Showing posts with label SMART goals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SMART goals. Show all posts

Monday, August 29, 2011

One more thing about Vision Boards

My last post on vision boards has been nagging me; I don't feel like I've really explained what to do with your vision board once it's done. So now I'll wrap it up!

The whole purpose of a vision is to clarify your goals and plans, and make them something that you can visualize so distinctly that you can hardly see the line between possible and impossible.  Your vision becomes so absolutely certain that it is ludicrous to imagine it not happening, and your vision board just becomes a tool to use in remembering that vision.

But of course, you need to do more than remember it to make it happen. Visions require action, and vision boards serve as a daily affirmation of where you are focusing your actions.  And that all comes down to the power of positive.

Think about it this way: positive outcomes come from positive energy, right?  Where does positive energy come from? Positive interactions, reflections, and most importantly, expectations. When we surround ourselves with positive people, positive thoughts, and positive expectations, guess what happens?  We have a greater awareness of and appreciation for the positive things going on around us. All of that positive energy leads to....the top of this paragraph. Positive outcomes.

Did I just lose you? :)  Think about it in the sense of the opposite: when you have to spend the whole day with a really grumpy person, do you start finding yourself being grumpy too?  Well, the reverse is true as well.  Surround yourself with positive, and you will find yourself being positive.

Positive community, self-talk, and expectations are three of the best things you can do to bring about positive change in your health, fitness, and wellness. High-powered executives know it, professional athletes know it, and now you know it.

So. I'm not sure if that cleared anything up, but that's the point of it: creating a tool that helps transport you from simple "I wish," thinking to, "I'm on my way," thinking. I hope you're working on your board and that soon, I am part of your positive community. Have fun!

And as always, get out there and get healthy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vision Boards: Get out your glue!

Time to break out the scissors and glue!
Vision: it's what separates the wannabes from the "holy cow, look what I dids" in the world. I like being in the second category so I vision a lot.  I've shared with you the five attributes of a vision, and hope they've gotten you on the way to creating one of your own. Now it's time for a little arts and crafts: making your own vision board.

Don't roll your eyes!  Vision boards are seriously effective! Think about it - from the time we're children until way past when we should have started acting like adults, we doodle on paper about what we would rather be doing.  When I was a kid, I would doodle myself into nirvana,  where I was in total flow and living a life beyond my wildest expectations.  Now that I'm a bona-fide grown-up, that kind of behavior is actually helpful to my life, rather than back then when it mostly just landed me in my teacher's disapproving gaze.  Visioning was not part of the Louisiana public education system in 1986.

I truly 150% believe that we attract everything in our lives to us, either through positive or negative energy. It's true and I will fight you in the parking lot over it. But I'll admit, I was skeptical about how much of a difference going through the actual process of making a vision board would make until I did it and felt the power radiating from it.  Once you experience it, you'll never go back to just thinking about things again.

You can Google "make a vision board," and get all kinds of examples and instructions, and I encourage you to do that. But, making a vision board is really just transporting yourself back to the 5th grade and making a collage. It's really a very simple concept can can be incredibly relaxing, especially since by the end you're so pumped up about your life that you have energy for days.  

Here's what you'll need: a poster board, some glue sticks, scissors, a bunch of magazines, a bottle of water, and some alone time.  The water is just for drinking. Hydration is super important in this heat, yo.

1. First, center your mind, take some deep breaths, and relax.  Then, get to flipping. Depending on where you are with your vision, the process of looking for pictures that inspire you can take a few different paths.  Some people make a list of what they're looking for, and others just browse until something jumps out at them.  I'm a combination. I know what I'm looking for, but I'm not opposed to being surprised by what I'm attracted to.  KInd of like finding a husband.

2. Tear out every picture that you like, and then start organizing and prioritizing. This is crucial - you don't want to cast your net too wide. Remember, this will end up being a tool for focusing you energy later on, so be picky to avoid wasting your energy on something you aren't passionate about. The images, words, and symbols that you end up with should feel robust, but also be as specific as possible. If you have a goal of jumping over a hurdle, as I once did, look for a picture of someone clearing a hurdle that is as close to what your visualized experience will be. Organize however you'd like; this is your vision board, not your mother's. Forget about anyone else's dreams for you and get all self-centered about it!

3. Then, start pasting. This is the anxiety-ridden part for me because I am a perfectionist and don't want to regret where I glued something after it's there. Maybe I need to find a picture of some "get over it" and add that to my board. Anyway, vision boards don't have to be glued on a poster. They can be tacked to bulletin boards, taped to white boards, or stuck on with magnets. But I like the symbolism of glue; it feels more permanent and meaningful.

4. Once you're done, sit back and soak it in.  Let the emotion and magnitude of your vision wash over you. Seriously, I've shed a few tears over my vision board when I was actually able to feel the power of what I was going to set out to do. Place it somewhere prominent, where you will have an opportunity to meditate on it every day. 

The most important thing to remember is that making a vision board is a personal process so don't worry too much about following the rules. Just ensure that it is about you, it's specific to your dreams, and that it represents the vision you created for your life.

Spend some time this weekend flipping through magazines and seeing what attracts your attention. If you need help, let me know; I'm glad to do it! 

Have a wonderful day! Get out there and get healthy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wake Up and Start Dreaming!

Do you consider yourself to be a visionary person?  If you've ever spent time in the carpool pick-up line, daydreaming about a vacation or just time to walk around Target alone for an hour, you've taken the first step!  Dreaming, visualizing, and planning are all parts of reaching a fitness goal, but there are some distinct things you can do to make that daydreaming time count towards your future happiness.

I spend a lot of time visioning. In fact, I spend so much time looking ahead to the future that I often miss what is going on around me in the present. But, goal-setting and achievement is such a rush to me that often it's the chase that is more intriguing than the capture. And, it works for me. I achieve about 90% of what I set out to do, and convince myself that the other 10% wasn't that important after all. :) So, while I've been pregnant and pining for my extreme workouts of yore, I've been visioning: dreaming and scheming for where I want to be five or six months down the road.  Here's how to take those dreams and turn them into your reality.

A vision is more than just a daydream.  To count as a true vision, it needs to have a few important attributes. It needs to be:

1. Grounded - a vision should be built on a foundation of your strengths. Combine realistic expectations with a healthy dose of "hell yeah I can!" and you are on your way to a compelling vision.

2. Bold - a vision should be challening! While the foundation is based on your current strengths, what you build should be an expansion of that. Ask yourself, what else could I do?  How could I leverage this into something more?

3. Desired - let's be honest, when it comes to a lot of our fitness goals, you gotta want it. You have to really want it.  Especially when you're having a face-to-face showdown with a plate of (insert your trigger food here) at the office party. Put on your queen-for-a-day crown and decide what you want, what you really really want.

4. Palpable - the word "palpable" always equates to taste for me. You have to want it so bad, be able to see it happening so richly, and be so engrossed in that moment that you can taste, smell, hear, and feel your vision coming to life. As your wellness coach, btw, I can help you get there.

5. Participatory - community and accountability are huge factors for goal achievement, and involving multiple parties in your goal can make the difference. Tell everyone! Involve support networks!  And most of all, be proud of your vision.  Not everyone has one.

I'm a visual learner; tell me and I will listen, but show me and I will learn and, if so compelled, master. So, I reinforce my vision with a vision board.  Here are the components for creating and using one. I hope you find it is useful and rewarding as I do.

Like I said, not everyone has a truly functional vision for their lives and their health. Sure, we all daydream and think about someday.  But how many of us actually take the time to create a true vision? A truly life-changing vision?  If you'd like help creating yours, let me know. I am allll over it.

And in the meantime, I'll be acting on part of my personal wellness vision: getting out there and getting healthy!

Till next time....stay dreamy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sustainability and Fitness? Why not?

Yesterday I talked at you about doing a gut-check on whether my fitness goals are achieved through sustainable activities that are developed based on my own personal success and failure lessons.  Today, I want to talk at you again about how we can make sure they are!

"Sustainability" is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days, usually by a soft and gentle but kinda condescending voice telling us what new wonderful thing a big evil corporation is doing to be more energy efficient and convince us that they've cared about natural resources for years and years.  And that's cool.  But it can also be applied to our own lives and goals. 

For me, having sustainable fitness goals just means two things: being able to keep doing them without injury and learning from my successes and failures.  Ultimately, only my own actions are going to get me to my goal, right?  So I try to consult what I know about my typical actions before making any goals just so we're on the same page. 

Goals are temporary, but the things we do to reach them can be based in behaviors that are permanent.  So first off, I want my goal to be sustainable by making sure that I am doing things I can do forever: exercising on a regular basis, eating clean, and getting enough recovery time.  The mode of exercise may change, but the habit of getting regular exercise should not. What I eat will change, but the quality of my nutrition should not. The sleep thing is pretty non-negotiable. I need more.

Second, I want my goals to be sustainable by accepting my personal truths, which is a fancy way of what's gonna happen and what's not.  Taking an honest assessment of what's worked and what hasn't in the past helps me tweak my expectations and goals for greater success the next time around.  Call me superstitious, but if I've done something the same way three times to rave reviews, you can bet I'll do it again. The reverse is harder to accept but also true: if it hasn't worked at least twice, chuck it.  It doesn't matter if so-and-so loves it or your best friend swears by it. If it hasn't worked for you, it's out. 

For example, if you haven't successfully gotten to a morning exercise class in two months, register for one that you will realistically get to, even if all of your friends go to a different one. If you loathe running, don't sign up for a race, even if so-and-so keeps telling you how running is the best exercise to do.  This isn't about negative thinking about what you can't or won't do, it's about being realistic about what will work for YOU and what you will do!

In my world, its time to make some spring goals.  Join me in applying these ideas to your goals, too!  I hope you find them helpful and that your fitness goals are not only achieveable, but achieved.

Good day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hard Work = Success? Mostly!

Do you ever find yourself wondering why you're working so dang hard and not getting anywhere?  I do. Here's why: hard work doesn't translate to success. 

Nope, sorry!  Being a hard worker is admirable, but unless you're busting your butt on a good plan, it's just nice to know.  I get that reminder at least every few months when I ask myself why I'm so tuckered out but have only inched toward my health goals.  It's not that I'm not working hard enough, it's that what I am working so hard on isn't a good plan to begin with.

I'm notorious for maxing out on my energy every single day. I'm a real martyr that way, I love ending the day feeling like I sucked out every bit of life it had to offer.  What I'm not good at is recovering from all of that work.  So I end the day exhausted, then I wake up uber early to get a strong start on doing it all again, then I end the next day exhausted, and the cycle continues until I hit the wall, crash and burn, and wake up to my husband telling me he told me so.  That is not a good plan.

I'm also really good at forgetting that what works for one person isn't necessarily going to work for me.  Namely, splurge food moderation. Eating decadent food in moderation is a very sound way for 99.99999% of people to get well-balanced nutrition and have satisfaction in their diet. But I'm not that kinda girl. I try to give in and indulge in rich foods from time to time, but I suck at it every single time. It's not a good plan.

I'm also impatient.  When I set a goal and begin working on it, I want to see results immediately. Who doesn't?  But that makes it easy to fall into the trap of a get-slim-quick plan like fasting, crash dieting, or excessive cardio.  I do not do this, just so you know, and want you and everyone you know to stay far, far away from anything that sounds too good to be true.  Not a good plan.

So what is a good plan, then?  It's different for everyone. But when I feel like I'm spinning my wheels, I stop in my tracks and ask myself these questions:

1. Is what I am doing healthy in the long run? Translation: can it be sustained? Can I still be doing this in six months without turning into an angry and manic she-devil?

2. Am I staying true to my personal truths? Translation: am I expecting someone else's tried-and-true to work for me? Or am I applying my own experiential knowledge and learning from my own mistakes and successes?

More often than not, if I'm worn out but not getting anywhere, I've violated one or both of those rules. When I re-center myself on sustainable activities that are developed based on my own personal success and failure lessons, things get better right away.

Which is awsome, cause I like things to happen right away.

Some things never change. :)

Good day!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Injury Prevention: Not just for muscles anymore

I've got a half marathon coming up on Sunday, and I've got a sore achilles tendon. So I've been resting a lot this week, which has made me feel kind of ornery and blobby. I don't like resting.

I also have a wonderful friend who sent me this helpful article on preventing common running injuries. It has some good examples of exercises you can do every day to strengthen the muscles that usually get hurt while running to prevent getting sidelined. I've already started doing some of them and I hope they work!

And thinking about muscle injury prevention made me start thinking about goal injury prevention, and the things I can do every day to protect my goals just like I should protect my muscles.  The same things that happen to our muscles - strain, overuse, or just bad form - can jeopardize our goals, so I came up with these strategies to keep myself in check:

1. Stretch, don't strain! Stretch goals motivate me because I like to challenge myself to do more. But creating too many unrealistic goals is just a good way to make sure you get a lot of things done just half-way and don't ever really achieve anything great for yourself. I have a tendency to make unrealistic goals in the hopes that they will motivate me to be more amazing, but really they just make me mediocre. I say go for a stretch goal! A stretch goal. Singular.

2. Don't overtrain!  Just like muscles, goals need a rest sometimes.  It can be liberating to go for a period of time without a goal, even. I usually last about five minutes in that environment, but I think it is important to give your brain and your body a rest. Once you've achieved a goal, just live in that success for a while before jumping right back into something new. A friend of mine once called it, "goal fatigue." Give your goals some more time in the spotlight before replacing them with something bigger and better!

3. Use good form! As you'll remember, effective goals are SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-bound. Apply these criteria to any goals you make and it is really hard to go wrong.  This also applies to the environment you create for your goals to live in. Are you creating environments where you can thrive, or expecting your goal to rise above unrealistic circumstances? Are you going into each situation with a clear head and focused on a successful outcome or just hoping for the best?  

2011 is a year of excellence, I can feel it. My goals are coming true and yours can too! Just make sure to protect them, strengthen them, and keep them safe from injury.

Your brain is a pretty powerful muscle, too. Use it!

Good day

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year Resolution Guide: Plan to be successful

One of my 2011 goals (a resolution if you will) is to get faster as a runner. I am doing a half marathon in February and want to do it in 2:10, faster than my 2:18 time from last October. That means I need to run an average of a 10-minute mile. Should be pretty easy, right? I average about 10:15 minutes per mile so I just need to pick it up a bit.

Then I want to get comfortably into a 9:30 mile. And finally I want to complete a half marathon in less than two hours. When I can do that, I'll consider training for a full distance marathon.

That's my SMART goal for running this year: consistently run a 9:30 mile by training for distance events and steadily increasing my speed at each event until I complete a half marathon in less than 2 hours.

Okay, so....I need a plan. "Pick it up a bit," as a training tool only works for about two blocks.  Luckily, my husband got me a Garmin for Christmas so when I've been running, I strap that puppy on and monitor my speed as I run. I learned Sunday that when I start daydreaming, I slow down to about 10:45.  When I snap out of it, 9:45 is easy. And when I'm at 9:26 I feel amazing. But I can't maintain it - that's where the conditioning part comes in. It should be an interesting process.

Here's your New Year's Resolution homework for today - make a plan. Set a goal, make a plan. Dissect your goal into the action steps you need to take - or get other people to take - to see it come to life. Write benchmarks on a calendar so you can visualize when things need to happen. Spend some time visualizing what obstacles may crop up and how you'll deal with them. Write it down, make a plan, and do at least one action from that plan right away.

2011 is going to be a great year!  You can plan on it. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who needs reality? How goals go from crazy to SMART.

Today's blog brought to
you by the letter R!
One more lesson in goal achievement!  Today we're going to hunker down and focus on the R in SMART goals.  As you know already, SMART goals are those that are Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-bound.  The R gets me every eyes tend to be a little bigger than my stomach when I set goals, so I have a hard time accepting the reality of what my goals should be.

You see, when I sit down to make goals, I almost immediately jump to the physical manifestation of what I want my goals to provide: a totally excellent bod. 

And by totally excellent bod, I mean this:

Yes. I want to look like a comic book character. I'd be willing to bet that most people do on some level, eh?  I realized it a few years ago when actually reading a comic and finding myself strategizing ways to force my body into emulating what I saw drawn on the page: a petite, teeny-tiny waisted, lean and muscular nymph of a girl who balanced the forces of evil and swooning boys all in a day's work. It was a total fantasy, and once I snapped out of it and realized that I was, in fact, not a nymph but actually a 34-year old mom who needed to unload the dishwasher and make lunches for the next day, well I'll be honest I felt a little defeated.

But anyway, back to the goal setting part.  When I started realizing that I was spending a lot of time trying to make my body become something that defies the laws of physics, I started dissecting my goals to make them more realistic without sacrificing what I really knew I wanted. In other words, I refused to take no for an answer but was willing to negotiate. :)  No, I wasn't going to travel back in time and freeze my growth (and metabolism) at age 18, but I could develop some of the attributes of those comics girls that I admired, like strength, agility, and a bad-ass attitude.  I've succeeded!  I may not have illustration-worthy proportions but I do sometimes feel like I can lift a small building or out-run a freight train. 

The point is that while SMART goals are realistic goals, any goal worth pursuing has some basis in fantasy. We're surrounded by inspiration at every turn: media outlets constantly project unrealistic ideals that trigger the creation of unrealistic goals every day.  I suggest that rather than reject that, we build on it.  Swoon over your goals, fantasize about them, and even draw them out on paper if you want to.  Embrace what you really want.  Then, dissect.  Get down to the meat of what that visual goal represents to you. For me, it was strength, speed, and a functional (and kick-ass) body. That's where we get real.  That's where we get realistic goals.

You don't have to abandon your goals just because they're unrealistic. That's where incredible goals start!  Think up something crazy today, and turn it into a SMART goal.

Two of my good friends write the brilliantly inspired blog, Girls Gone Geek, which supplies plenty of inspiration for someone in the market for super powers.  Check it out.

I could use a sidekick.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Goals: Making, achieving, celebrating!

Let's take a break from the holidays, shall we? Just for a minute, I promise we'll get back to the fun soon.  I want to talk to you a little bit about goals for next year.

I love making goals.  My imagination knows no bounds when it comes to thinking up all kinds of nutso scenarios in which I defy the laws of physics and become some kind of uber-ripped, totally lean, muscle-popping, super-fit machine.  And because I honestly believe that I really can do just about anything I want to, well, I make it a goal!  And I make a plan!

And I execute that plan!

But the plan doesn't work because it was completely ridiculous.

I make the kinds of plans that go something like this: "I'm going to exercise every single day and eat really really healthy and by virtue of my hard work, I will be rewarded with a totally excellent bod that supports everything I want to do every day all day no matter what!" *beam*

Goals are great, ya know?  They're even better when they're based in reality.  You know, goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-bound.  That R gets me every time.

You can read more about SMART goals here, but the basics are pretty profound: the chance that your goal will be achieved increases exponentially when it is:

Specific: more than "lose weight." Try "lose x% body fat."  Or "reduce cholesterol below 200."
Measureable: you can manage what you can measure...on a scale, through assessments, etc.
Action-based: specifically what will you do to get there?  Put some numbers to it!
Realistic: okay, what specifically what will you ACTUALLY REALLY DO to get there?
Time-bound: give yourself a deadline - a realistic one.

Do you have any goals for next year you can apply this to?  Give it some thought!  It's worth the time it takes to figure this out, trust me!

Okay, we're done.  Back to the holidays. Tomorrow we'll tackle that R word...

Good day! :)