This may involve getting up a little earlier each morning or hitting the gym before you head home at the end of your day. Put a reminder in your phone and on your calendar at home. Let your family know that that time is scheduled and you won’t be available. Making time for you is important to your health and happiness, which will only improve the health and happiness of your family as well.
  6. Reward yourself along the way.
    Set milestones you plan to reach along the way and when you reach them, reward yourself! Maybe you want to cut out processed foods from your diet, three months in reward yourself by having a day at the spa. Or, maybe you’ve set a fitness goal. Each time you workout, add a dollar to a jar. Then, either three months in or on a day when you just need some extra motivation, buy yourself that new outfit you’ve had your eye on or new fitness gear (like a bike trainer or foam roller) you’ve always wanted. Rewarding yourself along the way will help you to stay motivated and working towards this year’s resolution.

Now that you have the strategies in place to make this year the year you stick to your New Year’s resolution, rethink those resolutions and put an action plan together to reach them. And, like the quote from Colin Wright above, “Extremes are easy. Strive for balance.” remember that extremes are only easy because we often fail at them. Finding balance is the key. I wish you the best of luck in this New Year setting and reaching your goals!

What are your New Year’s resolutions this year? Share them with me in the comments! 🙂

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A look back at 2014


This gallery contains 28 photos.

As 2014 comes to a close, we can all reflect on what we accomplished during the past year, along with what we’d like to change and new goals to set and reach in 2015. I have much to be thankful … Continue reading

Monday Motivation: Setting Goals

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.Image Credit: Otilia Pasca

Too often we set goals, massive goals, without an action plan. We think of the absolute best scenario of what we want without setting ourselves up for success by setting the smaller actionable and attainable goals. Today’s Monday Motivation is all about small goal setting. Think about your end goal, the ultimate prize at the end of the journey. For me that ultimate end goal is to finish an Ironman. But how do I get there if I don’t set small goals along the way? We often fail because we set goals for ourselves that are too far out of our grasp. So for just this week set yourself up to succeed. Take your goal and break it down. Focus on one week at a time. So what is your goal this week? You can even break it down further by setting daily goals. The smaller you break down your goals the more likely you are to reach them, which will ultimately lead you to completing your end goal. My weekly goal is to workout daily with Wednesday as a rest day. My daily goals are:

  • Monday: 30 min. run
  • Tuesday: 1.5-hours cycle
  • Wednesday: Rest Day
  • Thursday: 1-hour run
  • Friday: 1-hour FUN workout (Insanity) It’s good to mix up the mundane and add in a little fun! 🙂
  • Saturday: 30-min. run
  • Sunday: 40 mile cycle

Making goals public is a great way to keep yourself accountable. Share yours in the comments below, put them out there on social media, tell a friend, whatever you need to do to help you reach your goals.

Happy Monday and happy goal setting!