“I just need to put my head down and shuffle forward”— Chalene Johnson

Common knowledge suggests that it takes 21 days to form a habit, right? I’ve just recently learned that that isn’t necessarily true. The truth is, how long it takes to establish a new habit depends on how difficult of a change it is. The average habit actually takes 66 days. The 21 day rule was born out of how long it took plastic surgery patients in the 50’s to get used to a new nose!    Read more here: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5104807
The fact that some habits take longer to solidify is great news when it comes to New Years resolutions right?  If a habit hasn’t sunk in yet, no need to throw in the towel, it just may take more time.
This past New Years, the chance to set goals, make changes and start fresh got me down in a way I haven’t quite been able to shake. The enormity of what it means to have doubled our number of children hit and buried me like a ton of diapers bricks and I’ve spent the last 21 habit-forming days struggling to climb out and find hope.

Last week as I was cleaning my kitchen (New years resolution #1- develop a weekly routine of daily chores to hit every zone of my house and reduce clutter), I was listening to the Chalene Show, a podcast that touches on just about everything success related. As I mopped, this quote from an episode on motivation grabbed me

“I don’t need to run, I don’t need to sprint. I just need to put my head down and shuffle forward. If I continue to shuffle forward, as long as I keep moving I am making progress.”

I was still thinking it about it as I set out Thursday to cross-country ski.

photo 2If you live near me, chances are you’re familiar with CyclingMamas. The group meets 2x/week in the spring and fall to cycle together in the river valley. With the exception of duty days, you drop off your kids for an hour and have that time to get out and be active with a very supportive bunch of women. In the winter, CyclingMamas become “Grace Gliders” and even though it feels a bit over ambitious, I’ve signed up for it because —imagine me trying to claw my way out from under a pile of bricks here—I need it.  I need to remember what it feels like to be me unattached to Squidge or Squdge. I need to be outside without fighting with a double stroller through the snow. I need some introvert time.

Thursday the conditions were perfect-foggy and frosty but not too cold. It’s been warm enough that the beautifully groomed tracks were just the right amount of fast. I did 2 loops around the lake and felt it in my back, arms, chest lungs, legs, hips, abs… Even though I longed for fast powerful strides, my post-twins body really couldn’t do more than shuffle along at a hard 8km/hour- the same speed coincidentally (and I’m trying not to over think this) that hippos swim.
But just because it wasn’t as strong as I’d like yet, didn’t mean it was fruitless.  The effort is what mattered (and rendered me disabled incapacitated a bit sore for the next few days). I so enjoyed being outside, feeling and hearing the rhythmic swish swish swish of my skis gliding in the tracks.

So, 2015 is my year to shuffle forward, reminding myself along the way that its okay to shuffle. Accomplishing my goals is going to take longer. Its going to be harder, my goals smaller. It’s going to take some figuring out how to balance the pursuit of my personal goals with the needs of everyone living in my house, my level of fatigue and with what my 2 adorable little dictators will allow. Despite what I feel on my most tired and discouraged days, It doesn’t mean that having goals for myself is impossible.

Like skiing, it will probably really bring out my soft spots. On Thursday that felt like every part of me. Some days it feels like every area of my life. But Isn’t that why we set goals and make resolutions in the first place? To improve. We pick the areas we aren’t good at. Anytime we focus on our weaknesses, there are bound to be discouraging times. But there are also bound to be times when conditions are perfect and I can enjoy the smooth rhythm of growth.

It’s okay if it takes more than 21days. As long as I’m shuffling forward, I’m making progress.

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Soup! This soup is perfect for a light lunch after skiing (or sledding, or napping or reading a book or just about anything). The way the gentle heat from the ginger and the sweet carrots combine to warm you from your mouth to your heart to your tummy is just about as comforting as it gets.  It tastes like what I imagine the colour Golden to taste like. It is So SO good.

Golden Soup (Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup)

  •  2.5  lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks. For me, this was about 8 carrots, half of my 5lb bag.
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

I roasted the carrots early in the morning while we were busy doing early morning activities so that I wouldn’t have to think about it (or wait for the carrots to roast) later. New Years Resolution #2, think early in the morning about whats for supper and get it prepped.

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Melt 1 Tbsp of the coconut oil in a microwave safe dish then add the carrots and toss to coat them in oil. In a medium baking dish or on a cookie sheet, spread them evenly and put in oven- stirring once halfway through roasting until they’re soft, slightly brown and caramel looking. This takes about 45 minutes.

photo 1Melt the rest of the coconut oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for just a couple of minutes until it’s translucent. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook until the onions start to brown, 4 to 5 min. Add the roasted carrots, chicken broth, and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low. Cook at a good simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 30 min.  Then purée. If you have an immersion blender, use it right in the pot, but if not then purée it in a blender in batches. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I garnished mine with cinnamon carrot chips that I made, but they seemed like too much work for how good they were. If you make this, let me know how you garnished it.

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missconginnyality

Mama to 2 plus twin babies, Wife, Triathlete, Experimental baker, Viking Princess and Renaissance woman