Assume The Best Intentions

Last week I attended a training in which we were asked to be open about our truth right at that moment – that we needed to create a “safe space” where people can speak without feeling like they are going to be judged or attacked. One of our rules for the discussion was to assume that everything someone says is said with the best intentions.

Don't assume! #quotes

I got that phrase, “assume the best intentions” stuck in my head for the next couple of days and started to apply it to my everyday life. I know a lot of us tend to put our own personal histories or our current emotions into what other people are saying to us: perhaps my friend suggests I read an article about prayer and then all the sudden I think she’s telling me that I’m not good enough or not doing enough, or trying to prove she’s better than me. But guess what? She probably just liked the article and thought I would too.

We often jump to the worst assumptions when it comes to a lot of people, especially close friends and family because of the history we have with them. But usually, our assumptions are wrong and making negative assumptions only harms your relationship, causes you stress and creates more tension.

So next time someone says something to you that might cause you to feel defensive or offended, take a second to think it over: “what would that mean if he/she was saying it with the best intentions?” Remember what happens when you assume…


What do you think about this rule? 

Do you tend to be defensive or take things the wrong way? Do other people do it to you? 

3 Steps to Finding Your Motivation

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a good weekend and are ready for the week! I was inspired to write today’s post after doing a podcast with Lifestyle Accountability a couple months ago. Good thing I finally got around to it now…


Three Steps to Finding Your Motivation

Whether you’re going after a fitness goal, working your way towards a degree, starting a business, or simply changing small habits in your life, these Three Steps to Finding Your Motivation can easily apply.

1. Find Your “Why?”

It’s hard to work for a goal unless you have a good reason behind it. WHY do you want to cut dairy out of your diet? WHY do you want to finish graduate school? WHY do you want to run a half marathon?

Imagine yourself completing your goal. How do you feel? What about your life has changed? When you find that feeling that you’re striving for, you’ll find your “Why?”

For example: Whenever I have a race coming up and I’m in training. It’s not always rainbows and kittens. When I’m slugging my way through a tough long run I try to imagine that I’m in that race. How does it feel to be running the last mile? How does it feel to cross that finish line? Accomplished, proud of myself, confident and (usually…) having fun. That’s my why.

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2. Start Small

A lot of people start really strong and dive in head first, only to feel overwhelmed and quit soon after. We’ve all heard the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” You may feel frustrated and want to change something RIGHT NOW rather than having it take 3 months, 6 months or a year. But what’s worse? Achieving your goal in a year or quitting a month in and not achieving it at all?

By using small steps to slowly make your way to where you want to be, you’re engraining good habits and not overloading yourself with new responsibilities or changes.

For example: you want to start a blog! Awesome. But don’t expect to have tons of followers and comments right away, or even within a couple months. First, get a free account and start writing. See if you like writing just for you. Then get a twitter, start interacting on social media. If you still like it, try to join some blogging groups. By taking it step by step you won’t feel like your new goal has taken over your life.

small steps

3. Find Support

We are social creatures – even those of us who call ourselves introverts need support from the people around us. Trying to get into shape? Find a buddy to workout with a couple times a week, or join a group fitness class and get to know the instructor or someone else in the class.

Trying to start a blog or a new business? Seek out a mentor, someone you respect who is already doing what you want to be doing. Making a dietary change? Discuss it with the people you live with, ask for their support and maybe organize a “gluten free” or “dairy free” meal together once or twice a week.

For example: when I was training for the Chicago Marathon, I certainly didn’t do it alone. I joined a running group here in Chicago, I had friends who I talked to about running all the time, I basically turned my cousin into my personal running coach (thanks Allie!), and even my family who didn’t quite “get” the whole running thing came out to support me during the race, which meant the world to me. Yes, I ran the race by myself, but I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support.

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Do you have a goal that you are or want to work towards?

What are you tips to finding motivation and achieving goals?

Goals for 2014

Well, it’s about that time! 2013 was a BIG year for me, and I’m hoping that 2014 brings just as much change. I think this is the first time I’ve ever reached a New Year and I am really, really looking forward to the year ahead. Law school is behind me, the Bar exam is behind me, and only new things are to come!

goals 2014

Before we get into 2014 though, let’s take a look back at my goals for 2013:

1. Be more thoughtful with my time. This is something I think I did much better with for a majority of the year, but once September game it just went out the window. I’m awful with my time nowadays since I have way too much of it. This is definitely a goal that will be added on for the upcoming year.

2. Build Strength. Womp womp. Haha, I did work on building some strength this year, but I don’t think I was consistent enough with it to see any real results. Another thing to add to 2014!

3. Continue working on my relationship with God. YES! Haha I got one right! After the Bar exam I finally found a church that I enjoy (mostly because of the young community) and I’ve joined a small group, which I love. I decided to ask to be placed in a group for their bible study so I would be more accountable and have more concrete ways to study God’s word, as well as surround myself with women who are a wonderful, positive influence.

4. Show more appreciation for family and friends. I hope I did this one! I’ve tried to send out more cards, notes and make more phone calls this year than I have in the past. I’ve recently gotten to talking to one of my friends from college much more (miss you merebear!) and I was so blessed to have a whole week in Charleston with my friend, Amy Lee for her wedding. I’m so glad I took that week off from the Bar to spend with her.



Alright, time for 2014!

1. FIND A JOB. Self-explanatory.


2. Be more productive with my time. Sound familiar? Haha we’re trying this one again! I really need to be better about getting up early, working out, and getting out my door and to a coffee shop by 8:30-9:00am. You’d think this would be easy but somehow I manage to dawdle the morning away. NO MORE!

3. Live Intuitively. As I learned through Jamie’s Intuitive Eating program, it’s important to not only eat intuitively, but live intuitively. Listen to your body, as well as to your gut instincts. Be true to yourself, be honest with others, and don’t try so hard to live up to the expectations of others. This can be a hard one for me because I like people to like me, I’m definitely a people pleaser.


4. Work on strength training! Haha another repeat. I’ve decided this year I’m probably going to run fewer miles (less runs per week, but hopefully at least one long run and one speed work) and work on strength more. I have some running plans lined up for Spring, but once we’re past that I think I’m going to sign up for races at the last minute rather than ahead of time.

5. Push myself out of my social comfort zone. I do tend to be fine with meeting new people and attending events alone (hello skeeball!) but I spend far too many nights at home alone because I’m comfortable with that. This year I’ll not only have my small group, but I’m also joining the Junior League of Chicago, which I’m really looking forward to. Beyond that – just more social events and meeting up with friends!



What are goals you have for 2014?

What’s one thing you accomplished in 2013?

June Goals

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I had an amazing time at home with my family celebrating my cousin’s wedding – more to come on my weekend tomorrow or Wednesday! You know what else happened this weekend? The first of June! Those of you who have been reading for a while now know that I have new “goals” at the beginning of each month. Although I don’t always follow them perfectly, I like to stop every once in a while, step back, and reassess certain areas of my life. Sometimes life is speeding by and it’s important to stop and reflect for a moment, which is something I like about doing these goal posts!

First up, I like to recap how I did with the previous month’s goals:


1. Graduate law school. BOOM! Done! Granted we still haven’t gotten grades back… But hey, I’ve got the photos to prove it!


2. Stay in a good mindset. Doing pretty good! I have to say the IE Challenge was a big turning point for me and how I feel about myself and my life. There is just SO MUCH more to life than being perfect, what other people think of you, and especially your weight. Worrying so much about those things was keeping me from enjoying my life, and now that I’m slowly letting all of that go I’m much more relaxed.

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3. Make 1 recipe a week. I think I did this? Haha I had to go back over posts to check! I didn’t even go grocery shopping the week after graduation, so no recipes there, but the first week of May I made a lentil dal that lasted me a while, the second week I made a bunch of new salad mixes, and last week I tried several new overnight oats recipes to help with time management in the mornings! And do vodka gummy bears count?


So now it’s time for my goals for June!


1. Keep up with strength training. As I mentioned last week, I decided to start doing Jamie Eason’s Livefit trainer. I’m NOT following the meal plan or the exact workout plan for that matter, I’m just using the strength workouts and doing a little less cardio in hopes of getting stronger. I’ve only been doing it for a week but it’s a nice change for now!


2. Bring lunch at least 3 days a week. Same with my goal last month, I want to try and prep ahead of time as much as I can so I’m not spending a ton of money eating out. I also want to be realistic and realize that right now being focused on studying during the week is #1 so I want to be flexible about it as well, hence the three day goal! I’m also hoping to keep up with overnight oats since it cuts about 15 minutes of making breakfast out of my mornings (very helpful when you’re up at 4:50am!).


3. Have fun. Studying for the Bar is most important for the next two months, but I also know I’ll focus better on school if I also take some time to relax and enjoy time with my friends. I definitely need some recharge time to really throw myself into work. Like impromptu Cubs v. White Sox games…



Do you try and pack lunch or do you eat out often?

What’s your favorite kind of exercise right now?

What’s the best recipe you’ve tried recently?

May Goals

So I’m a couple days behind on this one, but you all can forgive me, right? Since it’s the beginning of a new month it’s time to take a look at how I did on my goals for last month and then make some new ones for May! Warning: May goals aren’t too thrilling… I’ve got a crazy busy month coming up so I’m trying to keep it simple!

Here’s a recap of my goals from April:

1. Run outside at least once a week. Hmmm. Didn’t do awesome at this since I’ve been injured, but I actually think I ran outside almost every week, especially since I had the 5K on Sunday, my run with Emily and Kelsey, and I ran 1.5 miles outside the day after Boston. So like 3 out of 4? Sounds good to me.


2. Follow Jamie’s Intuitive Eating Challenge EVERY DAY. Although I’m not sure I really focused on every e-mail every day, I got so much out of this challenge that I’ll call it a success. Here are all my IE Challenge Re-caps and thoughts posts:

I’m Done – why I did the challenge

Intuitive Eating Challenge Update

WIAW Intuitive Eating Style

What I (Didn’t) Eat Wednesday

Intuitive Drinking

Love Yourself Exactly How You Are – guest post on A Dash of Meg

Intuitive Eating Challenge Review

You Do You

3. Work on using positive affirmations and mantras. YES!!! This has been so helpful to me, and I love that I started doing Saturday mantras to share one of my favorites for the week with all of you! (week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4).



And now, some goals for May!

1. Graduate law school. With today being my last day of classes, I have 4 finals and 1 paper in between me and graduation in 2 weeks. Let’s do this.

2. Stay in a good mindset. I came out of the IE Challenge in really good mindset and my goal is to stay this way as best I can. The next three months are going to be three of the busiest and most stressful months of my life and I need to stay centered, focused and relaxed.

3. Make 1 recipe a week. The way my Bar review class schedule goes, I’m probably going to be eating lunch at school every day, and I cannot be buying lunch every day. I’ve fallen into a bad habit of buying lunch on the 2-3 days I’m there at that time and it must stop. So if I make one recipe a week in bulk and pack it up, I hope to encourage some better habits…

photo 1 (5)

These are pretty simple goals, but for the next 3 months that’s all I can handle: study, study, study, survive. Maybe have some fun thrown in there. Haha I actually scheduled in my fun. I’m doing a kickball league on Sunday afternoons and I already have one Muddy Monk race on the books. Plus I’ve got awesome friends who won’t let me go completely insane.

As for the blog… I honestly don’t know what will happen. I don’t know if I’ll have anything to write about, I don’t know if I’ll have the energy to write. I already know I’m ditching all weekend posts at this point, but don’t be surprised if there are days during the week where you don’t hear from me, especially in July… Bear with me. I know I love this community and I love writing so I don’t intend to stop right now. We’ll just see what happens!


Do you have any goals for yourself right now?

Are you good about packing food?