The Plan to Eat Podcast

#6: Interview with MacKenzie Koppa on Planning for New Years Goals

December 29, 2021 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 6
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#6: Interview with MacKenzie Koppa on Planning for New Years Goals
Show Notes Transcript

Join Riley and Roni for an interview with MacKenzie Koppa all about getting ready for new goals and habits in the New Year! MacKenzie shares her favorite books, apps, and planning tools to make her New Year's planning simple.

Find MacKenzie:
Her Podcast:
On Instagram:
On YouTube:
Her Website:

The Feel Good Effect - Robin Conley Downs
Do Less - Kate Northrup
In the Flo - Alisa Vitti

Moody Month App
Asana Rebel App
PowerSheets by Cultivate What Matters

Better! Podcast with Dr. Stephanie Estima

Find the recipe MacKenzie talks about in this episode:
One Skillet Creamy Artichoke Chicken Marsala and Orzo

Connect with all the PTE Podcast recipes here
Sign up for a free trial:
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Connect with us:

[00:00:00] I'm Riley Whitson and I'm Roni Vayre. And this is the plan to eat podcast where we, I have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner. 

Roni: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Plan to Eat podcast. 

Riley: Today, we are so excited, but we get to interview MacKenzie Koppa. We love her. She is a voiceover actor. She's a podcaster on live well anyway. And she is just a long time Plan to Eat customer and we adore her. 

Roni: We got to have the best conversation with her. She talks about goals and habits and the tools that she uses to put those goals into her new year. She has so many great tools. She's just basically a planning expert and we just loved the conversation that we got to have with her. So we hope you enjoy this interview.

Hi MacKenzie. Thanks for joining us today. 

MacKenzie: Thank you so much for having me. I love hanging out with you ladies, so I'm glad to be [00:01:00] here. 

Riley: One day, I think it'd be really great to meet you in person. We've done so many of these. 

MacKenzie: I know, I know. It's, it's got to happen one of these days. I mean, I've been a long time lover of plan to eat. So it feels like only natural. We have like some in-person get together at some point. 

Riley: I love it. That'd be great. 

Roni: That'd be fun. We can have some like podcasts symposium or something, 

MacKenzie: All official. 

Roni: It might not be a symposium if it's only two podcasts that are getting together and not really sure what the definition specifically for that word. 

MacKenzie: We could rope some other people in I'm confident of that. 

Riley: Yeah. You've got, you've got connections, Mackenzie. 

MacKenzie: Worldwide lovers and plan to eat to be apart of it.

Riley: Well, none of that is why we're here today. Here today. We're talking about new years. Just a few days away, right? 

Roni: So we brought McKenzie on today because she is a planning expert, not only a meal [00:02:00] planning expert, but a life planning expert. And so we thought that she was the perfect person to talk about new years, how to get ready for new resolutions, new habits and new goals for the new year.

MacKenzie: Well, that might be a little generous. Hey, I'll take it. 

Riley: Anyone can go back and listen to the interview that I did with you, or, I mean, any of the interviews, I mean, I just feel like that is totally who you are. You're a planning expert. You can add that to your resume. 

MacKenzie: Well, I'll add that to the topics I can speak on.

If I could just be better at the follow through. I'm really good at the planning. rest of it I think is what we all really struggle with. 

Riley: Well, today we're talking about the planning process around it. So we'll maybe have you back, as a follow-up for how it went. Give you some motivation. 

MacKenzie: And this, I shouldn't even say this now, because now that I'm in a really kick myself in the pants over it, but I think I [00:03:00] am going to do YouTube finally, like for real and show, like, okay.

Legit, how things are going and stuff. So, so you will be able to find me over there in the new year as I take on some different challenges every month around like wellness and planning and all that stuff. And we'll, we'll see how it goes. Oh, it's going to be great. 

Riley: Yeah. I think that that kind of thing really does motivate you because you have people expect it.

Roni: So in general, when you think about the new year, are you a goal person or more like a, I'm going to implement new habits, kind of a person? 

MacKenzie: I think I am a goals by way of habits looking at that, when you send me over the questions and I was like, yeah, I don't think it's just one or the other for me.

Like a lot of these goals that I have. I know that to achieve them. It's gonna come through the little things that I just commit to doing [00:04:00] daily, or at least most of the time. Um, and that's where I really get the hang up. And I think a lot of us have the hangup is we're like, okay, I'm going to do this every day.

And then we miss a day and then we're like, well, I blew that. Like, I love a streak. Everybody else, you know, like you want to see like, oh my Kindle. I want to see that blue line just continuously unbroken. And it's so frustrating. And that's when I have to like really take a step back and check myself. And like, even just recently in recent reading, I was like, oh, I broke my reading streak three times this month.

It was like, but that means I only missed three days. Out of the whole month. Like I have to start viewing it from that standpoint. And I think there's been a couple of books that have helped me to take on that mentality a little bit more. And this is usually that time of year where I like to be reading them or consuming them in some way, like listening to them on audio.

And so one of those is the feel-good effect by Robin Conley downs. And [00:05:00] she really talks about that 80 20 principle. Like it's the little things that add up over time that are going to make the most difference. And don't throw the baby out with the bath water, just because you missed a day or two, like, just because you miss a day or two, that means you're human and it's okay.

And you shouldn't be expecting perfection of yourself. And I think I've had more success with my goals when I viewed them from that perspective of like doing the habits, but knowing they're not going to be perfect. 

Roni: So as the 80 /20 rule, like you, you try to stay on track 80% of the time and give yourself a little bit of like grace and leeway 20% of the time.

MacKenzie: Yeah. I don't think it worked very well. The other way around trying to clarify if I'm doing great 20% of the time, then I really rocking it.

You know, yes. It's supposed to [00:06:00] me that you are doing well 80% of the time. And then, you know, you give yourself that grace the rest of the time, but you just make sure that you do keep getting back on track. Like, I always talk about like righting the ship. Like I always kind of get to that place in like my house or whatever, and, you know, it's the middle of the week and like, okay.

That's right. The ship let's get back on track. Let's not just be like, well, the house is a mess or, you know, whatever is a mess in my life. So I'm just going to let it go for the rest of the week or the rest of the month or whatever. Like everybody likes like that start fresh, which I think is so, you know, appealing about the new year.

It's like, oh, it's a brand new year. It's a new number. We're coming in hot with our goals. But then we always want that fresh start. So you mess up on date eight or whatever, and you're like, well, I got to wait til next year or you have to be reasonable with like, okay, I don't need [00:07:00] a shiny new Monday morning or, you know, a shiny new month or whatever. I can keep picking up and keep working towards these goals, even though it's not perfect. 

Riley: I think that that's where people can get really, um, like off track, like with their, they set these major goals and it's like, I'm gonna, if any big one, I'm going to lose a hundred pounds. I'm gonna, I'm going to have, I'm going to just pay off all my debt. I'm going to, if they do that kind of thing, and then they get off track, it's like, I'm done. Um, but if you setting these little tiny goals, you're going to realize how fast you chip away at the thing that you're trying to accomplish. Um, so I think that's really insightful for people is. I'm gonna look at it more from like a every day I can, right. The ship at any point, I can, I can start over. I can continue to try to meet my goal with these little daily habits, but that's what I got out of what you were just saying. It's like, that could really be helpful for people. 

MacKenzie: I think it's important. Like when I'm first going into the process is like, I just, there's a couple of different parts to it.

So I brain [00:08:00] dump. I put it all down on paper. I, everything I'm thinking about. Possibly having a goal around or what that could look like, like if it's going to be a reading goal. Well, you know, what is it actually going to take to read that many books that I want to read in a year? And what kinds of books do I want to be reading and what kind of a commitment is that going to be every day?

Looking at it from all of the different aspects of it, instead of just being like, I'm going to read a hundred books next year. Well, what does that like actually break down to in real life? I think it's important to really put down all of your thoughts about the goal. On paper, get it down and then be able to hone that down into those smaller pieces that you can actually accomplish.

Like last year, this was so silly, but Kindle sent me a January reading challenge and they gave out virtual badges. If you accomplish different things now, there was nothing real about [00:09:00] this. I was not anything in the mail. Like there's nothing physical about it. He was even gonna know, like it's not posted on some leaderboard somewhere, but.

Earned every single one of those badges. So competitive with myself and it gave me like these little things to work towards. It was like, every time you read another five books, you got another badge. And if you completed a book, you've got a badge. And like, I mean, it was so silly. But super motivating.

And so I think if you can kind of give yourself badges, like if you can find those little pieces that you're working towards that then culminate over time, then, you know, I had my longest reading streak of the year in January into February because I was earning badges and I had these little things I was working towards.

So if you can kind of. Remake that for yourself. I think that is more helpful than like you were [00:10:00] saying, just having these big, old goals. 

Riley: Yeah, I love that. I'm very motivated by things like that, too. Some of your chuckling, because I would do the same thing. Like I'm going to go for the virtual badge. Like I have an apple watch and it's like all those little rings.

I want them closed every day. I don't want one. That's not, that's not closed. And yeah. So I love the virtual badge and the awards. So I love that. That's a really great tidbit. I sometimes do that for myself with like a physical prize. Like if I do this thing. For if I reach this goal in a certain amount of time or whatever, I'll say, okay, I'm going to get myself back or I'm going to, and whatever it is, you know, some new Lululemon leggings or something really special.

And it's like, I have to wait until I've actually achieved this goal to get it, you know, like that kind of thing. So I think that motivates me. So maybe that will motivate somebody else too, 

MacKenzie: yeah. Yeah. I think it's a big deal to kind of reward yourself over what you're actually achieving. I think that's really helpful. It's its own form of accountability. 

Riley: [00:11:00] Yeah, absolutely. 

Roni: So what can, so after you've done your brain dump and you kind of like, uh, maybe chunked it then into smaller goals, what, are there further steps in the process to making sure that this is something that happens? Do you have tools that you use to help yourself stay motivated with a lot of these different habits and goals are trying to put into place.

MacKenzie: Yeah, I do. I mean, I think along with the brain dump and the kind of like narrowing things down, which I, in the past, and I am, again, this year I'm using power sheets from Cultivate What Matters to just kind of have like a central place to put that all on. And I think they do a good job of kind of working you through that process.

Um, but in addition to that, I think it's really important to track what you're already doing and how you're already feeling and what is going on in your actual. To see how these things are possible. And then also to be able to continue carrying them out into the new year. And so this is something that we're really doing with my patrons.

Um, [00:12:00] for my podcast, I almost said the wrong name of my podcast. I did change the name of my podcast a couple of years ago. Slick, you guys I'm a professional. So it's called live well anyway, and we have a community called live well together. And those ladies in 2022 are going to. Downloadable trackers every month that they will be able to keep track of just at the end of the day.

It's like a little check-in with yourself. Uh, you know, how is my body feeling today? What was my mood? Like, what different things did I accomplish? What am I grateful for? Like all of these little pieces that I think when we tracked. What is happening with our bodies and our brains, especially as women with our hormones and all of that kind of thing.

When we really pay attention to that over a longterm span, we can start to note pattern. That we're having in our life. I mean, I think a lot of women, especially are becoming more aware of our hormonal cycles. I have been [00:13:00] doing a lot of reading and research about that this past year. And just seeing like how different each week is week to week and what you should be expecting of yourself.

And so when you actually keep track of those things, you can have a more realistic approach to getting your goals done. You're not going to have the same energy when you're menstruating, as you do, when you're in the middle of your cycle, you know, there's just, there's very different things that you should be expecting of yourself that are reasonable.

And for us as women to be giving ourselves that space, to live into how our bodies were actually made and how our brains were made. Just the chemistry of our brain changes 20% over the course of the month. So we shouldn't be expecting the exact same thing from ourselves every single day. And I think that that is really important to take notice.

So when we're doing that active tracking and paying attention to what our bodies are doing, then [00:14:00] we can have more reasonable goals month to month, and we can have a better plan for how we are going to carry them. So that does factor in for me, how I'm actually trying to do my goals every month and what I'm expecting of myself.

Riley: Roni and I have actually been pretty excited about the same thing this year, and I find it to be incredibly empowering, um, like to take a break or to like, not expect so much from myself every single day, because. What I could produce last week is not the same as what I could produce this week. And, just kinda like leaning into those, the different phases of every of my cycle and the way that my brain is functioning in my energy levels. Like to me, that gives me a lot of space to like, feel okay. 

I can breathe and I can that I can do things better and I can lean into the spaces that my body is really. Um, like this week, we're good at this. Let's do this thing. Cause next week it'll be something different. And I think that it's easy to want to force ourselves to do the same thing and produce the same amount of work in [00:15:00] content and, um, energy and exercise every single day.

And. It's just not realistic. And it's actually probably doing our bodies as women, a disservice to not lean into those spaces. And I love that that plays into like every goal that we could possibly have for ourselves. If we know what the month looks like, we can give ourselves realistic goals to lean into those spaces a little bit better.

MacKenzie: Yeah. I think especially as women who are in business and working from home and that sort of thing, it's really important to remember that because there are certain times of the month where I am. Prone to be able to communicate better and to be able to plan better, you know, like all of those are different times of the month.

And when I capitalize on those times, I'm so much more productive. I'm so much less frustrated. I'm more motivated. You know, and this is something that I think has just been kind of really coming into the forefront these last couple of years. I think that we, as women are tremendously uneducated on how [00:16:00] our bodies and our hormones actually work.

But when we do start reading it, it's. Something clicks like, oh, of course I feel this way. I have friends now who will be like Marco pulling me going. Okay. I feel like tired and sad and I have no energy. And I'm about to start my period is this normal? And you're like, yes, you're in winter. Like, don't expect as much from yourself.

Like it's going to be okay. You're not going to feel like this in a week. And sure enough, they don't, we don't. And you know, we are so. Program to think about our lives on this 24 hour circadian rhythm mean men lucky them, their hormones reset every single day. That's not the case for us. And so I think that it's really doing all of us and even the men in our lives to be cluing them into it and helping them to understand that I think is really important too, because it's [00:17:00] stuff that we've just not heard about.

For our teenage girls and those girls who are starting their periods for the first time. I mean, can you imagine if we would have had this information when we were younger, if this was like the mentality that we were going into all of these years of having our cycle. It would be just a completely different conversation and a completely different way of viewing our lives.

That would just be normal to us instead of now, like people in their twenties, thirties, forties, trying to figure out like, oh, wait a minute. This is how my body actually works. You know? 

Riley: Yeah. And every week I'm having to go and look at what does this week look like for me? Um, from a physical standpoint, instead of if I had known this since I was however old, then I wouldn't have to do that. It would just be so ingrained. It wouldn't have to go in like, okay, what is, what's my, what am I good at this week? What's my brain doing the week with my body doing this week. I feel like I would just be able to just add no, it, at this point it would be such a habit. 

MacKenzie: Okay. Have you heard of the moody [00:18:00] app. No, you guys, you going to love the moody app because it actually like, it allows you to track everything about like how your body is feeling, how your emotions are, what kind of energy you have, like all of that every day.

And then when you get to that same day of your cycle, the next month, it'll say, this is how you felt last. So it tells you that it also tells you like, according to what is normal for women's bodies, like this is how you should be feeling on this day. This would be a good workout for you. Here's like some food that would be good during this point in your cycle.

Like it kind of just puts it all together for you in one spot. It's so cool. 

Riley: I 

Roni: love that. Yeah. Uh, for everyone who's listening, we're just like nodding our heads profusely because as Riley said, we have just recently started to get into all this, uh, you know, understanding your cycle better in your moods and everything.

And it is really [00:19:00] powerful. And Riley and I talk about this all the time, because we work so closely together. Like, we'll just be like, you know, today I'm needing a break or like today I'm feeling super motivated, you know? And, uh, I think it is. It's kind of mind blowing that. We just don't understand very much about ourselves.

I mean, in general, you know, like science has never really been super focused on like women and women's bodies. So it kind of, I mean, it makes sense overall why we don't know a lot of these things, but it's also kind of crazy that. 'cause nobody has ever really told us to pay attention to it before. We're just like, oh, it's just, you know, I'm just moody today, whatever. And not actually paying attention to what that means of what's going on inside your body 

MacKenzie: and what you can do to support yourself during those, which is so important. And then it's so goes hand in hand. What you can expect yourself from yourself for your goals, what kind of goals you should even be creating?

I mean, a lot of my goals this year are about [00:20:00] supporting my body better throughout all of the different cycles that I go through during a cycle, you know? And I just think that's really important for us to take note of. So I have a question for you guys, where, where have you been getting your information?


Roni: we both really love to listen to, I think I mentioned this when I was on your podcast a few months ago, we listened to everyday wellness, which is a podcast. We also listened to Dr. Stephanie Estima. Um, both of everyday wellness is with Cynthia Thurlow and then Stephanie Estima. They both talk a lot about, um, Menopause.

Peri-menopause what it's like to be in your cycle. Stephanie's estima talks a lot more about it, but both Riley and I love her. She's got like the best podcasting voice in the entire world. And she just is like, she hits it out of the park every single time. Like you just, every episode has amazing information and, she's just somebody who you're like, oh man, I could just listen to her all day. She's a very, she, the best voice [00:21:00] 

Riley: and her podcast is calledBetter. Oh, yes. Better with Dr. Stephanie estima, yeah. She has a book too. Um, but both, those are two really great resources that Roni and I have been sharing back and forth. Listen to this one, listen to this one. 

MacKenzie: Yeah, I know that Kate Northrup talks about it in the book. And she was on the Goal Digger podcast. That's I first heard about it. And then I have been slowly mind you listening to Alyssa Viti looking yeah. In the flow. Um, her book is super interesting because it goes into all of that science. So it's like heavy. You know, but she's got all the charts in there and everything of like what foods to eat during different parts of your cycle. And you know, all of that, it's been super interesting to listen to. 

I have her book too. I just forgot about it. 

Roni: Okay. So we've digressed a little bit away from habits and goals in the new year. [00:22:00] 

MacKenzie: I think it totally 

Roni: does. Oh yeah. I'm not upset about it at all. I'm not upset about it, but we did want to talk to you a little bit about how you set personal goals versus how you set like career or business goals. And if there is a difference in how you do that, 

MacKenzie: Yeah. I mean, I think a little bit, I think that probably the personal goals are a little bit more habit focused with less of like a big end goal in mind. Like even when I set a reading goal. Okay. You guys, so. But I'm only competing with myself, so I don't really care, but I set a good reads goal every year for how many books I'm going to read and then come like that last week of the year, I change it to how many books I've actually read for the year so that it says that I won.

I want them to say congratulate, you did it. So, you know, I'm a little, have a little bit more leeway on the personal goals and it's just, you know, more for like personal [00:23:00] enrichment. It's not like as high of stakes, obviously as the business where the business, I feel like it's more like. What is my big goal?

Like how much money am I hoping to make? Or how many voiceover jobs or, you know, how many sponsors do I want to get for the podcast? How many followers do I need, need to increase on social media? Those kinds of like bigger number of factors. And then kind of like we were talking about earlier. Working my way back to like, okay, now what does it take to get there?

What little steps do I need to put in place to make those things happen? How many jobs do I need to be getting a month in order for that to happen? You know, like those kinds of things where you really break it down to the smaller pieces where the personal goals are much more like habit focused, you know, make sure I'm reading every day.

I am a big, like wind down in the evening have like a set. Routine that I do every night. And so going into 2022, one of my things [00:24:00] is just kind of like expanding on that routine and really like making it more of a wellness practice. So I already do like an Epsom salt bath every night, or I've been using these bath soaks by fluid.

Super cool. And there, they've got all these, you know, vitamins and minerals that you can absorb and, you know, it's all this transdermal, whatever they have, like all this science on the website and I'm just like, cool. Sounds good. Okay. I'll do that. But like, in addition to that, like, Ooh, how can I make that even more nourishing?

Well, I can, you know, do dry brushing before I get in the bath. So it's like more of a detox experience. And can I. Do a face mask while I'm in the bath and then I'm taking care of my face. Like what can I kind of add to it to make it even more? Like, what can I drink while I'm in the bath? That's going to help me wind down for bed, you know, like kind of taking the habits that I already have and expanding them into a bigger routine that [00:25:00] has even more self care.

Yeah. Making sure that I'm taking care of my body. Well, because I know that we've all been experiencing a lot of stress over the last couple of years. And I really hit probably two months ago, like peak stress level, where I was starting to feel it in my body and going like, okay, from the things that I'm tracking, I'm really seeing differences in.

How my body is just like operating on a daily basis and, you know, having high heart rates and like, you know, all kinds of crazy stuff, I was like, I'm going to have to do something different about it. And I could really see those differences because of keeping track of like how I'm doing on a day-to-day basis, kind of like we've been talking about.

And so then I was able to start making some shifts. Towards while I'm like, what am I eating? And, you know, do I need to cut back on caffeine? Do I need to drink more water? Like what are the little things that I can be doing? And so I'm really going to be [00:26:00] pursuing that to an even deeper degree in this next year. A lot of my goals focus around just those things. 

Riley: I love a lot of things about that. One is that is a lot of self care. Like I'm so happy for you to like, embrace that. Um, but two, I love that you just taking something you're already doing and making it just, I feel like that's probably like the path of least resistance, right?

It's like, I'm already doing this thing. I'm going to add onto it. Uh, or do it more consistently or make it better and better and better. I love that. That's really motivating for me because I think I tend to pick things that are like, I need to do that and I'm not doing it at all, or I need to do this and I'm not doing it at all.

And then trying to force, you know, it's just a lot of hard work to like get to that point. And I think those goals are good, but I think also just to be able to do. I think he's a little bit more peaceful to be like, okay, I'm already doing this thing, I'm just going to make it better. And there's a little bit less stress around it. And if you already have a lot of stress in your life, lowering your stress in any way is great. 

MacKenzie: Yeah. Well, and somebody recently asked me, like, how do you manage to still keep [00:27:00] up with like your skincare and your self care things when things are so stressful and overwhelming. No. If I don't do these things, then, then everything's gonna fall apart.

Like, this is what is allowing me to keep moving forward in the midst of all of the stress and the overwhelm and the crazy. If I can hang onto these few things that I do have control over then. Such a difference for me. And so making sure that I do that, but also like having that easy entry point, like you were saying, I think is really important.

I recently downloaded the, well, when you go into the app, it says Asana rebel just like a sauna rebel is what it looks like, but they say it in a fun way. Um, so it's like a workout app and a wellness app, but they literally have. Quote unquote workouts that are like four minutes long. And I'm like, I can manage like [00:28:00] four minutes of relaxation, yoga and have it count.

And then it shows you like, you have a streak of working out again, like, you know, we're big on the streaks, big difference. But I like when it's like, I can tailor it, I can do the kind of workout that's going to work for me that day, which may mean that it is. Relaxation yoga at the end of the day for four minutes, but they still counted.

And so I'm like, okay, that's a win check check. I can keep my streak going, but I can do what my body needs that day. And I think like, if you can have those low level entry points, then you know, maybe the next day. Seven minutes and I'm in a, feel like more up to doing something more. And so it can really build on itself when you're not like I'm going to work out for an hour every single day.

And it's going to be amazing because that's, you know, One, you're probably not going to two. You probably don't actually have the time [00:29:00] when you really sit down. Like, I think that's, uh, one of the biggest problems that people have with the goals they make, as they've just make this big pie in the sky thing that they aren't actually looking at their life and how they can make it work.

I think it's so important when you are finding those goals that you really want to take on for a new year, that you look at your life and you say, When in the day, am I actually going to do this? How long is it actually going to take me like looking at it from the realistic standpoint and having a plan for how you are going to actually carry it out?

Half the battle, because so many times I'll go into a day just on a daily basis. If I don't have my list written out of things that I need to do. And when I'm going to do them are kind of like the basic flow of my day. I suddenly think I don't have anything to do that day. It's not all true, but because I haven't figured it out in advance, then it just kind of like becomes null and void.

So I think that having [00:30:00] that plan for how you are actually going to get it done is half the battle. 

Riley: Preach girl, those are all so good. I hope people are just writing down everything you just said. Those are so helpful for me too. And I'm the same way. If I don't write it down, I'm either really bothered all day that I there's gotta be something I was supposed to do today, or, yeah, I got free time. I can do what I want. 

Roni: Yeah, I use these, um, it's called an action pad and it's by a company called ink and volt. And it's just basically like, it gives you like a five top things that you're going to do today and then three things that you're going, like stretch yourself to do in the day. And so usually at the end of my Workday, I go through and I'll write out either the things that I didn't finish today that needs.

You prioritize tomorrow or just like, I know I have like this podcast recording coming up tomorrow. So it's on the list of the things that I need to do. And I get real, real satisfaction from being able to cross things off the list as I do them during the day. But it also just really helps me [00:31:00] to kind of like once I read all the things on paper, I no longer have to.

Think about those things, like later in the day, or like, as I'm cooking dinner, I'm not like, oh yeah, I need to remember how to do that tomorrow. Cause like I already wrote down the things that I'm doing the next day. So it's like kind of out of your brain, I think as well, once you take the time to organize your life in that sort of a way and make a list of like, here's my priorities, I kind of can take them off of my mental plate because they're written down. I'm not going to forget to do them. 

MacKenzie: Yeah, it's the paper is holding it for you and having to, which actually does cause mental fatigue more that you can decide in advance. The more restful your brain is able to be.

Riley: Yeah. The way I handled that is that I have, I work, I get to do, like, I have a calendar for work.

That's all my work to do's and then I also have a personal to do list. Um, and for that, I just use like a, usually just a plain notebook of some kind. But if I'm working, I have my work list. And if I'm not working, I look at my other list because if I'm looking at [00:32:00] all of those things on the same list that I'm going to be sitting here, freaking out about the five other things I've got to do today, instead of focusing on the tasks that I'm working on.

And so for me, it's really helpful to keep those things a little bit separate. I'm not exactly sure how. List y'all's lists work, but that is really important for me in that it speaks to that mental fatigue of just like, I've got to have them separate, or I'm going to be thinking about the 10 other things, um, that equally have, you know, a due date or equally have a thing, you know, a timeline attached to them. And then I feel like I'm not getting anything done in the time. I need to get it done. And because my brain is just functioning at this, it's not functioning. I guess I should set that. 

MacKenzie: I think you just inspired me to separate my to-do lists, 

Riley: anything we can do to just, just take it out of my mind and then a little less stress. Anything I can do to do that is a win for me. So, 

Roni: so for thinking about this idea of like reverse engineering, your goals or your habits, if people are wanting to get started meal planning in the new year, what do you think is kind [00:33:00] of this like very basic way for them to get started making meal planning a habit?

MacKenzie: Well, I think, you know, first and foremost use Plan to Eat because

it's true. I've used them for seven years before they ever hit me up to be a sponsor of my podcast. I legit loved plan to eat, but it truly, I mean, it made such a difference for me to just have everything in one place. And so I think if people are really wanting to get serious about meal planning in the new year, you know, you have kind of like.

Point of entry. You have to get past with plan to eat, which is getting your meals in there, like getting your recipes into the program. And so if you can just commit to like, I'm going to do five recipes a week, or, you know, whatever, really when you sit down and commit time to it. I mean, I've gone through a website of like one of my favorite.

You know, Instagrammers who puts out recipes and just went through her [00:34:00] website for like an hour and put in probably 30 meals from her into plan to eat. And that amount of time, like, it feels more daunting than it actually is. And so if you can just like, Commit to doing that, to set aside that time, which is really your prep work.

That's your planning work to get done so that you can make it work for you. I think once people can get over that hurdle of getting their meals into plan to eat, then it's a no-brainer. 'cause then it's really just sitting down for five to 10 minutes every week or every two weeks and just dragging and dropping it onto the calendar.

I can't get more simple than that. You know, the place that I find that I actually meal plan the best you guys is in the shower. I know it sounds crazy. But I know that it's like this time where nobody's going to be bugging me and I can really think through the week and think like, okay, this night we can do this meal this night.

We can do that. And you know, and then when I get out of the shower, I run over to my computer and I pull it all on there. And then I know [00:35:00] that my shopping list is made. I literally did this yesterday, before I went to the grocery store. So it works, but it's because I have all of my meals in. Yeah, I think that's like the biggest thing.

If you want to get into meal planning, just get your recipes into plan to eat, and then you never have to do that work again.

Riley: I love that. Do you? I mean, okay. So that's probably the most unique place I've ever heard of somebody meal planning. That's not what I was expecting you to say. I'm being honest. Um, how I know that you speak a lot about how meal planning is such a necessity for your family and your life, and it's like a have to um, but how have you implemented, are there any tricks that you have for people who are maybe new to it? They can help them make it a habit. 

MacKenzie: I think that once you just start doing it, like, I've talked about this with my patrons a lot lately. Like I think, especially in a stress that we've all had these last couple of years, we're all lacking motivation and we want to be inspired.

And we think that we need those things in [00:36:00] order to get things done. But guess what? That's not what adulthood of looks like a lot of life is just like, I just need to do the thing. And so if you can just commit. To doing it. I think once you have done it for probably even a month, you'll realize what a difference it has made.

And I think that's a big part. It's like, why tell people a track track, what you're doing, track, what you're actually accomplishing, because we don't oftentimes notice the progress or the change, unless we have it written down unless we have like proof of it. And so when you do that with meal planning and you get through a month and you see like, oh, I when my kids were asking me at four, o'clock what we were having for dinner.

I had an answer and I had the ingredients, or like, it was so much easier to go shopping because I knew exactly what we needed or I could just order the groceries online. And I wasn't panicking last minute. Like [00:37:00] once you have where you're like able to let your breath out from not having that extra stress.

It's just like we were just talking about with all the other planning. When you make the decisions ahead of time, you save yourself that brain space. Yeah. Feel that difference. I'm just convinced that you won't want to go back because I will have those weeks where it's like, oh, I just didn't manage to get the plan made.

And like, oh, we'll just kind of have to wing it. And without a doubt, we ended up eating out. I am frustrated. It is every time I get to the end of one of those weeks, I'm like, it wasn't worth it. It wasn't worth it. It's such a simple, short thing for me to just drag and drop that stuff on there. To actually have my like, list on my phone when I'm going into the store and know that I'm going to have every single ingredient that I need. You just, you're not going to want to go back once you experienced the different. 

Roni: I think that that's the [00:38:00] best advice that, you know, encouraging people to not wait for the inspiration to strike to meal plan. Um, I'm a writer and like the, the advice for writers is always like, you're never going to write if you wait for motivation or the inspiration to write, you know, like you're like one day out of the whole year.

And so I had actually never thought about applying that to meal planning as well. So I think. Amazing advice because it is one of those things, just like you said, all of the stress that it alleviates from your life is you just kind of have to have, it's almost like you have to like, give your future self a favor by being like, I'm going to take care of this now and future, Roni's not going to have to worry about it anymore.

MacKenzie: Yeah, totally. I mean, any of those little things that I think you can do, and then even once you get within, you've like you've done the meal planning, you've gotten your groceries. Putting them away in similar areas for meals, you know, like I try to group things together as much. So when I'm pulling stuff out on a night where I don't have much time, I've got it all kind of together.

I [00:39:00] mean, any meal prep you can do for an hour and you can do in advance. I think that all of those things, you know, they just build on themselves. But even if you only get the planning done, even if you only do that, it's going to make such a difference to your week. 

Riley: One of the things that I thought of while you were describing your process is that, and how you're encouraging people to just plan out one month, like just focus on it for one month.

There's a couple of things that they could do around that. It's like, write it on your to-do list, you know, like, okay, Monday morning today, at some point I've got a meal plan for the week or whatever, um, whatever day works for you or set a reminder on your phone that reoccurs every Sunday. Seven o'clock and that's when you meal plan for the whole week.

And then for people, if you just get one month of meal planning done, you could just copy that to the next month. And then actually you've got two months of meal planning, done, gold stars, you know, like, so there's these little things that people could do on top of that. I think starting small is important. But then kind of making less work for yourself [00:40:00] by taking it out of your mind. Just set the reminder, just put it on the to-do list or just duplicate this month recipes for next month. Like just kind of taking a way, a few more of those to do aspects of it. Um, hopefully lighten the load and the mental burden that it can be and just makes it even easier to stick to.

MacKenzie: Absolutely. And I think that a lot of people I hear because in the past, especially I have meal planned for like a whole month. Like sit down, plan out the whole month. So I'm only doing it once. I mean, it's just like anything else that you do in bulk, you're going to end up saving yourself time over the long run.

And I've had so many people say to me, well, I couldn't do that because how, how can you, when you don't really know what your schedule is going to be like or anything. But I think for most of us, especially during the school year, Pretty set. Like I know what activities my kids have each night of the week.

I know which nights I have more time to be cooking. I know which [00:41:00] nights I need something in the Crock-Pot that I've put in there earlier in the day. I mean, it's kind of like this set schedule for what types of meals I need throughout the week, which then makes the actual planning part of it easier because I know like I can even look at the whole month and say, okay, every Monday I need a Crock-Pot meal.

So. four crock pot meals on the meal plan, boom. All the Mondays are done. You know, like when you can think about it in that way, it makes it a lot more simple and it makes it easier to carry out. You're not just haphazardly throwing meals on the plan because I hear so many people like, oh, I get to the night and then that's not what I want.

Like in my house, that's not an option we have what's planned. I am feeding too many people to be, you know, catering to whims, unless it's a really, like, I'm just burnt out and I can't cook and we're done, you know, but most of the time it's like, no, we create the plan. We stick to the plan because we have created a plan according [00:42:00] to what our life is actually like, I can even foresee some of those things.

I know that a lot of times by. I'm going to be burnt out. Maybe it is planning that we get pizza or, you know, something simple. That's still a plan. You still don't know what you're doing. 

Roni: I think that's actually really important too. Something to mention, because I think a lot of times people feel. Like meal planning has to be always home cooked meals or always things that you're making from scratch.

And it's like creating a meal plan. It's just knowing that you have a plan and that means just covering your bases, which if it means that you're taking takeout some days, like that's totally fine. As long as what, by the time dinner comes around, you're prepared and not like, Ooh, I guess we'll have takeout. Like. Did you end up having more of like a weird guilt feeling if you're like, I didn't have a plan, so this is what we have to do rather than like Nope. The plan was to get, take out the end. 

MacKenzie: Yeah, totally. And that's [00:43:00] okay. That's okay to do that. It doesn't have to be perfect. It can be set from the freezer you guys have got that built into the system, you know, like you've taken care of all of the thought process work of it.

So I think that's just so important to, to know that it doesn't have to do. Like, you know, you don't have to be Martha Stewart. 

Yeah. Yeah. 

Riley: And I think for anybody listening, who might feel overwhelmed by all of this, um, that's not our goal. We don't want anyone to feel overwhelmed by their goals. We most want you to feel inspired, you know, like any of these tidbits could be taken and used for your life.

And I think that's what I just want to mention. Looking at one of these things and apply it. You don't have to look at all 500 of the things that we've suggested here. Um, and then feel like, okay, we've got to do all these things to be organized. It's like, no, no girl take one. Or, or not, dude.

Just take one thing and apply it and, and just give yourself some grace in that way, too, of like, I don't have to do all the [00:44:00] things I can do a couple of these things and make my life a little bit easier. And then when that feels easy and included in your habits in your life, like then add one more thing and to just, you know, take a deep breath. We're not trying to add more stress to anybody's life. We're just trying to. Give you some tools that can be really helpful. 

MacKenzie: Well, and maybe what your goal can be for the new year is to just pay attention to your actual life and start doing some of that tracking and seeing where you are actually at with all the different areas of your.

And then be able to create goals from there. But I think if you don't have that base level knowledge of what your life is actually like, and honestly trying to do it during the holiday season, it's trying to start like, tracking, well, what is my life like and what am I eating like and how am I working out?

That's not usually real life. It's kind of, you know, like the set apart time of the year, where everything is different and often you're eating differently in your life looks different. But if you decide like, okay, at the beginning of the year, I'm really going to pay attention to what my [00:45:00] body actually feels like when we are carrying on normal life, what habits I actually already have in place, you know?

Taking note of those things that is going to then allow you to make the kind of goals that you can actually follow through on, but just, just deciding to track, just deciding to pay attention can be a goal in and of itself. 

Roni: That's great. I think that that is a great place to kind of end off on. We want to not take up too much of your time today. We do have a question that we want to ask at the very end, but before we get to that, would you just tell everybody how they can find you, how they can listen to your podcast and all that? 

MacKenzie: Well, you can find me all of the different places at MacKenzie Koppa. So I'm on Instagram. You can find me at and then you can find my podcasts Live Well anyway, wherever you get your podcasts and check it out. Yeah, that'd be awesome. 

Riley: So the last question we like to ask all of our guests is what, what's your favorite meal that you've cooked recently? Or what's your [00:46:00] favorite thing? You're eating lately. 

MacKenzie: Oh, Okay. Well, I've been really into half-baked harvest and all of her stuff lately because they're just like scrumptious and I've only, I think, had like one meal of hers go wrong.

And so that's pretty good odds cause we've tried a lot of them lately, but she has this chicken Marsala that has artichoke hearts in it. And it's like a one skillet meal. Now when you're kicking cooking for the number of people, I am, it's a two skillet meal, but. It's just all one pot you throw together and everybody loves it. And so anytime I find a meal that I can get all of us to eat, that's a really big win.

Riley: Huge, huge win. Awesome. 

Roni: That sounds great. We will, we'll find that recipe in your plan to your account and we'll link it in the show. Well, we really, really appreciate all of the advice and the tips that you gave us, us and our listeners today, because I gained a lot from the conversation to 

Riley: Me too.

Roni: Yeah, we really [00:47:00] appreciate it. And we will hopefully talk to you again soon. 

MacKenzie: Absolutely. Okay. Talk to you ladies later. Bye. 

Riley: We hope you love that interview with MacKenzie. We certainly enjoyed our conversation with her and both Roni and I gleaned so much valuable information from it. Before we go today, we just want to let you know that we have a new email address it's So if you have a question for us, or anything else, just send us an email there. We'd love to chat with you.