15 Small Steps to Kickstart Big Change

Whether you get excited about the prospect of making New Year’s Resolutions or think it all sounds like a lot of talk without the results, a fresh start on the calendar is always a great time to work towards Awesome-izing Your Life. Awesome-ize. It’s a word. Look it up. :) Sure, this sometimes requires undertaking a large-scale project, but I can honestly say that year after year I’ve often found that it is the tiny little changes that we make over time that ended up having the biggest impact. So if you don’t have the energy to come up with a Giant Resolution to tackle in 2013, how about some taking a few baby steps? You never know, over time some of these may create a domino effect of change you never even knew you wanted to make!

1. Find a Way to Enjoy Eating More Vegetables

Overhauling your diet is such a popular resolution, and trust me, I am obviously a fan. But it takes a huge commitment. What if you just took one little step? Commit to finding some healthy recipes that you actually like. Learn to love brussels sprouts (hint: add bacon). Try making the best broccoli ever. Serve up a giant bowl of spicy kale chips with your lunch instead of those Honey Dijon Kettle Chips. No big deal, right? Just a little change.

Things are right about to get delicious!

2. Commit to Being In More Photos

This post about Moms Staying in the Picture was all over the place this year and despite not being a mom, I loved the sentiment. Who cares if you still need to lose 10 lbs or you don’t love your hair — your life is still worth documenting. Whether it is making sure you are in the vacation pics instead of staying behind the camera, do what you have to do to honor your life NOW. Learn how to take a good self portrait. Your future self will want to remember exactly what that experience looked like.

3. Get Your Online Communication In Check

Do a quick audit of your social media channels: what are you putting out there? Do you mindlessly complain online? Bitch about politics? Only share pictures of your kids or dog? (ahem, GUILTY) Social Media Platforms aren’t going away, so maybe it’s time to come up with a strategy. How do you want to read to the world? What you put out there is important.


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4. Have Friends Over For A Casual Dinner

Sometimes when I think of “having people over” I talk myself out of it because I don’t need another stressful event on my To-Do List. Make 2013 the year that you perfect Casual Entertaining. Filet Mignon is not required to have an awesome evening of conversation with good friends. Stick to an easy Dinner Party Style Recipe. Or Heck, have a pot luck. Play a game. Watch a movie. Keep it simple.

5. Improve Communication With Your Spouse

I mentioned that this last year was a challenging year for Garrett and I, and many of the things we struggled with were miscommunications. So vague, yet so important. One of the things we started doing a while back was to sit down on Sundays and talk about the up coming week while answering these 5 questions (well, 4 questions, we aren’t really the “pray for each other” types.) Sure it seemed a little formal at first, but it has been really amazing how the answers can really set the stage for better communication.

6. Do a Side by Side Taste Test & Discover What You REALLY Like

My favorite part of wine tasting is when you get to see how a wine changes when paired with different foods. Comparative tasting is super fun, and also really illuminating. The next time you are buying yourself some coffee, wine, chocolate, gin, whatever — pick up two types and taste them side by side. I find that tasting two like things side by side helps me get to know exactly what I like I even better.

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7. Send More Handwritten Notes

Whether it’s a thank you note, a birthday card, or just a postcard to say hello — send your sentiments by hand. Who doesn’t love to receive mail?

8. Get Sucked Into a Series of Books

Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, Sookie Stackhouse, 50 Shades of Grey — whatever it takes, just find a series of books that will suck you in and keep you thinking about turning the pages to find out what happens next.

9. Create a Stash of One Pot Meal Recipes For Those Busy Weeks

Martha Stewart has a long list that includes 49 One Pot Meals. Last year I shared 30 Nights of Paleo Crock Pot Meals (and I still use so many of those!) It is so helpful to have a go-to stash of easy recipes.

10. Try a New Workout

I’ve talked before about the importance of finding YOUR fitness but you can’t actually find it if you don’t start looking. Ask your friend to take you to her yoga class, try that spin class at your gym that you think might look fun. Email the owner of a CrossFit gym to find out what the next steps are (how un-scary is email?). Pick up a workout video on Amazon. Just try something new…who knows, you may find something you LOVE!

11. Read a Self Help Book

Sure it sounds cheesy, but what if you put the eye roll on pause, embraced the woo-woo and actually learned something that changed your life? I spent a lot of my early 20s drowning in embarrassing self help books and I often look back and chuckle about it. But the other day I was having a conversation with a coworker about reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and I was DUMBFOUNDED by how much of that book I have unknowingly incorporated into my life. I read it when I was 22! Pick up something cheesy and motivational. (My favorite: Louise Hay Wisdom Cards) Maybe it won’t change your life today, but perhaps it will marinate and then one day you will realize how much it has changed you.

Need some cheesy Wednesday motivation? Me too!!!

12. Adopt a Pet

So maybe this is a bigger “small step” but listen, you don’t have to run out and buy a dog. But can I tell you the most surprising thing that has changed about my life since Buster came into it? I have less fear. Wait…what? I don’t know how to explain it, but now that I have something that is counting on me to be it’s protector, I feel bold in the face of my silly fears. It’s little things like how I used to jump at every little sound in our backyard at night but now if my dog needs to go to the bathroom, I don’t even think twice about heading out into the great black boogey man abyss in the middle of the night for Buster. Hey Monsters, COME AT ME BRO!
I've got my eye on you.

13. Buy Yourself Something You Have No Business Buying

Of course the implication here is within reason, so don’t go out and get yourself a Ferrari that matches Justin Bieber’s, but maybe you’ve been running for a year and still haven’t gotten yourself a Garmin, or maybe you want that pricey perfume that you think smells super great. Maybe you want a Clarisonic because The Internet makes you think your face will be a leathery piece of sandpaper if you don’t purchase one. Whatever. TREAT YO SELF.

14. Get a Dramatic Haircut

Whenever I feel schlubby about my appearance, a dramatic haircut always helps. I don’t necessarily mean cut it all off, but change the style. New hair is always a good act of self care that can motivate you to take your appearance into consideration. And just think, the worst case scenario is that you will get to buy hats with wild abandon. :)

15. Find a Mantra

I know, I know mantras are right up there with self-help books and hippy woo woo. But mantras also have the ability to focus your thoughts and channel your energy into meaningful change. Pick something that resonates with you in your heart, and keep it close and repeat it often. My new mantra for 2013:

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I will be repeating that often, I assure you.

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What little changes are YOU planning on making for the new year?

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9 comments to 15 Small Steps to Kickstart Big Change

  • Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie
    December 20, 2012 at 8:43 am

    These are such great ideas – Thanks for jump starting my New Years resolutions & inspiring me to think outside the box when I’m planning for 2013.

  • Mariah B
    December 20, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I really like that communication idea with those questions. I feel like starting the conversation might be a bit awkward at first, but if I can’t be awkward with the person who knows me best, than we’re probably in desperate need of more communication!

    And your mantra for 2013 has become my mantra for the last few months… and I’ll adopt it for 2013 too.

    We also had some friends over for a casual dinner just the other week, for the first time in a looong time. I made PaleOMG’s bacon chili, which was amazing. :) It was fun! And good to get out of our keep-to-ourselves-man-it-gets-dark-early winter routine we’ve been in.

    Great post!

  • AllieNic @ Frisky Lemon
    December 20, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Love this! So many great tips…especially “buy yourself something you have no business buying.”

  • rockermocking
    December 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Donna is my IDOL!!! love Parks and Rec! :)

    and you are so right about being in photos… if I feel I look decent enough to be seen in public, I can sure have my photo taken.

  • Erica
    December 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I love your new mantra. I want a crock pot. Merry Christmas and happy new year friend. You are amaze-tastic.

  • Laura
    December 20, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I love No 8 – I need to find a new series!

  • sizzle
    December 21, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I’m seeing that calm life quote around a lot. I think it’s a sign for me. :-)

  • Holly
    December 22, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I have a 15 month old and within the past month realized how few pictures I have of both of us together. For our Christmas cards, I changed our photo appt from a child photoshoot to a family photoshoot and I cherish the photos! Sure, I don’t look exactly the way I’d ideally like to look but when I look at them, I just see the happiness on our faces.

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