I’m sure my regular readers will have noticed a large gap in my posting schedule. Today marks my one year anniversary of starting this blog. I started it with purpose, with passion. I loved wellness and everything about it. Those that have been reading for the past few months my sporadic posts know that it has been a struggle determining the direction I want to take with with this blog or even if I want to keep it around.

I keep reading articles and seeing things that get me excited to post but never post them. I feel like I’m slacking at blogging, slacking at consulting, slacking at living a wellness lifestyle. Why would anyone want to take my tips or read articles I think are worthwhile if I can’t even practice what I preach? It’s a struggle. It feels like a struggle that is reoccurring, just a different topic. I keep living my life with the “when x happens then y” mentality and it’s not healthy because x never happens or is constantly changing. They use this analogy w/ people wanting to lose weight. They say once I reach my “goal weight” then life happens but the “goal weight” is never the goal weight. It has nothing to do with the weight. It’s in your mind. You think that getting to x will all of a sudden make y appear but that’s not how things work, that’s not how life works. It’s not a simple when x then y equation.

My director was talking to me the other day and asked me what I want to do with my life. 26 years old and I have no idea. I have forgotten where my passions lie. Forgotten what compels me to wake up in the morning besides an alarm clock and a schedule. I spend most Sundays locked in my apartment, shades drawn, binging and ignoring the world instead of embracing the world and being in it. I’m not depressed, I’m lost. Which is fine when you are 18 years old. But I’m 26. My time for being lost is over.

Overall Wellness: Checking-In

I skipped last month’s check in because I was slammed with work stuff and my goals kind of took a back seat to everything else. Just getting through the month with all my hair (sans a major haircut) was more important to me. Some months are crazy and it’s just about getting through the month. Other months I can really concentrate on bettering my self.

So to recap, my goals for this year are:

1.) Drink more water – got a little off track on this but reeling it back in to concentrate on this. I somehow keep forgetting that we have one of those water fountains that you can use to fill your water bottle upstairs and I just finish off my bottle of water that I brink (reusable) and just suffer being thirsty for the rest of the day. I don’t know why it just escapes my mind. Perhaps I should put a post-it note up in my office…

2.) Focus on form – I”m really excited about this because I have been working on this quite a bit and I am seeing results. I made a decision not to race at all this year and just concentrate on my form with running and also with lifting. My running has leveled off quite a bit (but now with the nicer weather, I’m more likely to go for an impromptu run) and my times have gone waaaaay up. But taking the time to concentrate on my running form I can tell is going to pay off in the long run (cheesy pun intended!)

3.) Budget and get credit cards paid off – I kind of forgot about this. The budgeting part. And then this morning, I knocked over my drink all over my pile of receipts that I needed to enter into my spreadsheet … so that happened. But I have definitely switched over to a cash based … life? I just have found that using cash works best for me. It really keeps my spending in check and I have been able to cut my spending from about $100/week to $70/week.

4.) Read for fun and research – I have been doing a lot of reading for work and as soon as I finish up some blog posts, I”m going to grab a book and read outside for a bit. I’m really enjoying drinking some coffee and sitting on my balcony and reading with the nicer weather that we have now. I’m still way behind on my goal to read a book per month. I’m almost finished with my second book (one for work) and then I’m thinking I’m going to re-read Harry Potter. Mainly because I have been listening to a Muggle Net podcast that analyzes the books from various academic perspectives and now that I have heard these, I want to go through and analyze the books a bit more.

5.) Laugh, love, and accomplish something everyday – yup. I am. And it helps. Some days, I am accomplishing something big, other mornings I”m happy that I was able to get out of bed.

How are your goals going so far? A quarter of the way through the year, how are you feeling about your goals? Any changes that you have made? Have you added more? Let me know!

Physical Wellness: Don’t Get Sucked In.

The other day, Eric was talking to me about something he had read about on Nerd Fitness. Which Nerd Fitness is a website that helps break down fitness in terms of kind of like video games. When you PR, you level up and they just kind of relate everything in a different way to fit that “nerd” demographic. He was telling me about an article that was breaking down supplements. Basically it was saying that using supplements that promise immediate results is like using a cheat code in a video game. Usually you have to put in hours into the video game to get to where someone else has gotten with a cheat code.

As he was saying this, it really made me think about how many people get sucked into these gimmicks of the diet industry. Whether it be losing weight or gaining weight. But everyone, and I do mean everyone, knows that the real secret to sculpting the perfect body is that it takes time. And beyond that it takes realistic expectations. I have been running this blog for almost a year and I can tell you that hands down my most popular post I have ever written is my how to set SMART goals. Having that realistic component to your physical goals is really important.

There is no cheat code. There is no short code on the road of health and wellness. It takes time. It takes dedication. It takes realistic expectations. It takes trial and error to figure out what works for you. And honestly it will probably be changing often throughout your life. It might side “pessimistic” to say, but I don’t think you ever get to the end goal of total health and wellness. Because you work on it every single day. You are constantly on this journey. And even when you get to the point where you are like, “ok, yup, I’m there” you still have to work every day to stay there.

Enjoy the journey.

Overall Wellness: Check-In

My goals for the year will be the guide for my monthly check-ins this year.

1.) Drink more water. I definitely will need a better way for tracking my water intake. I have been working on drinking more water and less pop, but I can still do better. I actually dropped and shattered my water bottle a few weeks ago. And I immediately felt weird not having one.

2.) Focus on form. I have been doing a better job with this in my weight lifting. I haven’t been running very much lately so I haven’t concentrated on form as much and when I have been running, it’s been outside and in the winter, just staying upright is a success for me.

3.) Budget and get credit cards paid. I have been doing a pretty good job with this. I have moved to spending almost only cash when I go grocery shopping and and any left over cash I can use on other things like grabbing lunch with a friend or something. I haven’t been able to cut the cord on my debit card completely, but I have been working on my budgeting.

4.) Read for fun and research. I have been doing more with reading at night instead of just watching TV. Eric and I have even moved to reading before bed one night a week on the weekends.

5.) Be a well-informed citizen of the world. I have been reading my DailySkimm newsletter and I have been reading LearnVest articles more, but I really need to work on listening to more podcasts and getting more news in my life. Less crap.

6.) Laugh, love, and accomplish something everyday. I have laughed and loved but I think it might be beneficial for me to document what I accomplished that day so I have actual evidence to back this up.


Overall Wellness: Checking In

Today is going to be my check-in post since tomorrow I will set my goals for 2014.

Let’s review December’s goals, shall we?

  • Water! You know, I did do a better job at consuming more water but I still rely on soda/pop/diet coke a bit too much. 
  • Continue to make progress on my consulting project. I had big plans to work on this a lot while I was home for the holidays…those plans did not work out. So now I’m scrambling a bit. 
  • Budget! I actually created some excel spreadsheets to use for 2014 to track my spending so I have actual data and numbers to base my budget off of! 
  • And finally, breathe and relax. I took a few “me” days off around the holidays so I got to spend some time doing nothing, which was nice. But now it is time to kick back into high gear. 

Since I will be setting overall 2014 goals tomorrow, I won’t set monthly check-in goals like I usually do in these posts.

Stay safe this New Year’s Eve!!

Overall Wellness: Check-In

Ah yes, tis the time to set a few goals and revisit the previous months goals. Let’s look at November, shall we?

  • Get Christmas shopping done this month. Well, I got my mom and sister done…I had a plan and I ended up straying from that a bit…
  • Fitness challenge. Ah yes, as we start getting into the cooler months, my desire to just curl up and do nothing is increased. So a nice little 30 day fitness challenge is just what I could use. This won’t be like my 50 days of running challenge but rather will be 30 days of “beasting” of killing my workouts. I tracked each day on my personal blog and it was pretty interesting. Up until I left for home, I only missed one day and I hit it hard most days. It was pretty cool to see myself pushing myself again. I will continue to keep pushing. I know it is hard to get motivated to work out in the winter/colder months. 
  • Budget. Go ahead and prepare for this one to probably always be in the mix b/c it is something that I continue to need to work on. Still need more work on this but I did go into Black Friday shopping wanting to spend x amount of dollars and only went over that limit a little bit.
  • Don’t stress. I did … not so well with this. I got really stressed out when I was driving back because I missed a merge onto a different interstate and ended up in a bad part of town and my GPS kept trying to make me turn on a street that didn’t exist. I finally just had to choose a direction and start driving that way and make my GPS recalculate a bunch until it got me where I needed to go. Luckily, I chose the right direction. It was stressful. I missed my merge too b/c my GPS was busy trying to tell me about a traffic incident ahead that didn’t even exist. Annoying. 

Ok! How about some December goals!

  • Water! I do not drink near enough water and I discovered last month that my building installed on the water bottle water fountains up on the ground floor. So this gives me a great excuse to go upstairs and get water. I will get a tiny bit of extra movement into my day plus I will get to see outside…weird! Well, it is for me since I work in a basement.
  • Continue to make progress on my consulting project. A couple months ago I announced that I was going to be working on a consulting project. Well, I took the project on right when work got crazy for me and I was working early and through lunch…sometimes late. Then I went to Kentucky…so the project didn’t start off great but I have steadily been plowing through it. I even had a blog post published on their site! I’d like to complete the first section and get the other section done as well. Especially since I am taking some time off during the holidays. Which will include some time that I am not at work, not at home, and not with das boy. Just some time when I am at my home.
  • Budget! I’m getting better and making improvements. I’d like to get into a good routine so I can start the new year off with strong budgeting skills. Because (I am thinking of my SMART New Year’s goals already) I’d like to get myself out of credit card debt by the end of 2014. So then the only debt I would have is my student loans.
  • And finally, breathe and relax. Work will get crazy again soon and January – March is basically just…crazy. Without getting into too much detail, this is really the last bit of time I get to relax before things get busy again so I need to make sure I take advantage of that. Also making sure that I breathe and relax through the holidays. Does anyone else find that the holidays just stress them out more than not? Just me? Can’t be!

What are your goals for December? Are you starting to plan out 2014 goals? I like to start the planning process in December so I can work on making sure I operationalize my goals and so I can get some clear measures of them!

Occupational Wellness: Realistic Goals vs. Dream Goals

Yesterday I had an amazing opportunity to hear John Hill from LinkedIn speak. He gave tons a great advice and tips for using LinkedIn to it’s full potential. But he also gave a few just general career tips, one of which was to dream big. This got me to thinking, is it better to dream big or to dream realistically? Or is there a happy medium in there? To dream realistically and big? Because if we are being honest, there is no way that everyone can be a CEO of a company (aside from the fact that not everyone wants this, but it is just an example) making millions (billions?) and living in a penthouse suite in NYC. But is there a way to realistically set some dream goals? I suppose you could look at your strengths and interests and figure out what you might be happy doing and set some realistic goals that way? Or you could see who you occupationally admire/look up to and set up an informational interview to hear how they got to where they are? The thing is that I can’t give advice on this topic. Because everyone has different goals and aspires to be something different. I agree with John Hill, dream big, absolutely. But do so realistically. What is your ultimate dream job/career?

Physical Wellness: Just Keep Swimming?

I spoke yesterday that I was going to give a more detailed update on my swimming progress. This has been a post that I have been thinking about for a couple of months now actually. I have struggled with my progress in that I don’t feel like I have had any progress. I keep thinking that I should be able to do 100s consistently and flip turns should be no problem for me. But that hasn’t been the case. I have just recently started feel comfortable doing 50s and just last week got the courage to start incorporating flip turns.

When I first started swimming, I was doing every other lap with a kick board because I struggled a lot with breathing (I’m an excellent human being-I can’t even breathe). I just recently got to the point where I do the majority of my swim workout actually swimming and not kick boarding as much. I started off struggling to swim on length (25) and now I’m doing 50s. So even though I’m not where I thought I would be as quickly as I would like to be, I’m still making progress.

All of this just reinforces what I have been saying and doing all along-these monthly check ins-setting goals and making changes based on how you are doing with those goals. For the past couple of months, I keep setting swimming goals and just barely meeting them or not meeting them at all. But because I have been checking in every month with how my swimming is going, I feel like I am getting a good view on my progress-even when it feels like I have made no progress at all. It’s also a lesson in setting realistic goals. How many times I have I set the goal for me to swim 100s and to swim a mile? At least 3 times. Which is ridiculous seeing as I was struggling to complete 50s. And I have swam a mile once.

So what can you learn from my swimming? Checking-in is actually helpful. Setting realistic goals while having an ego is not always easy. It’s always nice to see progress from working hard.

The winner of my giveaway is: shawneequathompson

I assigned numbers to both people who entered the giveaway and went to and asked them to pick a number between 1 and 2 and shawneequathompson was selected! If you are under 18-you know the drill-ask your parent’s permission first. Please email me your mailing information to by October 9, 2013 and I will get the book out to you shortly! If I don’t hear from you by then, it will default to the other entry.

Wellness Check-In: Revisiting September Goals and Setting October Goals

  • Budget. Budget. Budget. Seriously. Budget my little budget off. …still need to work on this and keep it a priority to work on. 
  • Swimming. I really need to be working on my swimming and with the pool that I use being open for more hours and more days, I think it will help just being in the pool more and working on stuff. So I’m going to carry over my August goal of getting comfortable swimming 100s and utilizing flip turns. I am going to do a more detailed post on swimming tomorrow, but I am working on this as well. 
  • Stick to my workout schedule. I respond so well to schedules and having a good workout schedule is helping me out great! But I want to see myself making more gains-lifting, running, and swimming. 
  • Blogging. I feel like August was so hectic that my blog really started to slack so I want to make sure that I keep up the integrity of my blog. Especially since I am going to be in Kentucky for a week, I want to make sure that I have posts ready to go on at least travel days-I learned my lesson the hard way when I was travelling to Colorado. I feel like I did a much better job of this. I planned well for when I was traveling and made sure I had content ready to go. Even though it is time consuming, I want to keep up the integrity of my blog, especially as I am trying to get my blog name out there more and more. There have been a few posts when I was like…really Vanessa? 
  • Emotional/Mental wellness. I need to take more time to make sure this is in check. I struggled with this a lot during August. I let stress (both personal stress and work stress) take over my mental wellbeing. We hear this all the time, there cannot be happiness without sadness…it is completely true, for me. After my rough couple of weeks, I was having just a normal day, but nothing bad happened. I was with das boy and I just turned to him and said, “today is a great day.” 

September Goals/don’t judge me if I carry some of August’s goals over

  • Hey Vanessa, BUDGET! BUDGET! AND BUDGET SOME MORE! Get your spreadsheets out and get going!
  • Stick to the fitness schedule and write up a workout to do on the days when I am working out solo and then actually stick to it-regardless of how many guys are in the weight room.
  • Swim a mile.
  • Stay focused on my volunteer work and research with the leadership project.

I’m going to keep October nice, sweet, and simple. Just 4 goals-realistic yet challenging.

What are some of the things you want to accomplish in October?

Also, TODAY is the last day to enter my giveaway! So far my sister is the only one that has entered! So in the comments below, be sure to let me know what wellness means to YOU! I will pick a winner tomorrow and set up sending the Wellbeing book with a unique code so YOU can take the the finder and determine where you are at the wellbeing scales!

Overall Wellness: Why Do Dreams Matter?

Hi. This is a post that has no research to back it up, just personal opinions. So…yup. Sometimes I do these types of posts…

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an article from Thought Catalog that just made me think back on my dreams. My goals and my ambitions for myself, both professionally and personally. And it got me to thinking, why do dreams matter? I get that they matter in a sense of direction that you take your life and setting goals (or that could just be the analytical side in me), but why do they matter in your life? How many people really achieve their dreams? We hear stories about so and so overcoming all the odds and making their dreams happen, but what about the others? What about the people who are still chasing their dreams but will probably never catch them? What propels them to keep chasing? What makes dreams so powerful? Is it because it gives you that internal motivation to do something/be something/be somewhere/etc that you love to your core?

I mean really, how many people just in your life have you known that have said all they want to do is live in New York City? I see this quote pop up all the time on tumblr about just give me a small apartment, just enough to live off of and insert dream here (usually it is to live in NYC or to be a writer). What is it about a dream that makes a person believe that they will be inherently happy once the dream is achieved and they can throw everything else out the window. They just need the basics, the necessities and they will be fine. But the problem with that is there is no definition of the necessities. No definition of just enough money to get by. Do you mean just enough money to pay the bills and that’s it? Because research definitely suggests otherwise that having more than “just enough to get by” actually does increase happiness. (Just to be clear, money does not equal happiness but stability and more specifically financially stability does.)

Do we live in a too whimsical world that believes that magical things can just happen? When does having a healthy does of reality help out? Or should be keep our dreams alive and keep chasing them relentlessly?

Or should I stop asking a million questions 🙂