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    We are a team of professional wedding photographers solely devoted to "happily ever afters". Our commercial studio is based in Charlotte, NC and we capture weddings in the Carolinas and beyond. We believe in family, love and the power of storytelling through our photography. The ladies of Old South would love to capture your big day!

The Power of a 24 Hour Plan

I know it seems daunting. It’s the beginning of a New Year. You have so many goals you’d like to achieve. Getting in shape, losing weight, being more organized, managing your time better, spending more quality time with loved ones, finally saving enough money for that vacation you want to take…the list could go on and on.

But that list can also feel so intimidating that you feel too overwhelmed to do ANY of it. Then you find yourself soaking in the bath with a bottle of wine and a cheesecake wondering how you can feel so defeated by never having started??

So, instead of looking 10-12 months ahead, how about we focus our attention on the JUST THE one day in front of you?

That’s where the power of the 24 hour plan comes in.

I’ve been using this planner, Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt, for the past year. You can order it HERE and have it on your doorstep this week!  I love it’s layout and it’s emphasis on habit change.  A year of successful changes hinges on your DAILY HABITS and this planner has helped me tremendously in the past year.  The company sends you one every quarter and who doesn’t love getting a fresh new planner in the ol’ snail mail every 3 months?

image1Every day consists of one spread.  The left page has the DAILY BIG 3.  These are often as simple for me as “fold all laundry, pick up kids from school, call dentist to make appointment” OR as complicated as “finish company taxes, book hotel for destination wedding in March, do Liift 4 Back/Biceps workout”.  These are the 3 things that MUST happen today (big or small) before the sun goes down.  We southern girls could also term the Daily 3 as our “Come Hell or High Water” list.  You get the gist! You can certainly add in OTHER TASKS below that you hope to accomplish too but focusing on 3 big goals each day sets you up for greater success.

A huge component of weight loss is learning to believe in yourself again.  Keeping that inner mean girl voice at bay who LOVES to whisper “you fail at everything, remember that diet you tried and quit last year?, you’ve never kept a journal for more than 3 days in your life, etc. etc.” comes from making daily promises to yourself and keeping them.  These Daily 3 are the promises you will make to yourself in the next 24 hours AND KEEP THEM.  They don’t have to be huge….better yet, make them super achievable! There is power in putting 3 checkmarks on that left side page day after day.  When you do it often enough, suddenly your faith in yourself re-emerges.  And you just might get up enough nerve one day to BELIEVE you can do a workout that requires an actual sports bra (me…circa January 2018).  Believing in yourself again really does matter.  Make those promises and keep them.
image6Oh, that right page.  I use it for LOTS of different things.  Some mornings, I write myself an inspiring quote or Bible verse to try to memorize.  Sometimes I scribble a happy note to myself like “2 pounds lost!!” with tons of hearts drawn around like some giddy 4th grader.  But the most important thing I’ll write is what I plan to eat that day.  Seriously. Just planning 24 hours of meals ahead of time makes ALL the difference.

And remember my post 2 days ago “Start Where you ARE?” This applies to the nutrition planning you will do too.  For example, if you know your family is headed to Chick-Fil-A today for lunch, plan for it.  Don’t pretend you aren’t going to eat there if your entire family will be eating. Sitting there alone dreaming of kale isn’t a very realistic plan (plus it makes everyone else feel super weird scarfing down nuggets drowned in Chick-Fil-A sauce around you!).  I’m a big fan of Corrine Crabtree’s “GOOD, BETTER, BEST” philosophy. (You can listen to her podcasts free HERE.  I adore her common sense approach to weight loss!)

START WHERE YOU ARE!!! I used to be a Combo Meal #1 girl at Chick-Fil-A.  I loved that Chicken Sandwhich, Fries and Diet Lemonade combo like I love my firstborn!! Mmmmm….. BUT, I also wanted to fit into smaller jeans so, I’d thoughtfully consider what better choice I could make that day at the Chicken Heaven.  The “GOOD” choice might be just the sandwich and no fries.  It was a step in the “EAT LESS” direction and certainly progress.  The “BETTER” choice might be the Spicy Chicken Salad.  More veggies, more fiber and still a step towards progress.  The “BEST” choice might be the little side kale salad (Superfood salad and it is yummy!) with a side order of grilled nuggets.  That would include the leanest protein, lots of greens and healthy fat in the vinaigrette dressing.

The point is that IF YOU ARE someone who has some weight to lose, your pants size indicates you are NOT great at making healthy choices in the heat of the moment.  Hungry Julie makes awful decisions.  She just does.  BUT, Morning Julie, sitting at her kitchen table, can make much better choices so she writes down “Spicy Chicken Salad” from CFA for lunch.  Then…..wait for it…..because she promised herself ON PAPER that she would order that salad instead of her beloved #1 Combo, the chances of Hungry Julie ACTUALLY ordering the salad are infinitely higher. True story!

There is power in putting pen to paper, y’all.  THIS IS HOW YOU ACHIEVE LONG TERM, SUSTAINABLE WEIGHT LOSS.  There is great power in the 24 hour plan. Heck, I’ll even plan out how many glasses of wine I’m going to drink at a party.  I’m super honest with my plan and then I can still feel confident that I kept promises to myself (even on wine night!).  It might also mean adding a 30 minute HIIT workout that day to help burn off those extra calories but that is on the plan too.

You just have to get super honest with yourself.  Repeat after me…..YOU STINK at making healthy choices when it’s been 6 hours since your last morsel, you haven’t grocery shopped and your kids are asking “what’s for dinner”.  DO NOT set yourself up for those scenarios.  Just write down what you plan to eat/drink for the next 24 hours and take it one day at a time.
image7I also love this opening section of each quarterly planner.  It leaves space for you to write out your Daily Rituals.  We each have them.  They just might need to be reworked to achieve your health goals in 2019. My morning ritual is my most important set of actions.  They truly set the tone for the ENTIRE day.  My hubby likes to attend a 5:30 a.m. Crossfit class, so starting January 2, my morning ritual will mean getting up at 4:55 a.m. when he does (wait! before you write me off as some insane rooster lady, know that you can sleep until 8:00 a.m. and be successful too! I’m just much more inclined to get things done in the morning than the afternoon so this structure works best for us.  Afternoon Julie makes as many bad decisions as Hungry Julie).

From 5:00-6:00 a.m., I sit at my kitchen table and fill my mind with positivity.  I’m starting a new 5 minute devotional with my bestie in Colorado so I’ll begin with that, then move to my Bible, my journal (or book I might be reading), then finish with my 24 hour plan in my planner.  So, by 6:00 a.m., I’ve prepared my mind and my schedule for what lies ahead.
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Your Workday Startup Ritual and Workday Shutdown Ritual are important too.  Even if you are working inside the home taking care of your kiddos all day, there are still processes you can put in place to be your most successful self.  The very first thing on my Workday Startup Ritual is to make up my bed first thing.  Having an organized, peaceful bedroom is important to me and must be done before any other task. Then I put on my workout clothes and head down to my home gym area in the basement to sweat.

An example of my Workday Shutdown Ritual is making sure my e-mail inbox is back to zero EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  It brings me so much peace to know I’ve at least written back “Thanks for reaching out.  I’ll be sure to take a closer look at this tomorrow and get back to you soon.” to EVERY person who reached out to me that day.  Again, this is all very personal so don’t think your process needs to look like mine.  I’ve been working on changing my habits for a solid year now.  You know my motto, START WHERE YOU ARE!!  image5I think the Evening Ritual is almost more important than my Morning Ritual.  Because if the Evening Ritual wasn’t done well, I’ve already sabotaged my morning.  For me, my Evening Ritual is always the same.  After dinner, I clean up the kitchen and wipe down all countertops.  I start the dishwasher.  I prep the coffee pot and set the morning timer (waking up to hot coffee is one of life’s greatest joys to this caffeine-loving-Mama!), clear off my kitchen table (where I’ll do my Morning Ritual) and make sure the living room is tidy.  If any of these steps is missed, Sleepy Julie (who is just as untrustworthy as Hungry Julie or Afternoon Julie) will think of a million reasons to skip writing out her 24 Hour Plan and/or doing her workout.  She sucks,is highly-unmotivated and cannot be trusted so I plan ahead the night before:) ALSO, going to bed too late is KRYPTONITE to my Morning Ritual.  I love sleep like a I loved the #1 CFA meal and my firstborn.  If I don’t get 7 hours of solid sleep, Sleepy Julie will rear her ugly head and beat Morning Julie into submission.  Seriously, not getting enough sleep kills the next morning so I just have to accept that staying up after 10 p.m. is a terrible, terrible idea Monday-Friday. image2

The beginning of each quarterly planner asks you to take time to set Annual Goals.  Last year, mine included “Organizing the Garage” (it was a HOT MESS and took us 2 months to complete!!!), “Planning a family trip around Christmas” (we went to the Biltmore Estate and through my favorite NC mountain towns and had the best time!!), “Lose 20 pounds”, etc.  These are bigger, long term plans but there is power in seeing your goals on paper.

When we worked through paying off all credit card debt a few years ago, we wrote down our plan and it made all the difference! Seeing “Pay off Chase CC by March” and checking it off a list was SO empowering! That momentum carried us into paying off the next credit card then the next one until that annual goal was achieved.  WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS.  You will be shocked at the power a written plan truly has.

And please remember, your 24 hour plan won’t be perfect.  It’s just like pulling an arrow back and aiming in a certain direction.  Sometimes it flies fast and straight and you hit the target LIKE A BOSS. And sometimes, it flies totally sideways and lands in your neighbors’ yard.  Oh well.

God is so patient, kind and forgiving with us.  Be that kind to yourself when your plans don’t always go perfectly.  Tell that Mean Girl just to back up. That the beauty of the 24 hour plan- with each new sunrise, we get a chance to try again.  I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again…. THOSE WHO ACHIEVE LONG TERM SUCCESS AREN’T THE ONES WHO DO THINGS PERFECTLY.  THEY ARE THE ONES WHO REFUSE TO QUIT AND KEEPING GETTING BACK UP AFTER EVERY FAILURE.

And then, 12 months later of aiming that arrow mostly in the right direction, you just might be surprised at how much changed you accomplished in one year.  LET’S GET STARTED!!!!

Also, be sure to send me your e-mail address.  I’ll be sending out more info to those who subscribe to the list AND offer individual coaching plans too later in January.  I’d love to cheer you on.