Quinoa, broccoli, and cheddar casserole.

This wouldn’t be a big deal, requiring an entire post, except I pretty much do NOT cook. I’m shooting for once a week to see what I learn. Reasonable and achievable goal, yet challenging since this is not, ahem.. my area of expertise. Nick is an awesome cook, and he liked it, so I’d say we’re off to a good start!
What new goals do you have?  Want to hear them.  Want to make sure you kick a** on them week to week?  Every time you set any plan/goal for the week, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is it reasonable? You know, based on all the other things you have going on that week.  Take a look at your calendar and pre-existing to-do list to be sure you can fit in what you’re committing to.  This sets you up for success instead of stress, over-commitment, and failure if too much gets squeezed in.  Unless I’m traveling and not in town, or we’re having loads of guests or nights out, one meal a week is totally reasonable. Check.
2. Is it achievable?  Meaning, are you committing to something you can actually do?  I might have all week available, but that doesn’t mean I know how to uproot the dead tree in our back yard without disturbing the irrigation system, then replace it with a new lovely desert cactus as much as I really want to make that happen.  Not saying I couldn’t learn how to do such things, but that just means that the learning would have to come first, so the actual uprooting is not satisfactorily achievable at this point.  Know what I mean?  Basically assess your confidence and legitimate ability for the task you’re committing to.  If it’s clear you aren’t capable, reassess the goal itself until you can answer yes to this question too.  I know how to chop stuff, I know how to use the stove and read a recipe, and mixing things together is practically my forte, so yeah, one meal… I can do it. Check.
3. Is it challenging?  I forget where I read this unfortunately, but I read in a great book that easy goals are just as demotivating as no goals.  I mean, really get that, cause that’s a big one.  If we set goals that are too easy, we will not be motivated to actually accomplish them.  We will do just as little as if we’d set no goals at all!! That’s seems totally crazy, but I personally find it to be true.  When we push harder, we get a bigger kick from the accomplishment.  That’s why it’s more motivating. So when coming up with your goal for the week, look for that happy medium between keeping your commitments reasonable, and challenging yourself to push a bit harder.  Since I’m pretty much a complete novice in the kitchen, taking on an entire meal to me, sounds like a big undertaking.  To me, that’s challenging, yet reasonable.  I can look up the recipe.  I can shop for the ingredients.  Then I can actually spend the hour+ in the kitchen trying to make my masterpiece. Check.
4. Is it measurable?  Basically, we can’t know if we’ve achieved our goal, if we don’t know exactly what it is.  My goal is one full dinner a week.  I know at the end of the week whether I’ve done that or not.  Check.  If my goal were, “cook this week,” I guess I would know whether I’d done any cooking, but I also wouldn’t have that challenging specific spurring me on to clear accomplishment.  So yeah, make it measurable, so you can enjoy having achieved it, and clearly know your progress.  And if you come up short, you can look at why, learn, and do better next week.

I also made this bell pepper “salad,” which means I chopped up fresh peppers into colorful hunks and threw them in a colorful bowl. And ya know what? It was delicious. 🙂

5. When am I gonna do it?  The more specific we can be in our commitments, the more likely we are to achieve our goals.  Bottom line.  Pick a day, pick a time, be as specific as feels right for you and your unique motivation levels based on whatever it is you’re committing to.  Nick and I take a look at the week, and pick the night that I’m going to make dinner.  Check.  Perfecto.  I’m committed, and committed to someone I don’t want to let down. Yes, I know I harp on this type of accountability, but that’s because it works!! And I want you guys to have all that you want too!!  Anyway, that’s the type of commitment that works for me, for this particular goal.  For something else, say working out, I might get even more specific, perhaps picking specific classes at specific times on specific days, since I’m way more likely to want to ditch the treadmill for tater tots and cuddle time.
So that’s it.  Some tips to set us up for success and progress week to week.  And in my case some delicious (hopefully) new eats!  Word.