How I Chose My Word of the Year for 2019

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We are almost a week into the NEW Year and it has been interesting already! While the practice of making New Year’s Resolutions is common, that doesn’t mean that it is the most effective method of achieving your New Year’s goals. I personally haven’t really been in the practice of making New Year’s Resolutions for the last two years. When I have made New Year’s resolutions in the past, it often discourages me from trying at all if I don’t move towards them quickly enough. In the last few years I have chose a word of the year that guides all of actions towards reaching the goals I hope to accomplish in the New Year.

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My word for last year was DISCIPLINE. I chose the word Discipline because that is what was lacking from my reaching some of my goals in 2017, especially in regards to weight loss. I hired a trainer, I meal prepped more, I went to the gym more often, even when I didn’t feel like going. I also was more disciplined in putting out content for my blog (before my Nana passed away, and I started law school). After a few a set-backs, I stopped really embracing the word discipline because I was really just trying to…get over the sadness from different things that happened earlier in the year. I realized that at times I was disciplined but at other times I wasn’t. That led to me choosing my word for 2019.

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My word for 2019 is CONSISTENCY. This is what was lacking from my life last year in many areas from health + fitness to blogging to even studying for school. Similar to the reason I chose the word discipline last year, I need to consistently do things (even when I’d rather not) in order to reach the goals I’ve set out for this year. The times I did manage to remained disciplined, I lost a decent amount of weight, I got into law school, and I posted some quality content. (Read my favorite posts from last year HERE). By being consistent this year, I know I will be better off when the countdown for 2020 happens.

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This doesn’t have to be the way you choose your word. What’s important is that YOUR WORD is chosen by YOU after reflecting on your principles, values, and goals for this year. Once you do this you can take out the sense of overwhelm with long lists and just ask yourself “does this action align with my guiding word for this year or bring me closer to my goals?” If it doesn’t, you know you might need to make a better decision. It won’t be easy at first, but it might be easier for you than keeping a laundry list of resolutions.

So get out there, reflect, and choose your guiding word for 2018!

Did you have a word or two in mind when you read this? Leave your word(s) in the comments and tell me why you chose it!

Goal Check: End of the 2nd Quarter of the Year (Apr-June)

The month of June end a little bit ago which means that we are now 1/2 way through the year. Just as I checked in with myself and my goals at the end of quarter one, I will be seeing where I’m at now that quarter 2 is over. Now is the perfect time to reflect on what has worked this first half of the year and what needs to change. Y’all know I’m always trying to 100 dif things so I’m just going to focus on the main goals I have.

  • Travel out of the country:

I am officially going out of the country for the first time since after my EuroTrip when I graduated high school (not including Tijuana). I’m going to the Dominican Republic for about a week later this month! I will definitely be writing about this experience once I get back and having time to settle so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that!

  • Save $2,000 in a savings account

Okay so I’m not ashamed to say I suuuuuck at saving money but that’s mostly because I spend all my money on doing hoodrat shit with friends, and having a trainer! Lmao. Once I start school I want to be more conscious on being financially literate and establishing savings account. I think for the rest of the Summer I’m going to save a little bit of each check. If you have any tips for saving money let me know!

  • Lose fat & gain muscle:

I’ve made some decent progress on this goal since my quarter 1 check-in. Honestly, all things considered with my grandmother passing away back in April, I’m proud of myself for not turning to food for comfort, which I would have done in the past. I have been killing it at the gym and follow my meal plan 80% of the time or so. I’ve only lost about 5ish lbs since April but I feel myself getting stronger and I lost some body fat %. I think I’m on track to hit my first major goal weight for the end of 2018

  • Take my blog to the next level:

My blog has NOT been a priority for me since April and I’m okay with it. I don’t have regrets about putting my blog on the back burner once my life got crazy. The gym became my outlet so all I have been doing is going to work and working out. I’m just getting back in the hang of writing and managing my instagram so we’ll see where I’m at once quarter 2 is over.

  • Read one book every month:

I have read 2 other books since quarter 1 ended, both which I enjoyed a lot. In April I read The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz and Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I recommend both to everybody. I want to write a review on both of them but we shall see how that goes.

  • Get my driver’s license and a car:

This hasn’t been a priority this quarter so no progress has been made on it. I’m going to have my license by the end of this summer. However, I’m not really sure about the car. We’ll see.

All things considered for how HARD life came at me in April, I’m proud of myself for at least staying on track with my health + fitness and doing everything I needed to do to go out of the country. I also read 2 out of the 3 books I wanted to read so that’s I’m happy about that to. I do want to get back on track with my blog but I still have 6 months to make it happen. Quarter 3 check-in I will have made some progress on that goal for sure. Overall, I’m happy and that’s what matters.

What are some goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year? What goals have you made progress on? What goals could use improvement? Leave me a comment and let’s talk about it!

Goal Check: End of the First Quarter of the Year (Jan-Mar)

The month of March just ended which means that we are 1/4 through 2018. Wow. Time is a flying by! Due to us being 3 months into the year, I decided to check-in on where I’m at with my goals. Now is the perfect time to reflect on what has worked this year and what hasn’t. There are 9 months left in the year which is more than enough time to learn from my errors and still accomplish my goals before the year is over. I have many, many different goals that have sprouted from 8 main ones so I’m going to just tap into some of those 8.

  1. Get my driver’s license and a car: i have not made any substantial progress on this goal besides looking at cars. This is first on this list but the list is in no particular order. This first 3 months I’ve been focusing on getting my health and fitness in order, applying to law school, and paying off my credit card. That brings me to my next goal.
  2. Pay off my credit card debit: So far I have paid a little over $600 into my credit card debt, which is about where I wanted to be by this time of the year. However, my goals regarding this have changed. I’m now more focused on saving money to go out of the country this summer. I will still be making payments on my credit card but not as aggressively as I was.
  3. Save $2,000 in a savings account: It has been hard to establish a savings account so far this year. I’ve noticed I’m really bad at it haha. I have a small amount. I also need to open another savings account because anything I have in this one is going towards my trip this Summer!
  4. Start Law School: This goal is happening! I was admitted into UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law at the beginning of last month. I will officially be going back to school in August which is why I’m taking a trip out of the country this summer.
  5. Lose fat & gain muscle: I’m making great progress on this goal. I hired a trainer in January. Even though he quit and I got a new trainer I had to get used to after taking a 2 week hiatus from the gym, I’ve still managed to lose about 15ish lbs. I can also feel myself getting stronger in every part of my body. I’m excited to see where I will be in the next 3 months from now!
  6. Take my blog to the next level: I like to believe I’m taking steps towards taking my blog to the next level. I created a bi-weekly newsletter (still working on sending out my first e-mail), I hosted my first GIVEAWAY (of many to come), and I’ve started posting more regularly, and I’ve upped my social media engagement. Hopefully in 3 months I will have really made some solid progress.
  7. Read one book every month: I’ve been slacking in regards to reading one book a month. I tried to read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in January but I underestimated how dense and long that book was and I decided to read a little bit of it each month throughout the year. It also took me all of February and a little over half of March to finish The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I highly recommend this book. I wanted to at least finish 2 books by the end of March so I picked an easy ready for the last week of the month. I chose The Defining Decade. I have really enjoyed this book and will be reviewing in a post later this month. 
  8. Move out: so as I have officially gotten into school and given a full tuition scholarship, this has become the least important of my goals. I have to keep a 2.3 (which sounds easy but I’ve never been to law school so I wouldn’t know) GPA to keep my scholarship. My cousin has moved out of my room and this has made living at home much more bearable. I’m in the process of redecorating my room and giving it the personality I wanted it to have when I first moved back home. The only thing that makes me really want to still consider moving out is having company over when they come to town and visit. If I have any updates on this goal they will definitely be towards the end of the year.

All in all, I’ve very pleased with the progress I’ve made on achieving my goals this first few months of the year. I do have some areas that could use improvement (getting my license/car and staying on top of reading for fun). However, I have also had some major wins (YAY for getting into law school and getting a full tuition scholarship). I can’t wait to write this post at the end of the second quarter of the year and see how far I’ve come and what else I’ve done. I might have some different goals listed to reflect the changes in priorities I’ve had since getting into law school but the post will be similar in format. Here’s to working towards our goals all year long!

What are some goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year? What goals have you made progress on? What goals could use improvement? Leave me a comment and let’s talk about it! 

 

My First Color Run 5K Experience

At the end of last year I got this crazy idea to do twelve 5Ks in 2018 (one for each month of the year). It sounded like a good idea to have a way to keep me healthy and track my progress throughout the year. One of the 5Ks I’ve always wanted to run was The Color Run 5K. Not only would I be able to get covered in vibrant colors, I’d be able to get some fun cardio in and rewarded for my efforts with a unicorn medal. I was all for it and even got my best friend to agree to run it too (unicorns are one of her favorites). I was excited for my first ever Color Run and I couldn’t wait.

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The Day Before:

The week prior to The Color Run was a strange time in Vegas weather. It suddenly became even more cold and windy. This was something I had a hard time coming back to from my getaway to Florida the week before. I’m talking cloudy with a 100% chance of crazy winds and the next for more than a regular light jacket I was used to wearing. I had to pick up mu packet Friday after work and I felt that I was going to freeze to death in Container Park (okay, maybe not freeze to death but ya girl was cold!). I asked myself “what if it’s even colder at 8 in the morning? Do I really want to do this run this badly?” The answer was YES, of course! I need that unicorn medal and I had already paid for my packet. This Color Run was happening: rain, sleet, nor snow was going to stop me!

The Day of:

I should have known I was gonna be a struggle bus when I tried to apply the free tattoo they gave me in my packet and I forgot to take the plastic off before putting it on my skin and holding a wet paper towel on it. It stuck to the plastic and perfectly good golden lighting bolt tattoo was wasted. Oh well. Luckily for me the clouds were gone the next morning and it was somewhat warmer than the evening before. My best friend Dom picked me up at 7am and we were off to downtown Vegas for our race. We met Dom’s sorority sister Michelle and her friend in the parking lot and we went to put on the stuff we needed for the race (bibs, armbands/fanny packs for our phones, etc.). One problem, I had not realized the significance of the headband twisty thingy they had given us with our packets. It was obviously to keep me from getting colored powder in my mouth. Also, I couldn’t find my safety pins. Thankfully, Michelle had extra ones. We put on our bibs and headed to the start line.

The Color Run Starting Line

A picture at the starting line while I waited for the wave before us to go

We made it to the starting point and although it was warmer than the evening before it was still pretty cold. There was music playing so I started dancing to get warmed up because the thing I needed was to try and run with cold muscles. I was over the fact that I didn’t have the  bandanna for my mouth but I was kicking myself for not bringing it because I could have used it for my ears, they were cold as shit. I loved how everybody was dressed up in different costumes, tutus, and unicorn headbands. Me and Dom vowed we would go all out next year.

Finally, the countdown for us to start begins and we start jogging when they say “GO!” My nose was really stuffed from the day before and the wind messing with my allergies (damn playground duty at work) and from the cold. I couldn’t breathe through my nose so running was just a struggle.

My best friend and I got to the first color: PURPLE! The volunteers threw colored power at us from a squeegee bottle and we continued on to the rest of the race. As I mentioned I couldn’t breathe through my nose and had to stop often. I was determined to do my first mile in under 15 mins and I did…14:59 exactly hahaha.

One thing that caught me off guard about this run was that there wasn’t a water station until we got to mile 2. I felt really bad because I told my best friend she wouldn’t need to bring a water bottle because in my other 5Ks there was always a water station at mile 1 and mile 2. I don’t usually carry water bottles because I had have extra stuff to hold on to during my runs and I get a stomach cramp if I drink too much water. I will definitely bring a water pouch next year because ya girl did get thirsty before mile 2.

The Color Run 5K Finish Line

The Color Run 5K Finish Line

After about 45 mins my best friend and I finally reached the end tunnel before the finish line! To my surprise there will bubbles on the floor. We crossed the finish line, got our unicorn medals, and went to check out the tents while we waited for Michelle and her friend (they weren’t too far behind us).

I was not covered in colors from head to toe like I had thought I would be based on the instagram pictures I had seen but that is because they give everyone who crosses the finish a packet of color and you and your friends throw it on one another after your done. I thought this was a great way to keep up the fun of The Color Run after the race was over. We all through color all over each other, took our pictures and boomerangs, went to the area in front of the stage for a little bit, cleaned off, and went to brunch. We had a quite a fun morning.

All in all, I enjoyed my first Color Run even if it wasn’t what I was expecting. I have some tips for those who are thinking about doing it this year or next year and for myself:

  • If you get a packet, bring the bandanna thingy (even if you don’t think you’ll need it). It’s better to have something you don’t need then to need something you don’t have.
  • Bring a water pouch if you hate carrying water bottles. I’m not sure if each city is the same in water station set ups but I would have loved some water before I reached mile 2.
  • Get a phone that takes better pictures. Okay I know this sounds dumb but my best friend has the iPhone X and the pictures she took of the run and of us were amazing. Next year I want to be able to take some good pictures on my own!
  • Don’t focus on time and pace, focus of having FUN! The first mile I was worried about my time and even after I finished I was beating myself up about my time. What I didn’t realize was that The Color Run is not your typical 5K. You can’t run the whole way through if you want to be covered in the colors so just make sure you bring a buddy and have a good time!

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Now that I finished my first Color Run I have two 5Ks down, 10 more to go for 2018! What are some goals you’ve accomplished so far as February winds down? If you’re s runner, what has one of your favorite FUN race been? Let me know in the comments below!

My First Time Running A 5K

When I was in college one of the annual events my sorority would do was the Breast Cancer 5K walk/run and we always walked it as a group that would eventually spilt up into smaller groups due to different paces of we all walked. I always wanted to try to run it but I was never in good shape enough shape (so I thought) until maybe my last semester of college when the 5K had already passed. I also have a sorority sister who was runs 5K, 10K, Half Marathons, and everything else. Seeing her train for these and reach her goals inspired me even more and this year I added “run an entire 5K” to my bucketlist. 


My first 5K was pretty cool! The 5K I chose was the Sugar Rush. When I was picking a 5K to run in December (because the LSAT would have my attention until Dec 2nd) it was between this one and the Resolution 5K. Sugar Rush just happened to be really close to where I live and I was familiar with the location so I went with that one. I’m glad I did! While I didn’t run the whole thing (I definitely walked/jogged more than I ran), I never stopped moving and I can say that is a big step up for where I have been health and fitness wise throughout these past years. 


The Sugar Rush 5K was cute because some enthusiastic runners dressed up as different candy-themed costumes. Lowkey, they were #RunningGoals. I decided if I do this one next year I want to dress up too. The thing I loved about the pre-race and post-race is that everybody was in such a good mood. I mean I know exercise creates endorphins but still…I haven’t that many people happy all at once as far back as I can remember. I even made a new friend after the race. Eveybody was just there to handle their 5K and enjoy themselves.


I originally wanted to run with someone but I have this thing about not liking to run or hike in partners/groups when I’m out of shape. I hate feeling like people have to wait on me when I need a break. That being said, I ran it by myself. Running by myself was actually quite therapeutic. It allowed me to have me-time and engage with nature. One challenge of running by myself is I could have totally walked the whole thing if I wanted to and nobody would know. I’m a woman of integrity so I did run whenever I could but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted haha. The race was quite interesting because at each mile we were given a full-sized chocolate bar and water. I left with a Twix, Reeses, and collected my medal after crossing the finish line and being given chocolate covered pretzels, one mini-donut, a chewy bar, and a candy cane. I didn’t eat it all but instead saved some of it for my family. 


All and all, I’m happy I was able to do this 5K even if I didn’t run the entire thing. I now know that if I can do it without training, I will only get better as I train for next year. I have now made it a goal to run one 5k every month of 2018. I will be tracking my progress on instagram with my hashtag #MaraRunsMoreThanHerMouth so keep an eye out for my posts on there. 
What are some health + fitness goals you have for 2018? Let’s talk about em in the comments below! 

Why I Decided to Transition to a Mostly Plant-Based Diet

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I stopped eating meat (read: chicken, beef, pork, and other land animals) at the beginning of this year. My reason for this dietary modification was not because I watched a documentary on Netflix or because I’m an animal rights activist (no shade to those who are). My reason was that this lifestyle is what was best for my health and how I feel.


Back in 2016 I went to my doctor for a regular check-up. When I got my blood work back the doctor informed me that my cholesterol was too high and I needed to stop eating red meat temporarily. Girl, bye. Whatchu’ mean I can’t eat red meat anymore? Have you had carne asada or a realllly good burger? She said I had to in order to fix the problem while I’m still young. Long story short, I didn’t listen to her. Taco shop food was basically its own food group when I was in undergrad and carne asada and adobada were my favorites. I told myself I would only eat it every so often but that turned out to be…false. So all of 2016 passed me by and I was still eating red meat.


At the end of last year I decided that I should listen to my doctor and stop eating red meat. Becausew I’m an extremist and always have to do the most, I decided I might as well just stop eating meat all together! Luckily for me, this wasn’t a change I had never tried before. My junior year of high school I stopped eating meat for 6 months just to see if I could do it and I did! This time however I opted for the pescatarian route because if I was giving up carne asada…sushi had to stay.


However, as I’ve been on this pescatarian journey I’ve decided that at some point in my life I would like to make the transition to a more plant-based diet. Plant-based is defined as “a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products.” This is different from vegan because Vegans don’t eat meat at all and they also don’t use animal products in their lives at all. My main reason for wanting to transition to plant-based is because when I eat plant-based meals my body feels the best. I have more energy. When I still ate meat I would eat meals and feel groggy, gross, stuffed, sleepy, and overall shitty after I was done. I can’t remember the last time I felt like that. Overall, I feel healthier and more energized and less bloated.


I’m excited to see where this new lifestyle transition takes me. When it comes to your day to day diet and eating habits it’s best to know what works for your body. If you have always considered being a pescatarian, vegetarian, or plant-based leave a comment below! If you have any further questions about my lifestyle change e-mail me at themusingsofmara@gmail.com

Health + Fitness Tips: The Things That Helped Me Create Good Habits

Some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions revolve around working out and losing weight. Making losing weight as one of your resolutions is stressful because many times if the right foundation for these changes isn’t established then it makes it difficult to lose weight and discourages people from reaching their goals. When it comes to having a healthier life and losing weight, there is no magic pill or one size fits all method. People’s bodies and genetics are different. There are, however, very basic things we can change about our lives that will usually help us get closer to our health and fitness goals than if we didn’t adapt them at all. Without lifestyle changes and consistency, we will be doomed to repeat our past mistakes and end up right back where we started.

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Last year I lost almost 30 lbs before my graduation. I was so happy when I was shopping for dresses for my sorority formal and had discovered I went down a dress size. My confidence was high and it wasn’t just because I looked better but it was because I felt better. Since then, I have gained back a good chunk of the weight I lost. When I was in Ohio I noticed what had happened and was extremely saddened by my weight gain. “How could I let all of my hard word before graduation go to waste?” “What happened”, I asked myself. As I reflected on what I had done before graduation to lose weight I decided to make this post for me to refer back to whenever I fall of the wagon (which happens. Humans are not created without flaws). These are some of the things that personally helped me lose weight and feel good about myself and some of the things I was missing out on after I moved from San Diego.

Health + Fitness Journal: By keeping a Health + Fitness Journal, I was able to document my water intake, everything I was eating (clean food and junk food, no discrimination), my workouts or physical activities, and notes on that day. I think this helped me because I was able to notice patterns about my eating habits and make adjustments for the next day or week depending on how life went. I also feel shame if I write “didn’t workout today” too many days in a row. I would definitely recommend this for people like me who love to snack. Snacks don’t seem like a lot until you have to write them all down. It’s also a great way to notice if your body is hitting a plateau because you haven’t switched up your routines yet. This year I have two different Health + Fitness Journals that help me keep track of everything.

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Meal Prep with VARIETY: One thing I noticed throughout the years is that if my meal prep doesn’t have variety, I will NOT be able to stick to it no matter how hard I try. There are only so many days that I can eat fish, broccoli, and brown rice before I lose MY damn minds. I’m a self-named Foodie and if my food doesn’t have variety, that is a sure fire way for me to rather eat out of the house than eat what is in my little square container. What I did back then and do now is try to make 4 or 5 different yet cheap meals that have various flavors so that I don’t get tired of them and switch them up each day. Pinterest has made this even easier now that I am a pescatarian transitioning to more plant-based diet. I’ve mastered the art of $40 a week Trader Joe’s grocery shopping.

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A Workout I Love: This one is a very important one! It should be the first one but I already wrote the other two and I’m too lazy to copy and paste it as the first one. Judge me if you must. Anyways, nothing is more discouraging to your health + fitness journey than if you hate the workouts you have to do. It’s one thing if there is a workout you hate every so often like “Leg Day” or whatever but if you hate most of your workouts you’re going to have a bad time and eventually stop going to the gym and working out altogether. When I lost weight last year I was obsessed with the elliptical, Turbo Kickboxing, and Zumba classes. I could do those every day and never get tired of them. Once I realized I needed to switch it up I went to a Total Body Class that (implied by the name) put my entire body through the ringer. I hated the class during it but appreciated it once they changed the time and I couldn’t go anymore (I’m weird like that), haha. The point is, I had the workouts I looked forward to in mind when I was doing the ones I didn’t necessarily love. They also replaced the total body class with a hip-hop class so I was all for it.

Honorable Mention* Meal Replacement Shakes and Bars: These are a controversial topic but they worked for me and probably saved me from gaining back more weight than I did. I didn’t use them as the basis of my diet but I did like the have them for breakfast as opposed to warming up something from meal prep in the morning. This was a solution after one too many times of running out of the house and forgetting my oatmeal in the microwave and thus starving or having to get a bagel or some nonsense before going into the office, class, or work. They are very useful for people like me who don’t always feel like dealing with meals in the morning.

DRINK WATER: Period, point blank! I will not go into detail with this because it is the most obvious! Start with a smaller daily intake amount and keep increasing it until you’re drinking near a gallon a day. Not only will you not waste precious calories on sugar water but your skin will glow and you’ll feel better on the inside! 

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These are just some of the few things that helped me get on track last year and are helping me do the same this year. Another thing I noticed is I work better with a schedule of some sort when it comes to fitness. Once I had to cancel my gym membership and didn’t have set in stone classes to attend, I started to gain weight back. When I stop working out it’s easier to eat like trash because I don’t look at it as “undoing all my hard work in the gym” which is silly because everyone knows abs are made in the kitchen but that’s how my brain works sometimes. It’s just nonsensical. This time around I also have my Fitbit which helped me this summer when everybody was using it. I used to love having challenges with my friends. Besides my Fitbit, I am currently in an accountability group with some of my sorority sisters in different parts of the nation. We have weekly Google Hangouts to discuss our progress and daily check-ins. I think it’s working for me so far. Along with all of this I have my own personal fitsagram which documents my health and fitness journey. I’m barely starting to use it consistently though so I’ll let you know how it goes.

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At the end of the day, our Health and Fitness Journeys are our own. What works for me may not work for the next person but one thing ALL people who want to embark on this journey is  that they have to have the will and determination to do so. There are going to be rough times when you may fall off the fitness wagon for a few weeks or more but you can always choose to do better if you want it bad enough. Don’t wait for Mondays and New Year’s Day if you do fall off the wagon. Just get back on an keep on going. You’ll thank yourself later.

Do you have any health + fitness goals established? What are some tools you use to help you stay motivated? Talk about them in the comments!