Plan Simple with Mia Moran
Planning with Purpose

Planning with Purpose

April 22, 2019

“I want you to dream big because dreams make plans different than your average to-do list (and you are not average!)” - Mia

There was a long time where I really loved the idea “live today like there is no tomorrow.” I wasn’t a planner and I wanted to be more “fun.” But, the truth is I never did anything that daring or even extremely fun.

In my 20s and early 30s, I ate bad food and racked up some debt. I never paced myself. It was my last day, so why not?

When I turned 40, I started to consider this idea in more depth. I had changed my food in my 30s, and I wanted to see how I could apply that mindset to my work and money in my 40s.

I have the privilege of having a grandmother who is 101, and who I can still chat on the phone with and have great talks with. As she was approaching 100, I wondered, “How would I live differently if I knew I had that much time? What would I do differently today if I knew I wasn’t even halfway through my life? Why would I live today like my last day, if I could live today in a way that got me to 100?!”

Trying to imagine what your life will be like at 100, may not be useful (or easy to imagine), but looking ahead 10 years is doable and important. It sets you up to plan your todays in ways that make sense now and move you toward the life you want.

This is what I had done when I changed my food... just not on purpose.

This is why I always do an exercise with clients where we paint the picture of what life looks like in 10 years – before planning for meals this week, creating a 21-day checklist, or utilizing any of our many tools.

It is this specific practice that helped me lose 85 pounds 9 years ago, gave me the courage to write my book and go on the road for a year with 3 kids, and has me hydrating as I write this post.

Let’s paint a picture of your life in 10 years.

I want you to dream big because dreams make plans different than your average to-do list (and you are not average!)

At the end of this exercise, you’ll have a vision of the life you want, the one that sets you up to plan today that you love. When you plan days with this exercise as your foundation, you get more done, spend more quality time with those you love, eat well (and healthy), and just take better care of yourself.

You can do this … even if you have a busy weekend planned, even if your kids are on break next week. This is all about big dreams and doable chunks.

Step 1: Mark your Calendar

We crave space to think and dream and then we wonder why we cannot find it.

Block off 15 minutes on your calendar with “space” or “dream” for the next 5 days, or you can block off an afternoon to do this all at once.

This will be your time to answer the 10-year vision questions.

Literally block off the time on your calendar, because it’s so easy to think you’ll find 15 minutes when the day comes … end then you’re rolling into bed, exhausted, without having done it. Make space for what matters (here, time to dream) and hold that time for yourself.

Experiment with what feels great. You could:

  • wake up 15 minutes earlier
  • set a time for 15 minutes before you start your work day
  • sit for 15 extra minutes at lunch
  • write while your kids draw
  • spend the afternoon at your favorite coffee shop

Feeling at all guilty about taking some time for yourself? I did and then I realized the importance, not only for me but for my kids. Free time, thinking time is the biggest thing missing from all our calendars. Making space for thinking and dreaming is a great thing to model for your kids, so don’t stress if they need to be around. It is a good practice in boundaries. “Mama is sitting for 15 minutes to do my thing…” When they see you being creative and dreamy and not sucked into a phone, you have modeled something fabulous!

Prompt #1: How will you feel in 10 years?

List 5–10 adjectives that really explain it. Strong, abundant, energetic, loving ... what words will fit you? Phrases are OK too — like a role model for women, at peace in my body, in service to others.

 

Don’t skip this prompt because of its simplicity.

 

A 10-minute walk or meditation can be a great way to kick off this prompt.

 

Prompt #2: Your dream home

Think about where you will be living in 10 years. Where do you want to be? Use this prompt to get at the details:

  • Describe where you live in detail. It may be the same house, or may not be.
  • What color are the walls?
  • What rooms do you have?
  • Is it modern or classic?
  • What is the view?
  • What does it smell like?
  • Describe how you use your home.

If you are hoping to move in the next 10 years, now is the time to picture where you will be. If you love your home, but dream of changes, let that come to the surface. If you think not much will change in your home in 10 years, describe what you have and how you use it.

 

Prompt #3: Your ideal day in 10 years

Picture your average or a typical day in your life 10 years from now.

Think about:

  • How you move through an average day from getting up to going to bed
  • What you do
  • Who you see
  • Whether you are working … where? For how long?
  • What you are eating
  • The kinds of choices you are making
  • Who is supporting you and how

Take a minute to picture your day and see how you feel. Then pick up your pen and start writing about it.

Prompt #4: Put it into action

Today, look back over what you wrote during prompts 1-3.

What one word or part really resonates with you from each one? Maybe from prompt 1’s adjectives, it is energy. Maybe from the image of your home, it is how it smells. Maybe in the ordinary day, it is the fact that someone else is doing your wash.

Think about how you could bring that into your next 90 days. Do a quick brainstorm. Write down all your ideas without judging them. Many times there are steps or actions that we can right now that will move us toward where we want to — or even get us there.

Maybe you need to get more sleep or change how you eat to get more energy. One step you could do this week is to start your day with a green smoothie. Maybe you imagined someone else doing your laundry … and you can delegate now or teach your kids to do laundry.

Here are two examples from my own life.

When I did this, one of my words was energy and when I described my home and ideal day, there were crisp white sheets involved. That day, in real life, I had been putting off changing sheets and we were not on the white rotation. So I simply went upstairs and put the white sheets on my bed. It took 10 minutes.

Here is the lesson for me. My bed does not yet have the view of water I described in my 10-year vision, but I can do my current version of those white crispy sheets pretty easily. And here is the real impact. Before I changed the sheet, I had this looming thought of, when am I going to change my sheets. The thoughts took longer than the task. And after doing it, and really letting the feeling of those sheets give me a glimpse of my future self, I felt like everything is possible.

When I first did this exercise, I wrote about my future kitchen in great detail. The counters were clean and clear, and my eyes always landed on a beautiful bowl of fruit. For years now, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I clear the counters of stuff, wash them well, and create a bouquet of fruit. My kids even know how much I love the clean counter part and often pitch in...

I love knowing how our work together turns into action! Come share your aha’s over on Instagram.

Clean Beauty with Becky Kuhlman

Clean Beauty with Becky Kuhlman

April 10, 2019

Women need to ... know that they’re beautiful without all of that makeup. – Becky Kuhlman

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Becky Kuhlman, a Beautycounter consultant, about safe skincare and beauty products. From what not to use to safe sunscreen, we talk about keeping yourself safe and healthy. It’s not just what you put in your body, but what you put on it.

Becky started with sunscreen. When she was living in India with her kids, she recognized the need for sunscreen but knew even then that most sunscreens weren’t safe. In this pre-Beautycounter world, she used a product called Blue Lizard to protect herself and her kids from the sun – and the ingredients in sunscreen.

She talks about the Never List she got from Beautycounter and how it changed what she buys. (We’ve linked the list up below for you.) She mentions specific ingredients you should watch out for and what they can do to our bodies.

We talk about:

  • Using mineral based sunscreens, which are safer for you and the environment
  • Starting with the things that you leave on your skin like lotions and sunscreen
  • Using coconut oil and olive oil in your skin care regimen
  • The importance of reading ingredients and recognizing the number of chemicals in US products—it’s not enough to rely on labels like “natural”
  • The challenge and necessity of cleaning up you deodorant
  • Embracing our wrinkles and natural beauty
  • Her work with Beautycounter, doing something with a purpose, and weaving work throughout your day

BIO

Becky Kuhlman is a Beautycounter consultant and mom to two teenage girls. She’s passionate about educating people and advocating for cleaner products.  

LINKS

Specific Products or Posts Referenced

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • CHECK OUT THE NEVER LIST. Grab a copy of the Never List (linked above). Then start checking the labels of products you already have. Set aside those with ingredients on the Never List. Read the label of every product you buy. You can start making changes to what you buy or simply start by getting aware how many dangerous chemicals you are putting on your skin.
  • MAKE A PLAN TO CLEAN UP YOUR PRODUCTS. Start with the things that stay on your skin and go from there. Put dates in your calendar, giving yourself time to purge and get what you need. Remember, it does not all have to be expensive. For a simple swap out that doesn’t involve buying new products, try using olive or coconut oil on your skin. Becky even talks about mixing in some sugar and possibly flower extracts to make a simple body scrub.
  • TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF. There are a lot of ways we are exposed to toxins. Try taking your shoes off when you come in the door to reduce what you track into and through your house.

 

Get along with your body with Nina Manolson

Get along with your body with Nina Manolson

April 5, 2019

We have to get into what it means to have an authentic, caring, respectful, responsive relationship with our body – instead of managing her all the time. – Nina Manolson

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk again with Nina Manolson, health and wellness coach who works with women around body image and their relationship with their bodies. She has so much to say about what we eat and why and how we feel about ourselves.

We talk about rules about eating and how they end up backfiring because we react to the restriction. Nina says we need to start with naming our body dissatisfaction. And then we need to name the body management things we do (paleo, keto, raw food, Weight Watchers, …). This isn’t self-care.  

So what do we need to do? “We really have to bring to the table more of deep listening. What does my body want and need? And sometimes to get to that deep listening, it takes some healing, it takes some work because many women, somewhere along the line, got divorced from their body.” Are you divorced from you body? Do you need to reconnect and build that relationship? That’s what we get deeper into.

We talk about:

  • The many things that make us feel separated from our own bodies—birth, nursing, medical crisis, trauma
  • Embracing the complexity, intricacy of who we are and honoring our aging and our changing body
  • There’s nothing wrong with saying that sometimes food is what I need for some emotional solace, but we need other tools beyond that
  • The importance of listening to what’s right for your body
  • Learning to shift that so that self-care actually doesn’t feel like another chore?
  • How the process of working with your relationship with your food and with your body opens a door to so much more

BIO

Nina Manolson is a certified holistic health coach, a board certified health & wellness coach, a certified Psychology of Eating Coach and Teacher, and an author. She is passionate about helping women end their food and body struggles and begin healthy, vibrant living that becomes a habit and easily fits into their busy lives.

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • NAME BODY MANAGEMENT. Just getting aware of the body management thoughts and things you do is an amazing start. Just start noticing and calling out things like “I’ll start on Monday” or talking about your latest diet or “I’m cutting out carbs” or whatever it is. Say, “I see you body management.”

  • HELLO TECHNIQUE. Nina suggests that hand on the heart and hello goes miles towards starting the relationship with your body. She also talks about saying hello to food to get into a relationship with food. And then Hello pleasure. Use her Hello Technique to start to connect to your body and your food instead of just having rules about what you do and don’t eat.

  • ASK WHAT DO I NEED? Ask your body what it really needs? Nina notes that this is a tricky question and that learning to really hear what would make you feel most at ease, most at home in you body or nourish you the most is a process. But start by asking the question and seeing who shows up at the table, what answers you get.
The Brave Art of Motherhood with Rachel Martin

The Brave Art of Motherhood with Rachel Martin

March 28, 2019

The more real we are with each other, the more freedom we have.  
– Rachel Martin

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Rachel Martin, author of The Brave Art of Motherhood, creator of Finding Joy, and mom to seven kids. This is a must listen, so make sure to hit play above, or where ever you listen to podcasts! With 23 years of motherhood under her belt, she is still in still in the thick of it with her youngest being 7.

We started out talking about her book. Why brave? Rachel said she loves the word and, without realizing it, had been writing on her website about being a brave mother. The art part relates to sip and paint classes where everyone is aiming for the same image. In the end, everybody’s painting looks different but, nobody’s is perfect. Motherhood is like that. “We’re all trying our best being brave and we’re all living this motherhood story.”

Rachel points out that when we focus on the internal dialogue of, “Why am I not doing it as well as they are?,” we miss the real beauty of what we do. At the same time we are looking at others, we want to hide. When we do let people know what is really going on behind the scenes out of shame, we deny ourselves friendship, responsibility, and doing different things. So, part of my quest as a writer and as a friend to moms is to be like the realer we are with each other, the more freedom we have.

We talk about:

  • The difference between pulling it together to do what you need to do and hiding your real experience from everyone including your friends. It helps all of us when we can say, “I’m struggling.” What happens when we finally show what’s really going on (Rachel’s experience was an offer of help, instead of the shaming she feared)
  • How our experience and attitudes affect our kids, including their relationship to money
  • That it’s good to interact and play with our kids but, it’s not a necessity all day long.
  • How easy it is to lose yourself without even realizing it and the benefits of letting your kids see you cultivating yourself
  • That it’s okay to not know what you want to do and just try things (they way we encourage our kids to do)
  • Setting dates for accountability, having an accountability person, and celebrating microgoals
  • Recognize the power and bravery that take to stand up and do it again and again.

About Rachel

Rachel believes in the power of the human spirit to overcome, to thrive and to find deep joy and because of that she pours out her heart via these platforms: she is the writer behind the site FindingJoy.net and author of The Brave Art of Motherhood. Her articles have been translated into over 25 languages, her site reaches millions of visitors per month and she has a robust, engaged Facebook community.

Her content has been featured in The Huffington Post, iVillage, The Today Show, Star Tribune, PopSugar, Motherly, Parents, What to Expect, NBC Parents, Dr. Greene, and many more. She speaks worldwide encouraging moms and entrepreneurs to live each day with purpose and drive. Beyond that, she’s a single mom to seven, and calls Nashville, Tennessee, her home.

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • CELEBRATE MICROGOALS. Set goals with dates and get an accountability partner to help you stay the course. But instead of just focusing on the big goal, take time to celebrate microgoals … little things that you do each day or steps toward your larger goal. Too often we focus on where we have not gotten, instead of all the amazing little things we have done.

  • BE IN THE MOMENT. We are so often focused on something other than now — the next thing we need to do or trying to get ahead or getting out of an uncomfortable moment. Practice being in the moment. Sit with the uncomfortable feeling. Just enjoy something without taking a picture. Set a timer and just be where you are.

  • DO ONE THING THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. Rachel shared an Eleanor Roosevelt quote we both love, “Do something every day that scares you.” Her son pointed out to her that one of her own sayings was to do something every day that makes you happy. Grab your journal and set a timer. Just make a list of things that make you happy. Choose one thing you can you do today that makes you happy—and do it.  

 

Meet Brandi Bonica

Meet Brandi Bonica

March 22, 2019

Planning becomes a kind of self-care.
– Brandi Bonica

 

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Brandi Bonica about her experience with the FLOW Planner and FLOW 365. A lot of the people in FLOW 365 are entrepreneurs of one sort or another, but Brandi is a nurse, saving people throughout the day. I love seeing how the FLOW process resonated with her and had all kinds of ripples in her life.

 

Brandi’s FLOW Situation

I have two little girls. One is just turning six and and four and a half. My main job, other than mothering, is being a critical care nurse. I work part time at a hospital, which is wonderful because I can save my career but also be home to raise my children. But, finding balance in that is hard as well so that’s why I leaned towards Mia’s FLOW 365.

 

Key Tool: Putting Your Planning Together

While Brandi has always been a planner, she had ideas in lots of places, and it was hard for her to see the big picture. FLOW 365 helped her because it looks at the whole day, the whole month, the whole 90 days in one book. It allowed her to refocus her goals, thoughts, and tasks. She says, “I was a little skeptical about leaving my old planner behind but now I look back and now this is my new bible.”

And it wasn’t just the plan, it was the journaling in the same space too, “It forced me to ask those questions or to refocus my attention on things that are important to me, but I’ve never been one to journal in the past so that was really great to have that all in one place.”

 

Key Tool: Finding Your Rhythm

“I was really able to look at my home-life balance and really make it predictable, make it automatic, so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel every week…. I could spend my energy doing other things instead of constantly thinking about meal planning or shopping or planning for the kids.”

 

FLOW Changes

Food: I participated in a couple of weeks of making some freezer meals and putting them away so I would have a lighter load during dinner times or meal times. It started during the holidays, but I continue to use that little tool throughout the rest of the months, just based upon what my life was going to look like. If I know I have a really crazy couple of weeks coming up where I’m traveling or my husband is traveling or just late nights, I can pull one of those out at anytime. So I have made it kind of part of my weekly process is to look at a new recipe or reinvent an old one but to put one freezer meal away a week.

Lifestyle: Instead of trying to do all the things during the holidays, Brandi chose to be purposefully present, purposefully planning things that are important to us and just letting go of things that aren’t.

OM: Planning becomes a kind of self-care.

Work: Shifting to focusing more on work and tasks and how to time-block those things so they aren’t interfering with my home and personal life.

 

We also talk about:

  • Having more mental space for goals
  • The power of working with a group of women from different places and walks of life, all looking for more flow
  • Choosing a word for a 90-day cycle to set an intention or guide you
  • How tools that get you through a busy period like the holidays can benefit you throughout the year
  • How saying no, also allows you to say yes
  • Freezer meals and moving meals forward throughout the day

 

BIO

Brandi Bonica is a critical care nurse and the mom of two young children. She found a community and a new process to bring great ease to her life through the FLOW planner and FLOW 365.

 

LINKS

 

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • CHOOSE A 90-DAY WORD. Some people choose a word of the year, but here, we like to think in 90-day seasons. Choose a word (or phrase like Brandi’s purposefully present) to guide you throughout the next 90 days. As you are planning or trying to make decisions about what to do or not do, lean into your word as a guide.

  • MAKE FREEZER MEALS. Set aside a few hours to prep a bunch of freezer meals. The time spent now will serve you later when life feels hectic. You’ll be able to have a healthy meal, even when you are very busy. And you’ll appreciate yourself for taking care of you and your family. The podcast with Angela Litzinger has lots of ideas to get you started.

  • PRACTICE SAYING NO. Decide how you want to feel and what you really want to do. Say no to everything else. Brandi noted that it was hard, sometimes, but it left room to say yes to things that were really important to her. Practice saying no to things, even if they sound fun or you have friends going, if they don’t serve you and your family.

Get to Know Your Kids with Lee Lee McKnight

Get to Know Your Kids with Lee Lee McKnight

March 20, 2019

You have a relationship with your own self just like you do with other people. ... nourish the relationship with yourself.  Lee Lee McKnight

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Lee Lee McKnight about parenting and mindfulness and how they can go together. Lee is the publisher of Perpetual You and mom to a 11-year-old and a 6-year-old.

Lee Lee talks about not finding parenting fulfilling. She said, “I just decided that I wanted to enjoy motherhood in my own way and throw the rules of all the parenting manuals out the window and just see if there’s a way that I could reclaim it for myself.”

We talk about being as present as you can with each kid at the age they’re at, and about being mindful about when you are being a mom and about when you’re working (especially if you work at home). Lee Lee reminds herself, “I’m only one person,” which means you can’t do it all for everyone at one time. She says it helps to really tune in to where your kids are right now — and to recognize that they need different support at different times.

We talk about:

  • letting your kid be who they are and getting to know them as a person instead of placing your own expectations on them
  • Being in tune with what your own needs and your kids needs helps you avoid mommy guilt by giving kids what they need and doing your own thing
  • Making space to be present with your kids when you know they will or even might need a lot from you (like right after school)
  • The power of mantras and some of the ones she uses as a parent: This is right now and it’s not forever and I am the right mom for my kids
  • Slowing down and noticing what’s going on
  • Knowing and sharing your values
  • Intentional living and not taking what other people do or say personally.

BIO

Lee Lee McKnight is #ladyboss behind The Perpetual You--a lifestyle brand curated for women living intentionally--and the mom of Henri (11) & Wayne (6).  In 2018, Lee Lee began co-hosting the podcast, Mama Now Conversations, and in 2019, she began a YouTube series on Intentional Living. She is also at work on a book about the intersection of privilege and intentional living practices. You can find Lee Lee on Instagram @wordsbyleelee or in Hamden, CT—where she’s most likely hanging out on the front porch of her family’s 1920s bungalow.

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • USE A MANTRA. Lee Lee shares some of the mantras she uses (and has more on her YouTube channel). Find one—or create one—that works for you. Two keys as you create yours—make it positive and make it believable. Repeat it to yourself throughout the day. Write it down and post it around your house.

  • LET GO OF WHAT YOU CAN’T CONTROL. Your kids are people and responsible to some extent for themselves. So if it isn’t a safety issue, try giving them ownership of their choice. For example, if your child wants to wear their shirt backwards, let them. And then let go of worry about what other people think.

  • LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS. Pick one time in your day or week that is really unpredictable. Lee Lee uses the example of the time her kids get home from school. They might need 5 minutes to reconnect or they might need more attention and support. By letting go of expectations about that time of day, you can be more present for whatever comes up. That might look like blocking off open time on your schedule and even not starting a really juicy, creative project too soon before they come home.

 

Meet Hélène Defrance

Meet Hélène Defrance

March 12, 2019

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Hélène Defrance, a olympic athlete turned nutritionist, and a member of FLOW 365. While I focus a lot of my work on moms and the demands of matching work and food and self-care with parenting, Hélène reached out to me and said, “You know, I’m not a mom but I think I’m supposed to do this program.” And she did and it’s been fabulous!

Hélène spent 10 years sailing and working toward the Olympics. She qualified for Rio, where she got the bronze, and got a world champion in 2016.

For the past two years, she has changed her focus and is now working as a nutritionist. She’s passionate about nutrition and how our food habits and digestive system can affect our health. She educates and advises people about nutrition.  

 

Hélène’s FLOW Situation

I felt stuck…. I was stressed everyday and I didn’t feel accomplished at any time. I had some vision ... but, for some reason I never was able to stop and think how I could get to there. Six months ago, that felt too wrong. I needed to get some help.

While Hélène was feeling this way, she was seeing private clients and serving as the nutritionist for a a big deal football team. She was doing so much and not taking it in. I love watching the women in FLOW 365 begin to see what they are doing and accomplishing.

Why Planning Matters

Hélène started out asking “Where is the time for all the other things in the planner?” As she started seeing where she was spending her time—lots of time exercising and shopping and working late but not doing the hard things—she was able to start making changes.

 

Key Tool: Group Meetings

I love when we all meet up online and share where we are and next steps for us.

These meetings are a chance to share and get advice from Mia and the rest of the group. And having a group of people who understand what you are doing is really special. When somebody can really hear that while you’re making the little changes that bring joy, it helps you with the momentum.

 

Key Tool: Daily Debrief

I’ve got my routine every night. I spend probably 15 minutes with my planner and I write things down. I look at what I’ve been doing…. I do my little debrief with myself and I really love it.

There things we don’t do because they feel hard or take longer than we think they’ll take or we busy or for whatever reason don’t start them. Debriefing gives you a chance to go back without judgement. It gives you a chance to see why things didn’t work or to move things up in your planner.

 

Key Tool: Word of the Cycle

At the beginning of every 90-day cycle (the FLOW planner includes a page for this), choose a word that you want to embody for this 90-day season. It’s a really simple but meaningful practice and helps you decide what you focus on or don’t focus on.

Hélène’s word was serenity and it helped her be more present, build trust and confidence, and feel more relaxed. She started a meditation practice and spent more time in nature.

 

FLOW Changes

Food: Being precise about nutrients, not just calories; choosing quality food from carefully chosen farms; having boundaries around food when traveling or busy

Lifestyle: Better flow between different parts of her life

Om: Meditating more. Adding in exercise but not using it to squeeze out other activities.

Work: Having more reasonable end times to the day.

 

Big and Little Shifts from Flow 365

Hélène describes her biggest shifts in the first two cycles of FLOW 365: I feel so much joy and I’m so positive. Everything feels like it’s fun.

BIO

Hélène Defrance is an athelete and nutritionist. Hélène spent 10 years sailing and working toward the Olympics. She qualified for Rio, where she got the bronze, and got a world champion in 2016. She now works as a nutritionist with private clients and as the nutritionist for a football team to help people improve their well being and athletic performance.

 

LINKS

Podcast with Jade Venables

 

Doable Change from this episode:

Pause before you act. Just take a minute, even 10–15 seconds to see how you feel before you eat or drink (or work or work out … or anything else). Sometimes we create rules in planning like, “I’m not going have coffee.” but every once in a while, after the pause, we realize it’s okay. It could be coffee or anything. It could be staying up late to watch a movie. Maybe you set a “rule” about going to bed, and often that rule serves you, but maybe one night you need to connect with your partner and that pause gives you the space to make a choice.

 

In FLOW 365, we get really intentional about how we want to feel and where we want to focus attention for the next 90 days. Pairing the pause with our intentions helps us make choices that bring more joy to life instead of just offering rules to follw. Our group provides a place to comment without judgement on our actions. And later you might debrief from you day and share that too. We plan, pause, and debrief around four key areas of our lives—food, lifestyle, OM (spirituality and self-care) and work. FLOW 365 is a high-end, yearlong program that helps entrepreneurial moms make time and space for clean food, joyful home lives and meaningful practices — alongside work, of course! It is designed to help you increase productivity without decreasing joy.

 

While there isn’t a space for pausing in the FLOW Planner, there is a place to set intentions and there is place to debrief. Taking time to sent intentions and then review your day without judgment help you live the life you truly want. The FLOW planner helps you fit food and the other things that “matter most” into your day.

 

Let It Go with Bonnie Harris

Let It Go with Bonnie Harris

March 8, 2019

When our kids push our buttons, it’s not a problem with our kids, it’s a problem with us. – Bonnie Harris

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Bonnie Harris, a parenting and child behavior specialist. I love getting parenting experts on the show because as we’re figuring out how to lead healthy lives and do the work that we want to do, we also have kids. At the end of the day, we can feel bad about how we’re parenting, and it’s helpful having tools that support the way we’re trying to show up to the world as a parent. Bonnie hopes our talk will alleviate some of the pressure parents put on themselves.

Bonnie says her work right now is often focused on helping parents let go. She explains that it feels like you are saying, “Now, I’m cutting the rope and letting this little boat drift out to sea to fend for itself,” but really, you are letting go of that voice in your head that says you aren’t good enough, that you’re doing everything wrong.

Bonnie explains that our perceptions lead to feeling overwhelm, frustrated, depressed, helpless and that all of these feelings that come from our head, not from circumstances and not from our kids. These feelings then lead to our reactions. In a nanosecond, we react in ways we know is not effective. Then we regret it and go down the spiral of “I’m a terrible parent.” But it’s possible to break this cycle and Bonnie has lots of great ideas for us!

We talk about:

  • The power of the connected relationship: “A connected relationship is the number one preventive measure of anything that any parent is afraid of happening to their child”
  • Separating judgement from facts and reframing what you’re telling yourself every day
  • A step-by-step process to stop reacting in the moment
  • What to do when your agenda and your kids agendas aren’t aligned and how to problem solve with your kids
  • Self care being “as critically important as getting your child a nutritious meal”—and the many different forms self-care can take (it’s not all mediation and pedicures)
  • Starting by paying attention to your reactions and thinking about what caused them
  • Making this work a priority
  • One rule for making meals more peaceful—do not talk about food

BIO

Bonnie is a parenting and child behavior specialist. She speaks and teaches internationally and is the author of two books. She has designed and taught parenting workshops and counseled parents for more than twenty five years. She holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education is from Bank Street College in New York City, and works with the Connective Parenting Philosophy, which allows parents to understand where their children are coming from both developmentally and temperamentally and to respond with appropriate expectations. Bonnie lives in NH with her husband and is the mother of two grown children and three grandchildren.

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • PAY ATTENTION AND PLAY DETECTIVE. Start by simply paying attention to how you react during the day. Note what you did (maybe you yelled at your kids). Notice how you were feeling. Try to figure out what you were thinking, what button were your kids pushing? Keep a journal for the week.

  • PRIORITIZE SELF-CARE. Bonnie reminds us that self-care is as essential as giving our kids a nutritious meal. Think about what really nourishes you. It could be work and having adult conversations. It could be spending time alone outside. It could be getting a pedicure or meditating daily, but it doesn’t have to be something that sounds like self-care. Do something that is just for you.

  • MAKE THE DINNER TABLE FUN. Have a no talking about food rule. You give positive feedback (like “This is delicious”) or explain how you made it or where you got it if that matters. But no complaining or whining about what it is. No badgering kids to take a certain number of bites. Try modeling manners instead of nagging. Try a game or a family question or something else to keep the dinner table a place you all want to be.
Divinely Sensitive with Heather Dressel

Divinely Sensitive with Heather Dressel

March 4, 2019

“One of my favorite parts of this group is you and the way that you lead and the way that you inspire … everytime I talk to you, I feel better. You always make me feel like I can conquer what I need to conquer and it’s like no big deal.”  – Heather Dressel

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Heather Dressel about her family, her business and her experience during FLOW365.

Heather has an 8-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. She’s been a stay at home more for ten years, and this is the first year she said she can do something for herself. And she’s doing something really exciting—starting her own business, called Divinely Sensitive. In addition she moved to a new state recently.

In the midst of all this change, she was resistant to committing to a full year process, here’s what happened when we met in person:

I just had this knowing … this feeling that we were going to work together … When we started talking and you told me about this program [FLOW365], there was like a ping in my heart that was like, “Ooh, you need to get her information and stay in touch with her. This sounds something that it could be really great for you.

Heather’s FLOW Situation

Heather needed to focus on healing from serious chronic illnesses and disease and learning about foods that make her and her family sick. She is transforming from full time mom to a business owner. Over the past couple of years, she’s had really amazing spiritual awakening and she’s settling to this new home. That’s food, lifestyle, om and work right there.

She says, “I had so much going on, I needed support, I needed a system, a gentle, ever changing, forgiving structure that would inspire me to show up to be my best self in all of those areas.”

Why Planning Matters

I always loved the idea of planning. Planning looked like tons of notebooks and lists floating around my kitchen and everything scattered. As much as I love order and planning, I just never really found a way to make it work for me and I still struggle with consistency, but I’m definitely getting better since I started FLOW.

Just Show Up

You show up when you show up. “It goes totally in alignment with what I’m trying to do with my entire life to let go of the perfectionist and just show up and do the best I can in that moment.”

Key Tool: Braindump

I always say there is magic in writing things down. It helps us really be focused on our goals but it also lets us let go of trying to hold all the information in our heads. Heather says, “Just the braindump alone is super helpful for me. If I fully get to that, it’s like I’ve let everything out, I’ve looked at it, I’ve read it, and it kind of sits with me.”

A braindump, or as I like to call it a Master List, can be super helpful, but for Heather, they used to be overwhelming. Here’s what changed:

A huge shift for me was doing this dump list and then breaking it down in the back of the journal to the food, work, om and lifestyle. I’m a really visual person and so seeing everything in the way it’s organized in the journal is a lot less overwhelming for me than looking at pages and pages and pages of list.

And what’s on our list can change season to season. Right now I might be really focused on work, but in a couple of months I might feel pulled to really reconnect with my food. But when you see it written down, and you don’t put it on your calendar it isn’t going to get done.

Key Tool: Week at a Glance Pages

The FLOW planner has a number of sections, and Heather’s favorite is the Week at a Glance page: I never took time to think about how I wanted my week to feel. Who has time to think about that? It’s just revolutionary for me. What is my vision for the week? What do I want to receive this week? What do I want to give this week? It’s just give deep meaning to your week which is so awesome.

Key Tool: Big Rocks

Imagine a jar that you need to fill with sand and rocks. If you put the sand in first, there is no room for the big rocks, but if you put the big rocks in first, the sand flows around it. We use this practice with planning by choosing the three big things to focus on each week. Heather says, Even Superwoman can only do so much in a day. It's definitely helped me scale back to the point where I can feel successful. I don’t have huge lists that like at the end of the day, I’m like, “Great. I have 70 things on my list and I only got two done.” As opposed to “There are the three big things that need to happen this week. Let’s break it down and figure out what has to be accomplished to get those done.” That’s been a huge shift for me.

FLOW Changes

Food: My kitchen feels a lot less like a prison than it used to.

Lifestyle: Settling into a new home

Om: Making sure spiritual practices don’t get lost in the shuffle—creating an altar with Goddess statues and crystals that are meaningful to her goals, listening to music and chanting to connect with her love of singing and with her body

Work: Creating time for starting a new business

Big and Little Shifts from FLOW 365

I definitely feel more organized because I allow myself to take the time that I need to plan without feeling guilty. That was a huge shift for me. I felt guilty sitting down and taking time out to plan anything that wasn’t like what I’m buying at the grocery store or something directly going to affect my children or my husband or my life like that.

I’ve seen my life as very small. I was thinking very small.

I feel like FLOW365 has opened me up and really inspired me to understand that I don’t have to be perfect, but I still can accomplish all of the things that I want to accomplish.

“One of my favorite parts of this group is you and the way that you lead and the way that you inspire … everytime I talk to you, I feel better. You always make me feel like I can conquer what I need to conquer and it’s like no big deal.”

We also talked about:

  • How being a mom and dealing with illness or a chronic condition can be more work than a job
  • Needing to take care of yourself as a mom before you can help your kids
  • Learning to make changes that we know will have impact—for Heather it’s putting her food down about gluten because of how it affects her and her kids
  • Having best days and “just need something” days with spiritual practices
  • Letting go of perfectionism and finding what you need each day

BIO

Heather Dressel was a stay at home mom for years before launching a Divinely Sensitive. Heather is a highly sensitive empath herself, and launched her business to lead a community of women who identify as highly sensitive or empaths or both. Divinely Sensitive provide resources and support as they learn to honor their unique sensitivities and unleash their superpowers. Heather is currently active in FLOW 365.

LINKS

Doable Change from this episode:

Make a dump list. Take a piece of paper or a blank spread in your journal and divide it into four sections for food, lifestyle, OM (spirituality and self-care) and work. Dump all the things in your head that you have to do or want to do into those sections. Just getting it out of your head makes a difference. You can relax a little more. You can see where you are out of balance. And you can see what you can start to focus on.

We do this practice every 90 days as part of FLOW 365. FLOW 365 is a high-end, yearlong program that helps entrepreneurial moms make time and space for clean food, joyful home lives and meaningful practices — alongside work, of course! It is designed to help you increase productivity without decreasing joy.

It is such an important part of my own practice that it is built right into the FLOW Planner. The FLOW planner helps you fit food and the other things that “matter most” into your day. By scheduling food tasks, exercise, your big dreams and downtime along with appointments and work and getting the kids to and from activities, you can love your life more and be present in the “flow.”

10 Lessons from Seeking Flow Between Work, Family and Wellness

10 Lessons from Seeking Flow Between Work, Family and Wellness

March 2, 2019

“Am I good enough? Yes I am.” – Michelle Obama

We all have our own journey, but so often there is something, sometimes one little thing that we take from somebody else’s experience that helps us. This is me being 100% real about what I think about, what I do (and sometimes what I don’t do). I’m still figuring out the flow between work and family and wellness. Here are a few lessons I’m learning and continuing to play with.

  1. I am enough.
    I spent most of my life thinking I wasn’t thin enough or rich enough or smart enough. A few months ago I was trying to figure out the next steps in my business, and I actually had the thought, “I am not man enough.” I’m still tested by the idea of being enough, but the why behind putting time into my wellness is to remind myself everyday that I am enough.
  2. Freedom does not mean no rules. Boundaries are so important. In order to feel well in my body, I had to understand what I should eat. I’ve had a rule around not eating gluten and dairy for 10 years now, but many rules are shorter lived. I like to call them experiments: ditching coffee for a week, committing to a cleanse for 21 days, gifting myself a good nights sleep. This year I am working on work boundaries. I’m making the effort to work 8–3 while the kids are in school, keeping weekends for family, and planning for sick days or vacation days.
  3. Big Rocks have to come first and be non-negotiable. Big Rocks are three things that move you towards your dreams. They do not have to take the most time, but every day I do them, I feel like I got something done. Where do you want to be 10 years from now? What small thing can you do today to move you towards that? Think about 30 minutes writing the outline for your book, 1 hour prepping food for a cleanse, 10 minutes sharing your passion project with a friend, a day cleaning the basement.
  4. Planning is my best tool with the highest ROI.  A big part of planning is committing and making space, so the act of planning really makes me consider what things even belong in my day. Productive does not mean busy. When I plan, I’m not always reacting. Instead, I make sure I’m making space for the things I want to do and to get done the things that need to get done.
  5. My plan is not a set and forget thing.
    My planner can look a little messy, but I found out recently that is OK! I went through a phase where I wanted super beautiful, Instagram-worthy pages, but lately I realize the messier the better, because life is messy. Sometimes by Wednesday my meal plan is off, a kid gets sick, or I don’t have time to cut all the veggies for ratatouille the night I have it planned. Sometimes I don’t get something done at all for work or around the house, so I need to make more time to do it later in the week. Sometimes I ignore a timeblock all together, but if I am going to take my planning seriously, I have to move it somewhere else. I actually go back and account for changes I make in my planner. Messy, but it makes my planning real and helps me stay accountable.
  6. My money is an important part of my wellness journey.
    I have a lot of really limiting beliefs about money and my worth. My MO has been to ignore it, but I know that doesn’t work. I feel very much at the beginning of my journey on this issue. In the past few years I have gotten more confident being honest about money. I think more about what I need, why I’m willing to spend on things (maybe it was ethically made or supports a friend in business), and what causes I want my money to go to.
  7. Measurement is not all bad. I was inspired by an amazing coach named Christie to really ritualistically acknowledge money as it comes in. Know when payday is, have a gratitude practice when you see the money in your account. It took me a while to actually do this. This year I also started using an app called YNAB, short for You Need a Budget. Measuring money can be good. Measuring time and social media followers can be good. Maybe food measuring and the scale are not as bad as I have thought. I think it’s what you do with the information.
  8. Clutter can really get in the way of feeling productive. If I am having a hard time doing work, it means something needs to be cleaned or decluttered. Before I sat down to create this podcast, I cleaned the kitchen and my desk. Literally, I had been trying to thing of ideas for days, and after a relatively quick clean-up, the ideas came flooding. Things to clean: your phone (can you get down to one screen of apps) a closet (try the Kon Marie method), your head (write lists to dump everything onto paper).
  9. The little people are watching. If I have a bad day, my kids have a bad day. If I am stressed about dinner, they don’t eat. When I make an effort to design good days, they have good days. I find a way to enjoy cooking by making food I want to eat, listening to music, having my kids close by doing homework. They eat everything. I plan. Checklists appear on their walls with what things they need to get done. I talk about drinking water, they drink water. I meditate. Meditation becomes something they each find and love. None of us dream of our kids growing up to be stressed and feel trapped, so model the feeling of your dream.
  10. This is a journey. There is always more. We get so focused on the destination, but what if we focus on the journey and the next step. This year I am working on feng shui, cleaning up our cleaning supplies, getting old medicine out of the house, slow fashion, retuning my energy, making the money we need to renovate our house, my daughter’s sleep, our home, reaching more moms. I have come so far from the tired, always sneezing 85 pounds overweight Mia from 11 years ago. But my body is always changing, my kids are getting older, my work has gone in different directions. Everyday I have to listen to my body. Everyday, I have to remember what I am here to do. Everyday I have to remind myself that I am enough. These are lessons I think about regularly, and I wanted to put them on your radar. Which one resonated with you the most? Which have you learned but need to revisit? Because, like I said, it’s a journey and we are constantly figuring thing out and then having new situations to apply them too. Keep at it. You are enough!

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • EXPERIMENT WITH A BOUNDARY. I like to experiment with rules around my food and wellness and work. That means I’m not committing forever, but maybe for a day or a week or a month. Try ditching coffee for a week, commiting to a cleanse for 21 days, gifting yourself a good nights sleep, setting an end time to your work day and shutting off communication then. See how it feels. See if it’s a rule you want to keep or tweak.

  • DO ONE SMALL THING TOWARD A BIG DREAM. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Do one small thing today to move you towards that. Is it about 30 minutes writing the outline for your book, 1 hour prepping food for a cleanse, 10 minutes sharing your passion project with a friend, a day cleaning the basement? Choose your one thing and put it on your calendar. Do the same thing tomorrow. And the next day.

  • DECLUTTER ONE THING. Clear out a cupboard in the kitchen. Clear apps off your phone. Use the Kon Marie method to clean out a closet. Write a big braindump of a list to clear our your head. Don’t think about your whole house or even a whole room. Think small. Dive in and see how that clear space makes you feel.