Does all or nothing thinking get in the way of you achieving your goals? I used to do this all the time. If I was being "good" on my diet then all was great, but if I made a poor choice, then I would derail myself for the day or the week. If my weight was going down then I felt successful and was more likely to be compliant. If the needle on the scale was stuck, then I thought I was a failure and I might as well eat! All or nothing thinking was wreaking havoc with the changes I was trying to make so I continued to "fail". I was focusing on the wrong thing. Focusing on the result instead of the process set me up for failure.
You can stop (or at least minimize) "all or nothing thinking" by working on the little voice in your head. It's the real culprit. Here's what mine says..."Way to go Cath, you ruined your diet today by having those chips at lunch. You might as well have pizza at dinner." Or "you already had one Cosmo at dinner and blown your diet, might as well have another one". I bet our little voices sound a lot alike, right? Change the message and you can change your results.
Setting ourselves up to make good choices and having a focus on making good choices is key. But, we're human. We're going to do things that aren't always the best choice. But, when we do make a choice to deviate from an established plan, we need to make sure that that one choice doesn't turn into an excuse to take a longer term detour from the path we need to follow to get to the goal. So, in the Cosmo example, the internal conversation is "I've had one Cosmo (and it tasted great btw) but having another one puts me further from my goal. I'm going to switch to soda and lime" or "now that I had chips with my lunch, I want to focus on getting back on plan so I'm going to stick to the dinner I've already planned".
I have to work on this little voice everyday. And I've been working on it for the past year...the longest I have ever been able to implement changes in my life in regard to nutrition and exercise. I know that there are certain things that I do, like prepping my food for the week, that make it easier for my little voice to be a positive influence. And, more importantly, I have learned that one decision doesn't have to torpedo days, weeks or months worth of hard work.
One of the most important things that I have learned over the past year is that when my little inner voice wants something, it is hard to stop her. This voice has come in handy over the years and it isn't that I want her to shut up... I just want to have more control over the messages that she sends me. I want those messages to help me reach my goals, not block me from them. So, I've found that following the scout's motto-Always be Prepared-helps me find my encouraging inner voice more easily. (You can see the picture at the end of this blog to see what I'm talking about).
I am a client of Lean Bodies Consulting (I'm not promoting them, it's just a fact) and I've been working with them since March 2013. One of the most helpful things I have learned and made a habit is preparing my food in advance so I minimize the chance of deviating from my plan. When I prepare my meals in advance, my inner voice is more likely to come up with "Ok, you've got lunch in the fridge, no need to eat the pizza that the office ordered for everyone" than "Oh look, now what are you gonna do? You know you want the pizza. Just have a little. It's ok". See what I mean? I know you do!
Every Sunday I shop for my food for the week (I'm also shopping for my families stuff at the same time). When I get home, I prepare every meal I'm going to eat during the week. Yep, every one. Breakfast, lunch and dinner for the entire week. (I prepare the weekend meals midweek). I usually have chicken in the crockpot, sirloin on the grill and brown rice cooking on the stove simultaneously. I weigh everything and put it in little Tupperware boxes and pop them in the fridge.
I love to cook and am a "recovering" foodie so this food prep has been a habit I have had to work on integrating into my life. While I can still be creative with what I make (today I made a quinoa, couscous, chicken, cucumber, tomato,with a greek yogurt dressing salad) I would be lying if I told you that the food I make on Sunday tastes as great as food that I make fresh. But, that is a trade-off that I've been willing to make.
Am I successful all the time? Hells to the no. Am I way, way, way more successful then when I wasn't doing this? For sure. And there is the added benefit of at least one shelf in my fridge looking organized!
If you missed HOW DID I GET THE IDEA FOR MIGHTY PETUNIA-PART 1, you can go to the BLOG on www.mightypetunia.com and get caught up.
So, for a quick recap, I decided in December 2013 that I wanted to make an e-commerce site for motivational tanks, tees and sweatshirts. I really started with creating a Mighty Petunia Facebook business page because that seemed like something that I could tackle most easily. Facebook gives you the ability to schedule your posts so I initially started with that. Once I got Twitter and Pinterest going, I added Hootsuite as a way to manage my social media posts so the posts could be done once per week in advance. That way I didn't have to spend time on it every day. Once a week is enough.
I figured out Weebly so that I could get the e-commerce site going. I really started working on that about mid-March and launched the site on May 31. I spent most evenings from 7-10 (after workout haha!!) sitting next to my husband (who was ecstatic because he got to watch ESPN every night and I never said peep) working on the site. Many nights were spent chatting online with the Weebly help desk trying to figure things out. Let's just say I LOVE LIVE CHAT.
Next came photographing of the Mighty Petunia merchandise for the site. One of things that was the most surprising to me was how much is done to make product look good on websites. There is ALOT of pinning, taping, and retouching to make things look perfect. Well, I am not a photographer or even know how to use photophop, so in a weird way, mightypetunia.com photos are a really good representation of what you are going to get. Do I wish I had a little more technical photo and editing knowledge to make things look better? For sure. But do I think what we've done will end up in customers being happier with the product they order? I do. I'll let you know if it works out that way.
If you're going to have a website, you have to use Meta titles and tags so that all the search engines can find your site. I don't know a lot about that but I do know that it's really important. And, after Googling for a morning, I knew I wasn't going to get this right on my own. Since I am doing all this on a shoestring budget, I don't alot of money to go out and hire a group that does this professionally, but, I did find a friend through my husband who is experienced in this area. I explained the situation to him, offered him a ridiculously small amount of money and explained I wanted to get what I could get for that. He was awesome and sent me something that was clear, direct and very easy for me to follow (thanks Ryan!). Was it easy for me to ask someone to do something like that for me when I know very well that his expertise is worth far more? No, it was not. But, when I can afford more will he be the first person I go to? Yes he is. And will I recommend him to anyone who asks me? Yes I will. Karma's like that. It will all come full circle back to him in a good way.
I've said this for a couple months now....I know that when I launch the site it will be the excitement of the launch and then....CRICKETS. And guess what? It is! Unless you have really deep pockets, it happens to everyone. No one knows your site is out there until you can afford to tell them where it is. And, it is, in an odd way, a good thing you have this little break. You need a moment to catch your breath. It's kind of like working out. You can't work out every day. Your muscles need recovery time just as much as the workout. So rest is valuable. Same thing here. Your mind needs a break. Even if it's a weekend to reconnect with all the people you have been ignoring for the past few months. You need a little time to recharge. For me, it's been about a week. I launched May 31 and today, June 8, I'm ready to go again. So, I've written 2 blogs and am going to tackle finishing the Amazon.com setup page for adding inventory to the Amazon site. The setup sheet is a beast and not easy, but I will figure it out. I have friends I can ask and there's always my best friends, Google and YouTube
Also this week, I am meeting with great women who have awesome energy and ideas for Mighty Petunia. We're going to brainstorm to see where to take this next. My goal is to build a business that is a combination of the business models of Homage, Thirty-One Gifts and Lululemon. There. I said it out loud. I made the leap, took the plunge. Just like I did in December 2013 when I said I would launch an e-commerce site by June 1, 2014. I made that goal. Wish me luck on the next one. It's a little heftier!
If you have any questions or if you are thinking of launching an e-commerce business and have questions, feel free to contact me with the CONTACT US form on mightypetunia.com and I will get back to you. I'll let you know what I know. And if i don't know the answer, we can always Google it!
I've been asked alot recently, how did I get the idea for Mighty Petunia and how did I figure it out. Here's the story Part 1...
I had ordered some motivational tanks from a couple different companies online. When I got them I was a little disappointed. They ran small. The printing on the front looked cheap and felt "plasticky". There was no branding and the experience of seeing the tanks initially just wasn't exciting. I started thinking about what was missing. What I wanted. What I thought would be better. The big things for me are style, fit, fabric, soft screening (not thick and gloppy), and motivating phrases. I also wanted a place where I felt I could go back to to get more than just apparel. I wanted to connect with others and find resources that would help keep my motivation peaked (that's where the idea for Mighty Petunia Motivators came from).
I have had some experience (just enough to be dangerous) in retailing, wholesaling, manufacturing, sales, and e-commerce. So, I figured that although I didn't know how to do everything, I could always GOOGLE it!! So that's how I started...Googling my brains out. I learned about apparel brands, screening and printing tees and tanks, motivational and inspirational bloggers and sites, setting up an e-commerce site, photography, and writing copy. I just took the plunge and figured no matter what I screwed up, I could fix it. The real mistake would be in not trying. Each time I figured out something, another piece fell in to place. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't as overwhelming as people seem to think it is.
There were some things that were REALLY frustrating. For example, the first couple of months I used Ipage to set up my site. I spent many hours trying to make mightypetunia.com look the way I wanted it to, only to find out that Ipage couldn't do alot of the things they showed as possible ( grrrrrrr). So, as soon as I figured out that I had wasted about a month, I cussed up a storm, banged around the house a little and then decided to switch to Weebly. I knew I needed something that was very basic and easy and since Ipage used some of Weebly's drag and drop function that made it easier for a novice like me (Ipage didn't have all of the functionality offered by Weebly, that was the real problem), I decided to use Weebly. I got Ipage to refund some of the money I had spent (they were great and refunded about half of the $ and it was minimal to begin with) and I started again with Weebly. This time I had a little more experience and it went pretty well. So, while that time with Ipage was gone, it wasn't wasted. I had learned.
At the same time I had started a Mighty Petunia Facebook page, Twitter account and Pinterest board. I had heard about Hootsuite as a way to manage multiple social media accounts so I signed up for their free account. It's really nice to be able to take an hour or two each week to get all your posts set up in advance for the week and so during the week you don't have to be looking for content to post. I don't know that it's easy to see how much pay back you get from the time and effort that you put in to social media, but, I do know it's a lot harder to get the word out about your product if you don't have it. Again, Google was my friend here. I researched everything from how to write engaging posts, found successful sites and bloggers to learn from, and how to track the activity you have on your social media.
What I've posted about today was really the biggest challenge to date. All the setup of the more "tech" stuff. It was alot of trying, screwing it up, trying agin, live chatting with help desks, Googling, talking with friends who had valuable experience I didn't and putting that advice in to action. What I learned through all this was a) Don't be afraid to ask for help. It doesn't make you weak AND your friends want to help you succeed b) Don't give up BEFORE you are successful. You never know when you are going to have that breakthrough that allows you to conquer a problem. And, it is a sure thing that if you quit, you will not be successful c) and I will kind of quote Nike here....JUST FREAKIN' DO IT. If you think of all the reasons about why you won't be able to succeed, it is too daunting and you won't even begin. You need to be thoughtful about the actions you take but that first action...the jump, the leap, the plunge...has to be without thought. It has to be from your gut.
My next blog will be about how I got the product up on the site (let's just say I owe my daughter BIG!) and what I have done and am doing to get traction for the site. This is where having smart friends and a "I will figure this out" attitude comes in handy.
I am more than happy to share what I've learned so far with anyone who asks so if you have any questions, contact me with the CONTACT US form on the mightypetunia.com Homepage and I will answer you right back.
Ever since I got the idea that I wanted to start an e-commerce site, I've been working about 100 miles outside of my comfort zone. I have alot of experience when it comes to making product assortments and choosing products for a website, but I have no "tech" experience (so learning to build a website has been a challenge) and no experience when it comes to writing copy or photography. But what I have found is, that if you put yourself out there, people are more than willing to help when you have questions or need advice. I've met people who have given me advice on how to improve my logo (thanks Jamison), taught me about the printing process (thanks Brian and William), and taught me tricks to help me take photos (thanks Jamison and Andrew) of the product for my site. And, while I knew nothing about these things at the start, they now seem more familiar. The more I spend time outside of my comfort zone, the more comfortable I feel.
I started thinking how this applies to making the decision to follow a new workout plan, to change eating habits, to improve your health. We all know how tough the first few days/weeks of a new program can be, but once you settle in, things become more comfortable. Then, you push yourself to a new level,it's tough, you get comfortable, and then push again. The challenge is to not give up BEFORE you get comfortable. The trick is to keep at it, even though it is uncomfortable, so that you can get to the point where it starts feeling more comfortable. You may have to find support to get you through the tough stuff. Go to places like the Mighty Petunia Facebook page, Lean Bodies Consulting Facebook page and www.blogilates.com so you too can get comfortable outside your comfort zone.
Putting yourself out there is really hard. And it really doesn't matter how you're doing it. I've started an online business, www.mightypetunia.com, that requires me to put my creative ideas out there. And everyone has an opinion. Some are constructive and supportive, others not so much. If you're following a nutritional program, some people get it and others want to challenge every bite you take. If you're working out, you're told that you need to do more aerobic and lighter weights or less aerobic and heavier weights. Bottom line is that you have to find what's right for you. Find what you can have utter confidence in. Having that inner drive guiding you toward a goal and being confident in the path your taking is what allows you to take criticism and doubt in stride. It keeps you on track even when others are asking "are you sure?". So if you're having a hard time sticking to a plan or achieving a goal, check your conviction. Can you see it, taste it, feel it? Do you want it so badly it hurts? If not, it's time to re-evaluate.