Monday, September 05, 2011

handcrafted life plan, the 3rd installment

Ahhh, the Las Vegas trip was just what I needed. Sun (ok, maybe too much of that). Adult beverages.  Fancy food and In N Out burger.  Relaxed vacation time with TJ. No worries about scheduling activities before naptime or bedtime. Gambling (yay!). Winning (more yay!).

BabyT had a GREAT time with my parents and remembered we were "on pacation" and seemed to be cool with that. We were really happy and energized to see her after several days.  Win-win.

Goal Setting
Photo by angietorres on Flickr

In my Inbox today was a newsletter from the I Will Teach You to be Rich blog. In my binge consumption of personal productivity blogs, I started reading this one again and subscribed to his newsletter.  It's mostly about personal finance and increasing your wealth but has some good content on the psychology of why it's so hard to "just do it", whatever that right thing is, be it saving money, losing weight, or figuring out how to quit your day job and follow your passion.

Well, today's newsletter was about some short exercises you could do to focus on a goal for the next 12 months.  How freakin' timely! 

I decided to tackle the weight loss thing first because of all the brain space I've been using for it, when I could be using that space and computing power for something much more interesting.

I've already gotten started by following the "new" Atkins eating plan for the past 2 months, drastically reducing my carb intake (with some slip ups, but not nearly as many as I expected).  That's a post topic on its own so I won't go into details now.

The goal setting exercise, originally written by Susan Su, had a series of questions designed to be answered as specifically as possible about the vision you have for your life after achieving your goal.   Of course this visualization technique isn't new, but I liked the short question format, and the fact that the exercise was designed to last about 20 minutes so I couldn't get caught up in writing up the document perfectly or formatting, or stupid stuff like that.  Using those answers, I boiled down my goal into a concise statement that I'm supposed to post in places where I'll see it often.

So here it is.  My goal by Labor Day 2012 is this:
  • Body weight of 128-136 lbs via
  • Atkins/low-carb eating plan and
  • At least 15 min of exercise daily
I realize I could have just stopped with the weight goal, but I've got health concerns that will be alleviated by a low-carb diet long term (huge family history of diabetes, to name one).  And I know that just 15 min of exercise will dramatically improve my energy levels and my mood so I'd like to keep that as well.  Not to mention I fail to see how I could maintain my weight without it. 

If you're interested in setting your own weight loss 12 month goal, here are the questions I used, which I revised from Susan & IWT's financially-worded ones.

In a year:
  • What will I weigh?  (you could also use a different metric here, like BMI or body fat %)
  • What will I look like and what will I wear?  (this is a HUGE motivator for me.  I love clothes.  be specific about sizes, styles, stores, etc.)
  • How much exercise will I be doing?
  • What will I be eating?
  • How will I feel?
  • What will my health be like?  (name specific health measurements or conditions here)
  • What will my family and friends think?
  • What does my Tuesday look like?  (pick a working day for this)
  • What does my Saturday look like?  (pick a weekend/non-working day)
I'd love to hear about the questions that you'd add to this list.  From this exercise, you're supposed to develop a roadmap on how to get to that goal. 

My plan, a la ZenHabits, is to pick one habit to alter each month. I haven't mapped out the 12 months yet, but the first month was an easy choice for me - track my carb intake and weight each day.

I HATE tracking stuff, and this is where I go off the rails, but I've found that when I don't track, I don't pay attention.  Or I guesstimate... poorly.   The online tracker I use is pretty simple and doesn't have that much overhead.  So I've got to figure out how to remember to do this.   If I actually track as per Atkins plan requirements, I can figure out how many carbs I can eat and still lose weight.  And I'm a girl who loves those carbs, so really, it's in my best interest to keep track.

So there it is.  One easy-to-define, but hard-to-execute goal for the next year.  Wish me luck.


  1. I'd love to see that list of Personal help blogs you read.

  2. Good luck! I just started running and biking and while I usually *hate* running (until afterwards, when the runners' high hits), biking to the grocery store instead of driving and then biking back is the most fun I have all week.

  3. That's a great goal and very well described - simple and tough! A few months ago, David and I started weightlifting. It's a simple program with a few compound moves - we do only three lifts each time (three sets of 5 each, plus warmup and rest in between, and chatting - it does take some time!). We're doing squats, bench press, dead lift, overhead press, and rows, all with free-weights. I highly recommend free-weight strength training as part of your program. You've probably heard that after age 30 we start losing muscle at a rate of something like 5-6 pounds every 10 years - that's good metabolic tissue that burns calories!

    Also, I have been simply amazed at how much I notice the increased strength in every-day life. The biggest thing is that the squats have successfully rehabed my back from a 4 year old injury (I can sleep in any position and when I wake up, it doesn't hurt!). It's easier to stand up off the floor. If I hadn't just started lifting when I noticed, I would have said my balance improved, but I know it's strength. It's easier to pick Luke up and put him in the (tall!) cart at Costco (he's 45 pounds). It's easier to throw Henry around for fun (25 pounds). Strength is good.

  4. @Jen - my absolute fave is, plus the I will Teach You to be Rich. For the rest, I just do random Google searches on the topics I'm interested in, like "goal setting", etc.

    @ssm - In all the time I ran, I swear I never got a runners high. Sad. But yay for you. And cool that you like biking - Seattle is such a great place for it, when it's not craptastic weather.

    @Stephanie - do you have a link to this workout? We have a ton of free weights at home and I could definitely squeeze in a short workout. I used to LOVE lifting weights, but quit when I got pregnant :(

  5. David put it together from Starting Strength. It's a really good book - the guy talks about proper squat form for like 65 pages (I haven't read them all). I'll ask David if he has website suggestions.

  6. David likes this site: LOTS of info, and I'm sure you'll be able to put a plan together. :)

  7. Thanks for linking back to my Flickr account! I'm honoured to be on your blog. Good luck with your exercise/weight loss objectives!!!


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