Ever heard of setting goals for your year in March? Yup!  It’s a time of renewed energy and growth as we welcome in spring and aligns naturally with creating new healthy habits.  We’ll discuss our simple 3-part framework that focuses on how to feel good while working towards goals through meals, movement, and mindfulness. If you’re looking for support on what to focus on this March, you don’t want to miss out on this snackable episode!

here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [1:54] March marks the transition from winter to spring and is a time of growth and renewal in both nature and our lives. This is the perfect time to look back at the first quarter of the year, look ahead in our calendars, and decide how we want to move forward with our goals and daily habits.
  • Understand the Meals, Movement, Mind Framework to help organize your focus for the month of March:
    • [9:17] Meals: try incorporating smoothies into your meal routine as a full meal, snack, or bowl to add more nutrients (protein, fat, fiber & greens) into your diet without much prep work.
    • [14:01] Movement: commit to training towards a goal like a 5k race. Working towards an outcome-based goal can be motivating and satisfying especially if done with others. 
    • [18:16] Mind: journal every morning on the prompt: how do I want to feel? This allows us to observe what arises and helps us connect the dots between how we want to feel and what we’re doing during the day. 

links mentioned in this episode

Smoothie Recipes

Kelly LeVeque on Breaking the Starvation-Binge Cycle + Finding Body Love

Kelly LeVeque on How to Naturally Balance your Hunger Hormones + Fab Four 101

How to Stabilize Blood Sugar & Balance Hunger Hormones with Kelly LeVeque

Taesha Butler, The Natural Nurturer

Wellness Goals for February 

read the transcript

Robyn Conley Downs: (00:01)

You’re listening to The Feel Good Effect, what to focus on this month. That’s what we’re talking about today. A little bit of a March focus coming at ya. Let’s make it happen

Robyn Conley Downs: (00:15)

Radically simple and ridiculously doable. The Feel Good Effect will help you redefine wellness on your terms. Hi, I’m your host Robyn Conley Downs. And I believe that wellness isn’t about achieving another set of impossible standards, but instead finding what works for you, drawing from cutting-edge science on mindfulness habit and behavior change. This podcast offers a collection of small mindset shifts that allow for more calm, clarity, and joy in everyday life and allows you to embrace the idea that gentle is the new perfect. I invite you to listen in, as we cut through the clutter and find the small shifts that create huge changes in your life. Less striving, more ease. It’s time to feel good.

Robyn Conley Downs: (01:04)

Well, Hey, Feel Good fan. I am so glad you’re here for today’s episode on what to focus on this month. So a new series that we’re trying out here is some of you responded really favorably to this format. And so we’re gonna keep it going here for a few months and see how it goes. My goal with these what to focus on in episodes is really to help you think about, Feel Good Effect concepts in your own life. So not necessarily at all to tell you what to do, but to give you a jumping-off point. If you want to focus on those daily habits that help you feel good, this is a jumping-off point, and I will tell you some ideas, give you a little inspiration and as always take what you need and leave what you don’t. I like to use my Meals, Movement, Mind Framework to kind of tee up this conversation about what to focus on.

Robyn Conley Downs: (01:54)

So we’ll be talking about kind of what I’m focusing on and some ideas for you around meals, mind, and movement for the month of March. First things first, let’s talk about March. It’s such a transition month. I like to think about that, that it’s this segue or gateway in between winter and spring, depending on when you, where you live at night might not feel like spring. Um, I know that at least here in Oregon, March is often a very rainy and not particularly warm, so it can start to feel a little bit redundant and every day is rainy. Um, it doesn’t always feel like spring, but sometimes we get some warm days sprinkled here or there. And what’s really noticeable. At least for me, is everything comes back to life. So the trees start budding out. The leaves come back, you can see little plants poking up through the ground. And so you have that sense of growth and renewal. The days start getting significantly longer, which mentally is this huge shift for me when there’s daylight in the morning and also after dinner. And we kind of are moving out through the, of moving out or away from those darkest days of winter. And for me, I also like to think about it as the end of quarter one. So if you think about the year in quarters, it’s January, February, and March, and by the end of March, you are a quarter of the way through the year. And I like to think about the year in those four quarters in a lot of ways, it just helps me from the year getting away from me and to realize that a quarter of this year has, is come and gone by the end of March and not necessarily am I making the most of every day, but more, you know, as a daily habit and a daily practice, how am I using these days?

Robyn Conley Downs: (03:57)

I personally think that March is a wonderful time to start thinking about habits and goals more so than January. I know it’s not the popular trend, especially in the U.S., But if you think about spring, the beginning of spring as a natural part, time to grow a natural time for things to come back. And if you look to nature, you can see that there was dormancy and darkness, and now there’s light and life. And you know how you wanna use that in your own life. If maybe there’s something that you’ve put on pause or that you have to had, you’ve had to put on the back burner or that you of kind of hibernated about that there’s like this natural feeling of energy that comes from spring.

Robyn Conley Downs: (04:47)

So this might be a really good time to start something new or to reinvigorate something that you’ve kind of put on pause when it comes to movement, which we’ll talk about is also, I think, a much more natural time to set movement goals rather than in the heart of the darkness of winter. And things are starting to thaw out. There might be more light after dinner in the evenings or in the, in the morning. Um, just like not working so hard against these, these natural forces to get moving and, and to start something new. So I started I about the fresh start effect here. I think pretty, pretty regularly. I’ve mentioned it before. There’s some science to support this idea that there are times natural times when starting something new or reviving something old is going to work better. And I definitely think that spring is a natural, fresh start.

Robyn Conley Downs: (05:42)

So wanted to kinda give you that as some things to think about for this month for us, March also includes two different spring breaks. So my spouse is on a university academic schedule. So he is getting a spring break the first week of the month, I believe. And then my daughter is on a K12 school system schedule. So she gets a week off at a different time, of course, and here behind the scenes at The Feel Good Effect, we are head down really working on planning and getting ready for The Feel Good Effect Coaching Certification that we have coming up in early August. I’ll be sharing more about that soon I, including enrollment and all the details, but it’s, it’s a full time for me in terms of work. It’s a lot that goes on to get ready for our program. We’ve put so much into it. And so I try to be realistic when I look at a month ahead. So for example, with March and just, you know, what’s realistic for me considering that one of the weeks my partner is off. And then one of the weeks my daughter is off and the week that she’s off, we don’t have her in camps or childcare so that my partner will be working. So that really looks like me kind of either taking the whole week off or taking part days off and like having her get engaged in something around the house I work and then spend the rest of the day with her. So I just encourage you to look at the month as a whole. And what, what like fun things might be coming up are also what things might pull you away from your goals or pull you away from your habits or disrupt routines, whether it’s for a positive reason or not, and then be realistic. So I think one of the things I’ve learned over the years of teaching The Feel Good Effect is just how often I used to not take into account. Those ti like a week off for my daughter that I would give, continue to give myself to-dos and tasks at the same rate as if she wasn’t on vacation. And so now I feel like I’ve gotten, internalizing The Feel Good Effect principals just so much better at realizing a whole week of the month, uh, is going to be, you know, fractured in terms of being with her. And I wanna be with her, that’s a choice that I’m making, but then I’m not gonna give myself the same task list as I would, if we, I had a full month to work. And that looks like for me, ruthless prioritization, I’m gonna talk a little bit more about that in a future episode, as in using some of my focus and productivity habits, to really weed out the things that are not a priority right now, so that I don’t run myself into the ground. So that really looks like saying no to things, moving things back off my plate for this month. So I can really focus on the daily habits of running Real Food, Whole Life, and then also getting ready for the certification and then allowing that space for time with my daughter during her spring break.

Robyn Conley Downs: (08:49)

So that’s the general about March is think about this as a time of more light, a time of growth, a time of rebirth, a time of life, and what that means for a fresh start for you. And then also look at your calendar coming up. And is this a month where you have travel? Is this a month where you might have, if you have kids, are they at home? And like, what does that look like for your goals and your daily habits?

Robyn Conley Downs: (09:17)

Now, when it comes to meals, movement, and mind, I have a few offerings for you and the first is meals. So one of the things I’m focusing on in March is smoothies. And again, some of you smoothies are just not your thing. And if that’s the case, like I said, take what you need, leave what you don’t. For me, March is a really good time to start to bring the smoothie habit back. I do smoothies pretty much year-round, but I fully understand that there are people who do not enjoy drinking cold things in cold months. And so as the weather warms up, even if it’s a mild warmup where you are a, a smoothie habit could be something like really, I wouldn’t say easy, but in terms of developing a habit, smoothie habit is one of like the lightest lifts. Like one of the easiest things that you can do to add more produce into your day. And it could be really game changer where you change nothing else about what you eat. It doesn’t require tremendous meal planning. It doesn’t require changing the, your, any other way of your eating. And if you’re new to smoothies, I invite you to check out our website, www.realfoodwholelife.com. I’ll give you the direct link too. So it’s www.realfoodwholelife.com/method/blender. And we’ll put those in the show notes for you. We have 15 really beautiful nourishing smoothies. 10 of those are brand new within the last couple of months. And we have something for everyone from a lemon smoothie, that’s one of my new favorites, cacao smoothie, a sweet potato smoothie, a green smoothie, a strawberry banana peanut butter smoothie. We have a sour apple smoothie, a matcha protein shake, a pink smoothie. Obviously, I could go on. And what I love about smoothies is when it becomes a habit, it’s just such a no-brainer way to get a ton of nutrition in your day. Um, so I personally try to follow the Kelly LeVeque Fab Four for when I’m doing smoothies and will link to her episodes in the show notes. But I just try to think, do I have fiber? Do I have fat? And do I have protein? And we do consider that when I develop smoothie recipes. So if you use one of mine there, it’s already there. And when you get fiber fat and smoothie, it’s helpful for being full during the day. Um, and for me that makes smoothies a full meal. Now I know some of you do not like drinking meals. So a couple ways to add smoothies without making it a meal would be one making a smoothie, a smoothie bowl. So putting it in a bowl and actually adding toppings like nuts, sea butter, granola, fresh fruit. And we have instructions on how to do that on most of our recipes. But once you get the hang of making a smoothie, the method of making a smoothie into a smoothie bowl, like I said, we’ve included that in a lot of our recipes, it becomes second nature, or you could do smoothie as a snack.

Robyn Conley Downs: (12:13)

And that’s something it’s been really fun to watch. My mom adopt a smoothie habit, and I’m telling you, she’s getting more fruits and veggies in her day than ever before. And she does it as like a mid-morning snack or an afternoon snack. So it’s not replacing a meal for her. It’s just an additive thing that she’s doing. And I know she’s told me many benefits that she’s seeing about it’s the habit of the smoothie, but what the habit really is, is adding like for her multiple fruits and vegetables in one, you know, one sitting and it’s effortless. So even if she’s not doing getting veggies, in other meals, like she knows she’s already checked that box for the day. So, so that is my meal focus for this month is try smoothies, whether it’s for breakfast, whether it’s as a snack, whether it says a bowl and then find out what you like.

Robyn Conley Downs: (13:04)

I think I’ve been talking a lot about that. If you listen to the episode where I talk about the runway bride and how she likes her eggs, I would say just supply that to everything you do. So when you’re trying smoothies, do you like a sweeter smoothie? I know again, for my mom, she really prefers more of like a vegetable-based smoothie. Do you want like it as a meal? Do you prefer it as a snack? And then can you keep it simple? Like, do you prefer to just have the same one every single day? Or is the variety kind of fun for you? I think it fits really well for this month, because like I said, it’s warming up, so it’s not as harsh, I think, to have a cold drink in a cold month. Um, but it’s also just a great way to start adding like some more fresh springtime kind of produce and, um, lighten, lighten up, not in the diet way, but just lighten up in the way of adding fresh fruits and veggies to your life.

Robyn Conley Downs: (14:01)

Next step is movement. And so what I’m focusing on this month is, um, training for something. I’ve been talking a lot about this with my friend Taesha over at The Natural Nurturer. If you wanna check her out and I talk a lot about intuitive movement and adding movement into your day for all of the benefits, other than what we typically think of. So the, you know, benefits of mental health, the benefits on your mood, the benefits of productivity, all the things that we gain from moving our bodies on a day basis. And I sometimes resist the idea of like, we have to have these outcome-based goals around movement, but I think the other side to that is having a goal can be a training goal can be really motivating, especially if you do that training goal with someone else. And so my friend is doing, she wants to do a half marathon. I personally have done, I don’t know, four half marathons, and I’m, I’ve done it. Been there, done that. Not really interested in doing that again, but, uh, my husband, Andrew and his dad occasionally run 5Ks together. His dad is like the ultimate runner and can still outrun me any day of the week. And so what we’ve been talking about is doing a 5k with Andrew and his dad, and then Elle who is my 10-year-old who’s quite a gifted runner as well. I, I am the odd person out in that group. They are all runners. I am not. But in talking about having, doing this family 5k, what we realized is that Elle probably needs some training. Like she’s a very naturally gifted runner, but she hasn’t run three miles straight recently. And so we’re gonna set her up for failure. If we throw her into a race that she hasn’t trained for. And I, when I say race, I’m not talking about timed, I’m talking about completion that she be able to run those three miles consecutively. And so that led me to be inspired to train for the 5k with her. Now, whether I’m gonna run it or not, I’m still not completely sure. We’ve talked about doing like a Couch to 5k. So if you have not heard of Couch to 5k, there’s quite a few free apps out there that provide training programs that can take you from doing nothing to running that 5k at the end. So I think that’s what we’re gonna do together. Elle and I, again, she’s 10. She can outrun me flat out right now. So it’ll be an interesting experience to try to do that together. I’m afraid we might have to do it together separately, like where she runs, cuz she’s faster than me and I run, we’ll figure it out.

Robyn Conley Downs: (16:44)

But I’m telling you this because I think March can be a nice time to pick something to train for. It certainly doesn’t have to be a race. It could be. There’s so many ways that you can train for something, whether it’s like a long hike that you wanna be able to do a hike that’s over five miles, or you wanna be able to walk a 5k or you want to be able to do 10 pushups or 20 pushups. There is definitely science to support that those outcome-based goals can be really helpful because then you reverse engineer it. I talk about in my book, I talk about goal flipping and this would be the perfect case of goal flipping. Whether you say you wanna be able to do 20 pushups or you wanna do a handstand, or you want to do a 5k, then you would look at what do I need to do each day to get to that goal? And think that this time of year, that might feel kind of satisfying, especially after a long winter, um, of having just like something to focus on, something that you’re working toward, and particularly that community social aspect where you could do it with someone else.

Robyn Conley Downs: (17:49)

So again, my friend, I think she’s gonna do a sign-up for a race with friends. We’re gonna do this family 5k. And especially for those of you who, who kind of need that extra accountability, my upholders in the group, it can be that extra piece that maybe you’ve been missing this past winter. So making something to train for, some kind of outcome-based goal, and then reverse engineering it and looking at like, what would you need to do each week to get there?

Robyn Conley Downs: (18:16)

So last step we have what to focus on for mind in the month of March. And it’s incredibly simple, but don’t let the simplicity fool you. It’s a life-changing habit. It’s a journal prompt that becomes a practice that actually changes the way you think. And that’s starting the day with the question, how do I want to feel? And whether that’s a journal prompt where you actively sit down and, and do some journaling on that, whether it’s like a walking meditation on that question or a carpool meditation on that question, the act of asking, how do I wanna feel really helps you kind of come back and notice, how do I feel and how do I wanna feel and start connecting those dots between how you wanna feel and what you’re doing in your day. There’s so much more that can come from this. Like a lot of what we teach in The Feel Good Effect Coaching Certification is how to like connect those dots. And then we also have our certified coaches that can help you connect those dots. But even as the first step, just starting the day with the journal prompt, how do I wanna feel? And seeing what comes up – and is it the same thing every day? Is it a lot of things? Do you really struggle to answer that question? And repeating that through the month and seeing what happens.

Robyn Conley Downs: (19:42)

So that is what to focus on in March. I think thinking about it as a time of light and life as a fresh start effect in what area of your life that resonates with and for, and then when it comes to meals, movement, and mind, maybe try a smoothie habit this month. And by the way, it doesn’t have to be every single day. This could be a once-a-week thing that you’re experimenting with seeing if you like it and seeing what you like about it. When it comes to movement, consider training for something. And if you do, is there someone you could do it with or a group of people you could do it with? And the last thing is, how do I wanna feel when it comes to mind? As always, I wanna thank you so much for listening for being part of this Feel Good movement. Until next time, here’s the feeling good.

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