The Things That Love You Back

April 26, 2014

Do The Things That Love You Back!

“When You Do The Things That Love You Back, All That You’ll Be Needing Is Found.” We all have a few main objectives to our life, to be needed, to be loved, and READ MORE

Slow Cooker Taco Dip

January 30, 2014

Slow cooker taco dip


  • 1/2 Pound extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans refried beans
  • 1 cup salsa (I like Newman’s Own)
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
  • 1 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 of 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 of 1 tomato, diced


  • Combine turkey, onions, beans, salsa, and chilies in a bowl and transfer to slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours (or high for about 1.5 hours.)
  • Stir well and transfer to serving bowl. Spread yogurt over mixture and top with cheese, diced avocado and diced tomato.
  • Serve with your favorite dipper!


Don’t have a slow cooker? No worries! Brown the turkey in a large pan, add the ingredients in the first step and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Then follow the last two steps as above!

Turkey Enchilada Casserole

January 16, 2014

Turkey Enchilada Casserole


  • 1 package lean ground turkey
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I like Fage 0%)
  • ¾ cup salsa of your choice
  • 1 cup canned Mexicorn or Chipotle White Corn (it’s by Green Giant)
  • 4 oz. diced green chiles
  • 10–12 corn tortillas, torn/shredded
  • 1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat a large pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink. Season with salt & pepper.
  • In a large bowl, combine enchilada sauce, Greek yogurt and salsa. Add in turkey, green chilies and corn. Once combined, stir in torn tortilla pieces.
  • Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and spread mixture evenly in dish.
  • Cover with cheese.
  • Bake for 20–25 minutes or until edges are golden brown and cheese is bubbly!
  • Serve and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Skins

January 14, 2014

Sweet Potato Skins


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ of 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 4 slices turkey bacon, chopped
  • 2/3 cup reduced-fat, sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. chives, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Bake sweet potatoes for 30–40 minutes or until tender.
  • Cut sweet potatoes into quarters and scoop out about half of the insides (save the extras for leftovers!)
  • On a baking sheet, arrange potatoes so they are skin-side down and bake for 10 minutes or until crispy.
  • While skins are baking, heat olive oil in pan and sauté onion, garlic and turkey bacon.
  • Stir cheese and chives into the onion & bacon mixture.
  • Spoon everything into skins and return to oven for another 1–2 minutes or until cheese is melted!
  • Enjoy!


Top with 1 Tbsp. of plain Greek yogurt to cool it down!

Awesomely Autumn Pumpkin Dip

December 26, 2013



  • ¾ cup (6 oz.) fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 6 packets Truvia (1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp.)
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon


  • Combine all ingredients until smooth and chill for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Serve with apple and pear slices or pita chips!

Squash & Carrot Pasta with Turkey Sausage Marinara

December 3, 2013

zuccini carrot pasta


  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 medium-sized zucchinis, ribboned
  • 3 large carrots, ribboned
  • 2-3 medium-sized yellow zucchini squash, ribboned
  • 1 lb. of Lori Harder Turkey Sausage (click HERE for the Recipe)
  • 1 jar low-sugar, low-sodium red pasta sauce (I like Newman’s Own)


  • In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and add zucchini, carrots and squash. Sauté until cooked through.
  • While veggies are cooking, combine Turkey Sausage and pasta sauce in a saucepan and heat.
  • Plate veggies and top with the turkey sauce, and serve warm!


Want to add some more zing to the dish? Top with crushed red pepper flakes and 1 Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese.

Fool-Me-Not Squash & Cheese

November 26, 2013



  • 1 spaghetti squash, cooked
  • ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. Lori Harder’s Italian Turkey Sausage (Click HERE or see Notes below for recipe!)
  • 4 oz. low-fat shredded Swiss cheese
  • 4 oz. low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup all-natural or use Our Bread Crumbs (see cookbook for recipe!)
  • ½ Tbsp. salt
  • ½ Tbsp. black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut spaghetti squash length-wise and remove the “guts” so only the meat of the squash is left.
  • Rub olive oil into the insides of the squash, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • On an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, place both sides of the squash, face down, on sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the squash shreds easily with a fork.
  • Shred the spaghetti squash. Then combine all ingredients and transfer to a non-stick sprayed casserole dish.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!


Lori Harder’s Italian Turkey Sausage

  • 16 oz. lean ground turkey
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. fennel seed
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. smoky paprika
  • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Heat olive oil in frying pan. Add the ground turkey and all seasonings, and cook until well done. Chop turkey, while frying, into hamburger consistency.

Timely Taco Bites

November 14, 2013


Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips

October 31, 2013

rosemary sweet potato chips


  • 3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (or use 1 tsp. jarred minced garlic)
  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • *Optional* For a little spice, add a ¼ tsp. ground red pepper


  • Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Toss sweet potato slices in a bowl with remaining ingredients.
  • Spread in a single layer across baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Flip potatoes over and bake an additional 8 minutes.
  • ENJOY!


Serve with your favorite salsa or dip!

Maple Meatballs

October 30, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Maple Meatballs


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 ¼ lb. lean ground turkey
  • ¼ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup reduced-sugar or all-natural maple syrup
  • ½ cup all-natural or Busy Girl breadcrumbs (see BGHL Cookbook for recipe)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 10 slices turkey bacon, sliced in half length-wise
  • 20 toothpicks
  • *Optional* ¼ cup reduced-sugar or all-natural maple syrup for topping


  • Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Combine all ingredients (through salt and pepper EXCLUDING Bacon, toothpicks and Second maple syrup) in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Shape mixture into 1- to 2-inch meatballs.
  • Wrap each meatball with ½ strip of the turkey bacon and secure with a toothpick.
  • Arrange all meatballs on baking sheet and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until bacon is lightly browned.
  • *Optional* Once cooked, brush meatballs with ¼ cup maple syrup!
  • Serve warm and ENJOY!

Cheesehead Chili Dip

October 20, 2013

baked chese chili dip


  • 1 pound of my Italian Turkey Sausage (see recipe under Notes below)
  • 1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 (8 oz.) package fat-free cream cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded reduced-fat or fat-free sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Drain most of the liquid from tomatoes/green chiles (save about 2–3 Tbsp. liquid).
  • Combine turkey sausage, diced tomatoes with chiles, 2–3 Tbsp. liquid, and cream cheese. Stir well.
  • Spread mixture into a 1-quart baking dish and cover with shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 20–25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  • Serve with the tortilla chips, vegetables or any other favorite dipper!


Italian Turkey Sausage (A Staple in my Kitchen!)

  • 16 oz. lean ground turkey
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. fennel seed
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. smoky paprika
  • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

To Cook: Heat olive oil in frying pan. Add the ground turkey and all seasonings, and cook until well done. Chop turkey while frying, into hamburger consistency.

Quinoa Beet Kale Salad with Yellow Curry Chicken & Tzatziki Sauce

June 18, 2013

Yellow Curry Cabob


Quinoa Beet Kale Salad

  • 6 cups kale, finely chopped without spine
  • 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower, grated or riced in food processor
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup cooked red quinoa (can use regular quinoa)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, shelled
  • 2 medium-sized red beets, sliced thin and cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Yellow Curry Chicken

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3/4 tsp. yellow curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • Juice of one lemon

Tzatziki Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp. dill, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. lemon juice or juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. mint, chopped
  • 1 cup 0% Fage Greek Yogurt
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar or 1 packet Stevia or Truvia



  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Yellow Curry Chicken:

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients accept chicken. Warm in microwave for 15 to 20 seconds to melt coconut oil, and stir well.
  • Add chicken and mixture to frying pan and cook chicken for 12 to 15 minutes on medium heat until chicken is cooked and has absorbed most of the mixture.

Tzatziki Sauce:

  • Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • Serve on the side of your salad so you can dip your chicken and salad as desired.


Serve chicken, salad and dressing on a plate, and mix and dip as you choose! Tzatziki can be served as a sauce on its own for dipping vegetables at any time! It’s also a great fresh option for a summer appetizer before any meal.

For outdoor fun, cut chicken into small pieces, thread on a skewer and grill to make chicken kabobs. No skewers? Just grill the mixture-coated chicken and top with the tzatziki sauce.

Green Curry Lettuce Cups

March 13, 2013



  • 2 chicken breasts (about 4-6 oz. each), diced small
  • 1 can chopped water chestnuts
  • 2 Tbsp. green curry paste
  • 1/3 c. organic canned coconut milk
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 small head of bibb lettuce
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 slices


  • In a large frying pan, add everything except cabbage and bibb lettuce.
  • Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until chicken is done.
  • Add cabbage, and cook for about 3-5 minutes more.
  • Wash and separate bibb lettuce.
  • Add about 1/2 c. of chicken mixture into each lettuce cup, squeeze lime on top.
  • Enjoy!

Seven-Layer Mexi Dip

January 25, 2013

seven layer dip


  • 1 (8 oz.) container of fat-free cream cheese (you can leave this out completely if you want to save calories!)
  • 1 (16 oz.) can fat-free refried beans
  • 1 c. fat-free Greek yogurt (I use Fage 0%)
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning of choice
  • 1 medium-sized firm tomato
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3/4 c. cauliflower, grated into crumbles like cheese
  • 1 soft avocado
  • dash of salt


  • On a medium plate, spread cream cheese over the entire bottom (you can leave out the cream cheese if desired.)
  • Spread the entire can of refried beans over the cream cheese, but leave some of the cream cheese showing so you can see the layers.
  • In a separate bowl, take taco seasoning and mix into the fat-free yogurt until smooth.
  • Now you can take the taco yogurt mixture and spread over the bean layer.
  • Chop green onions, avocado and tomato, and sprinkle on top.
  • Finally, using a cheese grater, grate your cauliflower, and sprinkle on top like cheese.
  • Sprinkle salt over the top if desired.


If you want a more mild flavor, instead of using Greek yogurt, try taking 1 c. of 1% cottage cheese and blend the taco seasoning in a blender until smooth. Or instead of using cream cheese on the bottom layer, try using 1 c. cottage cheese (blended).

Try serving with carrots, celery, endive or baked chips! I tried organic pita and toasted in a frying pan until crunchy.

Honest Answers To My Honest Struggles

November 15, 2012

Motivation is not something you can search for, and it can’t ever be found.  Motivation is instead a byproduct of TAKING action.

Every day I get up and get my butt moving in order to keep the happiness I have worked so hard to build up.  There are always a few days each week that I workout, or sit down to do my work, and I am kicking and screaming the whole time until I tell myself “I am not quitting, so I might as well finish with a good attitude.”

Honestly, what keeps me going is knowing that if I give up, I start to loath myself and those around me for no reason.  I don’t want to have anymore pity parties, selfish thoughts, hurtful opinions and wasted days full of sadness or depression just because I don’t feel like working a little harder for my happiness.

When times get rough, when I feel stuck or when I have let myself indulge a little too much, I go back to what works.  I don’t look for short cuts like I used to.  I remember that it is going to take a lot of time to get back to feeling good again.  Whenever I feel this way there is a magical list that I follow that I am willing to share with you…  Print this list out and put a check mark every day next to each one.  I promise that in 3-6 weeks you will have a whole new outlook on life.  Not a long time to be a bit uncomfortable compared to the choice of not doing it, and being unhappy your entire life, right?

Here is my LIVE WITH NO REGRETS list of how to love you again:


Cut back on the crap food – No processed food.  We are what we eat and your body can’t function on junk.  The first few days are tough because your taste buds need to adjust to what healthy food tastes like again.

-Don’t go all or nothing on me!  Allow yourself small bites or portions of what you are craving each day.  That way you will slowly ween yourself off and not feel like you are being deprived and want to binge.

-Workout everyday even if you want to cry during each session or walk – keep a tissue in your pocket and keep going.  You may just enjoy a good public breakdown;)

-Avoid negative people at all costs – even if this means dodging your moms calls and writing her an email instead for a week

-Make a playlist of music so positive that it annoys you, then listen and try dancing to it with a smile on your face

-Turn the TV off and pick up a book or go for a walk!  News and TV are the two biggest culprits of wasted time and depression

-Day dream again – force yourself to imagine living out your biggest goals and dreams

-Make a dream board or get a white board and write down what you really want out of life in 30-60-90 day chunks.  Only use “I will” and “I am” anytime you think of your goals or write them down.

-No alcohol or limit to one drink a week – Alcohol will worsen emotions of sadness.  It will also disrupt your sleep and make you feel even more tired the next day.

-Get More water, fruit and veggies

-Get Tons of sleep – This will help your body burn fat and alleviate stress!

-Eat out less.  Instead, Prep your food and plan each day the night before

-Make a list of 3 things each day that would make you feel productive and get them done

-Make unbreakable appointments with people or family for fitness activities

-Invest in myself through books and self help seminars

-Help someone reach a goal so I can get outside of myself and my petty problems

-Let go of any anger, grudges or emotional ties to a story that I made up in my head about a circumstance that may have happened with someone or something.

-Stop taking things so personal

-Leave the space or area that is making you feel bad – go work somewhere else if possible, take a walk or find an inspiring place to think until you have a better attitude.

If you think I haven’t seen struggle you are nuts!  I just stopped believing the “story” I’ve been told  by others and by myself.  Instead of using it for my “feel bad for myself” excuse, I started viewing it as my reason to work harder and bust through some walls!

I was a heavy kid and I come from an overweight family.  I was also home-schooled through high school, so I never felt like I was smart enough to go after my dreams.  My family has seen more challenges than I have room to write, but I am grateful that it has helped me relate to people and made me much stronger.  Every night since I was 8 years old I would go to bed dreaming of what I would do to finally get the life and body that I wanted.  I would wake up with thoughts of what diet I was going to stick to, and then later that day I would binge and feel like a failure.  The one thing I will tell you is that every time I went off track and tried to pull back even more, get more strict and try something new, the more I pigged-out and started the cycle again.  I finally realized I just needed to stick with slow and steady, no matter how freaking SLOW it felt.  It is the only thing that works.

Remember you are more than your body.  People rely on you and need you!  If they don’t, then you need to join some group activities and PARTICIPATE!  There is no reason to have a pity party or say you don’t have people or friends that care about you.  Make people miss and need you by contributing positivity to others lives or people will not want you around!  Positive seeks positive, so to attract these supportive groups, you must first act positive and be supportive!  I know it seems backwards but this is the secret answer that all successful people know.  You must first be the change in order to get more of it in your life…

If you are not willing to fight for your happiness, then you have no right to complain that your life is not where you want it to be.  Everyone has struggles but the most happy, successful people don’t sweat the small stuff, complain or dwell on their obstacles.  They see their obstacles as fuel for the fire!

Successful people don’t have time to analyze why something went wrong, because they are busy planning ways to drive a Mac truck through the problem!  Life does not happen to successful people, they MAKE IT HAPPEN.  Patience and hard work is the only way to do this.  Don’t bother looking for a quick path because there isn’t one.  At the end of the day we choose our destiny.

Rewrite your story, and redefine what you thought you were capable of.  You are never stuck.  You either choose to stay where you are or slowly change your environment and life.  Don’t be a drain on those around you.  Choose to make the world a better place somehow.  There is a reason each of you are here.  Answer that burning question in your heart before it goes out.  Follow the list above and I promise that will reignite the fire in your heart!

Don’t waste this beautiful life wishing…  I’m Signing off with the some lyrics that have moved me, and I hope do the same for you,

“I was here” by Beyonce:


I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time

Know there was something that 

Meant something that I left behind

When I leave this world, 

I’ll leave no regrets

Leave something to remember, 

So they won’t forget


I was here… 

I lived, I loved

I was here… 

I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted

And it was more than I thought it would be

I will leave my mark so everyone will know

I was here… 


I want to say I lived each day, 

Until I die

And know that I meant something in somebody’s life

The hearts I have touched, 

Will be the proof that I leave

That I made a difference

And this world will see

[ Lyrics from

I was here… 

I lived, I loved

I was here… 

I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted

And it was more than I thought it would be

I will leave my mark so everyone will know


I was here… 

I lived, I loved

I was here… 

I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted

And it was more than I thought it would be

I will leave my mark so everyone will know

I was here… 


I just want them to know

That I gave my all, 

Did my best

Brought someone some happiness

Left this world a little better just because… 

I was here… 


I was here… 

I lived, I loved

I was here… 

I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted

And it was more than I thought it would be

I wanna leave my mark so everyone will know

I was here… 

I am forever grateful for all of you Busy Girls and the outpouring of love and support you always give!  I hope this blog inspires you to give that extra push toward your greatness.

Much Love,



What are you letting get in the way?

October 1, 2012

Hey Busy Girls!

I know we always have female guest bloggers, but I thought it would be nice to have a guest “man’s mind” weigh in a topic that we all can relate to!  I asked Nick Harder, my brother-in-law, expert coach and fitness trainer, whose clientele ranges from Dr’s, actors and musicians, if he could touch on a subject that really affects him and his clients on a personal level.  I hope you can get a few tips on how to truly get what you want out of your day and life!  If you are in the L.A area be sure to email him and take advantage of his bootcamps or hikes!  This former track star and motivational fitness coach will definitely inspire you to GO HARDER!  Make sure you check out his website and Facebook page:




A lot of people speak about what they want in life but are they being truthful to you or themselves?  If you truly want something, then you will go after it, right?  Go thru the motions to get it?  We’ll see…

It’s simple.  If you truly want something, you need to set everything else that gets in the way, aside, even your feelings.  Now, I don’t mean ignore your day to day responsibilities or not care about other important parts of your life.  What I mean is, if you truly have a desire for something, start going through the motions and steps to get the ball rolling and get what you desire.

First, I’ll break it down to something simple that we do each and every day.  “I want to have clean teeth.”  Ok, great!  Now what does that take?  Nothing, I just brush them right?  Wrong!  Yes, that is a step in the process of attaining clean teeth, but that’s not all.  Ok, stay with me here.  First, you wake up and DECIDE that you are going to brush your teeth.  You move the covers out of your way, TAKE ACTION and swing your legs out of bed, stand up and walk to the bathroom.  Then, you TELL YOURSELF to reach up, open the cabinet door because it stands in the way of your brush.  You grab the brush, toothpaste, open the cap, squeeze the tube, turn on the faucet, wet the brush, open your mouth and brush your teeth.  Success!  I’ll skip all the remaining steps here because I think you understand.  However, that DOES NOT mean you can skip ANY steps before or after while you are actually going through the process.  “Duh, of course not Nick, that’s a no brainer.”  Is it?  Lets look at what skipping a step or two might just do, because some of us think there are short cuts in life.  What if you wanted clean teeth but never decided to brush them?  Or if you just didn’t feel like walking to the bathroom that morning?  Or you looked in the mirror and said “Hmm, good enough, I’ll skip this time.”  Or told yourself, “the cabinet door is in the way, I can’t possibly move that.”  Maybe you are doing really well so far; you’ve got the brush, the paste, it’s wet, “I’m doing so great, I am going to skip opening my mouth to save time!”  Well, now you have just smeared toothpaste all over your face, making EVEN MORE work for yourself, and you still haven’t brushed your teeth.  Ok, I get this example is a little silly and extreme but if we skipped any of those important steps, no matter how small, just because we didn’t’ feel like it or didn’t want to, the end result would be the same.  We wouldn’t have clean teeth.

Don’t’ let your feelings, emotions, or a little discomfort get in the way of what you ultimately want.

If you truly want a new car, take the actions to get what you want.  Figure out what you can afford, start searching, pay the price that it is worth, and drive home.  Done, new car.  Don’t say, “no, I don’t feel like searching” but then look in your garage and complain to everyone that the new car hasn’t just shown up yet.  HINT – It NEVER WILL.

If you want to loose weight and get in shape, that’s awesome!  Eat healthy, go to the gym, exercise, repeat until desired results are achieved.  Don’t do it all once and give up saying it didn’t work.  Don’t say, “but I don’t like salads and broccoli, I am going to have this one pound burger and fries instead.”  NO PUT IT DOWN!  “I am to tired to go to the gym, I don’t feel like working out.”  TO BAD, WAKE UP, JUST GO.

It doesn’t matter if these are your feelings folks.  We all feel this way once and awhile.  I am sorry to say this, but, so what?  Get over it.  Be an adult and take action.  If those are the things that need to happen in order to get what you TRULY WANT, you just do them.  You can’t NOT go through the motions and steps and then complain that you aren’t getting what you want.  Go after what you truly want.  Put in the work, no matter how it makes you feel.  The results will be 100 times better than the little discomfort that you may have felt short term.

What do you TRULY want?

~Nick Harder


Picture:  Nick feeding the elephants on his recent trip to Thailand

The Difference Between “Nudging” and “Pushing” Your Spouse.

July 24, 2012

[quote]Chris, since you already have a successful business please help me to give my bf the same drive. He’s currently working as a personal trainer and he said that is his passion but they don’t give him enough hours at work. He’s a smart handsome, charming guy but I don’t understand how he doesn’t have enough confidence to look for another job. How do I help him without sounding like a nagging gf??? Basically he has a lot to do every day but always falls behind and I keep telling him to write down his goals and to do lists but he just doesn’t have the motivation – which is weird since he motivates people for a living!  Please help! <3 you guys![/quote]

Dear Lisa,

What a fantastic question!  Many couples I know, including Lori and I, have struggled with this.  It’s tough when you see that your partner is struggling, but won’t do what it takes to change their situation.  Also, you are correct in wondering where the happy medium is between offering enough encouragement for him to make a change, but not crossing the “nagging” line where it could actually discourage him from making a move.  This is a very important balance that’s hard to strike.  This can sometimes be a very sensitive subject for men to handle, as they always feel like they need to be this great provider, so handle with care.

The first thing I would offer you is that you can’t make someone change until they are really ready for change.  You see, change is a scary thing to most people, and while someone can be unhappy in their current situation, they may be scared that the “change” could result in failure, thus making them even more unhappy!  The ironic part is, personally speaking, that every change that has scared me most, has always turned out wildly for the better!  Perhaps your first step is to have him think of other changes he’s been hesitant to make, and discuss how well they have turned out in the long run.

My next piece of advice is that it is always better to lead with a carrot than push with a stick!  Meaning, instead of letting the subject turn into fights, arguments or insults, always keep the discussions positive.  Offer him incentive to take small steps toward finding a new training job.  Perhaps find some potentially interesting job listings for him as a favor.  Lead by example by offering up changes of your own to accomplish, and commit to making these steps together.  People always accomplish more when they know that someone is doing it right along with them.

Finally, you must always be honest with him.  Sometimes people need to be shown bluntly but constructively that they have a choice to make, and by not acting on that choice, their life simply will not change for the better.  Remind him that they say “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results!”  There’s lot of truth to that saying.  You must tell him both when he’s doing a good job of moving forward, and when he’s using excuses or not prioritizing his goals.

Finding a new job is never easy, but nothing worth having ever is.  Stick together, and you’ll both benefit from him succeeding.  After all, a happy boyfriend makes for a happy girlfriend!

Best of luck,




Do You Want a “Job” or “Career”?

July 24, 2012

[quote]Q:  I recently lost my job and this is giving me motivation to not give up. Can you give us any pointers on staying inspired and optimistic in these economic times? Would love if you gave more success tips![/quote]

Dear Maria,

Your question stood out to me because I’ve had this conversation with so many people, and, because I too recently had experienced this same challenge.  Let me start my answer by telling you my own story quickly.

I was employed as an executive at an international bank, when all of a sudden the economy took a long over-due dump, and I was unexpectedly given the choice of a demotion, a move, or a severance package.  I chose severance.  Now, this wasn’t an easy choice, but the choice that I knew gave me the most hope for being even happier and more successful in the long run.

You see, I thought I had it all at this job.  A great company, a great reputation, more income than we knew what to do with, great benefits and more amazing complimentary first-class vacations than Lori and I could ever dream of.  Sounds pretty awesome, right?  Well, not entirely.  Something was missing.  While I appreciated all of these things, I started to get used to them, and pretty soon nothing was enough.  At the same time, I got more and more caught up in “corporate lingo” and the demand to do better, and spent less time on the lingo that really mattered, my quality time and conversation spent with Lori.  So, when the severance option was offered, I knew this was my only chance to hit the reset button, and refocus on the things that meant the most in my life.  My relationship with Lori, and doing something more meaningful for others.

Now, when I found myself in your shoes, I was standing at the beginning of the greatest recession since the Great Depression.  No job, and BIG bills!  In order to recover, I had to stop and listen to all of the lessons in life that I had been taught, but had ignored up to that point. You see, growing up, my parents always taught me “do what you love, and the success will follow.”  I looked around and realized the happiest people I knew, were the people that were doing what they loved in life.  I also realized that these were the very same people who were the most successful in their careers.  Coincidence?  I think not!  When you love what you do, you naturally excel.”

Now, if you love doing “ABC” in your life, and there happens to be a career in “ABC,” then congratulations!  Job search complete.  However, that doesn’t happen to be the case most of the time.  Give up?  Hell no!  You see, these same people that I realized were happiest and most successful weren’t just given what they have now.  They built it.  Some started their own business from nothing (yes, nothing!), others took an entry level position below their qualifications in order to be in the field they wanted, and then worked their way up quickly because they were so happy and effective.  And some went against traditional thinking, and started careers in areas that people said they could never make money in (joke’s on them now!).

Now, if you’re saying “Gee, thanks for the advice Captain Obvious,” hold on!  I understand that people have obligations, families, and responsibilities that they have to consider when making this choice.  So, I will tell you, sometimes you have to take a “job” that will make ends meet, while you work on your dream career simultaneously.  Sound tough and tiring?  It is.  That’s why everyone’s not running around living out their dreams.  But, those who are, weren’t afraid of a little sacrifice and hard work to get there.  Nothing worth having comes easy, or quickly!  Suck it up, and go out and create it.

Lori and I sold several extravagances, changed our way of thinking, and downsized our lifestyle just so that we could start careers doing what we really wanted to do instead of just taking “jobs” that paid the same as the old one.  We worked non-stop, taking all the necessary and sometimes difficult steps for over two years to get here.  And the result?  We’ve never been happier or more fulfilled.  And ironically, two years later, we’re more successful than ever.  Perhaps that has something to do with changing our definition of success!  Here’s my point.  Choose your next career because you love it, not because it pays you the same as your last job.

Best of luck to you, not in finding a replacement job, but in starting the career you were meant to do!

Stop With Your “Dumb” New Years Resolutions Already!

July 24, 2012

[quote]Q: Chris… love the site! All of my friends seem to be making all of these New Year’s Resolutions, but I know they’re not going to keep most of them. It makes me not even want to set any myself, but I know I need to do something! I make the same ones every year. Any advice?[/quote]

Julie Ann, I feel the same way you do! I see all of these people making the same generic New Year’s resolutions every year. I even hear the same ones from the same people over and over. I wanna scream “What about last year’s goals?  How’d those go for ya!”

Now, I will say it’s very healthy to have a “reset” point where you sit down, look at your life, and try to make some real positive changes, and if the New Year is what gets you to do this, then great. However, instead of making the same goals year after year, only to see them fail once again, why not follow an easy process to make one or two real, lasting changes this time? Why not make “SMART” Resolutions!

Years ago in my executive training, I learned how to lead people to attaining the goals by using the acronym “SMART.” SMART stands for S=specific M=measurable, A=attainable, R=realistic and T=timely. I know it may seem obvious, but let me break it down for you a bit.

First, be Specific! This is not like saying “Gee, this year I’m going to lose weight.” Instead it’s getting as granular as saying “I need to lose 30 pounds by summer, because this is where my weight was when I felt sexier.” Or perhaps it’s saying “I’m going to add $10,000 to my emergency savings account by year’s end.”

Now, you can’t attain what you can’t Measure! Thus, make your goal measurable! This doesn’t mean “I can measure 30 pounds with the scale, so that’s my goal.” It means measure it out. If 30 pounds is your goal by summer, then measure it out monthly. If you feel summer starts roughly June 1st, then you know you have five months, or measured out, you have to lose six pounds per month. Going even further, you know that’s about 1.5 lbs a week. Very attainable! This way you won’t eat chocolate chip muffins for breakfast all the way thru May, and then freak out because your muffin-tops are bigger than ever with a month to go!

Attainable and Realistic are next. Stop setting stupid pie-in-the-sky goals. “I’m going to be a millionaire this year.” Or “I’m finally losing these last pesky 300 pounds!” While it’s great to have a larger, long-term goal, you must make sure it’s attainable and realistic for the timeline you set, or you will quit with discouragement! So, you’re not going to pay off your ten-thousand dollar Jimmy Choo shoe debt by next month, but perhaps you can by fall. Have no idea how much money you can set aside? Or how much weight you can lose a month? Then ask for help with your goals. Seek help from a friend or expert who’s been through a similar feat before.

Finally, make them Timely! Set a timeframe for the goal. Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards. If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague, and it tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now. Lastly, make sure his timeframe has several stop along the way: “By next week, in three months, by years end.” Having these timely checkpoints will keep you on pace and leave no room for surprises at the end.

So, if you’re sick of hearing people claim these dumb and irrational goals this time every year, make this the year that you do something different…actually make a change once and for all. Make some “SMART” New Year’s Resolutions this time, and you’ll be rich and skinny in no time!

Good luck!


July 24, 2012

Happy New Year Busy People!

How are you feeling after the Holidays? Ok, so can I  just be real for a second?  I was feeling pretty fluffy,  unmotivated and even a little blue for a while!  I know that even though I tried REALLY hard to keep the Holidays healthy, I still had my fill of countless bites of goodies…  I can’t lie.  I stuck mainly to veggies and “Busy Girl” recipes, yet somehow the “other” food still snuck it’s way into my mouth.  The dreaded slow calorie creep had begun.  I always think it won’t happen if I just have a few bites and a couple glasses of wine at each party, and maybe, just maybe, my body has become some sort of roaring furnace that burns calories at the mere sight of a pound cake!  Ha!  Keep dreamin’ sister!  The weight never seems to appear until the end of December….and it ALWAYS does!

You see, my husband and I both have birthdays in December and we also travel to go see our families.  The festivities never seem to end and I know most all of you can relate.  I did really good on making healthier choices while still making sure to really enjoy my company and indulge just a tad, but nothing I couldn’t  ”clean up” in a weeks time…  That is, until the last week or so…  I came down with a stomach bug and then found myself craving comfort food, and for me that is carbs.  I don’t want to see anything healthy while I’m sick!  Instead give me a carb, drizzled in carbs and make sure it’s processed for Pete’s sake!  Once this happens I know I need to start praying that I find some kind of iron-will to get  thru!  Well, didn’t find it… and here I am feeling puffy once again!

So why on earth am I disclosing this deep dark secret of the Busy Girl who is supposed to always be “photoshoot” ready?  Duh! Because I have lost my marbles!  No, not really, it’s because I want you all to see that EVERYONE struggles!  EVERYONE I TELL YOU!  Most people do it alone and in the privacy of their own home.  YUCK!  Don’t do this!  This is a one way ticket to Sweatpants-ville!  You can never leave there without leaving a piece of your soul behind!

Here is the deal,  I know a little “puff” is not the end of the world because I know what to do!  Slow and steady healthy CHOICES always win over any other plan or “quick fix.”  I know that I am ok because I have a plan in place to get back to feeling like me again!

Today I woke and had my oatmeal and berries.  I knew my husband wanted to go to the gym, and I knew that I did NOT want to go to the gym!  But, I also knew if  I didn’t go, it was one more day further from feeling great again, and  one day closer to slipping out of anything that resembles motivation and zest for anything in life.  That thought immediately made me get my gym clothes on.  Even though I did not have a “Rocky” workout, I still felt great and it totally changed my attitude and set me up to make my next smart choice.

When we were finished at the gym I totally had that weekend feeling.  You know, the one where you loosen up on your discipline and let yourself get away with a little more than usual.  Knowing better I told myself how unhappy I would feel the next day and that I wanted to wake up tomorrow and get the most out of life, instead of waking up crabby and wearing pants that cut into my sides.  So I skipped the meal that would bring me 30 minutes of temporary pleasure (if that, have you seen me eat?).  DOUBLE WIN!

So I will leave you with this.  Tonight I sit and write this after just a couple days of making the tough choices, and I feel happy, excited and motivated again.  Recognize when you are slipping, get to the gym, clean up your food, and if you need to talk to someone, DO IT!  No one is judging you because we are all feeling the same!  Stop beating yourself up and just CHOOSE to get out of the cycle and treat yourself right.  Every single moment is a choice waiting to happen.  Make enough good ones, and all of sudden you have finally achieved your goal and you feel unstoppable!

You never realize how important your health is until you no longer have it.  Do it for you and the people who love you!  You become a better everything when you love yourself, and that starts with being healthy and happy!  You are not alone Busy Girls!  We are in this together!

Love and health to you and your families in 2011,

Your Friend’s Suck!

July 24, 2012

Your friends suck.  How do I know that?  Because I have friends that suck.  You may not even realize it, but we all have them.  Friends that suck up too much of your time, your energy, your money, or even the life out of you.

The unfortunate part is they may not even know that they are doing this, nor may you.  In most cases, it’s not intentional or sneaky, it just happens.  It may be that friend who always comes to you with endless relationship issues.  Or perhaps it’s the friend who always seems short on cash and needs another loan, yet always has the hottest new clothes.  Or maybe it’s your friend who although you love them, you find yourself hitting “decline” on their phone call because you just can’t bear to hear the complaining and negativity again.

Ever find yourself struggling at work a few days a week?  It couldn’t be that friend who guilts you into late night happy hours every Tuesday and Thursday instead of the gym could it?  Have trouble keeping those last few pounds off?  Perhaps it’s your friend who insists you deserve to eat those fatty, rich foods at lunch or dinner because they want them too, and “of course you don’t want to make them feel badly.”   You see, these “friends” slowly suck the life out of your goals without even intending it.  Sometimes they’re just a permanent bad influence.

Of course not all “sucky” friends are so innocent either.  Some of them know they’re doing it, but you’ve always been there for them, so why should they stop?  Like your friend that suddenly turns cold once you’ve lost those twenty pounds, and you refuse to skip the gym now instead of going out with them.   Or how about the insecure friend who thrives off of attention, and knows what throwing a tantrum in public every time will ensure they get their way.  The scary part is we usually identify these more obvious life suckers, but continue to hang out with them just the same.

It is often said that your income is the average of your 5 closest friends’.  Well, I’m going to go as far as to say that holds true not only for wealth, but for your health, relationships, and happiness.  So, am I saying ditch your friends and start over?  Absolutely not.  But, take a real look at your friends and watch out for these signs.  Most importantly, don’t be afraid to mention something to them when you see them, and realize that a true friend will hold your wants and goals in high regard, not just theirs.  And after all this, if they’re still suck, be brave enough to know that you’ll be better off without them!

Your “friend,”

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