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Cultivating Habits in a Season of Transition

One of the greatest parts of my job is the ability to cheer the Cultivate family on as they make progress on their goals each month. On the flip side of that, I am consistently blown away by how encouraging everyone is to me as I make progress on my goals. One of my 2017 PowerSheets goals (and hardest because I kept it a secret from you, sorry about that!) was to transition to working remotely full-time as I prepared to move to Atlanta, GA.

I'm a month in, and by no means does a month make me an expert, but I wanted to share something I've been learning over the past few weeks in hopes that it encourages someone else in the midst of a transition.

Is it just me, or does the word transition often gets a bad wrap? I knew when thinking about and planning my transition, I wanted to reframe the narrative in my head. It's simply a matter of a perspective shift to go from "Gosh, I'm moving to a new city. I have to start all over." to "I have a unique chance to start fresh and create new habits!" Don't get me wrong; I know this is easier said than done at times, and I'll be the first to admit there were tears and nerves galore! Similar to starting a new journal or having fresh school supplies, there is something exciting about having a blank slate.

I've used the past month to focus on cultivating three healthy habits: Exercise, Organization, and Healthy Eating Habits. You've likely seen some of these on my PowerSheets goals on Instagram, but I wanted to share a bit more about them here in hopes it encourages anyone looking to cultivate new habits–no transition needed!

Work_remotely

Exercise: Before transitioning to Atlanta, I was traveling almost every weekend. Whether it was going out of town to visit my boyfriend, heading home to see family, traveling for Southern Weddings editorial shoots, or celebrating friends' weddings, my suitcase essentially stayed packed. It was wonderful in so many ways, but it disrupted all my healthy exercising habits, too. Now that I have a central home base, I've found a local barre studio that is within walking distance to my new home, and I'm ending most of workdays with an exercise class.

  • Find what you enjoy, and do that!
  • Hold yourself accountable. I have exercising in my PowerSheets, and a more customer plan printed out and hung on my fridge. I mark off my progress in both places each day, and it's quite gratifying!
  • Create an incentive for yourself! I've created an incentive structure for my exercise plan! If I meet my goal for my summer plan, I'm allowing myself to purchase one new article of exercise clothing I wouldn't normally purchase. (Send me any suggestions you have!)

exercise

Organization: I went from a six-bedroom house with my own room to a 250 square foot apartment, and let me tell you, it's been one of the greatest things that could have happened to me. Why? I was forced to sort through my things and decide what was worth keeping, what was worth storing, and what needed to just get tossed, donated, or sold. A lot of my stuff went into storage, and over the past month, I've kept a list of what I need to grab on my next trip home. Guess what? That list is a lot smaller than I thought it would be.

  • Ask yourself "Would I pay money for this again right now?" If the answer is no, it's probably time to part ways with the item.
  • Throw stuff away! The craft supplies you've been keeping just  because? Toss them. The old  birthday card from someone you kind of know? Trash. My best advice here: do this right before trash collection day so all your full bags get picked up right away!
  • Sunk costs are always sunk. As you're going through your clothes, it will be tempting to think about how much you paid for something and decide to keep it on that factor alone. Don't fall into that trap! Think about if it's an article of clothing you love and wear often. if not, donate it, give it to a friend, or try to consign it. But don't hold onto it for that reason alone!

post_it_purge

Eating healthy: In my case, there is a direct correlation between the number of my roommates and my eating habits. I shared my home in Durham with five other ladies who would often bring home leftover treats from work or decide to bake something yummy. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not shifting the blame to them by any means! While these things are great in moderation (I'm all about food freedom), having the ability to walk to the kitchen and cut off a slice of pound cake whenever my heart desired (including breakfast!), was not the healthiest thing to do. I moved very little food items, so I was essentially starting over with my fridge, freezer, and pantry. My first grocery trip may have been a bit more expensive than normal, but it was completely worth it. Now that I live alone, I have complete control over the food that comes in my house. Therefore, if I don't buy cookies at the store, I'm not tempted to eat them. It sounds elementary, but it works!

  • Don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry. You'll be much less tempted to buy those dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I'm looking at you Trader Joe's.
  • If you do buy a treat, but the smallest container of it. There is part of me that says "Jess, but if you buy 36 bagel bites you're saving money!" (Yes, I love bagel bites. No judgment!) But if I buy 36 bagels bites, I'm going to eat 36 bagel bites. If I buy 9, I'm only going to eat 9. I know that sounds so simple, but I have to remind myself of that often!
  • Keep a list of healthy and easy meals to plan and prepare ahead of the week. Knowing I have a meal to eat when I finish work fights my urge to go grab something quick or order out.

I'd love to hear from you! How do you cultivate healthy habits in the midst of a transition? Leave a comment below, and share your wisdom with me!

Show Comments (10)
  1. Michelle
    Michelle
    reply

    Yes! Good habits are so important, and a transition is a great time to start fresh!! You should check out Gretchen Rubin's book Better Than Before or take her quiz to find out what tendency you are. It is so helpful in forming habits! I think Lara is an upholder. Actually, you might be an office full of upholders :)

    http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/01/ta-da-the-launch-of-my-quiz-on-the-four-tendencies-learn-about-yourself/

    • Jess Metcalf
      Jess Metcalf
      reply

      That book has come recommended a few times, but I've never picked it up. Now might be the time! Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Ashley Ziegler
    Ashley Ziegler
    reply

    Don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry is SO TRUE. Haha yet, I don't really ever listen to myself when it happens. Haha!!

    • Jess Metcalf
      Jess Metcalf
      reply

      It seems like a simple thing, but it can be so hard at times! Xx!

  3. #MondayMotivation – The Simple Pursuits
    #MondayMotivation – The Simple Pursuits
    reply

    […] + August means back to school which means transition! If you’re in a time where things are changing all around you, check out this blog post from Cultivate What Matters. […]

  4. Carrie
    Carrie
    reply

    This is so applicable to me right now. I just moved 2 weeks ago and have school orientation in one week and then classes start in 2 weeks. Plus I'm going to be working my current job still, but part time. I have no 'normal' yet and I won't for another month. It seems like budget, exercise, and intentional eating are the first things to go out the window. :( I have the 6-month power sheets, but haven't used them yet. Seems like it could be a good time to start.

    • Carrie
      Carrie
      reply

      Do ya'll have posts on healthy meal planning/shopping? I'm single and 35 and I'm super bad at it. (Chick-fil-a calls my name so often...)

    • Jess Metcalf
      Jess Metcalf
      reply

      Oh girl, I completely understand! We don't right now, but I have a post in the works for September. My best piece of advice is to meal plan. Knowing what I'm eating for dinner (and that it's easy to make because I prepped) is a game-changer. I also keep snacks with me all the time so I'm not tempted to stop for food other places! More to come soon!

    • Jess Metcalf
      Jess Metcalf
      reply

      What an exciting transition for you! Yes, dig into those PowerSheets, and start small. Don't worry about trying to make progress on #allthethings, focus on a few that are most important right now! Xx!

    • Carrie
      Carrie
      reply

      Thanks Jess! :)

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