Monthly Goals: September

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

This post is written in partnership with Mal Paper, a UK company creating intentional stationary focused on gratitude and productivity. The company is named after the Swedish word “goal” and is pronounced “mo-l”. The inspiration of their products come from the Scandinavian clean and clutter-free lifestyle that’s extremely popular today. Their mission is simple. Focus on creating products that give the user clarity on what they want to achieve with a clear path on how to get there, all while promoting a positive mindset to carry over on to their daily activities. They recently reached out to me to give their Daily Goal Setter a try. I am desperately in LOVE. I think every American suffering from the over-whelming pressure to do”more” needs to reassess their goals with this planner.

In my quest to discover a balance between everyday life and my mental health during the month of August, I re-discovered a few things about myself. I am an extremely goal-driven person with achingly high expectations. I push myself to do too much, which is why I have such a need to focus on slow and intentional living. (Isn’t it funny how human it is to be attracted to the things we are not?) I found that I was falling off the wagon on a few habits, and then realized it’s because I LEGIT listed twenty-five habits to take up. In ONE month. I set extremely high goals for myself such as “increase production at work”, “work on writing a book”, “post five times a week on the blog”, all of which leave little room for life itself. Yet still, I squeeze “bake a new recipe”, “learn French”, “take up guitar”, and “explore two new places” somewhere in the crevices of my already tight schedule.

So when Mal Planner asked me to try their planner, I was all for it. I adopted a few things that I think will help me to continue my mindful actions in September. Below are all the ways that Mal Planner helps me to slow-it-down and to practice living from a place of calm and peace.


A New Morning Routine

Every morning, I will practice a new routine. It goes as follows.

First, I will write down three things that I am grateful for. This can be something like “For my family” or “For a delicious cup of early morning coffee.” But it can also be things that are often over-looked, such as “For clean water to drink” or “A window in my home for sunlight to shine through.” By practicing gratitude journaling, I will be starting the day with a positive mindset, while also allowing myself opportunity to recognize that perhaps, if nothing else, life is already enough.

Second, I will write down an affirmation. An affirmation is a sentence such as “I am brave enough to tackle obstacles that come my way” or “I am confident in my ability to get the job done.” It can also be something as simple as “I have an ability to make choices” or “I am whole”. Whatever empowering thought there is to carry me through the day, I will focus my energy on that. I will take time to recite and memorize my affirmation of the day.

Lastly, I will read that day’s inspiring quote, which Mal Paper has integrated at the bottom of every day’s page and throughout the entire planner..

A New Way of Creating Tasks

Have you ever felt like you’re doing so much but getting nowhere? One of the biggest problems ineffective people face is not prioritizing their tasks well. There is the saying, “Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.”

One of my favorite drawings which I first saw in the book of Essentialism is this:

Essentialism, Greg McKeown | Wise words, Words

It is my favorite drawing by far because I’ve definitely been the person on the left. Multiple times. So this month (and hopefully every month forward), I will try to be mindful of prioritizing tasks in order of importance. The planner suggests listing tasks for the day, then prioritizing them in order. Afterwards, I will try my best to complete tasks based on priority. Focusing on low-priority tasks can make you feel over-whelmed and exhausted, especially when more important tasks are not being completed.

That, honestly, is a waste of energy.

An Old Way of Setting Goals

I have always set goals in a certain way and I am so happy to see that Mal Paper agrees with me on at least one method of planning. I set goals using the SMART Method.

S: Specific. Goals are always specific so that there is clarity on what exactly we are trying to do. Answer the questions Who, What, When, Where, and How.

M: Measurable. Goals need to be measurable, otherwise you will not know if there is progress or not. It is not enough to say, “I want to earn more money.” It would be better to say, “I want to earn 10% more than that I was earning last year.”

A: Achievable. Make sure that all your goals are realistic. Setting goals that are too high (e.g. “I want to be a millionaire by tomorrow) can be very disheartening when they aren’t achieved. Let’s be real. Unless you win the lottery, that would be impossible.

R: Relevant. This is where you answer the question, “Why?” Ask yourself why it is that you want to complete this goal? How will doing so improve your life?

T: Timely. Set yourself a timeline for when you want your goal completed. This will help you stay on track. I divide my goals into Long Term (years), Medium Term (6 months to 1 year), and Short Term (a month to 6 months).

Doing each of these steps for each of your goals will really clear your path to productivity and success.

A New Weekly Routine

Once I make a goal, I will revisit every week each goal and break them down into smaller tasks. Each week, I will prioritize the top five tasks to complete. At the end of the week, I will evaluate how effective I was. I have done this at the beginning of every month, but I see now that I also need to do it weekly.

A New Evening Routine

Lastly, the routine before bed. I know that this is the hardest part because at the end of the day, the last thing you want to do is think. But it’s important to reflect on the positive moments and write down all the good things that happened. Something like “I got a promotion at work” is equally as important as “I got coffee with an old friend.”

Instead of dwelling on all the things that went wrong or that I didn’t complete (which I do dwell by the way), I can focus on the positive moments which will put me in the correct mindset and build my confidence in making things happen.

Then the planner suggests I rate my day from 1-10. I don’t know about everyone else, but I am a numbers gal. I never thought about rating my day, but I think that is very important. The ratings can easily summarize how I feel over a given amount of time. I know that if I start to notice a lot of low numbers in the past few weeks, then a lifestyle change needs to happen. Perhaps I am rating my days lowly because of feeling burnt out at work. That may mean that I need to change something in the workspace or decrease my work load.


Out of all of these routines, I think that the morning and evening rituals are of utmost importance. By coming from a place of gratitude and focusing on the positive things that happen in my life, there will be a greater chance for happiness. Also, reflective evaluation will allow for chances to identify opportunities for growth and improvement.

Of course, my month of September is still goal-driven. But I have seen a shift in my priorities and goals. I hope you see them, too.

PERSONAL:

  • Go offline 1 day per week
  • Read two books
  • Practice French daily
  • Learn 1 new guitar song
  • Keep up with the new morning and evening rituals
  • Be early to work every day

WORK:

  • Work on growing Pinterest
  • Apply to affiliates for October
  • Add Referral page on the blog
  • Reduce the number of patients seen to decrease burn out

HOME:

  • Work on upgrading the bathroom
  • Declutter digital photos

HEALTH:

  • Run or yoga each day
  • Take up gratitude journaling
  • Keep up with evening assessment
  • Light a candle at 9:30pm + relax every evening.

FINANCE:

OTHER:

  • Write the Rough Draft of the book
  • Read about Self-Publishing
  • Make 1 new recipe
  • Explore 2 new places

The planner from this post is from Mal Paper.
The mug is from East Fork Pottery in Morel.
The linen coaster is from Shop Fog Linen in Black Houndstooth.
The nail polish is by Restore ________ in June’s color for mental health awareness.

Restore ______.

This post is in partnership with Restore _____., a nail polish company focused on raising awareness on current social issues, especially those pertaining to women. This polish company donates a portion of their proceeds to non-profit organizations centered around these issues. Their subscription model ensures that monthly donations to multiple non-profit organizations are being made. If you’d care to learn more about this awesome company, read on. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. And thank you for supporting the companies that support this space. 

If you could restore one thing in your life right now, what would it be?

Health.

Hope.

Peace.

Love.

Freedom.

Faith in a better tomorrow?

We’ve all been through tough times. During these moments, we experience different degrees of loss. Sometimes, it’s enough to just survive one more day. Currently, I just try to survive the news.

But what if we knew that there was a community holding us up? What if, during the tough times, there are people who have our backs? Wouldn’t that make it easier somehow? What if, instead of facing things alone, we face them united?

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Restore _____. was created with that in mind. Painting nails seem like such a frivolous activity, but adding meaning and purpose behind this simple act is something we can all get behind. The concept is as follows: we paint our nails a specific color during a particular month of the year to stand in solidarity against current social issues. The founder, Natacha Cabrera, wanted to grow support while raising awareness, especially around issues that affect women. The themes include pregnancy and infant loss, sexual violence, body image, mental health, women’s history, infertility, adoption, and motherhood.

A portion of the polish proceeds goes towards funding a non-profit organization related to the theme of the month. This allows people to donate towards a cause while doing their usual shopping. The clever idea of having a monthly subscription option means that monthly donations are being made to a number of different organizations. You may want to secure your spot, however, since there are only 100 monthly boxes going out per month. If you like surprises, you can also opt for a mystery box which comes with three different nail polish colors.

As far as the paint itself, it’s amazing. First, the polish is seven free, vegan, and cruelty-free. It is also made in the USA. Lastly, it paints on very nicely. Two coats is all it takes, and the polish is quite fluid which allows an even layer. I absolutely get bothered by globby nail polish that paints on bulky and bumpy. Painting with Restore ______. is a breeze.

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I, myself, chose the color for my birthday month – June. June was focused around mental health, which was also my own personal theme for the month of August. Painting nails is a way for me to force focus on one thing. It is a pause from the constant musings of my mind. Consider it a breather. It may seem strange to hear, but I set aside time specifically for this activity once a week. As in, I pencil it into my planner. It’s also one of the few ways in which I show myself care. I am not an overtly fashion-centered gal, but having neat, trimmed nails makes me feel put together even when my outfit of choice is a pair of scrubs.

I think that restoring that bit of time for myself was something I’ve struggled with my whole life. That’s the over-achiever in me. Perhaps that’s my word for the month. I am focusing on mental health, after all.

Restore self.

What about you?


FACTS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH

  • 1 in 5 Americans has experienced some form of mental illness.

  • 29% of Americans say they’re embarrassed to speak to people about mental health, even to medical professionals preventing them from seeking help.

  • 800K suicide deaths occur globally each year, with over 41,000 in the U.S. alone. It is the second leading cause of death worldwide for 15-29 year olds.

  • 70-90% of people who seek proper treatment for mental health disorders witness a significant reduction in symptoms.

If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

For information on mental health and treatment services in your area, call the Treatment Referral Hotline:

1-877-726-4727

Intentional Living: Night-time Skin Care Rituals with True Botanicals

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

There are routines, and then there are rituals. One is a basic repetition of activity, the other carries a more sacred underpinning. There IS a difference. That old adage of “It’s not so much what you do, but how” applies here. I believe that the former helps facilitate fast-living, whereas the latter defines slow. And while my planner is chock full of routines to get me by, my heart lives for the tiny rituals that ease me into and out of my most trying times. I have a list of morning rituals that prepare me for a brand new day, and a set of winding-down evening rituals that release the stresses I’ve managed to corral under my skin.

One of my nightly rituals is skincare, a relatively new focus of healthcare for me. I began 2020 on a journey to find out why a year-long battle with a skin rash has been untreatable by my dermatologist. Tired of getting nowhere and purchasing a million chemical formulae stuffed into plastic tubes, I reached out to a wellness coach instead. Turns out, the best solution I’ve found is reducing stress. Also avoiding chemicals and eating fruits and veggies. I ditched those plastic tubes and switched to amber glass bottles.

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I am a big lover of natural concoctions packaged in glass. I know that the appearance of a product might prove vain but that’s the thing with rituals. Beauty matters because it helps to pull at the heart strings. Rituals are one of those things that require sentiment. I also feel happier knowing that my products do not contribute to plastic oceans.

Glass bottles, however, are more than just beautiful. They promote purposeful movement. I am more careful with breakable containers. I take my time setting them down, never rushing through my skincare regimen. As for the “natural” part of the equation, I am more at peace knowing that what I am absorbing through my pores is nothing more than certified non-toxic ingredients.

Mind you, I am not talking about Aesop.

A previous Aesop devotee, I am here to announce that there is a new amber glass bottle in town.

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True Botanicals has swept me away with their collection of skin products. Carrying conscious ingredients of the natural and organic variety, they’ve got your well-being in mind. They are equally as focused on spreading their skin intel via their blog “Rituals“, providing know-how to their avid subscribers, as they are sharing their products. I think talking about skin is just as important as treating it.

I have switched my night-time ritual to be 100% True Botanicals-based. I start with the RENEW Nourishing Cleanser, which has very gentle and milky on my extremely dry skin. I only use this cleanser in the evening because I find that cleansing twice a day leads to even drier skin. In the mornings, I simply wash my face with water so that I can keep a little natural oil on me. Oh and this thing smells amazing! Scents of grapefruit, lavender, jasmine, and vetiver put me right into that relaxing evening mood.

I follow up the nourishing cleanser with a gentle pat-dry. I take the Nutrient Mist and spritz, patting around my face and waiting a few moments for it to absorb. This Nutrient Mist has been my best friend all summer. It is a must-have at the beach as well as on the plane. I carry it around with me whenever I leave the house. It’s small size is perfect to carry.

Lastly, I use the RENEW Repair Serum after moisturizing. With a dose of free-radical fighting ingredients fighting for me in my corner, I have nothing to fear. This serum has been said to equate if not beat La Mer. I can personally feel plumper, tighter skin. More importantly, it feels hydrate without feeling grease-stained. They’re calling it a miracle in a bottle. I can get on board with that.

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Other rituals reserved for the evening:

  • Drinking matcha tea for a little detox.
  • Limiting phone use after 9 pm to reduce blue screen exposure.
  • Unwinding with a book before bed.
  • Lighting candles, sometimes.
  • Turning on the Humidifier with Vitruvi’s Sleep Essential Oil Blend.

Gift Guide: Well-being and Mental Health

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

Well-being and mental health have become increasingly imperitive for those living life in the fast-lane. I count myself in the tally. Before switching to a slower pace, I was constantly in a state of low-grade panic. Instead of taking breaths, I was holding them in. I was literally throwing away my life force towards menial tasks that got me nowhere. I was also throwing my money around like it was free. Sound familiar?

Twas nice to finally put on my metaphorical brakes and force myself to a complete STOP. Well, if I was being truly honest, it was COVID that gave my life pause. There were a couple of weeks where I literally had nothing – no job, no responsibility, no travel plans, nowhere to go, no one to see. The stay-at-home mandate was a sudden wake up call, as well as a slight shift in perspective.

I had already been pursuing slow living, but it was still a pursuit. With me, everything is a pursuit.  Even doing nothing is a pursuit. Who could blame me? Our society trains us from day one to achieve. Which competes with our wishes to be.

Anywho, we could all use some healing right now. This month, I alluded to mental health as being one of my main foci in my August Goals post. Whether you have yourself or someone else in mind, here is a gift guide for well-being and attending to our mental health.

  • A planner centered around gratitude and intention.
  • An app for meditation.
  • Live plants and natural surroundings (try their monthly subscription!).
  • Reviving products for stressed out skin.
  • Happy pills, but good for you.
  • The gift of good sleep (with $40 OFF a purchase of $200 or more).
  • Beautiful sheets that prompt a whole day in bed.
  • Towels worthy of a bath soak.
  • Pillows for sinking into and creating reading nooks (with 15% OFF using my code: debtist15) .
  • A beautiful new mat for an early morning routine.
  • Something soft for our weathered feet.
  • A polish whose proceeds are donated to a non-profit helping those with mental illness.

Less Waste: Period.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

I’ve already dedicated an entire post on less waste and periods when I first spoke of how I managed my visits from Mother Nature using a single cup. But I feel as if this requires a revisit, for the glaringly obvious reason that there are a few scenarios wherein Lunette failed to prove itself a friend. While the cup has been mostly sufficient for all my feminine care needs, I have found that when it comes to travel, a more dependable plan B needs to be in place.

Walking down the streets of Mexico City does not seem like a problem, until you realize that their bathrooms generally don’t have private loos that contain sinks in the same stall. Where to empty a cup? Even if sinks were available, could one trust the running water? The last thing I want to do is explain myself in Spanish why I have a bacterial infection while wallowing in pain from the ever-so-common downfall of all menstruating persons.

Likewise, traveling on a 15-hour flight to New Zealand and Australia isn’t much fun with Lunette. While the airplane does have a private sink, the tight quarters make the entire process tedious and, once again, I worry about running water. Always the water.

Still determined to find a way of managing my monthly miseries that’s good for the planet as well as good for me, I decided I needed a plan B.

So I thought of Thinx. It’s a purchase-with-purpose underwear that has a mission to provide reliable access to safe menstrual hygiene products for those in need. With partners like Girls Inc., Safe Horizon, and the Alliance of Border Collaboratives, Thinx plans to expand access to basic hygiene products and community services like reproductive healthcare and mentoring.

On top of that, it is a REALLY good product. I am a minimalist by nature, who does not subscribe to single use items. This means I do not buy pads or tampons, at all.  Thinx checks those boxes for me. It is a re-usable panty that is reliable in what it claims to do which allows me to continue living life scotch free of worry or discomfort.

Thinx has versatility, with multiple styles to fit your personality and preference. I own the boyshort in black which I wear under my running shorts, the sport in dusk which I wear under my leggings, and the super hiphugger for my everyday needs. Each style has a different level of protection, so that heavy flow days could be as carefree as lighter days.

And the upkeep is simple too. Hand-wash in cold running water and hang to dry. I have only three pairs but by hand-washing right after use and cycling between them, I can survive an entire cycle without missing a beat.

Lastly, it saves people money. If I assume that a box of tampons is purchased every month, with each box costing $7 (to be on the more conservative side), then there is a  savings potential of $84 a year. The Lunette cup lasts you 3 years, so that adds up to $252 in savings. I would wager Thinx can last longer than that. It may seem like chump change but let’s assume all females adopted Thinx over the course of their entire life. And for each Thinx purchased, let’s say it saves another female in financial need from buying tampons and pads. You create a whole chain of events that end up saving the world a lot of money, and the oceans a lot of waste. Not to mention saving young girls in low-income communities from missing school and other opportunities.

Just think.

What a world that would be.

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Intentional Living: Vitruvi

The world’s been pretty topsy-turvy. The trees outside the bedroom window have assumed their once-a-year summer blooms. Bright pinks and yellows littering our skyline, but I haven’t had the time to notice. I teeter-totter between slow-living and stress, which makes the time pass with such speed. I haven’t taken the time to stop and ask, but now I do.

“How are you?”

Are you coping like us? Is there suffering? What can I do?

During this time, I hope you are finding time to focus on wellness and mental health. I know I haven’t had as much as I would like, but I sure as heck try. It’s all we can do, anywho.

One of the things I’ve been attempting is simply breathe.  Essential oils by Vitruvihelp to set the mood I need to get through one more day. Or rather, one afternoon after an especially trying work day.

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I don’t have a fancy humidifier by any means. I have a plain white bulky thing that I purchased about a year and a half ago using a Nordstrom gift card which I received from my father-in-law. It was a gift for turning thirty. I think the humidifier is meant for babies. Either way, it works.

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I add a dash of Vitruvi essential oil blends to get me in the right mindset. I prefer the blends because it simplifies my life. Of course, if you’d prefer you can order the essential oils separately and mix your own potion.

I love turning on the humidifier and using the SLEEP blend right before bed. Think fresh linens and soft florals. It runs until I wake in the morning. It is also a good choice during a soak in the bath, or while reading in bed. Other great evening blends are NIGHTCAP and DUSK.

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In the wee hours, after I’ve had my morning coffee, I switch to the BOOST blend by Vitruvi. Notes of Juniper, Grapefruit, Bergamot and Lime really liven me up as I write a long list of things I want to get done. If you are struggling to face the day, perhaps switch out the task manager with a list of things you are grateful for.

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Point is, scents have the special ability to take us to places we are fond of. There’s a blend for all your needs.

Dreaming of vacation? Try RETREAT.

Wishing you were outdoors? Reach for GROVE or PACIFIC.

Hoping to get some deep cleaning done? Turn on CLEAN SWEEP for inspiration.

I know it isn’t much. But during times like these, anything that helps us breathe easier and experience life better is absolute gold.

This post is in partnership with Vitruvi. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Intentional Living: Hydration

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

When I was younger, I was too busy for water breaks. I would only drink water at lunch and dinner, consumed by my long to-do list of juggling three jobs and school, plus extra-curricular activities. I couldn’t give up a minute of my time to take a sip, because there were more important things to do. But times have changed. You could say I’m still the same person (busy as ever) who has taken a turn with regards to hydration.

Drinking water has become such a high priority for me that it is the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do before bed. My planner and daily agenda notepads have water intake indicators to keep me on track. Despite having an active and busy lifestyle, I make sure to give back to my hard-working body by staying hydrated. I keep a glass with me at all times – whether I’m blogging on the balcony, writing notes in between patients, heading out to run errands, or reading a book in bed. Hydration, after all, is the ultimate form of self-care. Water not only refreshes our bodies and maintains balance, it also provides us with energy.

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The KINTO workout bottle makes sure that I accomplish just that. I am a lover of good design, and the Japanese company KINTO delivers. They embrace minimalist aesthetics without neglecting function. When I was looking for a new bottle to accompany me on my everyday routines, I definitely focused on both practicality AND beauty.

I am always carrying my water bottle with me everywhere, with the running joke between my husband and I that I would likely die of “the thought of thirst” if I left my water at home. Therefore, I was searching for something light and portable. The transparent, sporty BPA-free bottle has an elastic attached to the lid that makes transportation care-free. In all honesty, it’s a product that simply fits “right” in my hands. I can just as easily hold onto it by the tab (if it’s the only thing I’m bringing with me, for example when going on a run) as I can throw it into a bag.

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Additionally, the bottle has two removable lids. The top lid gives way to a narrow spout from which I can glug unabated by the thought of spilling water all over my shirt. The second lid can be removed if I wanted to throw in ice, fruit or garnish to liven up my drinking routine. Sliced cucumber is a luxurious addition and makes for a pretty display. However, it is important to note that dry ice and carbonated drinks should not be housed in the bottle to prevent breakage or damage. Of course, that’s fine by me since I’m not a fan of sparking water or other carbonated drinks.

One of the factors I considered when researching the right bottle was the ease of cleaning. I love that all KINTO products use a removable rubber stop that prevents the growth of mold or residue build-up from occurring. All five pieces (if you include the rubber seals) are dishwasher safe and do not require immediate drying. This, along with the light weight of the bottle, is the reason why I chose the workout bottle over their more famous and popular travel tumblers.

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As silly as it sounds, I also appreciate the measurement marks on the sides of the bottle indicating how much water it contains in ounces and millilitres. The bottle holds up to sixteen ounces of water, twelve if you’re adding ice or fruit. Like the planners, the marks help keep me on track with my water intake goals.

The bottle comes in many colors, but of course, I chose the classic clear . I have gotten many comments on its minimalist style and simple beauty. I definitely think it’s a piece that deserves applause. No wonder it’s featured in MoMa’s well-curated Design Store. KINTO always seems to hit the nail on the head.

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Habits to create around drinking water.

  • Drink a glass of water the minute you awake every morning. Leave a glass by your bedside every night.
  • Drink water after you finish your morning coffee.
  • Order water at a restaurant and drink a full glass before your meal arrives. Not only will this curb your appetite and monitor how much you actually eat, but it will help the digestion process.
  • After a workout, drink an entire bottle.
  • To increase the chances that you’ll drink water, keep it where you can see it.
  • Add sliced fruits or hibiscus leaves to make water more enticiing.
  • Drink water without ice barring exceptionally hot days. It helps with digestion.
  • Drink a glass after every meal.
  • Drink a glass before bed.

This post is sponsored by KINTO, a Japanese company that focuses on bringing tableware, drinkware, and interior items that bring its owners a sense of joy. Each of their items are heavily considered for the ease of integration into one’s lifestyle, without sacrificing the beauty of everyday things. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

For those wondering, the water in my KINTO bottle is not sparkling water. However, we have a filtration system in our home that selectively removes and adds in certain nutrients, in order to optimize our water for coffee. This may explain the slight bubbling that you see in our filtered water. Also, acidic fruits should be avoided, since the bottle is not made of triton and the acidity could damage or mark the bottle. 

Below, I list a few more KINTO favorites.

Monthly Goals: May 2020

This post was sponsored by Smitten on Paper but all opinions, thoughts, and tips are my own. Smitten on Paper is a paper company based in Monrovia, CA. They have daily planners as well as wedding services including invitations and thank you notes. They also host a number of workshops, for those into stationary and calligraphy.

I always get questions about how I get so much done. Balancing blogging, dentistry, dog-sitting and once a bakery on top of being a wife, sister, and daughter can seem like much, and people often wonder, “How can you even consider yourself as someone who lives a slow lifestyle?” But I do.

You see, a slow lifestyle isn’t just dawdling on the couch reading, or sitting cross-legged on a meditation pillow for an hour in zen (although I also do both). Slow living is all about being mindfully in the present moment. Not surprisingly, when you choose to live slowly, you get more out of the time you have.

Once of my favorite aspects of slow living is intentionality. In order to have time for the things that matter to you (books, exercise, bread, whatever it is that excites you and lets you call this a life), you need to be intentional with what you do. Most people are not intentional enough. They try to do thirty different things at once, instead of honing out the single chore that will get them to where they want, fastest. It is this minimalism with what you choose to do that paves the way to slow living.

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Creating Goals

On the first of every month, I write down the goals I want to accomplish. I list personal goals, work goals, home goals, health goals, finance goals, and leave a category for “other“. However, just saying I want something done doesn’t actually get it done. I tie each goal to a habit that I want to form that will get me there… slowly.

Why habits instead of tasks?

When habits are formed, they stay for good thereby improving you over the long-term. When tasks are performed, they are checked-off and dropped, never to be seen again. The difference is that habits make your future life EASIER. You store certain actions that make you 1% better each day in such a way that, eventually, takes no extra energy. Once a habit is formed, it becomes rote motion, thereby making you more efficient. Aditionally, your brain power is now reserved for other thoughts or actions. You compound the interest invested in yourself, and you continually get closer to the person you want to become while also gaining the freedom to stack on even more goals and habits come next month.

Starting this month, I wanted to share with you guys my monthly goals on the first of the month. More importantly, I will share the habit I tie to them, to demonstrate how I use talent stacking to make me one bit more efficient each day.

The goal isn’t the important part. I don’t care if I don’t reach it at the end of the month. It’s the habits that I track. I mark my top habits and physically track them on a daily basis using Smitten On Paper’s Weekly Agenda (#gifted). It is my favorite planner, and the monthly goals page is so helpful to keeping me focused.

I note the goals here in the following manner: GOAL –> HABIT

I hope this is helpful.

May 2020 Goals

 

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PERSONAL:

  • Decrease phone use –> Dock phone when at home, do not allow the phone at the dining table or when in conversation with others, remove the Instagram app after every use to add a barrier to habit-scrolling, set screen time goal of 30 minutes or less per day.
  • Show self-care —> Remember to wear the NG every night and turn on the humidifier before bed.

WORK:

  • Get more affiliate projects for the blog –> Apply to at least 20 affiliates, get at least 10 partnerships
  • Increase blog views from last month –> Post at least five times a week and get another podcast on the books
  • Get through dental continuing education classes —> Do one online course every day on Mondays through Thursdays

HOME:

  • Keep the home tidy –> Put things in their proper place once you are finished using them.
  • Make it look neat –> Make the bed every day.
  • Keep it clean –> Run Roomba every other day, deep clean the house every other week.

HEALTH:

  • Get into a workout routine –> Run or do yoga 6 times a week, Work up to running 6 mikes.
  • Protect the eyes –> Wear Blue-light glasses from TheBookClub

FINANCES:

  • Limit spending –> less than $250 in groceries and dining out, less than $75in gas
  • Increase income –> Make bonus on a daily basis
  • Tackle loans –> Take advantage of the 0% interest rate on student loans right now and funnel all the money towards debt before September 30 hits

OTHER:

  • Start writing a book –> Work on it thirty minutes a day.

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Tips on Habits

If you’re looking for inspiration – check out this ditty about the power of habits. For more creative minds who struggle with the structure of habits, may I suggest this read? Lastly, a few tips on how to make habits stick.

  • Create a path of least resistance by setting up cues and reminders for yourself to get a habit done. If you want to read every night, set a book down on your pillow when you make your bed. If you want to exercise every morning, put on your exercise clothes the minute you wake up.
  • Make it something you want to do. There are many habits you can do to get you to a goal. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can try multiple diets, stop buying plastic, get a gym membership, go on a run, do yoga in your PJs, eliminate just sugar, &c. There are many habits you can use to get you to the same goal. Choose the habit that works for you. You only need to pick one.
  • Provide motivation. Try using a habit tracker for that natural neurotransmitter kick. It’s FREE! Or try a reward system where you promise yourself something after reaching a goal using the habits you created.
  • Hold yourself accountable by sharing with a friend, or the world. Tell somebody about what you want to accomplish. Agree to get something done together with someone else. Use people around you to hold you accountable, too.
  • Make it a positive habit. Verbage is key. If you write something in a negative way, you already start with negative thoughts and your chances of success are diminished. For example, instead of writing “Spend 25% less of my weekly wages this month”, write “Pay 25% more towards credit card debt.” You feel good after your habit, instead of feeling starved.

Of course, there are many other tips and if you have one or two you’d like to share with other readers, please do!

See you in June!