Howdy! This’ll be the first of many weekly journal entries where I do a quick analysis of the previous weeks successes and failures, which I’ll share both as public shaming, but more seriously to share the formal process of personal goals.
Last week I started a 39 week goal cycle for weight loss and maintenance, plus two 16 week goals for exercise and wrapping up writing a novel that’s proven a tough nut to crack. I’m using two tools to help this process along, stickk.com and Fitbit. Stickk is a simple goal-setting platform that lets you set a goal, apply financial stakes and include a referee for your goals. There’s two parts to Fitbit I’m putting to use, the first is the tracker to monitor daily activity, the second is the food log on their site where I get to be horrified by the sheer volume of calories I consume when I’m not paying attention.
A quick note, I’m using this journal as a proxy for a referee, if you’re serious about your goals and you can find a person genuinely interested in both the process (the weekly analysis) and your success, there’s no more valuable ally – and they should be treasured. The opposite, someone who agrees to referee without either engaging or being fully present and responsible, is like Kryptonite – avoid like the plague!
Goal 1. Lose Weight
Success: Goal – 1.1 lbs, Actual – 6.8 lbs
Summary: I’ve fallen into some truly horrible habits, consuming between 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day in salty snacks and yummy sugary confections. So the first week of this goal was fairly simple, don’t do that. Additionally, using the Fitbit food tracker (a discipline unto itself) is helping me craft a core daily food regimen I can prepare in advance, keeps me full and seems to provide enough energy. I’m only doing aerobic exercise for the first two week, when I start resistance training next week I may have to adjust (lest I fall prey to impulse eating).
Key Learnings: I’ve done weight loss goals in the past, and been successful, but find myself here again. What have I learned? A couple of things, first off not to get cocky with early success, the way I’m built the first 20 pounds will tend to just jump off my body, then the real challenge begins. Second, in my previous goals I tended toward the weight loss being what I declared victory on. This time it’ll be reaching my goal weight, and making the victory the maintenance of that goal weight. And finally, and most important, I’m focusing on creating a sustainable diet, one where I can truly envision it lasting a lifetime without a sense of loss.
Goal 2. Exercise Regularly
Success: Goal – 5 days, Actual – 7 days
Summary: I got crazy sick with some kind of flu/cold thing a few weeks ago and stopped exercise altogether, and that gave me extra motivation to get back in the game. I want to find the right balance of activities that allow me to exercise daily, enabling recovery from any given exercise, while maintaining a weekly routine. I set this goal at 5 days primarily to set a floor, never know when you have an off day or an emergency pops up, so it’s best to be conservative.
Key Learnings: Of the three goals, this is the least burdensome, I love to exercise but I knew I had to focus on this to hit my weight loss goal. Like my desire to create a sustainable diet, I want to be creative and involve a variety of exercises including yoga, weight training, body weight training and aerobic training to increase muscle mass while gaining flexibility.
Goal 3. Finish “Ghost in the Blood”
Failure: Goal: 2,000 words, Actual – 485 words
Summary: I got arrogant, falling behind and thinking I could catch up. This novel has become something of a mind-game with me, it’s very close to being completed and it’s like I started walking when the finish line came in view. Also, I’ve changed my sleep pattern (my plan is to write before I workout then go to work) and that’s going slower than I anticipated. I’ve successfully used this approach in the past, so I have proof that it’s doable, but I need to bring more of myself to the table to make it work.
Key Learnings: I need to write a good chunk on Sundays (say, 500 words-ish) to set up the week, it takes pressure of each individual morning, and allows it to be a bit more fun. Writing is an odd passion, it’s both fun and hard, and unlike more practical things like exercise and weight loss, the eventual goal of getting published and giving these characters the fans they deserve can feel very ambiguous. So, it’s on me to build that passion back up, it’s vital to the process for me.
Okay y’all, that’s it for this week, let me know if you have any questions, or if there’s a goal you’re interested in that you’d like to explore – I LOVE this stuff, and am always happy to help anyone who’s truly willing to do what it takes to make the positive change they want in life. Be kind, be excellent!