Jump In and Go For It!

I feel like this is becoming a common theme in my life. I have been blessed with amazing opportunities growing up through 4-H, opportunities to visit other countries on mission trips, the chance to learn an instrument, attend an amazing college, serve on various boards/committees throughout college, land an amazing first job, move into a specialty area and get another amazing job, etc. All of these opportunities have been blessings. I strongly believe that, but I also believe that I have “jumped in and taken a chance” when opportunities presented themselves. I very easily could have just avoided the opportunity and not applied for a board position or a chance to do something that pushed my comfort zone.

When it comes to advice, I am a strong believer in “jumping in and going for it.” Whatever that opportunity is! If you see a chance to take a leap, push yourself, advance your career, learn a new skill … then take that leap! This made me think of the Purdue 150th Anniversary Celebration. As you know, I am a proud Purdue Alum, but I love the theme for this year and this celebration - “Take Giant Leaps.” I think this fits perfectly into my mantra for life … “Go for it!” In order to continue to learn and became better and whatever you decide to do, you have push yourself and take risks at times.

The whole reason I decided to make a blog post on this topic was, because I had an opportunity that presented itself this last week. I was sent an email encouraging me to pursue an application for a national board position within the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Is it a long shot that my application would even get chosen and then if I would even get elected to that position …. yes! It is a huge long shot. Did that stop me from throwing my hat in the ring? No! I was asked by a colleague what made me want to apply? I said, “because I can.” I didn’t need another reason. I had an opportunity come my way. I had a chance to take a leap and try something I have never done before. I decided to try to make that dream a reality and I am going for it. Who knows what will happen. Probably nothing. I gave it a go, but I am not afraid of failing and not being chosen. It is fine. I am busy with lots of things and if this opportunity doesn’t work out this time, that is fine. I can always apply again in the future and see where that door leads.

Basically I wanted to share these thoughts with you to encourage you to push yourself, take those giant leaps and don’t be afraid to say “yes” to an opportunity that comes your way. Putting yourself out there is the best way to move forward and to learn! So jump in and go for it!


Saving Money and Sticking To A Budget

So this post is late. Normally I post on Mondays and I get that up in the morning or at least by the end of day. Well Monday came and went and I wasn't feel super inspired to write a post. There wasn't anything rolling around in my brain that I thought was super exciting to share with you. 

Well inspiration finally struck today. I figured I wanted to share some honest struggles with you about sticking with a budget and saving money. That is the most exciting things that I have been trying to work on recently. 

Our family has both myself and husband working full time. We make an "ok" salary between the two of us (especially compared to people in other countries we are very blessed). We also have our far share of loans. Between my husband's car and then his school loans we also have a decent chunk of our income going to pay for those things. When it comes to money we have save for retirement, but we needed to do a better job at saving our the rest of our income. The retirement is easy, because it gets deducted from your paycheck and you never see that money, but the money that you actually bring home is tougher to save. I try really hard to cook meals at home, but we do eat out occasionally. But I never thought we spent tons of money, but after some serious self-reflection we are working hard to try to change some habits and actually save more money. 


I have to admit, working at saving money is probably one of the most changing things I have done. I have done lots of hard things, but this has to be the slowest, and the hardest to stick with. We have really ambitious goals for our much money we want to save and to get there we needed to make some adjustments. We have cut out all extra spending. So we will still purchase things if they are needed, but nothing else extra. For example, on Amazon Prime Day we ended purchasing a bowel for William to learn how to use, dog treats for Einstein and a bike rake for Chas' bike so he can bike to work. Nothing extra, nothing that wasn't something we would already plan to purchase. 

Things I have learned ... 

  • It is hard. When you try so hard to save and then you don't see that much more money in your account it is depressing. 
  • You realize all the little things add up. That cup of coffee, plus that bottle wine or that time you went out to eat can easily add up to $50 without you noticing. 
  • You have more free time. When you spend less money, you spend less time at stores and you have more free time. That is always a win. 
  • Trying to find things to do that we can do for "free." We have memberships to a couple of museums and we can totally go enjoy those activities because they are already paid for. That is a great way to do something fun, but not spending more money. 
  • Hang out with other people who are saving money. That always helps. There is nothing worse than hearing about someone's trip somewhere and you realizing you can't take a trip right now because you are trying to save money. So find some like minded friends and spend time with them! 
  • Find ways to make enjoying at home fun. I have been trying to find cheap, healthy ways to prepare food at home and not miss eating out as much. For example, we made homemade Udon soup last weekend and it was amazing and way cheaper than eating out. 

Hopefully this post helps encourage you that if you are interested in working to set a goal, saving money or something else .... that you stick with that goal and moving toward that end goal. It is small steps that hopefully add up over time to big changes. But until then ... we will be hanging out at home, eating popcorn on our couch and watching Netflix and trying not to spend extra money. 

Personal Goals

It is that time of year for annual self evaluations at my work. That is not my favorite thing to fill out, but it got me thinking about personal goals. I am a strong believer in always having goals for yourself. No matter the area of your life, having a goal and working towards something is important. I like to have personal goals for my job, for my finances at home, for my fitness and for my marriage. If you can't tell, I really like having a list of goals and then accomplishing them. 



I wanted to focus on personal job goals. I have had some conversations with students (in college) and colleagues at work about setting out goals for your job each year. What do you want to accomplish through your work and how do you plan on pushing yourself. 

This year I started off the year with some goals and now I am noticing that those goals are shifting/changing. For example, I have been working towards becoming a IBCLC (lactation consultant) and I wanted to try to get my exam scheduled by the end of 2017. Well we are now just about at the end of 2017 and I am still needing to log 45 education hours before I can sit for that test. Life happened throughout this year and that kept pushing back my ability to do self-study materials to log those 45 hours. There have been several new projects/opportunities that have come up and I needed to focus on. 

Goals for 2017 

  • Nominating Chair for the Indiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (IAND).  
  • Work on self study materials for IBCLC Exam. 
  • Schedule IBCLC Exam. 
  • Re-launch NICU Nutrition Committee.  

When you write down goals for yourself, then you can go back and see how those goals need to change. Being flexible is so important. Life never goes as you think it will, but the beauty for setting goals is having the power to change and adjust them. That is what I have had to do here in the last month. I have had several new opportunities come my way and I have had to change my goals for myself to allow me to work towards those new goals. 

Updated Goals for 2017

  • Continue to serve as the Nominating Chair for IAND. 
  • Scheduled Neonatal Nutrition Committee and put together agenda in our NICU. 
  • Started to work on a nutrition communication book through Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) as a co-author. 
  • Chosen to work on a committee with AND for creating a pediatric critical care board exam. 
  • Re-designing our formula room to use breastmilk scanners in our NICU. 
  • Look at continuing education for IBCLC Exam.

I really believe that creating a list of goals for the year is so important. I always work towards doing my "daily work" and then working on side projects. I enjoy being a NICU RD, but all of the charting get a little old so adding in additional projects makes my daily routine more fun and engaging. Again, I wanted to share my personal work goals with you, but I believe that as a professional you should have your own goals. What do those look like for you? What do you want to accomplish in the next year, professionally? Are there things you have always wanted to do? Author a book? Create questions for a national board exam? Teach a class? Whatever goals you have for yourself, write them down and then work towards accomplishing them! 



No matter how slow ... you are out there running!

I read a great article from Women's Running about the pace at which you run. I shared it on my Facebook Page and I thought it was good enough of a topic that I should write up a blog post about it. As many of you may know, I love to run. It was been a thing that I have enjoyed since I was a small child. It is just a part of who I am. I totally understand that those feelings (of enjoyment, delight, eager anticipation) may not be shared by you. In fact you may HATE running. The only time you might run is when you are running away from something that is going to kill you. That is ok. I am not offended that you may not LOVE one of my favorite pass times. I am not going to judge you. I will take some time and encourage you to find something that you enjoy doing that gets you moving, and keeps you active. Find whatever that is and set a goal for yourself and go after it! 

Now maybe a few of you reading this don't loathe running and you have always wanted to complete a race. You probably know lots of people who have run in races, gotten medals, and you think to yourself "if they can do it, surely I can too!" You are totally right! Starting with something do-able like a 5K (3.1 miles). You can run or walk and that is the best race distance to start off with if you are dipping your toe into the this new world of running. In fact the 5K is the most popular race distance! In the USA there have been 8.3 million 5K finishers. 58% of those finishers were women and 42% were men. Isn't that amazing?! If there are 8.3 million people able to run 3.1 miles ... guess what ... you can to! 

Now you might also be thinking "I am so slow, everyone will be passing me." If so, then so what! It doesn't matter. You are out there working hard, sweaty and moving yourself toward a goal. That is the important part and how long it takes you, means nothing. Lots of people feel self conscious when they run. That is totally normally and with time that feeling will slowly go away. Most of the time people, are not watching you and if they are, you should be proud of yourself that you are out there running as they sit in your car and just drive by. 

If you need some encouragement make sure to check out the Women's Running article about why running slow doesn't matter. It always makes me sad when people talk about running and then follow it up with the comment "well I am just slow" or they put themselves down. We need to stop doing that and take pride in the fact that we are out there exercising and trying to be the best versions of ourselves. If you need a training program help you accomplish your goal of running 3.1 miles then check out the Couch to 5K app on your smart phone. This is a great program to tell you exactly what to do to get yourself in shape to run in a safe way. So grab a buddy (a person or a dog), pick a goal and get yourself outside and moving! 

Setting New Year's Goals

This is the time of year when everyone makes resolutions. You hear the phrase "New Year, New You!" That is true it is a new year and if you want to make a change, now is as good a time as any, but the big question is ... will your change stick?! For most  people that answer is no! 

Instead of thinking about New Year's Resolutions ... I like the idea of New Year's Goals. What do you want to accomplish this year. Often I take a look at the calendar and I try to decide what type of races I want to participate in for the year. I look at when they are scheduled in the upcoming year and think through what training for those races might look like. I map out a plan of how I see myself accomplishing those races and then I sign up for them. Those same steps that I think through for races, can be applied to any goal that you might have. 

  1. Determine the goal you want to achieve. 
  2. Develop a time line or a game plan. 
  3. Start looking at what changes you will have to make to reach that goal. 
  4. What will your "training" schedule look like. 
  5. Think about what obstacles might get in the way of your meeting that goal. 
  6. Sign up or commit to that goal! 

Last year I completed my first marathon. It was tough, but I did great and I absolutely want to run another. I knew that I couldn't train for more than one in a year, because it took so much time and I kind of got burned out. I have decided that in 2016 - I want to run another marathon. I have decided that I want to run in the Mill Race Marathon in Columbus, IN. So what does look like? Well it starts with picking a race, determining a training schedule, building a strong strength training base and then logging lots of miles. I will keep you posted about my training plan. Set up will be sign up for the race and then plan how to do some strength training prior to the race training, which will start in May. I am looking forward to setting out to run another marathon in 2016! 

What goals do you have this year and how do you plan setting out to accomplish them?