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005 | 1st Month of 1% Improvement

005 | 1st Month of 1% Improvement

Let’s just take a second and get real. After two years of dieting and trying to improve, I need to tell you: THERE WILL BE HARD DAYS. Not every day is a wake-up and make-progress kinda day. The sun isn’t always shining and my planner isn’t always covered in neat handwriting and cute stickers. Sometimes my hair is undone - the kid is screaming- and there is coffee EVERYWHERE. And that is OK. Now with that. I am going to try and focus on some positive movement from my first month.


Even as I start this blog, I know no one is reading this the day I post it. But still, there is an amount of accountability in the starting and doing. I have a five-week streak as of today. I focus on a change and I write about the progress and process.

Resolutions and Progress

In my first blog post, I mentioned already I want to see improvement. They were and are:

Health and Wellness

I have struggled with fatigue, headaches, inflammation, and weight issues. I am committed to crafting a sustainable lifestyle for my family and me. This includes exploring nutritious and delicious recipes, incorporating regular exercise into our routine, and nurturing our mental well-being.

January’s goal was to eat healthy as a family, and stay on a budget by loosely meal planning and adding in vegetables while reducing processed foods. I wanted to share my success by the number of meals cooked at home (But we did not keep track -- it was a ton!). I want this to be a process of one percent gains. So let's set goals based on the achievable weeks. We will travel and have a birthday in week one, so that can be a semi-base line. Then I will gather the daft for the next three weeks. Previously we were eating out 4 times per week or ordering in, so less than that is a 1% WIN!

In January we ate out for my birthday, had Thai twice with family, 2 fast food runs, one steak house date on a gift card with my parents, and a pit stop while traveling. So, rather than December’s 16 eating-out adventures, we finished January with only 6 restaurant dates. And of those, we split the bill with fam and used a gift card on one. That means that we successfully slightly went over our budget. But the good news is, we were under on our dates so the budget evened out well.

In other rough/good news... My husband decided to start muscle-building and bulking. This means he is taking in 500 calories and 50 grams of protein extra daily. Our grocery bill was nearly impossible to keep in check but we tried our very hardest. I prefer to eat pastor-raised chicken and livestock and to get in a fair bit of veggies, and I still “stuck to my guns” on that even with the nearly 8000-9000 calories I need to provide daily for our family. Of the recipes we tried, I am loving Asian-inspired stir-fry meals and anything where I can double the gain for my spouse.

In post #002, I covered a new family plan for keeping the house clean and the dogs fed. This has been an awesome win and the house was more clean than I needed. I hope to pair back my cleaning tasks to fit our lifestyle in the coming weeks and even slim back my cleaning list a bit to make more time for work and meal prepping.

Speaking of meals, my meal planning, as covered in post 004, was great. I hit my smart goal (about 80/90 meals were at home) and can’t wait to see how we are feeling as we stay on this healthier more wholefood, high-veg diet. I am not seeing any metric changes in my external health (weight and cm,) but I am getting into a grove and I am positive it will take more than 4 weeks to see improvement.

We started a new strength training based on the “golden workout.” My spouse and I do this 2-3x per week and are upping our resistance/weight almost every time we hit the gym. This increase in weight is supposed to help your body focus on building lean muscle*. Also, if you want to try the workout, the website is free and available here.

Financial Independence

I wanted to focus on budgeting, saving, and investing, sharing practical tips for families aiming to achieve financial stability. My smart goal for financial independence was that my husband and I have set budgets using Mint (I switched to a spreadsheet to have a more nitty-gritty view) and want to spend a specific amount on groceries and household goods this month. I will need to meal prep and do check-ins/benchmarks.

In my 2nd blog post, you can read about how I created a budget in Google Sheets to keep a better eye on what we are spending and prepare for our itemized tax deduction for 2024. We stated within most of our budgets except for... We had a crazy freeze and the heater went out. This repair was $500 of the $400 I set aside for home improvement. Thankfully I was so busy with life that I had not repaired anything else. We hope to allocate the +$100 to February and only plan on buying some second-hand storage for my hubby’s office next month. Also, we added 500*31 calories to our daily meals since my husband is bulking. Therefore, we sat down and talked about upping our grocery budget. For now, this will just come out of money we could be saving or investing and we decided to allocate $200 more dollars a month to help him get healthy protein--and then we went an additional $150 over that. But, I feel much more prepared for February and cannot wait to start again.

"So many spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health." – A.J. Materi.

Personal Growth and UI/UX Design

My career is in Design, development, and UI/UX  and my smart goal for Personal Growth and UI/UX Design this month is to find 1-3 good quality resources for free learning about user experience and interaction. I especially want to learn about user testing and research for improving the flow and interaction with a web page or application.

In addition to this goal, in post 002, you can read about my cleaning and preparing for these new changes. I successfully cleaned my workspace and planned a cleaning schedule so that when I work I can focus. My goal is not perfection, but to avoid the ever-running dialog in my head about... “is that done?” so I can focus on my work. My three resources can be found in my other posts, but here is what I am loving right now:

  1. A Cool UX blog I am liking: uxpin.com/studio/blog
  2. I want to read more, but Apple has interface guidelines: developer.apple.com
  3. And lastly, A beautifully designed - design blog: https://thedesignteam.io/

Language Learning, Travel, and Montessori-Like Time

I want to focus this season on language learning, travel, and embracing a Montessori-like approach at home. I want more of a routine but love our flexibility. I wanted to start towards these goals by setting aside time in January to create weekly routines that allow for the additional smart goals to be set and reached. Then at the end of each week, I want to analyze what worked and did not work as I plan for the next week and improve our routine to fit with our family dynamics, times, hobbies, and goals.

In the second and third blog posts, I show how I gathered info and created a base weekly plan for me and my daughter. So technically this is a 1% improvement. Then we spent the 1st three weeks sick, so we haven’t got to tweak the schedule like I wanted.

Week four went better but we still have no structure. The goal now is to sleep more routinely so I can schedule more easily without friction. Other things that help when routines are rough are to 1. pre-pack bags, 2. Have kids help by picking up 10 things before bed, and 3. Don’t feel guilty about saying NO!

Wrapping up

Over all of January, I focused and made improvements on our budget, our house chaos, our meals, and my own body fat/muscle ratio. This is great! And although I did not feel the change in our at-home schedule and Montessori time, I know what to work on now.

So for February, Here are my new goals:

  1. Health and wellness
  1. Meal prep balanced breakfasts, lunches, and dinners while getting 150-160g of protein daily and leaving room for a treat or wine!
  2. 8-9 minutes weekly of a cold plunge or cold shower
  3. Fermented food 1x daily
  4. Strength training 2-3x/week
  1. Financial and Budget
  1. Continuing to a spreadsheet and staying within our eating out, grocery, and date money budgets!
  1. UI/UX design and Personal Business Growth
  1. Finish and launch my new website to save $300-$500 annually in fees I am paying to Squarespace.
  1. Language Learning, Travel, and Montessori-Like Time
  1. 1 road trip
  2. 1 hour a week speaking Hungarian at home
  3. 1 adventure, and practice of “10-min-school-time” at home with my daughter to see how this goes.
  4. I would like to attempt to be in bed by 10:00 and up by 7:00 by the end of February (My kiddo will need to be in bed by 9:00 and up by 7:45)

And here is to wishing you encouragement for February and all the small 1% changes in your life. Cheers!