Goal Setting – Keeping it Simple

2016 is almost over, but it’s never too late to work on goal setting!  Did you set any goals for the year?  Every year it’s something I think about and every few years or so I change the way I do it in an attempt to find an effective way to keep me on track!
In the past I’ve written down different categories (ie://financial, relationship, education, career, fitness, etc) and listed 3-4 goals for each.  One year I did a year of “bucket list” items with my boot camp ladies, we each listed one thing we wanted to complete for each month of the year.  There are years I’ve simply made mental notes of things I’ve wanted to accomplish and of course, years where I haven’t set out any specific intentions at all!
How has it worked for me?  It’s been okay, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I don’t recall a year where I’ve accomplished everything I’ve set out to do.  In my mind, that’s okay, but I also think it could be a sign that maybe I’m setting out to do either
a) too much
b) things that aren’t that important to me or
c) things I think I ought to do rather than what I really would like to do
This year I’ve been listening to an audiobook called “The Power of Less” by Leo Babauta.  It’s all about scaling back all of the things you commit yourself to and focusing on the things that are truly important.  In a world where multi-tasking and doing more is equal to more, a lot of what he’s talking about is certainly going against the grain.  I’m not sure I have what it takes to minimize to the extremes he takes in his book, there were definitely a lot of take-aways that I plan to apply this year!
Of course he touches on goal-setting early in the book.  I like what he’s come up with and this has been my strategy for 2016.  If you’re up to it, I would challenge you to do the same!
This is what it looks like:
1) Set a 1 year goal
– just one thing you really want to accomplish one year from now
2) Set a 3 month goal
– something you really want to accomplish 3 months from today
– your 3 month goal can be a “sub-goal” of your one year goal, which is actually a great strategy as it is re-visited every 3 months
His theory behind having only have 2 goals at any given time, is that it makes it very easy to choose what is an important focus and what isn’t.  It makes it easier to eliminate distractions or things that steer you away from your goal.
So for example, say your 1 year goal is to finally take that holiday you’ve always wanted to do with a friend/family/spouse to a sunny destination one year from today.  The trip is going to cost $3000 total.  Your three month goal may be to set-up a budget to plan where the money will come from, find out from your bank if there’s a type of account where you can maximize your savings for the year.  Once you’ve done all of your research and set-up a plan, your next 3 month goal may be to implement your plan and start putting away the money.  Your next 3 month goal might be to re-asses whether or not the plan is working with your budget, if there are issues, this is the time period where you would focus on addressing those things….and so on…each 3 months creating a new goal.
Perhaps by the 6 month mark, everything is on track with your saving plan and there is no need to make changes.  Your goal for the next 3 months may be to come up with a plan to lose 10lbs by the time of your trip.  Planning for this goal may include researching personal trainers or classes in your area, coming up with a strategy of how much you want to lose each week, and determining what your nutrition will look like for the next 3 months (think small changes!) Once you have come up with your plan you can start to implement.  It might look something like this:
“I will attend 3 fitness classes each week, eat a healthy breakfast every morning, and minimize eating sweets or drinking alcohol to 1-2 nights per week”
By the 4th quarter you will be evaluating your progress with your 3rd goal and making a new one from there.
Remember, if everything is going well with your “sub-goal” you can always create a new 3 month goal that is totally unrelated to your 1 year goal.  The purpose of this type of goal setting is to settle on one main objective for 3 months, rather than multiple things.
Here’s to a successful year and enjoying everything it has to offer!

Are You on the Hunt for this Elusive Top 5?

A few weeks ago I received this email from one of my readers:
“Hi Sarah
Can you give me the top 5 waist whittler please? I need some whittling :)”
She gets points for the creative title and of course, giving me permission to share with you! I responded, but likely not the response she may have been looking for.  This is what I shared with her:
SPOILER ALERT: All the crunches and planks in the world will not “whittle” your waist.  I’m not going to give you a list of 5 core exercises to “whittle your waist” because that’s not how it happens.  Not to say there is no benefit to doing core exercises – these are a must in any great training program, just don’t do them for the purpose of trimming your waist, you WILL be disappointed in the result! (or lack thereof)
Waist whittling is a lifestyle adjustment, but is totally do-able over a period of time….IF….you are dedicated.  Ugh…lifestyle change sounds so not-sexy, doesn’t it???  It also sounds like a lot of work to most people, especially those looking for these results yesterday.  But keep in mind, a quick fix is just that, a quick fix….nothing that will help you out long term.
Lack of consistency is the #1 mistake I see people making when trying to reach their fitness goals.  When I’m talking consistency, I’m not talking 4 weeks or even 6 weeks, a lot of people have no problem staying dedicated for that long.  I’m talking 3-6 months of real, consistent effort in building specific changes into your lifestyle.  Guess what?  Once it becomes your lifestyle, it becomes a lot less work, it becomes: just the way you do things.
You don’t have to do a lot to make a big change, you just have to do a few good things consistently.  So in the example of whittling your waist, start small and just be consistent!  Here are my top 5 lifestyle tips to “whittle your waist”  DISCLAIMER: will not whittle your waist in 4-6 weeks 🙂
1) Drink lots of water
2) Reduce your intake of processed foods and foods high in saturated fat, replace these with lots of veggies
3) Exercise daily – nothing complicated, just move and get sweaty!
4) Build muscle – this will naturally increase your metabolism and contrary to popular belief, will NOT make you bulky
5) Metabolic Training (HIIT/High intensity interval training) – this type of training burns carbohydrate as fuel while you are exercising, but if you exercise at a high enough intensity, will create an oxygen deficit that causes your body to burn more fat for several hours after you finish exercising.
There it is ladies…the not-so-sexy-but-oh-so-effective Top 5 Waist Whittler!