Category Archives: 2012 Goals Project

Final Analysis - 2012 Goals Project

Can you believe it has been a year since the Goals Project started?  WOW.  To say that time flies is kind of corny, but it does.
I am calling the initial run of the Goals Project a success.  We had a few folks disappear on us, and a few who joined us well into 2012, and I am quite pleased with everyone’s accomplishments.  I hope they are as well!
A hearty CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who set out to do something and accomplished it.  A hearty CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who set out to do something and made progress too.  It’s not about perfection.  It’s about moving every closer to the person you want to be.
Let’s go!
Kelly F.
Well, it was an up and down year for me.  I was thrown a curve-ball when I suffered a significant back injury and my fitness goals were a bit derailed.  However, for the most part, it was a great year and I did manage to hit on 3 out 4 of my goals for the year.

  • Complete a 30-day Paleo Challenge. – I actually completed 2 challenges successfully and now trying to incorporate this into my life as more than just a challenge but as a real lifestyle.
  • Do a CrossFit WOD Rx’d. – Luckily I did accomplish this prior to my injury but hoping to keep working my way back to be able to Rx more WODs.
  • Un-banded pull-ups.  Unfortunately came up short here.  It really bugs me and I WILL accomplish this someday!!!
  • Buy dream car. – Purchased December 27, 2012!!

Shannon H.
Here is my yearly report from Dailymile. This includes all forms of miles, including biking, spinning, running, walking, elliptical, etc.  I am happy to say that even though I did not make my goal of running 1300 miles, I sure kept pretty active! I ended the year with 1216 miles of running – averaging 100 miles a month is pretty solid! I am looking to make up my goal of 1300 and then some for 2013.
Another fun fact about 2012 – I have visited the gym or a yoga studio (sometimes both) at least once every single week of the year. My streak is up to 54 weeks and I plan to keep it going as long as I can!
So to summarize 2012:

  • Goal #1 – Run my first marathon – Killed it. I ran 2!
  • Goal #2 – 1300 mi for the year -Close but no cigar. Had a couple injury issues that kept me from getting all the miles in but I will make it up this year!

Ann M.
All things considered, I think 2012 was a success both personally and professionally. On the professional level, I graduated from nursing school with honors and started my dream job. Personally, I moved back to the city I love, I’m surrounded by my closest friends and family, and I found out that I love running, CrossFit, and cooking. While I slacked off with cooking and working out during the last half of the year, I’m totally motivated to get going again in 2013! This year I want to run a 10k or a half marathon! Bring it on 2013!!
Matt C.
Even if I didn’t reach my overall goal of looking much better in my referee uniform (I fill it out a little more than last year, but not what I had hoped for), a great byproduct of going to these exercise classes has been that I’m much, much more confident in myself. I can go to the beach or the pool and not feel embarrassed about taking my shirt off. I have also met so many great people at the YMCA we go to. They have all become good friends. Those things are more important than how I look at a basketball game! The season itself is underway and I’m hopefully on the path to the finals! Stay tuned to 2013 updates to see how far I make it!!!
Brian R.
Looking back over my experience with the goals project in 2012 I believe I’ve learned an important lesson. I set the goals below for myself with the notion that I could spend the entire year building towards success.  What I see now is that these may have been valuable goals in January, but they didn’t last through the year.  To change this for 2013 I think I have two choices: create bigger goals or think more in terms of short term goals.  That second approach is the one I’m going to take, and the way I plan to do is to have a broad goal (such as ‘get stronger’) that I can work towards all year, but each month I can focus in on one aspect of it (like ‘bench press 150.’)
I found myself getting very discouraged with myself, and this discouragement led me to feel bad about myself, avoid talking about my goals, and even stop reading this blog (talk about blaming the wrong source for my own shortcomings!)  Rather than giving up on either setting goals or talking about them, however, I think I just need to make setting goals something that works for me in my own way.
My summary of how I did in 2012 is as follows:

  • Run the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon – Done!
  • Reach a CrossFit Total of 800 (Translation right here) – Didn’t make it, but I did improve my numbers.  This will be something I hope to achieve in 2012, but now I have a better idea of what needs to change in order to get there.
  • Pack lunch for work everyday – There were some months where I really did well, and I know what it will take to keep it up.  Now I just have to motivate myself to be consistent.  In terms of success, I’d say I managed 20% of my goal here.
  • Write 45,000 words – I gave up on thinking of this in monolithic terms, but having this on my goals list each month gave me a chance to think about what I mean by progress in this category.  I think it’s fair to say I produced about 40,000 words between three book projects and about eight short stories.  The tough part for me now is to push myself to actually finish something.

Jill C. (that’s me, you know!)
Well, I am giving myself a “B” for the year.  I would like to list the same things I listed in January of 2012 and have an “Accomplished!” next to each one, but I can’t.  I know now that I set too many lofty goals a year ago and didn’t have a real plan of how I would do many of them.  Lesson learned.
I am so very proud of finishing the half marathon, and I can very safely say that by year’s end I was a more confident runner than I was at the beginning.  That is not to say that I am quite confident yet.  This is definitely something to revisit in 2013.
I slacked off with yoga, new meal making, and learning to take better photos.  All of these will appear in my 2013 list, but in different forms.  I’m optimistic.
I want to publicly thank all of the participants past, present, and future for making this past year a great one.  I am very much looking forward to all that we will accomplish in the coming months!  Let’s do this!
As always, I am looking for participants.  Do you have something that you want to accomplish in 2013?  Don’t fall into the resolution quagmire and let your goals fall by the wayside by mid-January!  Join us and stay on track all year long.  Send me an email with the thing(s) you’d like to tackle in 2013.  Check out this post for more details.  That’s all it takes.
Bring it on 2013!

2012 Goals Project - October Review

Things have been a bit crazy here around the First Comes Health household.  I’m very sorry I have been MIA.  I have been hard at work on the book and I even managed to squeeze in a little trip to Canada.  But I’m back now, and things are cranking right along.  Expect to see me around here and Facebook again regularly.
Of course, no matter how busy we get, life continues to go on.  October came and went, and nobody forgot to keep working on their 2012 goals!  The year is winding down but the efforts haven’t waned at all.  Let’s check in with everyone:
Kelly F.
Non banded pullups:  sorry to say but no real progress.  :/
30-day Paleo Challenge: Accomplished. I am now working on losing 20lbs by the end of this project and am on Day 15 of my second Paleo Challenge.  I feel great about this second challenge and am excited about the progress I have made so far.  I am hoping to take a sizable chunk out of my 20lb goal.
RXd Crossfit workout: Accomplished. However since my first Rx’d WOD, I have had to come to grips with the fact that for the foreseeable future I will have to work around issues with my back and that is ok.
Shannon H.
On October 21, I ran my 2nd marathon, the Columbus Marathon. It was an incredible experience. The weather was perfect (30s to start, 50s at finish) and the course was relatively flat (especially compared to Pittsburgh.) I managed to shave nearly 24 min off of my Pittsburgh marathon time, coming in with a new PR of 4:49:48. I am absolutely thrilled! 

The plan for the rest of the fall and winter besides a few short races is to enjoy not training and run whatever distances I want whenever I want (and hopefully work on speed.) Training begins again in March for the Pittsburgh half marathon. I am not planning another full marathon until next fall.
I am at 1085 miles for the year, 215 mi to go!
Ann M.
October has been a much more successful month than my last few! Finally! Even though I haven’t been running as much as I’d like (North Carolina weather allowed for more running time, that’s for sure!), I joined my local CrossFit gym! I’m now attending WOD’s twice a week and getting serious about my fitness again. I miss running like I did when I was living in the South, though. So I may be focusing some efforts on finding a running group or at least buying some warm and cozy running clothes.
Is it too early to set a 2013 goal? I really want to run a race! A 5k or 10k may be in my future..
Now that I’m settled in my new place, eating well has been a lot easier. I’m still taking the easy way out (i.e. work cafeteria…) more often than I’d like, so I’m focusing November on NO cafeteria food!
Diane D.
Jill’s note: Sad to report that Diane has suffered another injury which is holding her back from finishing out the year.  This is also her very busy time of year, professionally speaking, so she is going to take November and December to recuperate and be back in 2013 ready to go!
Bill R.
It has been a tough month, but I am continuing to try to maintain the commitments I set up for myself.  My weight is up slightly, but I am trying to fight the urge to finish off the Halloween candy!!  The Couch-to-5K program has proved a bit tougher than I anticipated — so I am repeating each week’s program for two weeks instead of trying to move ahead and get discouraged.  My 62 year old joints are definitely fighting back, but I am committed to maintaining the activity that the program has brought back to my life. It hurts so good when I am done!!
Got a tip from my brother that I am incorporating into my routine — wall pushups!  This should help my goal of toning my upper body.  Will update you on this one next time!!
Still flossing!  And, with the my daughter’s wedding approaching, I have lots more incentive to stop the nail biting, although football season makes this one a bit harder!!  Old habits are tough!!
Matt C.
This has been an especially crazy month. I’ve managed to continue my exercise classes, but not as much as I’ve wanted to.
I’ve been able to go to my BodyPump class at least twice a week (sometimes three times a week), but I’m sad to say I haven’t been able to get to as many other classes as I planned on doing. I’ve had a bit of a hamstring problem that is being treated twice a week and then our local YMCA branches have been without power for the past week after Hurricane Sandy rolled through. I did make it to a BodyFlow (yoga) class during the month and enjoyed it very much.
I’m determined to get back on track with my other classes and mix in some cardio during November as basketball season approaches in December!
Jill C. (that’s me!)
I have BIG BIG news to share this month!  I am sooooo proud to report that I am now doing un-banded pull-ups!  Yippee!  This was a big one for me.  After I hurt my ankle and wasn’t able to do much working out, I recommitted myself to this.  However, once I was back on my feet, it kind of fell by the wayside.  I was so thrilled to be running and CrossFitting again that a pull-up was out of my thoughts.  Last week, however, I finally did it.  With some kipping help from my CrossFit coach, I managed to do about 20 un-banded pull-ups and even to string two together!  WOOT!
Running continues to improve, and I am definitely gaining confidence.
Yoga – I’m returning next week!  I don’t know why this fell off my radar.  I love it so.
And there was October.  Who is thinking ahead to next year?  I’d love to have you join the group.  Fresh faces, fresh goals, fresh year.  Let’s do it together.

If you are interested in joining us now, it is never too late to set a goal and work towards it! Send me an email with the thing(s) you’d like to tackle in what’s left of 2012 and you’ll join the ranks of these fine folks.  That’s all it takes.  It doesn’t matter WHEN you start pursuing your goals, it just matters that you DO start.

2012 Goals Project - Focus On Diane

It’s no secret that I love Diane from LadyFingers Private Chef and Catering.  I mean, how many times have I gone on about how fun it is to hang out with her and her cute husband Jim?  How many times have I gone on about how much she’s taught me about cooking and organization?  Probably a million.  Simply put, she’s a great lady and I’m happy and proud to have her as my partner in cooking.  Moreover, she’s DRIVEN and I find that inspiring.  This is not a woman who lets things stand in her way.  I was so happy she joined the Goals Project.
What made you choose the goals you chose?
For me, life means being happy, healthy and productive. Since I am fortunate enough to have happiness, I decided to focus on the healthy and productive parts!  Consequently, I chose three business-related goals (gaining preferred caterer status, obtaining new customers and improving online status) and eight health and fitness-related goals (CrossFit, diet and sun exposure).  I also tried to design my goals so that they would be measurable.

What keeps you motivated?
In broad terms, I tend to be a very determined person so once my goals were set, moving forward was natural.  I enjoy my work and enjoy fitness, so accomplishing my goals was fun and satisfying.  And because my goals were shared with our group and progress was updated monthly, I felt accountable and motivated to succeed.  On a specific level, I was motivated to accomplish my business goals because my catering business is incredibly important to me and in order for my business to grow and prosper, achieving my goals was critical.  And, because I’m in my mid-fifties, my health and fitness becomes more important every day.

What do you find difficult about your goals?  When faced with difficulty or a set back, how do you overcome?
Most of my goals have been accomplished and now it seems hard to remember what was difficult (over-fifty memory loss?!?).  Seriously, I suppose the most difficult thing was a series of physical limitations that inhibited my CrossFit progress throughout the year.  In many ways though, my physical set-backs gave me an opportunity to consider what was really important in my life.  Some of my set-backs actually gave me perspective on the big picture!  So while I might have wrung my hands and shed a few tears, I also looked toward the future.  Fortunately, the future I see is bright!

2012 Goals Project - September Review

It’s October!  Here in the northeast USA it’s starting to get kind of chilly outside, the leaves are changing color.  Although I consider myself a hot weather person, I admit to loving autumn.
October also means that the 2012 Goals Project is winding down!  There will only be three more reviews like this and that’s all!  I can hardly believe it. It’s time to start looking forward to 2013 already!  With each review I invite anyone who would like to join this round of the Goals Project to hop aboard, but if you haven’t and want to give this a shot in the new year, now is the time to start thinking about that.  What would you like to see yourself accomplish in 2013?  Where do you see yourself a year from now?  No goal is too big or too small.
So, let’s see how the 2012 folks are hanging in there.  I am so proud and happy that they’ve stuck with me this long and I know they’ll strongly finish the year.  No doubt in my mind.
Kelly F.
Non banded pull-ups:  hmm….still not much to report here.  We have been doing a specific warmup in our CrossFit Classes so I don’t always have the option to work on these at the box.  (warm-up was the time I used to practice my pull-ups).  I am going to have to find some time to get back at this.
30-day Paleo Challenge: Accomplished.   I am now working on losing 20lbs by the end of this project.  I am chipping away at those pounds.
Rx’d Crossfit workout: Accomplished.  I am still rehabbing my back but it is feeling much better so I am back to Crossfit and working towards regaining my strength and hoping to once again be able to do some WODs Rx’d.
Shannon H.
Even though my hip is still bugging me a little, the pain is diminishing week by week and is now only slightly annoying, and not noticeable when I run. I finished September with 139 miles, which brings me to…DUH DUH DUH…1000 miles for the year!!! So even with several runs missed due to the hip issue I am perfectly on track for my 1300 mi goal as long as I run 100 mi a month for the rest of the year. This is totally do-able!!
Ann M.
September was a few steps back for me on my 2012 goals! Between adjusting to my new job and jumping between living with a friend part time and my parents part time, I had very little time to myself. Therefore, cooking and working out took a complete backseat. Good news though – October is a new month! I will be moving into my own place and joining my local CrossFit gym. I may have spent the summer veering off course with my goals, but I’m excited to get back into the swing of things.
Diane D.
I’m happy to report that I have recovered from my eye injury!  As a result, my goals will need a slight adjustment, but here is where I stand:
LadyFingers:  Cultivate new client relationships for 2013 and make certain that that all 2012 clients are happy and satisfied
Re-evaluate CrossFit goals to suit physical limitations
Clearly, 2013 will be an entirely new set of goals!
Brian R.
Reach a CrossFit Total of 800 — Another month without any metering of my progress, although I believe I made some gains on performing the back squat.  I’m beginning to wonder if this was a worthwhile goal to pursue if it is now October and I really haven’t made the commitment to seeing this through.
Pack lunch for work everyday — I did pretty well this month, although there have been about 4-5 days where I found myself at work without a lunch.  This was just poor planning on my part, so I need to think back to how I was so successful the month before so I can get back on track.
Write 45,000 words – Things were pretty slow in the writing department this month, although I probably managed a good 2000 words.  Not much for an entire month, but it is still forward progress.
Bill R.

Things are going well with most of my goals.  I am having difficulty with the fingernail issue – I blame it on football season!!
I just finished my first week of the Couch-to-5K program!  It feels great!!  I struggled a bit the first time out, but finished strong this morning and actually ran an extra set at the end.  I am convinced that if I can push myself to keep up with this program, it will totally help me with my other goals!!  Happy Halloween! I will fight my urges to spurge on the mini Snickers!!!
Matt C.
September was a good month.  Igot back on track after a few minor hiccups left me out of my normal routine towards the end of the month. Still feeling good about myself and how I look.
October and November are shaping up to be fun months. The YMCA we go to is running an incentive program. As a way to get people interested in classes that may be out of people’s comfort zones, they are running a contest between now and Thanksgiving to see who can get to at least two sessions of each group exercise class. So in the next few updates, I’ll be excited to report on how I’ve done in classes like step, yoga, spinning and, of course, Zumba (which should be interesting this Thursday night)!!!
Jill C. (that’s me!)
Now that I’m back on track with my ankle (mostly), I feel like I can get back to pursuing my real goals in earnest.  Pull-ups?  I haven’t worked on them in months.  I’m not sure I can accomplish this one by the end of the year, but I’m not giving up on it at all.  If I don’t make it by the end of 2012, it will definitely be on my 2013 list!
Yoga has been absent too and I’m anxious to get back to it.  Hopefully October will have a few yoga classes on my calendar.
Now that I’m back to running I am revisiting my goal to become a more comfortable, confident runner.  I’ve been running three days a week for all of September and have continued into October.  I had some successes with a few confident, although not speedy, 5ks recently and I can definitely feel a change in my attitude.  Plus, I did something positively CRAZY earlier in the week.  I signed up to run the Pittsburgh half marathon again!  YIKES!  This will be a real test of my confidence come May 2013!
I have fallen completely off the wagon with the new-to-me meals.  I hope to get on this more between now and the end of the year.
And that’s September!  I hope all of you are going to consider joining us in the new year.
If you are interested in joining us now, it is never too late to set a goal and work towards it! Send me an email with the thing(s) you’d like to tackle in what’s left of 2012 and you’ll join the ranks of these fine folks.  That’s all it takes.  It doesn’t matter WHEN you start pursuing your goals, it just matters that you DO start.


2012 Goals Project - Focus on Bill

This is quite an exciting post for me to share with you.  Bill’s enthusiasm and energy are downright infectious!  Read all about him and his story below and I know you won’t be able to help but be inspired.

Goals — All my life I have had them.  Many I have never achieved!  But that is the beauty of it.  If we do not have goals, we can never fail, but more importantly, we can never succeed!
When Jill asked me if I would like to participate in the 2012 Goals Program with her, I saw it as a great opportunity to get myself refocused.  Five years ago, I looked at myself in the mirror and really did not like what I saw.  I had always been athletic, keeping myself active through sports and activities.  But somewhere along the way I got lazy.  I ballooned to a record 270 pounds.  I was appalled!  So, I joined Weight Watchers and found a solution for me.  Long story short – I lost 50 pounds and once again felt great about myself.

I maintained fairly well for a few years, but slowly fell into old habits again.  By the end of 2011 I was back up to 247 pounds.  Then I heard about Jill’s Goals program!  Just what I needed.  Only this time, I did not just want to follow a diet – this gave me an opportunity to really think about lifestyle and setting multiple goals that would keep me on the path.  Hence, not just “lose weight”, but MONITOR MY WEIGHT CONSISTENTLY.  And then I thought about what else I could do to complement this goal.  WALK, WALK, WALK.  Obvious!!  TONE THE UPPER BODY.  Heck yes!  FAMILY, FAMILY, FAMILY.  We have a great one, so why not use them as motivation to do the things necessary to give me the best chance of being around with and for them for a long time!!

And then came two more goals that my wonderful wife has been so patiently (most of the time!) trying to instill in me for 38 years.  FLOSS REGULARLY, and STOP NAIL BITING.  I honestly chose those two for her, but knowing full well they are so much more important than most people realize.
So – How’s it going Bill??  We all know how hard it is to stay motivated.  What keeps me going is the fact that I know these are things I must focus on in my life.  Having to report on Jill’s website each month certainly is a motivating factor!  But if I truly did not have the ability to motivate myself from within, I would surely fail.  This does not mean I have been fully successful.  I HATE TO FLOSS!!!  Hurts my fingers!  I LOVE TO OVEREAT!!  Call me a glutton!!  I do love to hike though, so that one has been fairly easy!!  As for the fingernails, probably my hardest one if you can believe it!  But I do have extra motivation for this one – my beautiful daughter is getting married next June 1, and I WILL HAVE GREAT FINGERNAILS FOR THAT OCCASION!!

This program has been a real godsend for me.  When I fall off the wagon regarding any of my goals, I am so much more motivated to get back up, knowing that I have made a commitment publicly, and need to stay focused on reporting my successes AND my failures!!  But more importantly, I know I set these goals for myself for all the right reasons for me and my family!!

Keep it going, Bill!  Best of luck as you pursue your goals throughout the rest of 2012!

2012 Goals Project - August Review

Sorry for the absence there, folks!  Sadly the old blog takes a back seat when all kinds of things are happening in real life.  Good things!
We’re headed into the last quarter of the year and the Goals Project participants are not wavering in their commitment!  Let’s see how August treated everyone….
Kelly F.

  • Non banded pull-ups – Since I took a good month off from Crossfit to rest my back this has probably regressed.  Finally listening to the Doctor and going to PT so hopefully we can get back on track.  There are still a few months left to accomplish this.
  • 30-day Paleo Challenge – Since this has been accomplished have turned my focus to losing 2 dress sizes or 20lbs before the end of the year. I started in earnest two weeks ago and will weigh-in every two weeks.  This has been going slower than I thought but keep pressing on.
  • Rx’d Crossfit workout – Accomplished. Since Crossfit is on hold for a bit I have enrolled in a running 101 class and doing the Couch to 5K program – we are starting week six.

Shannon H.
August was the most difficult month yet. My left hip was sore after my long run (12 mi) on the 4th and I didn’t think anything of it since I always have some soreness after long runs. I should also note that I am pretty bad at making sure I stretch adequately after runs, but I do 2 hours of yoga a week so I figure it evens out 🙂 Anyway over the next couple of days the pain in my hip got progressively worse, especially following runs. I was able to get through it, but by the next Sunday, it hurt even to walk. At that point I was forced to take a few days rest but still tried to get some of my runs in, with significant pain. After that week’s first run on Tuesday, I knew I had to take the rest of the week off. I was still hoping to be able to do my long run but since by Friday it still hurt to walk, I knew I had to skip it. Once the long run was skipped, if I waited until my next scheduled run, that would be 6 full days of not running. The longest I have ever not run (except for the week after the marathon) in over 2 years. I told myself that if it wasn’t better by the next Tuesday, it was time to call the doctor.
Anyway, it was slightly better after the 6 days of rest and ice and Aleve, but my run on Tuesday still hurt and I had to cut it short, so I called UPMC Sports Medicine as soon as they opened that day. I was able to get an appt for that Thurs. Later that afternoon, I remembered that I had heard KT tape could help and Fleet Feet just happened to post something on their Facebook page about it so I went out and picked some up that night. I was willing to try anything at that point! I watched the instructional video and my husband helped me put the tape on my hip and I set my alarm for my run the next morning. It was shockingly great! The tape allowed me to run with very minimal discomfort! Definitely not the pain that I was feeling before. I ran again on Thursday morning before the doctor appt with zero pain.
At the doctor’s office I learned that my problem was an extremely tight IT band in my hip area. He gave me some stretches to do and recommended taking it easy for a little while, plus the ice and foam rolling that I have been doing already. He said I could still run but to cut back the mileage and to stop if it aggravated the IT band too much. Luckily with the tape it doesn’t aggravate it at all. So I have been doing the stretches and taping up my hip for runs and it’s going fine. I can still feel the tightness in my hip but it’s getting better. I think my problem this time around is I have not been cross training as much. Time to go back to the gym! I start back next week. Fingers crossed for a better Sept and cooler weather!
August mileage: 89 miles. Sounds so low compared to what I’m used to! That puts me at 869 mi for the year. 431 to go!
Ann M.

Not unlike the rest of 2012, August has been a crazy, crazy month! I started my new job and I’m jumping between two different houses until I can get my own apartment. Eating well and exercising has taken a backseat to “just survive!” But, I have to say that I don’t think I’m doing a terrible job. When I have the time I’ve been running and I make sure I pack healthy lunches and snacks each day. My situation isn’t optimal at the moment, but I’m making the best of it!
A friend of mine recently told me that I was her “idol” when it came to eating well and exercising, so even though I don’t feel like I’m doing a great job – other people think I am!
I’m still hoping to complete a Whole30 between now and the end of the year. I’m also hoping to take advantage of everything Pittsburgh has to offer – running trials, biking trials, etc. I just need to get used to this whole “real world” “adult” thing first.
Diane D.
Diane suffered an injury to her eye this past month and has been under a doctor’s care.  She told me that she’s set aside all of her goals and replaced them with a new one – don’t go blind!  Hopefully she’ll be back to her regular routine soon.
Brian R.
  • Reach a CrossFit Total of 800  – I’m not aware of my progress this month because I didn’t track anything, but I did some good work on back squats and deadlifts.  I feel good about things, and I’m looking forward to using this goal as a focus for the month of September.
  • Pack lunch for work everyday – Awesome progress this month. As a matter of fact, I’m having a hard time remembering if I failed at all during the month of August.  My wife and I made a big change in the way we do meal planning, and while it did have its challenges it also set me up very nicely to have something planned for lunch every single day.
  • Write 45,000 words – I was feeling pretty stagnant in this area, so sought some inspiration through work and through my wife regarding how to direct my thinking.  As a result I put down a full chapter on a new project and am preparing a query for a publisher.  Things feel great here, and I think the reason is that I’ve set aside some things that were frustrating me and I reduced my attention to a single objective.
Bill R.
Summer has been good to me.  I have been keeping up on all my goals — save one — I gained about 10 pounds from July to early August.  SO — I got serious and started counting my Weight Watcher points again and in 2 weeks, I was able to lose 11 pounds!!  I found myself nervous-eating-binging in June and July.  Lesson learned — stay focused!!  I am going to refocus now and try top lose another 10 by the end of September.
Matt C.
Received good news that was a direct result of my new workout regimen … During a biometric screening at work (done to get a discount on my health insurance), the doc said that my numbers are perfect and I’ve gained eight pounds since the last weigh in!!! Not sure if people can notice it by looking, but it’s nice to hear.
Jill C. (that’s me!)
Like in months past I have put aside all my goals to focus on recovering from my ankle injury, and I’m happy to report that I am seeing slow but steady improvement.  I was allowed to start back to running in August and do so very very slowly, both in speed and in intensity.  My physical therapist, Steve, (who you’ll hear more about next week) has been really great and patient with me.  He seems to understand how important it is to me to get back to my old routine.
I’ve returned to CrossFit and will hopefully restart my efforts to get a pull-up!  Maybe I’ll have something to report in the September review.
A little late, but that’s the August of 2012.  Some stumbles and some setbacks, but some good successes too.
If you are interested in joining us, it is never too late to set a goal and work towards it! Send me an email with the thing(s) you’d like to tackle in 2012 and you’ll join the ranks of these fine folks.  That’s all it takes.  It doesn’t matter WHEN you start pursuing your goals, it just matters that you DO start.


2012 Goals Project - Focus on Matt

Matt is the latest person to join the 2012 Goals Project and I’m so happy to have him participate.  He’s trying to get in shape and build some muscle mass for his own satisfaction, but also because he wants to advance his career as a basketball referee.  He calls his efforts “Filling out the Striped Shirt”.  Read all about his story at the bottom of this post.
So, what keeps Matt going and focused on his goal?  Let’s find out:
What made you choose the goals you chose?
At the end of basketball season, I always do a self assessment of how the season went. Even though it was a very good season for me, I thought that my physique (or lack thereof) may have held me back from getting to my ultimate goal of refereeing the state championship game. Julie, my wife,  had been attending BodyPump classes regularly and recommended the class to me, which is how I chose that particular class.

What keeps you motivated?
The idea that I just might make the state championship game if I had a better on-court presence. I think of the good season I had last year and think of how much better next year could be if I looked the part a little more. There have been times during class that I’ve been struggling, but I think of one of the good games I had last year and say to myself “keep going if you want the better game next year!” I also have the photo of me that was in the newspaper as the background on my phone, so I look at it every day and make sure that it looks different next year.
What do you find difficult about your goals?
Believe it or not, actually going to the class at the gym isn’t a problem. In fact, I even gave going to a 5:45 am class a shot a few weeks ago (we won’t be doing that again anytime soon). My biggest problem is eating right and my calorie and protien intake right after class. I normally go to class three times a week (Monday PM-Wednesday PM-Saturday AM). On Monday and Wednesday, I go right from work, so after class, I’d rather spend time with the kids as opposed to worring about eating.

When faced with difficulty or a set back, how do you overcome?
The biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome has been a few extended absences from class (a week and a half to two weeks). For the first time ever, I feel guilty about not going to the gym, whereas before I would find excuses to not go. Trying to eat properly is the biggest difficulty that I face … and overcoming it is the problem
Keep up the good work, Matt!  Juggling a job, refereeing, and two cute kids can’t be easy. Best wishes for continued success and thanks for participating in the Goals Project!

2012 Goals Project - July Review

I am so thrilled that people are still hanging in there and pursuing their goals for 2012!  Can you believe that it’s August and this group is still working hard on their so-called New Year’s resolutions?  Unheard of.
Let’s get to the progress!
Kelly F.

  • Non-banded pullups –  still working…. 🙁    I am taking a little time off from CrossFit so this may be on hold.
  • Rx’d CrossFit workout –  Accomplished.  Since Crossfit is on hold for a bit I have enrolled in a running 101 class – week one is in the books and just started Week 2.  Our class started out with 17 participants in Week 1 and dwindled to 5 in Week 2.  I don’t care if I end up the only one left standing I will complete all 10 weeks.  🙂
  • 30-day Paleo Challenge –  Since this has been accomplished have turned my focus to losing 2 dress sizes or 20lbs before the end of the year.  I started in earnest two weeks ago and will weigh-in every two weeks.

Shannon H.

  • I just completed week 6 of training for the Columbus Marathon. I am chugging along. Training in the summer is hard. Last week especially it was very difficult to stay motivated. I had some really crappy runs and the heat and humidity are not helping. But I just try to push the bad runs aside and focus on each new run individually. I am feeling better this week already. I have officially transitioned to morning running and have been getting all my weekday runs in before work. It’s going to start getting a little more difficult in the coming weeks as my Wednesday run is now up to 7 miles.
  • 104 miles in July brings me to 766 miles YTD!
  • The “eating less crap” thing is going really well too – loving the CSA and the fresh variety it brings. Moving my runs to the morning has made me able to cook dinner a lot more and I’m feeling a lot better both physically and mentally!

Ann M.

  • Well, I don’t feel like I’ve made any fantastic progress on my goals this month, but I don’t think I took any major steps backward either. Making healthy choices continues to be a daily battle. My run distances are beginning to improve, although I still have a few frustrating days a week. I rented a bike while I was on vacation (after being motivated by the Tour de France and the Olympics!) and rode bike trails for 10 days. I loved it! I’m hoping to get my hands on a bike in the coming weeks and I can add cycling to my workouts.

    I’m starting a new job in August and I’m very concerned about how rotating 12 hour shifts is going to affect my goal progress…. We will see how this goes!

Diane D.

  • Get LadyFingers listed as a “Preferred Caterer” at 5 or more Pittsburgh venues –This goal has lost its urgency now that my new website is a business-builder.  This would still be nice, but my time needs to be spent satisfying new customers.  I may go back to this in the future if time permits and I can develop a workable strategy.
  • Provide catering to 30 new customersPast and future bookings have me at 31 and this goal is complete!
  • Improve online exposure – improving search engine placement by 50%, doubling Facebook “likes”, and doubling Twitter followers –Google: Goal complete! All of the work on the new website has paid off and folks are easily finding me via a Google search.  I am ecstatic!  Facebook: Likes started at 49, and are currently at 94.  My goal is 98 and I am at 92% completion.Twitter: Followers started at 60, and are currently at 121.  My goal is 120 and this goal is complete!
  • Keep shoulder and knee healthy while increasing CrossFit work output –Back to the gym with my shoulder in top-notch shape and my knee/ankle/foot in not-so-good shape.  I am scaling and subbing my work-outs so this goal is back on track.
  • Return to push-ups and burpees by July 1 –I have done regular, un-scaled burpees and regular, non-modified push-ups in WODs and this goal is complete!
  • One dead-hang pull-up and three kipping pull-ups strung together
  • 225 pound deadlift
  • 100 pounds overhead –No progress on any of the above but I think August will be a good CrossFit month.
  • Cut out ALL sugar that has crept back into diet – Goal complete.  Easy peasy!
  • Use sunscreen, especially in the garden and while driving convertibleDoing well with this.  I am going to call this a completion!

Brian R.

  • Reach a CrossFit Total of 800 (Translation right here) – Didn’t improve on my numbers, but I did have several good workouts for the back squat portion of the Total.  I am optimistic about succeeding, although I believe from now on I am going to have to branch out from my regular CrossFit routine to focus on the things that comprise the Total.
  • Pack lunch for work everyday – I would say that this month I packed about 90% of my lunches, so this has been a major success!  I got a lot of help from my wife, but it was all about preparation.
  • Write 45,000 words – Little progress on new words, but I got a lot of editing done.  I don’t know what to say about this other than I think this is a goal that needs to be brought to the forefront of my thinking if I am to make any progress.

Bill R.

  • Walking and biking lots lately — feeling great about this.
  • I continue to monitor my weight regularly and am trying really hard to react quickly when I see an extra pound or two show up.
    It’s peach season!!  One of my favorite times of the year.  found some AWESOME Southern peaches at a fruit market here and have been eating them regularly to help curb my cravings for sweets.
  • Flossing without even a second thought now — a real breakthrough!
    Adding a new Goal — Run a 5K.  Thanks to your advice, I found the “Couch to 5K” site and am going to start following the suggested training next week with the goal of running a 5K sometime this Fall — will advise you when I find one to participate in!!

Matt C.

  • I haven’t been to my Pump class as many times this month, because I’ve been refereeing summer leagues a few nights a week. The leagues are over now, so I’ll get back on schedule. Despite the busy schedule, I made sure I attended class at least once a week. I’m proud that even while my wife and I were on vacation in the Dominican Republic, we made time to exercise in the fitness room (which is something we would have never done in the past).

Jill C. (that’s me!)

  • Instead of going with my typical bulleted list, I’m going to write a few paragraphs about my goals.  My pull-up, yoga, running goals are all on hold due to my ankle.  It’s been a real bummer and quite discouraging, but I did have a doctor’s appointment today where I got some positive news.  My ankle is healing nicely, although it’s not 100% yet.  In fact, I still have a lot of work to do on this before I’ll be back to normal, IF I get back to normal.  My doctor was honest with me about how the swelling might not ever go away completely.
    I have been doing home physical therapy and I’ve been quite faithful to it, but over the course of the past six weeks I have felt a bit isolated and had questions that I had to wait to have answered.  In light of this, I requested some in-person physical therapy at an actual rehabilitation place.  It just makes me feel better to have someone I can see regularly and ask questions.  Plus, my doctor says he hooked me up with a super tough guy who will push me.  This is what I want!  I’m hoping he’s physical therapy’s answer to Jillian Michaels and yells in my face.  Ha.
    Because of my inability to do my normal activities, I started swimming, as you know.  I started a few weeks ago and I can’t tell you how much I love it!  Being in the pool is one of my favorite things.  I’ve always been an OK swimmer, but I’m gaining confidence and endurance everyday.
    The reasons I initially cited for wanting to go to yoga (the meditative benefits plus physical challenge) I’m finding with swimming.  There are always other people at the pool when I’m there, but I don’t talk to anyone, I’m not competing with anyone, I’m following a swim plan, nobody cares or judges what I’m doing, and basically I’m completely on my own.  My ears fill up with water and I can’t really hear much noise outside of my own splashing.  It is a tough workout, but surprisingly I am finding it quite calm and therapeutic.  Those three hours a week I’m in the pool I am totally alone concentrating on my strokes and improving.  Nothing else.

That’s July, folks!  There are some serious successes going on here and I’m truly excited for everyone! Congratulations and keep going!
If you are interested in joining us, it is never too late to set a goal and work towards it! Send me an email with the thing(s) you’d like to tackle in 2012 and you’ll join the ranks of these fine folks.  That’s all it takes.  It doesn’t matter WHEN you start pursuing your goals, it just matters that you DO start.

2012 Goals Project - Focus on Brian

I take total responsibility for not focusing on Brian last month like I should have.  Sorry, Brian!   It’s never too late to do the right thing, so we’re going to do June and July’s Focus On posts in July.  No worries!
So, what should you know about Brian R., one of the 2012 Goals Project participants?  He has a small but unique collection of goals.  Let’s find out what makes him tick.  I asked him a few questions to get to know him more and hopefully you can find something in his responses that strike a chord with you and your goals.
What made you choose the goals for this year’s Goals Project?
I picked these goals to address some areas of my life where I felt I could make some changes and feel some accomplishment.  In some cases these are necessary changes, but in others they are things that are important to me on which I enjoy working.  Packing lunches every day, for example, is something I really need to do.  It’s easy where I work to find a dozen cheap places to eat, but in the context of everything else that I’ve decided is important about the way I live my life I think making deliberate, healthy choices about what I eat for lunch is critical.

Running, writing, and doing the CrossFit Total, on the other hand, are things I just enjoy, and I think this was a more important place to establish goals.  I hack away at each of them when I have time or when it’s convenient, but over long periods of time I have not in the past felt any sense of accomplishment. I’ve made deliberate choices to not think in terms of accomplishing things, since I felt that this would set myself up for disappointment.  I’m never going to win the Pittsburgh Marathon, for example, so why get competitive about it and set myself up for failure?  I don’t see myself publishing a book any time soon, so why make writing this big opportunity for disappointment?
By taking part in this goals project and picking these things specifically as goals I wanted to accomplish I found that I was able to think
critically about what it is about them that I enjoy, and then I was able to place realistic – although challenging – goals in front of myself each month.  Rather than measuring myself against others (or to be more specific, the goals of others), here I have written my own goals on my own terms, which makes it much more realistic to feel my own sense of accomplishment.
What keeps you motivated?
My wife, for one.  By having someone close by with whom I can discuss what I’m doing, how I’m screwing it up, or how I’m winning, I have a terrific and helpful resource for achieving success.

Beyond her, however, I find that thinking of things one week at a time, and then one month at a time, is very helpful.  This chunks things into short horizon objectives which are easier to achieve, and therefore easier to feel good about.
I also find that having to sit down and write a report about my progress for the goals project each month is very encouraging.  It is a combination of carrot and stick, and it helps keep me focused not only my progress but also on the things I’m doing to either achieve or fall short.
What do you find difficult about your goals?
I have found that establishing goals in the context of an annual project made me think in very rigid terms about what these goals will be.  It simply hadn’t occurred t me until this last month that I could re-write these goals, add new ones, or re-arrange things in any way.  This may be an offshoot of how I think of professional development goals at work, or maybe I’m just a nerd, but taking ownership of the goal-making and goal-management process has been tough for me.

When faced with difficulty or a set back, how do you overcome it and get back on track?
Working towards completing the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon was a big problem for me since I did not focus on the training and did not plan ahead very well, but my approach to getting around this seems to have been very successful.  I did not allow myself to get down about (too much), but instead accepted that I had a race date coming and simply did everything I could.  I didn¹t’ allow myself to give up, and every time the idea came to mind I spoke with someone else who I knew had been in a similar position, either with this race or another.  That gave me some perspective on how similar my problems were to those others had encountered, and with that help I was able to push through.
In general I think I am pretty good about handling setbacks, whether they’re goal-related or not, and the part of me that makes this easier is the ‘It’s the journey and not the destination’ I tend to approach to working on things.  I get a great deal of satisfaction from being on task with my goals, and it’s easier for me I think than it is for others to accept that, for example, I’m not going to get something done on time or that I’m not going to get the results I want from something.
Congratulations to Brian R. on all his successes so far and best wishes for his continued achievement with his 2012 goals and beyond!  Thanks, Brian!

2012 Goals Project - June Review

Well, the year is half over.  More than that.  The Goals Project participants are rolling along and I cannot be more proud of their determination.  We’re all riding the ups and downs.  Let’s get right to the June updates!
Kelly F.

  • Non-banded pullups –  Still working
  • Rx’d CrossFit workout –  Accomplished.  I now want to run a 5k before the end of the year.  I have enrolled in a running 101 class to help me.
  • 30-day Paleo Challenge –  I completed this and am now trying to stick to 80% Paleo. In addition, would like to add to this and challenge myself to lose 20lbs by the holidays.

Shannon H.

  • When I sent in my update for May, I had mentioned that I was doing a 5K at the beginning of June and hoping to finish in under 29 minutes to set a new PR. My previous best 5K was 29:22 and it was a very flat out and back course on the Montour Trail so I was pretty sure I’d be able to. To my surprise, I finished in 27:35!! Had a blast with some of my friends from the Steel City Road Runnersand got to see a few of them take home age group awards too.As far as my overall running goal for this year, I am tracking very well. I ran 113 miles in June and my YTD total is 670 miles, so I am now officially more than halfway to my 1300 mile goal! I am 2 weeks in to my training for the Columbus Marathon on October 21 and already I take back everything I ever said about how I’d rather do a fall marathon than a spring one – training in the summer is HARD. I have switched all of my runs to the morning, which is difficult especially on weekdays because I have to get up early and get the miles in before work. But what gets me out of bed in the morning is knowing that if I don’t get up and do it then, I surely won’t do it when it’s 90 degrees out later in the day! It has been rough because I am not a morning person but I am slowly getting used to it. The humidity is really hard to deal with as well but I think it is still a better tradeoff than blazing heat.Last update for June – I am adding a new goal to the mix. Obviously I have the exercise side of the equation down pretty solidly, and while I would not consider myself too unhealthy of an eater, I know that is definitely an area where I can do some work and make some good changes. So my new goal for 2012 (and hopefully forever) is to cut out as much processed food as I can from my diet and eat more vegetables and whole foods. And to cook more! We were doing really well with healthy eating/bringing lunch/cooking dinner at home last spring and into the summer and then got more lax as the winter and spring came. We got busy, I stopped cooking as much, and we ate a lot of sandwiches and quick stuff like that. I really missed my kitchen! So this goal has helped to rekindle my relationship with food and cooking and has really made me feel better both mentally and physically.It has been about 2 1/2 weeks now that I’ve been working diligently on this, and so far so good. I have been taking my own lunch to work almost every day instead of going out to eat, and I have been cooking a healthy dinner for us at home nearly every night (moving the running to the morning also really helped with this!)  Additionally, to make a further investment into this goal and to our overall health and well-being, my husband and I joined a CSA. Really excited about it! Looking forward to keeping you updated about this goal – it is going to be harder than the running one I think. I am very enthusiastic about it right now and I am hoping that the CSA will help keep me from getting lazy again.

Ann M.

  • With half of 2012 in the books, I have to say that my knowledge of health and fitness is better than it has ever been. However, putting my new knowledge into practice (consistently) has been an ongoing struggle for the last 2 – 3 months. I’ve been telling myself that I’m doing the best I can (between graduation, moving twice, job interviews, etc. etc.), but I think I’m lying to myself. I’m hoping I can turn my little downward spiral around for the last half of the year!
  • I have been doing a wee bit better with my cooking and eating healthier. My goal of no pop and no candy in June worked out perfectly (minus one free sample of candy that was shoved in my face in a store!) and I’m planning on keeping that going throughout the rest of.. well, my life. Pop is gross! I need to make better choices and I’m going to make a serious effort toward that this month.
  • My workouts have been a disaster. I fell during a run in June and banged up my knees pretty bad. I’ve been struggling ever since. I need to work on getting myself back to 4 miles a day. Right now I’m barely making it 1.5 miles before I quit. For July I’m going work toward better runs!

Diane D.

  • Get LadyFingers listed as a “Preferred Caterer” at 5 or more Pittsburgh venues – I did not concentrate on this during June as I was spent my time working on my getting my new website off the ground.  This goal may never fly.
  • Provide catering to 30 new customers -Past and future bookings have me at 26.
  • Improve online exposure – improving search engine placement by 50%, doubling Facebook “likes”, and doubling Twitter followers –Google: Goal complete! All of the work on the new website has paid off and folks are easily finding me via a Google search.  I am ecstatic!  Facebook: Likes started at 49, and are currently at 91.  My goal is 98 and I am at 90% completion.  Twitter: Followers started at 60, and are currently at 118.  My goal is 120 and I am at 97% completion.
  • Keep shoulder and knee healthy while increasing CrossFit work output – Took more time off from the gym.  This goal is on hold.
  • Return to running during Spring – Goal cancelled.
  • Return to push-ups and burpees by July 1
  • One dead-hang pull-up and three kipping pull-ups strung together
  • 225 pound deadlift
  • 100 pounds overhead – All above goals on hold.
  • Cut out ALL sugar that has crept back into diet – Goal complete.  Easy peasy!
  • Use sunscreen, especially in the garden and while driving convertible – Ditched my carcinogenic sunscreen and have found a clear zinc oxide which I will be applying liberally.

Brian R.

  • Reach a CrossFit Total of 800 (Translation right here) – No progress this month.  Since I had to travel for two weeks out of the month my workout schedule has been very light.
  • Pack lunch for work everyday – In terms of percentage of days that I’ve had a packed lunch this month I’ve made a huge improvement, but this is both because of the travel and because my wife has met me with a lunch prepared.  That’s great, but I need to keep this momentum up though July.
  • Write 45,000 words – Again, my traveling has prevented me from making any progress towards my writing goals.  This has made me stop to consider what it will take to make sure I’m moving towards any goal at all even when I’m busy.  I don’t have great answers to that.

Bill R.

  • What a month!!  June was dominated by Family starting with a Walk for the Cure in North Carolina to support my sister and ending with the unenviable task of moving Mom into an assisted living facility.  Truly a swinging pendulum of emotions throughout the month.  But, I really did try to stay focused on my goals whenever possible.  I continue to succeed with the flossing, and have maintained my weight even though I would love to lose a bit and redistribute a bit.  I am hopeful that the remainder of the summer will present me opportunities to move towards these goals.  I actually got back on track a bit with the nail biting after a couple days at the assisted living facility proved a bit less emotional than I expected.

Matt C.

  • Still going strong! I’m proud that even with busy schedules for work, kids and play that I’m still finding time to make sure I get to my Pump class three times a week.

Jill C. (me!)

  • Unbanded pull-upsAs I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, I am injured.  This is hampering quite a few of my goals.  However in order to see the glass half full, I am taking the ankle injury as an opportunity to really work on my upper body strength which means pull-ups!  I talked with all three coaches at my CrossFit box and got some really sound advice from them about what I can do to get this going.  One trainer was really blunt with me and said that in addition to working on pull-ups I need to put out more intensity during the workouts.  He was extremely nice about it, but definitely wagged his finger at me for not giving it my all.  And you know what?  He’s totally right.  I have the bad habit of underestimating my own abilities and short changing my efforts.  He recognized this and called me out.  I hear you loud and clear, Coach Matt!
  • Yoga – I have to put this on hold until the ankle is back in order.
  • Become a more confident runner – This is mostly on hold for now as I am under orders from my doctor to NOT run at all for a while.  However, I am allowed to do other things to strengthen my ankle and swimming is one of them.  I am able to swim and I love to splash around in the water and cool off on a hot day, but I have never actually been a swimmer and done laps and all that.  Well, now is the time to try.  So, to keep myself in running condition without running, I am going to start swimming.
    Today I am going to Dude’s workplace and get myself a pass to use their pool.  I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do once I get in the pool tomorrow morning, but I’m going to see what my ankle can do and swim a few laps.  I haven’t really been able to workout for over a month now and I can’t WAIT to do something!  Stay tuned.
  • Add new dinners to our rotation by making 30 new recipes this year – Improving!  I shared the Moab Beet Salad recipe and I have two more to come in the next week or so.
  • More and better photos for the blog – I’m giving this one a “steady as she goes” grade.  I’ll continue to work on my photo taking and blog enhancement.

So, as a group, we’re plugging along!  I think we’re all seeing some successes and some setbacks or mid-course corrections.  That’s all part of goal setting and achieving.  I cannot be more proud of this group for sticking with their resolutions and following through.  It’s the effort that makes all the difference.
If you are interested in joining us, it is never too late to set a goal and work towards it! Send me an email with the thing(s) you’d like to tackle in 2012 and you’ll join the ranks of these fine folks.  That’s all it takes.  It doesn’t matter WHEN you start pursuing your goals, it just matters that you DO start.

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