Plan Simple with Mia Moran
Thoughts and Feelings with Laura Swartzbaugh

Thoughts and Feelings with Laura Swartzbaugh

June 18, 2020

If you look around your life at exactly what you have, your marriage, your kids, your house... your business, your job ... it's all from your thoughts. You can change your results by changing your thinking.  —Laura Swartzbaugh

In this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Laura Swartzbaugh, who is a life coach for coaches about the power of our thoughts and feelings. 

Our brains are wired to skew negative. Say for example you’ve talked to a potential client, and then they ghost you. Your brain is likely to tell you that the person doesn’t believe in your business or that you aren’t that good. But really there are a lot of other more likely scenarios. 

We talk about how we move from a circumstance to thought to a feeling to action to a result. How changing your thinking can change your results. It starts with taking responsibility (and credit) for everything in your life. 

We talk about: 

  • How we react when we take action that is not aligned with a plan or vision or dream—and what to do instead
  • Getting to really clear on the emotion behind the action (name it, tame it)
  • How self-judgment derails us, and how compassion is what we need
  • The problem of avoidance of emotion and how we need to feel the “negative” emotions
  • Growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset
  • How the ability to change our thoughts and actions relates to anti-racism work


Five years ago, you would have found Laura on her couch holding a big glass of wine and searching for her future husband on “Human Ebay” (what she calls  She was burned out by teaching. She was lonely and bored and ate to entertain herself. She was sure that happiness wasn’t available to her.  On the outside, it looked like she loved her job, was crushing it as a single mom and loved life.  But on the inside, she was constantly judging herself for nearly every choice she made. 

Today, Laura is happily remarried and works full time coaching life coaches. 

She feels confident about her decisions -- from relationships and career to food and alcohol.  She made all of this happen through life coaching. 

She spends all day helping other life coaches create this level of certainty, confidence, and trust in their own lives. She believes coaching is the secret sauce to living a more meaningful and joyous life.

She is a certified Life Coach through The Life Coach School. Prior to becoming a coach she was an educator for 27 years. She attended Carleton College, has a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and a master's in Educational Leadership. (She was sure more education would help her feel worthy). Before retiring from teaching, she taught at a number of universities including the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota as well as teaching high school history and English for a decade in the Chicago area.


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • TRY COMPASSION. Next time you do something that doesn’t support your vision or plan, first simply notice how you feel. Then instead of beating yourself up, acknowledge that you made a mistake. Be compassionate with yourself.

  • FEEL THE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS. We want to feel joy and excitement and fun, but what about disappointment or sadness or rage? Often we criticize ourselves for the feeling or for the situation that led to the feeling, or we try to numb ourselves from the feeling (eating, drinking, binge watching, scrolling …). Let yourself feel the emotion. Name it. Know it will go away, but that avoiding it does not help.

  • REVISIT. We used the analogy of the spiral staircase or “not my first rodeo” to talk about the idea that just because we face something doesn’t mean we are done. Whether it is confidence or body image or some part of our relationship, we are likely to find something we thought we were “done” with come back. Notice what comes up for you. Notice what you feel. Notice where you are right now. Be compassionate with yourself. Choose an action aligned with your vision.

Imperfect Action with Shalena Broaster

Imperfect Action with Shalena Broaster

June 10, 2020

I'm not going to be one of the ones on Twitter, tearing it down. I'm not going to be out in Philadelphia protesting today. I choose to have a direct impact financially.  –Shalena Broaster

For the past few weeks, I have been sad, and a bit paralyzed — wanting to speak up, but asking myself, “who am I?”

Then I got this email from an amazing speaker at our Art of 90 Days event that aired in May, Jackie Kotei. I figure that it is much better that you hear from her than me.

This is what Jackie wrote:

“The death of George Floyd and the blatant disregard for black lives has to stop.

I've spent these past few days filled with grief, sadness, anger, outrage, frustration.

I hang out in many masterminds and communities where I am one of just a handful of black women.

And I've been speaking out, demanding that my mentors and colleagues join me in the fight.

Black lives matter!

And I invite you more than anything to take action.

Today, I'll be attending a peaceful protest to make sure people know it's not okay to kill people because of the color of their skin.

Now is the time to act.

Now is the time to not stay silent.

Whether you donate, protest, write letters, read books...please act!

It's not enough anymore to say you stand for love and peace if you're not willing to use your voice now, when it matters most.

If you don't know what to say, that's ok. Just be real and be ok with it being messy. Also be ok with feedback and people helping you gain greater awareness around what you're saying and how you're coming across.”

So with imperfect action and I am sure some “wrong” words, I’ve invited back my friend Shalena Broaster on this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast — an amazing coach to entrepreneurs, a mom, and a Black woman. All three of these parts of her identity come up in our discussion today. 

The conversation we have is uncomfortable for me, but necessary. I am finding I need to own my discomfort. Discomfort is needed, and it has been my own white privilege that has let me escape what I am feeling right now in the past. My black friends have wanted me here for a long time. For my white friends, it is OK to feel horrible. I believe it is part of the path to the solution. I’m learning, stepping into hard conversations, and taking action. I may not get it right—in fact, I know I’ll get it wrong sometimes, but it’s critical for me to show up and do this work. 

If you’ve spent any time here, you know that I focus on 90 days at a time. My goal for the 90-day season that I just kicked off is to give racism the time it really needs so that I can educate and uneducate myself, feel all the feelings, and move into massive action. 

This conversation is one small piece of that. 

Shalena and I talk about: 

  • Bias and discrimination in education, both Shalena’s personal experience with her son and broad systemic issues
  • Cutting down on the media we consume and how that is a necessary strategy to get work done, how it is also a privilege, and how we need to not check out sometimes to be part of the conversation
  • Her response to watching George Floyd murdered, how her son by age 6 is seen as a threat because he is black, how she came back to the image of her own son watching George Floyd call out for his mama, that this was a modern-day lynching, the difference in police response to known White men who killed people and to a Black man who hadn’t 
  • How words and names matter, how we all need to do work on this issue—Shalena talks about why she is a Black woman and not a woman of color and how she took an LGBTQ plus workshop and put what she learned into practice—how we need to act on what we learn
  • Marie Forleo shutting down conversation about George Floyd, but not about COVID-19
  • How responses to issues, like drug use, change when it becomes a White issue
  • Different ways to take action, and how our businesses can put us in the position to be “the money” 


Shalena D.I.V.A. is a certified start-up coach for consultants, experts, and coaches who want to start an online coaching business. 

She is a political science graduate of Duke University and spent 10 years working as a financial institution underwriter for a Fortune 500 insurance company. Drawing upon these experiences, she uses her analytical, consulting, marketing, program building, and risk assessment skills to help her clients build an online coaching business.

Her step by step, no-nonsense instruction helps her clients to create strong personal brands, content marketing and digital products such as webinars, ebooks, online courses, and membership sites.

Do you want more accountability and faster results? She’s the queen of fast results because she helps her clients create and sell their products in a streamlined way.

Her coaching is NOT for the faint of heart. It's for those who truly want to stop playing small, make an impact and get paid!!!

Are you her next client? Check out her packages and her amazing testimonials. Find out more at



Shalena says, Just listen and observe and do research ... Hear your own biases come up. Right here are some starting Doable Changes. 

For my white audience ready to do the work, here are some places to start:

For my black audience. If Shalena has a nurturing morning routine, maybe you can too. I see how hard you have been fighting. I wonder if just 10 minutes in the morning to deeply nurture your day would help you as your next doable change. Shalena shares going for a walk, reading a meaningful book, staying off media. What do you need to do that would help you get set up for your day?

Doable changes are a way to take action when things feel too big to get started. The magic is in continuing to take action consistently. I’m committed to doing this work, not just now, but ongoing. What step will you take? 

Nurture Yourself

Nurture Yourself

May 27, 2020

This episode is from our event, the Art of 90 Days. This is a lesson that may be stopping some people from signing up, so I want to make sure more of you can hear it.

Why Focus on Selfcare? 

Self-nurturing is deeper than self-care. It’s not just the activities but how we do them. Self-nurturing is the act of caring for ourselves by deeply nourishing, cherishing, and encouraging our own growth and potential. What's on the other side is more peace, more joy, more meaning, and a deeper connection and feeling of belonging in our relationships. Life feels less overwhelming and exhausting because we approach everything differently. 

What Does a 90-Day Goal Look Like?

Do something measurable. Don’t say, “I will add more self-care.” Say, “I will develop a nurturing morning routine in 90 days” or “I will know how to spend an hour a day nurturing myself in 90 days.” 

What Are Some Habits That Are Part of this 90-Day Goal?

  • Start small and build. For example, start with 10 minutes 3 times a week of something that is deeply nurturing—meditation, a walk-in nature, connecting with gratitude, journaling.
  • Approach this practice with compassion and flexibility. 
  • Build a plan to deal with resistance—do you have options and choose the one that feels most right in the moment? Do you work through the resistance? Is it approaching things differently (doing Shavasana instead of a yoga flow? Doing 10 deep breaths instead of your usual mediation session)? 

What Are Some To-Dos That Are Part of this 90-Day Goal?

  • Schedule time for nurturing, even if it is only a few minutes a day.
  • Create a list of things that you do to nurture yourself. 
  • Schedule three check-ins with yourself each day (How do I feel? What do I need right now?) 

“I have a vision of women really embracing themselves on a journey of self-discovery, on a journey of creativity, on a journey of knowing themselves in a really deep and powerful way so that, that is the attention and intention that they bring to all of their relationships.” -Kelley Grimes

Kelley Grimes, MSW, is a counselor, speaker, internationally best-selling author, and self-nurturing expert. She is the founder of Cultivating Peace and Joy and is passionate about empowering overwhelmed and exhausted women to improve their health, wealth, and relationships by getting to the root of their habit of self-neglect and guiding them in cultivating a sustainable practice of self-nurturing. Kelley believes in nurturing peace in the world from the inside out. In addition, she provides professional and leadership development to organizations dedicated to making the world a better place. She also teaches self-nurturing to women overcoming domestic violence, homelessness, and other major life challenges at local non-profits. She is married to an artist, has two empowered daughters, and loves singing with a small women’s group. Her new book, The Art of Self-Nurturing: a field guide to living with more peace, joy, and meaning will be published in Sep 2020. Find Kelley at


A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

May 13, 2020

“You need to remember the best legacy you can give your kids is an example of a life well-lived.” — Brooke Costillo

Today I am creating a different kind of episode — one that I have loved listening to myself, from others.

All week, I took notes.

What choices did I make? 

What happened, and what did not happen? 

Where did I win, and what did I need to learn? 

Is there anything that I am experiencing that might serve you?

These are questions I asked myself, and then just pressed record — going day-by-day through the last week.

A few highlights:

  • I threw out my back
  • I re-configured my to-do list
  • I learned a really important lesson from my coach
  • I made some extra space for my kids
  • I took a day off, which has not been happening since we’ve been home

Tell me about your week.

What are you learning in this unique time? Come share over on Instagram

Have you signed up for the Art of 90 days yet? You will not want to miss this event! If you are excited about hitting some of your 2020 goals but feel a bit defeated by the current stay-at-home orders, this is for you! 

Sign up even if you think you are too busy or can’t because your kids are home… We will help you find the talks that will best serve you now, no matter how much time and attention you have, or don’t have!  Grab your free ticket here »


How to Discover Your Rhythm by Observing the Moon

How to Discover Your Rhythm by Observing the Moon

April 22, 2020

“Full Moons get all the attention, but New Moons are super powerful. They mark the beginning of a Moon cycle and hold the energy of new beginnings and growth. Intentions set on a New Moon will be blessed and held into reality.” – Sarah Jenks

A few years back, as I was looking into the best way to organize the FLOW Planner, I researched many systems, including the idea of planning time as it relates to the moon cycles. 

My mission is to help women move away from all the outside noise and tune in to their own bodies, minds, and souls so that they can guide themselves towards their best lives. 

I had discovered years ago that conditioning around the calendar and what others thought was not serving me to hit my own wellness goals. In fact, it was not until I let go of all the noise — magazines, commercials, comments from family members –  that I could find the solution that led me to shed 85 pounds.

I researched a lot of systems that would serve women better than the 12-month planners that many of us abandon by February, feeling more guilty about empty pages than abandoned goals. That’s why The FLOW planner takes on one 90-day season at a time and is updated. I ask meaningful questions to help you set balanced goals, decide what part to tackle each week, and recommit each day.

And the moon cycle fits right into that. Starting to understand the moon cycles helps me track my natural tendencies and rhythms. That means I can make plans that reflect my natural flow. This has helped immensely with both my productivity and happiness. 

I start my 90-day seasons on a New Moon. 

(HINT: There’s one TODAY—but if you miss it, don’t worry, you can start anytime because if you haven’t been tracking the moon, you’ll want to start with just noticing some things.) 

Your job is to play detective.

We are different each day of the month. 

The good news is that our cycles repeat and are not as random as we may have once imagined.

The coolest part about the moon as it relates to women and planning is that you will find it creates a consistent pattern — the tired days, the energetic days, the focused days, the loving days each repeats themselves in a very logical way. 

There is so much to learn about the moon, but the most important part is that you find your own relationship with the moon.

I made you The Moon Journal as your companion to start.


An 84-day experience to discover your rhythm

“When we come in tune with the moon cycle, it’s a way to come in tune with ourselves, and then when we come in tune with ourselves and our environment, there’s an invitation to become more present.”
– Ezzie Spencer

I was surprised to see how real moon tracking data is—and how helpful it is when I sit down to map out a 90-day goal. I now plan in a way that truly honors my energy. 

I noticed that each month, there is a day that I need to stop and take a nap. I never plan tons of writing on those days. My energy is much better for thinking than doing. This is usually right before the new moon.

Sometimes I am on fire creatively and can focus for hours. This is usually during the waxing gibbous, before a full moon. This is a great time for me to create and design anything.

After the full moon is a great time for me to offer something to my audience. I do not naturally like selling, but on these days my enthusiasm is so high, it feels much easier to make an offer.

Seeing the patterns repeat on paper gave me power over my days. 

This does not mean that I take days off whenever I have a tiring day — I am a mom and run a business — but I do know on those days that good food is super important, that I might say no to a kid who wants a friend over, and that staying up to watch Netflix is not a good idea. I work these boundaries into my plan.

Even though we go through the same moon stages, my rhythm will be different than yours. The magic really starts by playing detective. You need to really understand your relationship with the moon. 

Keep a Moon Journal.

Start by spending 3 moon cycles getting to know your true self. Take notes about what you feel, notice, and crave. Are there any similarities from month to month?

While I like to do my 90-day planning at the new moon, you can start this “getting to know how you work with the moon” at any time. When you start, fill in the dates, by googling the lunar calendar for the month you are in. (90 days feels like even too long to plan for right at this moment, but this research will serve you long after the Coronavirus has ended.)

What else should you pay attention to? 

Include your energy, your sleep patterns, if you are feeling motivated or lazy, your eating habits. Each day leaves so many clues. What did you wish happened? How were you with people? How did you feel when you first woke up?

As you start to learn, you can map your life to the predictable patterns that may have felt very irregular when thinking each day is the same On days when you are low energy, plan for yoga. On days of high energy, try the CrossFit gym you have been wondering about. You can map business launches, meetings, creativity, and cleaning to very predictable urges that surface month after month.

Download the Moon Journal now to get started.

Some things to track?

Note the days: 

  • Of your period if you still get it. 
  • You feel like you are getting a cold
  • You feel particularly social
  • When your energy is contagious and you could sell anything
  • You wish you could stay in bed
  • When ideas just keep flowing
  • Where you feel uncomfortable in your body
  • When you feel like you could eat everything in your kitchen (or the opposite)
  • Where you feel super connected to your partner
  • You wish you could just be alone
  • You need some serious self-care
  • That you feel naturally productive
  • When you really want to clean and declutter

All of these things have something to show you about your own rhythm and the moon. It’s tracking over time that helps you see the patterns that then help you plan. That’s why the Moon Journal is an 84-day journey. 

Get your Moon Journal and get started NOW!

And if you are really intrigued by moon cycles, check out these interviews on the Plan Simple podcast:


Plan Your Week for Now

Plan Your Week for Now

April 8, 2020

We are in such a strange time — home as families trying to get all the things done and not burnout. Learn how Mia is planning her weeks during the "Coronaseason" to include time for work, homeschooling, healthy meals, movement, self-care, and even some downtime!

Listen into this episode with a piece of paper and a pen to make your plan.

Download planning sheets at

Planning for Weeks at Home

Planning for Weeks at Home

March 27, 2020

It is such a strange time. We are being asked to stay home, to be ok with uncertainty, and keep a safe distance from each other. Events and activities that we have been preparing for or waiting for are cancelled. The same goes for our kiddos.

It is hard to experience, much less explain.

We feel disappointed. A moment later disappointment almost feels selfish.

None of it feels comfortable. It is easy to slip into fear—and easy to pass the fear onto our kids.

And all this said, I am determined to see the opportunity in what feels like a huge obstacle.

No one will be the same after this experience, so why not be better? 

I am planning week by week and creating the momentum in my heart for this to last longer than the 3 weeks (now 8) school is currently cancelled. 

On a normal week, I work from home while my three kids are at school and my husband is at the office. Now we are all home. Nothing is normal. If you are not already in this situation, it may just be a matter of time.

I want to take you through making a plan for the next few weeks, and maybe beyond.

Planning resources for this unusual time can be found by clicking on the bar on top of

33 Things with Courtney Carver

33 Things with Courtney Carver

March 5, 2020

The simpler my life got outside of my closet, the more apparent it was that there was a problem in the closet. –Courtney Carver

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Courtney Carver, the author of Soulful Simplicity. After getting diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006, Courtney started experimenting, first with food and diet, than in reducing stress. The common thread she found in the changes she was making—simplicity. 

It may not seem like simplifying your closet, changing what you eat, and reducing debt have a lot in common, but Courtney talks about changes in all these areas. She realized that so many things that simply felt like adulting, could be easier, different. Simplifying in all these areas and more reduced stress. 

One of the things we dive into is clutter, and how decluttering can become it’s own stressful thing. Either it’s something that keeps showing up again and again on your to-do list and never getting done, or you do it and then clutter builds up again. Courtney remembers the five minutes of feeling good when everything was decluttered and in its place before it all fell apart. Then she made a change. She decided to really get rid of stuff and only keep what she really wanted in her house and, the important part, she resisted bringing in new things. 

We talk about: 

  • How the more stuff you bring into your house, the more you want to bring stuff in 
  • Understanding why you are shopping to help you resist bringing in things you don’t need (and really don’t want)
  • The 333 challenge to simplify your wardrobe
  • The feeling of space and lightness that comes with releasing clothes that don’t fit you, clothes other people that you don’t love, other clothes you don’t wear for whatever reason—and how this winnowing makes decisions easier
  • Noticing the stories we’re telling ourselves and how they keep us hanging onto or buying stuff
  • Holding onto or letting go of books


Courtney Carver writes things. She wrote a book called Soulful Simplicity and the simplicity blog, She shares things that make her laugh and cry on Instagram (@bemorewithless). She doesn't know her Myers Briggs Type but she knows she's an introvert because she needs to be free from humans several times a day (cats and dogs are always welcome). Aside from her seasonal wardrobe, she doesn't count her things.

Carver doesn't have an impressive degree, awards, or a big, fancy home full of stuff. Instead, she selectively surrounds herself with her favorite things and people she loves. She does work she truly cares about, goes on adventures (in the world or in her own backyard) and likes chai lattes with almond milk while reading or writing.

Her new book, Project 333, The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More will help you create a capsule wardrobe and a beautiful life.




Doable Changes from this episode:

  • NOTICE YOUR STORIES. As you get dressed or flip through your closet, notice the stories you tell yourself. I can’t get rid of that, my mom made it. I might need that suit for an interview. These jeans will fit me again. It’s good to have choices in shoes. What if you changed the story? And notice what you are drawn to, what you wear again and again. Ask: What if I wore these things for the next three months?

  • TAKE THE 333 CHALLENGE. Choose 33 items to wear for the next 3 months. Include clothes, shoes, jewelry, and accessories, but you don’t have to count things like underwear, sleepwear or loungewear, or athletic or yoga clothes (if actually worn for that purpose). (For more tips on choosing, see Courtney’s blog and Project 333 challenge or book linked above.) Don’t get rid of your other clothes just yet. Just pack them away for 3 months. See how it feels.

  • RESIST BRINGING THINGS IN. Decluttering is great, but so often we cycle through decluttering only to bring in more clutter. Challenge yourself not to bring in new things for the next week, ten days, month … whatever period you want to work with. When you find yourself filling up a cart in Target when you just ran in for detergent or about to mindlessly click the buy button on Amazon, stop. Ask yourself, why you are buying—what do you really need at the moment. Remind yourself why you want to resist bringing things in. 


(Doable Change) Vision

(Doable Change) Vision

March 2, 2020

Week 5. What part of your vision can you tackle in the next 90 days? As moms, the rug is always being pulled from under us when we plan for a year. We are more likely to get into perfection paralysis and stay out of action with the concept of a resolution. Very often I hear stories of people getting done in 3 months what they thought they would get done in a year when they focus on 90 days. 


Refer to the 90-Day Goal Planning Sheet that you can download at

Clutter with Kate Varness

Clutter with Kate Varness

February 19, 2020

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Kate Varness, a professional organizer about our stuff and the internal stuff that goes with it. Kate started her organizing work when she had three kids under 5. 

A lot of the people Kate works with are in a period of life transition. Often times a change has happened, and they haven’t quite caught up in their life. They need to figure out the skills they need, the stuff they need, and the help they need for their present situation. 

I noted that sometimes when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I declutter something and that opens up space to have ideas. But Kate wrote that sometimes we actually can't let go and declutter some of the things in our physical space if we don't have an idea of where we're going. We have trouble letting go of stuff that is tied to identity if that identity is changing because we don’t have a new idea to fill it. 

We talk about: 

  • Tuning into and honoring your own desires (do I like this? Do I not like this?)
  • Brainstorming a list of things you want to do or ever wanted to try
  • Getting past the idea that your value as a human is based on what you do or how much money you make
  • Getting out of your comfort zone and the space for change it creates
  • When decluttering start with what’s easy—find 15 things to trash or donate each day, work through the things you are pretty sure about and then move on to the things you are more ambivalent about
  • Learning to receive and believe you are worthy


Kate is an author, speaker, coach, professional organizer, and the founder of Green Light Organizing and Coaching who loves helping women live their best life. She’s a Certified Professional Organizer specializing in Chronic Disorganization (CPO-CD) and a Certified Organizer Coach (COC). Kate understands that organizing and life solutions need to be practical and family-friendly. It’s not about a pristine, perfect house, but about mindset shifts and gaining momentum that goes beyond an organized house. 


Doable Changes from this episode:

  • TUNE INTO YOUR DESIRES. If you are taking care of others, it can be easy to lose sight of what you really want. As you go through your day, ask yourself: Do I like this? Do I want to do this? Start by noticing. Then try saying yes to something that you want. How does it feel?

  • GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Challenge yourself to do one new thing every day for a week. Wear a temporary tattoo, burst into song in the grocery store … whatever it is. The goal is to move out of your comfort zone and notice what happens to the way you think.

  • CHECK YOUR ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. What’s the worst-case scenario? If you are feeling stuck about letting go of something or making a decision, ask what the worst-case scenario is? Think about how you could handle that. Does it change how you feel about letting go or your decision? 


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