Monthly Archive: December 2012

5. Create Ways To Check In

Today is New Years Eve and you’ve set your goal, identified your strengths, found weaknesses and fixed them…now what? Now, we make milestones, or check ins.

Check ins are important because they’re a good way to judge your progress. If you’re planning to lose 5 pounds in 2013 you should set a date you want to accomplish it by and work backwards. Let’s take my goal for example: 6 lbs by March 1st. If I start on January 1st, that gives me a little over 2 months, or about 60 days, to accomplish this by. This means I should lose a pound every 10 days. This is a realistic goal, and I can make little check ins every 10 days to be sure that I’m on track.

Now, everyone is different, and you should use whichever method works best for you to check in. I am always on my computer so I used the Stickies app to keep myself on track. A sticky on the side of my computer screen gives the date of each weigh in and where I should be. Other people may use MyFitnessPal, Excel, Fitocracy, a journal, a planner, etc. to check in with their specific goals.

But check ins should go further than that. Let’s look at some of my weaknesses and how I remedy them, specifically the weakness involving eating snacks my classmates brought to class that day. Every day I will check in with myself and see if I worked with my strength and against my weakness. I may write in my planner, “Today I made my 5am workout (yay!) and said ‘no’ to my classmates sugar cookies.” or “Today was a rest day and a classmate brought in cupcakes – my favorite! Since I haven’t had a snack yet this week I ate one happily.” Checking in is about so much more than just, “How much do I weigh today?” It’s also about if you’re kicking your old habits or falling into them again.

Right now make a timeline for your goals. If you plan to save $1,200 this year, that means you should have added $100 to your savings account each month. Set a reminder at the end of every month to transfer that money, or manually do it so you’re conscious of the decision. If you plan to “get healthier” this year by swapping out soda for tea, timeline that. “I want to be a tea drinker by July, and right now I drink 5 sodas a day.” Make a time line where each week you drop a soda a day, or maybe two sodas a week, etc. Your timeline should be a slow, gradual process that lets you reach your goals in a realistic, timely manner.

But what is realistic?

There is no magic number about what a “realistic” weight loss goal is, or a realistic money saving goal is. These are highly individualized. If you find that you’re continually missing your weigh in goals but are “on track,” then your goals may not be realistic. If you find that you’re passing your check ins faster than you anticipated, you may have been too easy on yourself in the first place. Maybe the small tweaks you made had a much bigger impact on your life than you realized?

In any case, you will not be able to judge how your progress is going unless you CHECK IN!

Now that you’ve figured all your goals out you can wake up tomorrow and put all the information you’ve written down over the last few days together to really reach your goals this year!

4. Identify Weaknesses and Fix Them!

Ah, you knew it was coming! Now that you’ve figured out where you’re strong you need to find where you were weak. Really look back at your year and decide where your problem areas are and try to find ways to fix them. This shouldn’t be a free for all, this should be a focused, constructive look at where you often fail and a brainstorming session to break the cycle.

This is one of those times where the internet can be a great resource. Say, for example, your weakness is online shopping (me!). I often get e-mails from websites about deals they’re having and find myself succumbing to those. I realized this was interfering with my ability to save money and unsubscribed from all of those e-mails. I also made a point to block my favorite websites from my browser, or change the log in password to a jumble of letters and numbers I’d never be able to guess. Even though there are ways around these methods they take away the ease of online shopping. I can no longer easily see the deals, it’s not easy to just log in and buy them, etc.

How did I come up with these ideas? I googled “I online shop too much!” and read some ways other people have combatted their online shopping addictions. The same can go for any of your weaknesses. “I overeat” can be met with inspiration boards, motivational sayings, buying smaller plates, sitting down to eat, and so many other great tidbits. The beauty of the internet is that it can expose you to a lot of other people and how they deal with their problems. It may take some playing around, but eventually you will find a method that works for you.

I also went ahead and ranked my weaknesses in priority of most damaging of my goals to least damaging. Sometimes seeing a list of weaknesses can really put a damper on your mood and leave you feeling helpless. However, looking back on some of your weaknesses may lead to the realization that some of them aren’t all that bad. For example, one of my weaknesses when it comes to saving money is that I tend to buy more food than I eat and it goes bad. Some of this food is expensive, but most of it is cheap. I usually buy sweet potatoes (about $.80 a potato) and at least one or two of them will mold before I eat them. That’s about $.80 to $1.60 a month I waste. Compared to online shopping this isn’t a horrible weakness.

Here are my weak points and how I plan to remedy them.



3. Identify Strengths

So, now that you’ve looked back on your life in terms of your goal, it’s time to establish your strengths. What are you doing RIGHT in regards to your specific goal? If you’ve never tried to meet this particular goal before, look back in your life to other times you’ve accomplished something. Are you very determined? Do you always see a task through until the end? Don’t be shy – this is a time to really toot your own horn. Again, I’ve included my own strengths below.




As you can see, I went very specific. While looking at my past I saw that I never missed a 5am workout, and if I didn’t go to the gym at 5am I tended not to go at all. By realizing this I found that working out at 5am was a strength. Additionally, if I planned a WEIGHT TRAINING session early I never missed it. Cardio, however, was another story. I also found that I genuinely enjoyed weight training and that’s why I rarely, if ever, missed it. Cardio I don’t enjoy so I would miss it more often. Looking back at pictures I’ve seen amazing changes in body I didn’t know were possible. Did I really deadlift 215 pounds at a competition?! All my old clothes still fit, despite a weight gain?! I also didn’t sell my mind short: I know how weight loss works.

Basically, I figured out that my strengths are fitness, knowledge and my support system. These are important things to focus on because whenever you’re feeling down or unmotivated you need to appeal to your strengths instead of floundering in your weaknesses. If I ever feel unmotivated I can turn toward my support system, or maybe take a day off my weight lifting “plan” and really hit lifts I enjoy doing.

Your strengths are now your support system and they will help focus your goals in the coming months!

2. Where Are You Now?

So yesterday we set a goal.

Today, we’re going to look at where you are now.

I’ll use my goal from yesterday, “In 2013 I will save money.” Sure, I had some extra stuff attached to it, but let’s get down to the bare bones. Before I decide HOW I’m going to save money I need to look at where I sit now.

How much money is in my bank account?

Where does most of my money go?

How much of it is NECESSARY and how much of it is UNNECESSARY?

There are a few ways to do this. I do this through, a website specific for budgeting. You can do it with an Excel spread sheet or just by browsing through your receipts. Where do you sit now? How much money did you spend this month, this year? How much of it was on necessities (groceries) and how much on unnecessary items (ANOTHER bath mat?). Dig through your necessities and break those down – do you eat all your groceries? Do they go bad before you eat them? Find where you’re spending too much or too little attention.

What about my other goal? “In 2013 I want to lose weight.”

Where am I now?

How much do I weigh?

Has it gone up or down in the last few weeks? Months? Years?

You can’t move forward until you identify where you are now. This is where you really need to spend time and write down how things are going NOW. Find the trends in your spending, weight loss, smoking, etc. You need to really paint a picture of what TODAY looks like, as well as yesterday. Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it, right?

For some people this means making a chart plotting weight or spending vs. time. Maybe all you need to do is look back through your journal or Facebook photos to watch a gradual change (for the better or worse). The point is that today should be a day of reflection.

As I did yesterday, here’s a look at my own scribbles on my goals.



1. Set a Goal

Seems simple, right?

“In the year 2013 I want to ________________”

Let’s do a practice one. “In the year 2013 I want to brush my teeth twice a day.” This is a simple goal and it’s fairly obvious and straightforward. To accomplish this I need to brush my teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Done!

Here, let’s try another one. “In the year 2013 I want to get healthier.” Awesome! So I’m going to…well…be healthy. This one’s a little more complex, isn’t it? Yet it’s one of the most popular goals set by people every year, next to losing weight. What does it MEAN to get healthier? How much weight do you plan on losing? By when? How do you plan to go about this?

Ah, so it’s not that simple, is it?

The point of setting goals is to have something SPECIFIC in mind. If your goal is to lose weight in 2013 you need to establish mini-goals alongside of them to steer you in that general direction. It’s easy to say, “I need to lose weight,” but it’s hard to say, “This is what I’m going to do to lose weight.” The same is true of the “I want to save money” goal. What does that MEAN, exactly? You’re going to stop buying brand name items? You’re going to shower less, lower the heat in your house, bike to work?

The problem most people have when they set goals is they fail to make SPECIFIC and ACHIEVABLE goals. “Losing weight” or “saving money” or “get healthy” may seem both specific and achievable but in reality they mean nothing. They don’t point you in any real direction. So let’s remedy this.

“In the year 2013, I want to lose 6 pounds and compete in the 135 weight class, so I’d like to be 130-135 lbs during the regular year. The first meet I want to focus on is in March.”

That is my “weight loss” goal for this year. I’ve stated how much I want to lose, I’ve set a date and an intention. This goal is very specific and achievable. It’s also important to note that my goal has a timeline – by x date I will have accomplished this. New Years isn’t the only time to set a new goal. Say you plan to lose 20 pounds before summer. You lose your 20 pounds, summer hits and you feel great, but now you’d like to shed 5 more pounds. You can always adjust your goals!

“In the year 2013 I will save money. I will stop online shopping (so I will unsubscribe from “deal e-mails”) for clothes, put aside $30 a month into my savings account, and follow my budget on to a T.”

Here’s another one of my goals. Now, some of you may be looking at these like, “I have no idea what to do.” That’s fine! The rest of this series will focus on finding your strengths, weaknesses and looking at where you started. Go through this series with the structure of the above goals in mind. Eventually you’ll be setting similar specific goals.

So, take out a pencil and paper and write down the following…

“In the year 2013 I will _______________________________”

Here’s mine!