Get Pumpkin SPICED for Success

Pumpkin spice latteIt’s the beginning of September, and it already feels like the busyness of fall is in full swing. My newsfeed is filled with first day of school pictures, Starbucks is serving pumpkin spice lattes, and I even saw someone trying to wear a scarf in today’s 90 degree weather. Although I can’t relate to all the “back to school” hustle and bustle of a whole new schedule, my daily routine is still definitely changing with the season. Here’s what’s new:

  • I’m swapping my CrossFit membership for 10k training. (So much cheaper but equally as scary!)
  • I’m going to join a small group at my church that meets once a week.
  • I have started blogging, so I have to keep up with that now 🙂
  • Of course I have to make time for at least one good fall TV show! (How will I ever choose?!)

Though these changes are few, they definitely require me to shift my focus and stay organized. SO, in lieu of pumpkin spiced everything, I was reminded of SPICED, an acronym I learned that is designed to help you work on ALL the areas of your life that need tending to.

Here’s what it stands for:


  • S – Spiritual
  • P – Physical
  • I – Income
  • C – Community
  • E – Education
  • D – Domestic

Every letter stands for an area that is likely to be a priority in your life. The idea is to write these words down each day, and think of ways you can fulfill a goal that relates to it. If you work a little bit in each area every day, just imagine how much you will have accomplished by the end of the month!

I owe the credit of this great goal-reaching idea to a lady I interviewed for my CBU alumni column in The BannerPatricia Drown, PhD, is a professor of criminal justice, a published author, and a criminologist. When I asked her to remind me of her acronym, she told me that the letters of SPICED have shifted through the years as her priorities have changed, but the basic idea has helped her maintain and grow her success. At the age of 63, she is now a dean at the university where she teaches, is very active in her community, and has maintained her trim figure for years. You can check out her daily inspirational blog over at

Anyways, if SPICED doesn’t suit your goals, you can definitely change up the letters. I tried to adjust mine, and I almost made a cool acronym with SUPER, but it didn’t completely work. I tried for a really long time and even used the Words With Friends cheat for help… Ha! If you can come up with one that spells out a cool word, PLEASE let me know in the comments!


How Positive Words Can Help You Reach Your Goals

You is Kind, You is Smart, You is ImportantOne of the best pieces of relationship advice I have received is this: Never use definitive statements that attack the other person’s character or personality. This is often done using the words always and never.

   “You always take leave your dishes in the sink.”

   “You never shower.”

   “You are lazy.” 

When your significant other hears blanket statements like this, their automatic response is going to be defensive. This is because obviously, these statements are offensive. Your words have put them in a box, limiting them to that specific description, forever. Now, it’s one thing to learn not to do this to someone you love, but it’s quite another to learn not to do it to yourself. 

I learned about the power of negative self-talk for first time when I was on the volleyball team in high school. Every time I would miss a pass or shank the ball in the wrong direction, I would verbally beat myself up. I would mumble things like, “WHY can’t I EVER get this right??” I had no idea the effect it was having on my performance until my coach pointed it out to me. 

When you tell yourself or others things like, “I’m so lazy,” “I can’t cook,” or “I am never on time,” 1. People will believe these things are true, and 2. YOU start to believe these things are true. These negative words put you in a box. They limit you from even thinking you can achieve your goals, which will inevitably keep you from reaching your full potential. 

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”     – Henry Ford

A couple months ago, I learned this lesson again when I realized I was making no progress with my goals. I knew it was because I kept focusing on all the ways I kept failing. In hopes of fixing this, my friend (who also had some goals she needed to achieve) and I came up with an idea. Every Friday, we would email each other 3 to 5 “good things” that we accomplished that week. The only rule was that we couldn’t mention any failures, limitations, or excuses as to why we didn’t succeed. 

The results?

I now have a HUGE list of all these great things I have accomplished in the last two months. Overall, my house is cleaner, I feel healthier, and my relationship with my husband AND the Lord is a whole lot stronger. Simply reflecting on my “good things” each week gave me the motivation I needed to press on and achieve even more good things the following week. For the first time in a long time, I feel so encouraged. My goals are totally achievable! 

So, whenever you need to confront your significant other OR yourself when either of you are slacking, remember:

  1. Choose your words wisely. Words that attack the person’s character (or your own) are not going to bring on a positive response or a positive change.
  2. Kindly remind yourself that you CAN achieve whatever you put your mind to, and create a plan of action.
  3. Find a friend that will listen to your “good things” each week, or simply write them down and reflect on them when the week is over.
  4. Remember, if you’re a believer, you have the added bonus of asking God for help and using the strength of the Holy Spirit to help you achieve what seems impossible. 

One Easy Way to Make a Bad Day Better

photo (10)I stumbled upon this tip when I was having one of those “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days.” It was the Sunday after my birthday, and Chad and I had BIG plans to go to Disneyland and Downtown Disney after church to get my birthday present – fancy dinner paired with a cute, boyfriend style watch made by Fossil himself. It was going to be perfect.

Our morning was great. We went to church, came home, and everything was going according to plan… until we decided to check our mail before we left. Not only did we welcome bill after bill into our laps, but we found a friendly letter from Mr. IRS saying that we owed him a FAT sum of money. Apparently we had missed something on our taxes back in 2012, and now we had to pay that huge amount in full within the next week. It became obvious that our plans of buying a fancy Fossil watch and dining at the Blue Bayou were just not going to happen. We sat there on the couch bewildered for a while, pondering the terribleness of turning another year older and getting served with “responsibility” instead of expensive surf & turf… and then I got a brilliant idea. 

“When you’re having a bad day anyways, be responsible.”

Since the day probably couldn’t get any worse, I thought I would trudge through some miserable tasks that I had been putting off. First, I decided to pay all the bills we had just discovered. Then, I went to my computer and FINALLY figured out how to fix the annoying thing that keeps popping up on my screen. I just did it and got it over with. Next, I decided to back up my iPhone, which is always a stressful experience. I never know if I’m going to accidentally erase everything on it or send it all up to “the cloud.” 

All in all, I did about ten really UNFUN things that day. But you know what? I finished that day with a huge sense of relief. I took care of my business, and I was responsible. I no longer had those little annoying tasks to nag at me. PLUS, I knew that by doing these annoying things all at once, I wouldn’t have to risk messing up one of my fantastic days with a task that could turn it into a bad day.

Another advantage is that this whole experience made for a great survival story to tell a friend. “Susie, let me tell you JUST HOW BAD my day was.” And then Susie and I would laugh and laugh… because my day was filled with all these “terrible” things, but I survived. 

So, the next time you have a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, remember that you can turn your bad day around by doing a few responsible things.

photo (11)Here are a few ideas: 

  • Call someone from India and tell them about false charges on your account
  • Give your cat a bath
  • Plan your budget; pay your bills
  • Hold your breath and sync your iPhone
  • Try to toubleshoot all your technology
  • Clean things that are meant to clean other things: e.g, the shower, the washer (It makes no sense)
  • Do burpees 
  • Drink prune juice 
  • Stand in line at DMV
  • Check the mail

How about you? What are some of your LEAST FAVORITE responsible things? Let me know in the comments!