Tag Archives: goals

Ambitious much?

12 Jan

This week has been very standard at work: nothing to do. But for some reason, I come home from work just exhausted. I have grand ambitions of working on a project I want to get done or reading a book but the only thing that seems appealing is getting my workout done as fast as I can and then spending the rest of the night glued to the couch and TV. Ever have a week like that?

Last week, I was thinking about my goal of reading 50 books in a year. I did the math the hard way – taking 50 books divided by 12 months and carrying the 2 – when I could have realized my over-ambition quite fast by taking 50 books into 52 weeks. Hmmm… that equals out to be almost a book a week. Every week. All year long.

Suffice it to say, I am revising my goal to simply Read more books than I did last year. Which cuts it down to 27 books instead of 50, but that’s still a book every 2 weeks. More realistic but (I think) still tough, especially when I have weeks like this where reading feels like the last thing I want to do.

The whole point of the goal is not just to read. It’s to be more intentional about doing something I enjoy (and I just like making goals). Treating myself like a Nazi is not something I enjoy. A goal too lofty would make me feel incredibly guilty for doing anything but reading, and ruin the very purpose of creating the goal in the first place.

This makes me think of a question I read in an interesting blog post and article the other day: When does self-improvement stop being beneficial and start being a hindrance?

The whole idea behind making goals at the new year, I think, is to be more intentional about how you’re spending your time. Instead of just thinking about how much you’d like learning how to paint, or to speak Japanese, or to run in 10 states, you put some action behind it. Make your dream a reality. Use your time wisely.

But the day-in, day-out grind of life isn’t always as inspiring as those first days of a new year are. Hence, the number of unkept resolutions.

So what do you do when the glitter falls off of your goal? When you just see the menial tasks and grunt work actually required to meet your goal, instead of the sparkly prize at the end? Here’s how I look at goals:

1. Goals should be flexible. Life changes. Things happen. You might realize one day that shooting to read a book a week for the entire year is pretty much a pipe dream. So you revise.

2. Goals should be inspiring. If you’re saving for a trip to Paris, put a picture of the Eiffel Tower on your wall at work. Learn to speak French. Go eat a croissant and tell yourself that it’ll be 1,000 times better in Paris. Watch movies set in Paris. Keep a picture that reminds you of Paris in your wallet, so that every time you’re tempted to spend money that you should be saving, you hold out for the greater prize. Don’t just grunt your way through life – be inspired.

3. Goals should have a “why.” If you don’t know why you want to lose weight, or take up a new hobby, or cook more at home, it’s very easy to give up when you encounter resistance in the form of brownies, laziness or takeout food. Having a “why” also provides fodder for your inspiration (see #2).

4. Goals should be about more than just the end. Why? Because on your way to the goal, you’re still living your life. And if you’re only focused on the end, you’re missing out on the joy of the journey. Running a marathon someday will be amazing – but it’ll be so amazing because of the miles I ran and time I sacrificed to get there. A goal is an accomplishment because you stayed focused over an extended period of time for a specific result. It’s the work that got you there that’s impressive. Also, if you’re solely focused on the end of your goal, what happens when you reach it? Goals aren’t the point of life. A goal is just a tool that helps you make positive changes in your life, for your overall joy.

5. Goals should be filled with grace. There are days when you slip up and eat 2 slices of cake even though you’re trying to drop some pounds. Or you skip your run even though you’re training for a race. Or you veg and watch TV every night after work for a week even though you’re trying to read more. Some days you just need a break. And that’s ok. Use the break to think about your goal – Is it still worth it? If so, why did I do what I did? What can I do in the future to prevent it from happening again? Or should I revise my goal to make it more realistic or joy-giving?


In my case, I’ve been reading a pretty mentally-challenging book (One Thousand Gifts) and while I’m really enjoying it, sometimes I just want an easy novel. That’s why I’m drawn to TV over a book – I don’t want to think, just veg. I think easy novels can serve that purpose too. While I’m trying to break my habit of reading more than one book at once, sometimes you just have to make an exception (see #5).

How do you stay motivated for your goals?

Looking Back and Ahead

31 Dec

I don’t really do resolutions but I do like how the new year prompts a look back and a look ahead, and I like setting goals. So here ’tis the obligatory New Years post…

In 2011, I…

…ran 276 miles (from May to December – I didn’t keep track before that. Stupid!)

…biked 458 miles.

…swam 16.4 miles.

…raced in 3 sprint triathlons, 1 Olympic, and a 5k.

…started a new job.

…started writing a nonfiction book.

…read 26 books (beat my goal of 25!)

…combined my running and spiritual blogs into Life, Really

…went on my first trail run and loved it.

…adopted a new dog, Charlie, found on an Indian reservation in New Mexico.


It was a very good year – like I mentioned in my Best of 2011, this year could be summed up as Busy, but Fun.


In 2012, I hope to: 

…get pregnant.

…run 700 miles.

…finish writing my nonfiction book.

…read 50 books.

…consistently track my workouts so I have accurate totals on 12/31/12!

…grow in being a loving, supportive wive to my amazing husband.

…accept who God created me to be.


And because I like cheese, here are 12 more goals for 2012, one for every month:

  1. January – Forego sweets for an entire month.
  2. February – Read or listen to the entire Harry Potter book series.
  3. March – Try Bikram Yoga.
  4. April – Finish a memory book about our first 5 years of marriage.
  5. May – Make a time capsule for our 5-year wedding anniversary.
  6. June – Run a marathon… in Alaska (more on this coming soon, hopefully!)
  7. July – Bike 50 miles in one ride.
  8. August – Climb a 14er.
  9. September – Complete at least one big home project in preparation for moving in 2013.
  10. October – Make Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread with Buttered Rum Glaze
  11. November – Make our own Christmas stockings.
  12. December – Watch the movie classic, It’s a Wonderful Life

I will try to do those goals in order but the Harry Potter series might take me longer than a month to get through. I have already requested the first audio book from the library though!

I also posted these goals on my new page, 2012 Goals.


I am excited for 2012. Bring it on!

One Month…

16 Feb

until I’ll be sitting on a beach in Mexico with a Kahlua Mudslide in my hand, the sun on my face, and the sand beneath my feet.

Since yesterday marks a month until our vacation, I thought I would give an update on my goals for 2009 and the deal Travis and I have to not eat sweets, except on Sundays.

First, I’ve been doing pretty good with my goals. I haven’t met them all every week (I have ended up missing a day in the Word here and there) but I have met almost all of them most weeks.

Spiritually, I have been memorizing one verse each week, listening to a sermon (besides the one in church on Sunday) every week, and studying my Bible every day.

Physically, I have been exercising 5-7 days a week, though I haven’t strictly adhered to the schedule of what I would do each day. As much as I try to coax my personality into being planned and predictable, it’s just not me. I fly by the seat of my pants, exercise included. So I have been mixing it up between step aerobics (after taking a 2-week hiatus because of the nice weather more given to running), running outside, elliptical intervals, and 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels (a killer workout if I do say so myself!)

My eating has been pretty good. I do really well during the week because I have the structure of work hours and I bring all my food to work so I can’t eat more food by just walking into the kitchen. As such, weekends are a little more sketchy. I tend to overeat carbs when I’m tired and lazy, which frequently happens on the weekends (cereal being the most frequent victim).

This past weekend, Valentine’s Day and then our V-Day dinner last night (which was delicious and wonderful, BTW!) should have made out for a huge calorie blowout but I actually planned out my meals, controlled my hunger and kept active. So it was a lot better than it could have been.

Though I have still been counting calories every day in preparation for Mexico, I really want to go back to Intuitive Eating after the vacation. I’m sick of worrying about the calories in every single bit of food and staying under a certain limit. But I will say that it has helped me get an understanding of how much food I need each day, what portion sizes look like, and how much easier it is to eat 500 calories than it is to burn it off through exercise (or even to just cut it out of your diet!).

As far as our little n0-sweets deal, it has been going surprisingly well. There are those stressful days when we both long for chocolate (me) or a Mountain Dew pick-me-up (Travis). But I’d say we have stuck to the plan about 95%. Travis caved and had a pop a few weeks ago and then had some Girl Scout cookies today. I have had a few caramel lattes and frappucinos from Starbuck’s (though they were all skinny ones with no whip!)

In a way, I actually like having this deal going because then I have an excuse to say no when people offer me cookies and cake and candy at work. It’s a strange phenomenon that ladies on The Nest’s Health and Fitness board have observed: eating is a social thing. By turning down someone’s brownies, they somehow feel that you are turning them down as people. Like if you don’t want their chocolatey, gooey goodness, you don’t want to be their friend either.

I noticed this at my last job back in Minnesota. Every Monday, in order to encourage their employees to come to work on time (and let’s face it, come to work period), they would cater in donuts and bagels. Well, donuts pretty much have negative nutritional value and bagels are 300-400 calories of refined carbs that leave you hungry an hour later so needless to say, I always ate my breakfast at home.

Maybe it was their goodwill but I swear, because I was one of very few people who remained at their desk instead of racing to the door the minute the donuts were delivered, people went out of their way to make sure I knew the donuts had been delivered.

“Kathy, there are donuts in the kitchen.”

“Uh huh, thanks!”

“Kathy, did you know that the donuts are here?”

“Yep, thanks! I just don’t want one.”

“Kathy, did you get a donut? There aren’t many left in there!”

“No I didn’t get one but really, I’m O-K.”

Dare 2 Share is not immune to this…but then, I don’t know if any American corporate workplace is.

Anyway, I feel like because I have this deal with Travis, I finally have an acceptable excuse to not indulge every whim that comes along. Because wanting to be healthy and not each tons of extra empty calories is a silly thing for a girl like me to do, right?

Well, this post that was supposed to be short has turned into a post that is accidentally long. So I’m going to go to bed now!

Let’s try this again…

3 Jan

Several months ago, I created a daily plan for the spiritual and physical disciplines. It was great for a little while but ultimately, it fizzled out.

This is one of my biggest personal tug-of-wars: I would love to be disciplined. I envy those who are. I try to be disciplined. I create schedules and plans and task lists. But my personality just isn’t disciplined. I don’t naturally lean toward rules, structure, plans. What usually ends up happening is that my spontaneity and “what I want to do” in that moment trumps whatever I had “planned on doing.”

But doggoneit, I’m going to try it again, as one of my New Year’s Goals is to strengthen my relationship with the Lord. This time around, I’m going to be more realistic than ambitious. I won’t bore you with the minute details but this is the summary of my spiritual plan:

  • Read the Bible and journal my thoughts/observations everyday (I am going to go through all of the epistles, starting with Romans).
  • Pray everyday.
  • Memorize one verse a week (and recite them on Sunday morning).
  • Listen to one sermon a week (not including church on Sunday).

I think that that plan is doable. And let’s be honest, I find plenty of time to watch TV and read magazines…so why can’t I find time to do these things? There is no reason why I can’t.

As for the physical discipline, I am more consistent but I still haven’t really followed a schedule. But here’s my new weekly rundown:

Sunday: REST

Monday: Pilates or Yoga

Tuesday: 30-45 min cardio

Wednesday: aerobics class (at 5:30 AM!)

Thursday: 30-45 min cardio or REST

Friday: aerobics class (at 5:30 AM)

Saturday: Pilates or Yoga

This schedule may change if/when I decide to start training for a race (once it starts getting nice again outside…which should be happening in about February 🙂 ).

Of course, this exercise schedule is a complement to eating healthy. I’m shooting for 50% carbs, 25% fat, 25% protein. I’ve been tracking my food for about a month and I’m surprisingly close to that everyday. I’m hoping that soon, I can stop tracking…it’s kind of a nuisance. I keep telling myself that it’s about being healthy and treating my body with respect because it is a temple of the Holy Spirit–that means not feeding it high-cal, high-fat foods or feeding it too much/too little food. If I fuel my body correctly, it will run correctly and I will live a long, happy life (God willing).

So this is my attempt at being disciplined. Maybe I should set up a reward system…like a bulletin board that I get to put stars on for every week that I achieve my goals 🙂

That was actually supposed to be a joke, but now I’m seriously thinking about it. That could be a good motivator… 

Just want to wish everyone good luck with any New Year’s Resolutions Goals that they’re making! I’ll continue to update with my victories and losses–let me know yours too!

Happy New Year!

1 Jan

Since it is January 1st, I thought it would be fitting to write a post reflecting on 2008 and hoping for 2009. So here goes…

On 2008

What was the best thing that happened?

We bought our first house. I absolutely love having our own place.

What was the worst thing that happened?

Well, in comparision to other people, nothing majorly bad happened. I would say that the hardest part of the year, though, was when Travis and I were going through a rough time during the first few months of the year.

What is one thing you are happy to have done?

I’m glad that I ran a half marathon in May. I’m also glad to have taken 2 week-long vacations back to Minnesota to see friends and family. (Whoops, that’s 2 things…)

What is one thing that you regret doing?

Being mean and disrespectful to my husband (this is an ongoing battle).

What is one thing you wished you would have done but didn’t do?

Travel more, even if would just be in the state of Colorado.

Did you accomplish all of your goals for 2008?

I’m pretty sure I didn’t, even though I didn’t have any specific “New Year’s Resolutions” per se. But I know that I had wanted to be more intentional and thorough with my study of the Bible. Even though I read the whole Bible in a year, I didn’t really study it, if you know what I mean.

If you had to describe 2008 in one word, what would it be?

Bittersweet. Parts of the year were rough but other parts of the year were extremely blessed.

On 2009

What are you most looking forward to about 2009?

I have a lot of things I’m looking forward to: spending another year with my wonderful husband (and celebrating our 2-year anniversary in May), going to Mexico with my family in March, hiking and backpacking in the mountains, going skiing, reading good books, running some more races (a full marathon?), writing my memoir, and spending warm summer nights sitting in our new patio furniture, sipping some alcoholic beverages.

What are your goals for 2009?

In order of significance,

1. Grow my relationship with the Lord through daily Bible study and memorizing one verse a week.

2. Write my memoir and seek out publication avenues.

3. Be consistent in my healthy eating and exercising habits.

4. Become a more respectful wife by building Travis up through my words instead of calling him names and saying nasty things when I’m mad (things that I am not proud of doing!)

5. Learn contentment in my work, regardless of what I’m doing.

6. Go hiking, camping, and/or backpacking at least once a month (weather permitting!)

7. Travel more. Travis and I want to go see the Grand Canyon…possibly for our wedding anniversary.

8. Start and complete these house projects: landscaping in our backyard, installing new windows, and get new front door (one with windows).

This is the first time that I’ve actually ever made goals and written them down…we’ll see in 2010 how it goes I guess! Well, now I’m off to watch the Nebraska v. Clemson game at one of our friends’ house.

Happy New Year!