SFC2

My goals:

1.  Save $750. ($0/$750)
2.  Write two short stories. (0/2)
3.  Outline my novel.
4.  Take a class.
5.  Run 231 miles. (23.5/231)
6.  Bike 120 miles. (16/120)
7.  Learn to play a song on the guitar.
8.  Make a dress.
9.  Volunteer four times. (1/4)
10.  Get to 115. (117.2)

1.  What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?

I ran 23.5 miles and biked 16 miles.

I volunteered at a culinary festival – sold beer to the Arizonans braving it at the picnic despite the rain and low temps (40s + wind).  It was so awful that it was fun.

I made my monthly budget with room for savings.  I usually sock away money after pay days, so the 15th and the end of the month, so nothing saved yet, but soon!

I finally saw 120 on the scale after a long time of being over that and felt in control of the weight situation again.  It was on my crappy Friday morning (but I felt “thin” so I pulled the scale out) and I realized I had the power to either make it drop more or allow it to hike up again.  Crappy morning or not, I packed a good lunch, leaving the mini peanut butter cups in the freezer instead of taking them to work like I had considered, emotionally eating them all day and feeling bad about it. I guess I did okay because on Sunday, my official weigh-in day, I was 117.2.  I was really surprised by it and will see how it sticks in the coming weeks.

I decided a few songs I might want to learn – Jewel or Miranda Lambert – and looked at my guitar.  Haha.

 2.  What did you do this past week to make you feel good about yourself?

I learned a skill all women should have – how to untangle a necklace!  And because I untangled, I was able to wear one of my favorites I haven’t worn in so long and felt like a hot mama headed out to the picnic with my lady friends.  It was forecasted to be chilly, but I risked it with a sundress and it was perfect temps, so I felt totally cute!

3.  Is your mindset future-oriented or living in the now? How does this impact you when you are working towards a goal?

I’d love to say it’s a balance, but I am thinking ahead more often than I would like.   Coming up with lists of goals (something I’ve been crazy about for about the last two years) has helped me think more about now.  It’s allowed me to think about the things in my future that I want and realize thinking about them won’t do much of anything.  So I get to the future and have those goals as a reality by living them and working toward them now.

4.  Is there someone in your {real} life that inspires you to strive for the best?

When it comes to wellness, I don’t have a big real-life fitness-focused community I’m a part of (but I am working on it).  A lot of it is self-motivation, but I also am inspired to work hard and achieve my goals in hopes of becoming an inspiration to my family, if that makes sense. 

My dad wants to lose some weight and my mom wants to become a little more toned.  My sis and I can still share clothes even though she’s mostly inactive (which drives me crazy!) and her fiancé is hoping to lose 40 pounds (the weight he’s put on since meeting my sis!) before the wedding.  I hope by hearing about me going after my health goals and seeing me make good choices, it inspires them to realize it’s not just about hoping to lose weight and wanting to lose weight, it’s about working and making it happen.

5.  Fun Question of the Week: Do you read blogs on the individual websites or via Google Reader?

 I had a blog roll when I started blogging and clicked through my favorites daily, but then I learned of the amazingness that is the Google Reader!  I have way too many blogs on there, but there’s always something new and entertaining to read.  I even have a “Challenge” category now!  Sometimes I’ll click through to the actual site if there’s a link that intrigued me or something!

 Positive picture of the week: 

My tri is not for five months, but this week I set up my training plan for that (will start in July) as well as a training schedule for all the other races I’m doing (I’m assuming it’s going to change, but it’s a good base).  Further proving that I really am future-oriented! I got really excited about the idea that I’m going to rock out all these training seshes and continue to improve as an athlete.  That’s my motivation!

The Line

I’ve often wondered where my line would be if I started gaining weight.  This weekend I found it.

I don’t feel like I look like I’ve gained weight but I know I have because my jeans have gotten uncomfortable.  That was easy to blame on them just coming out of the dryer.  I thought about buying new jeans so I could be comfortable, but I don’t particularly like jeans and really have no use for them for the next seven months. 

Perhaps when you’ve given up on wearing your jeans in favor of flowy dresses, that could be the line, but it wasn’t.

While sometimes I curse the scale because it can have such an influence over a day, I’m glad I have it because the scale doesn’t lie and you can’t make excuses for it.  Without it, maybe I would have bought those bigger jeans and then another pair and then another.  Without the scale, I might have been one of those people whose wake up call is a picture of someone she doesn’t recognize until she double takes and realizes it’s her.

I crossed the line when I climbed on the dreaded scale on Sunday and saw 126.  I kinda always thought my line would be 130, but 126 was all I needed.  Yes, it still falls in the “normal” range for my height (5’3″) and yes, I know a lot of people would love to see 126 on their scale, but this is about me. 

The me who was at 122 after the holidays and pledged to lose five pounds in January. FAIL.  The me who thought I would at least lose those five pounds by the end of the WWW Challenge.  FAIL.  The me who works out six days a week.  NOT FAIR.

I promptly threw the scale under my bed.  Don’t get me wrong, it will be back with weekly appearances, but I’m not going to weigh myself daily anymore.  

I didn’t want to do a weight loss goal for the Spring Fever Challenge, but now I think I might because I don’t feel as clueless.  At the beginning of the year, I honestly thought it was holiday weight that would melt off on its own.  Now I can admit it’s going to take more work. 

I see the path that got me here and (I hope) I see the path that will get me back.  I’m not ready to write about it yet, at this point I’m just ready to say I found my line and I’m retreating.

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Life's Journey with a SmileMy 10 goals are:

  1. Lose 5 pounds in January and maintain (starting is 122.6).
  2. Sign up for a new dating site in February (assuming Mr. Amazing doesn’t waltz in before that).
  3. Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.
  4. Make a real meal at least once a week.
  5. Adopt a pet.
  6. Get a bike and decrease my gas usage.
  7. Write my guest post for The Chick Lit Bee.
  8. Roll over my 401(k)s.
  9. Do six things with friends (happy hours, game nights, etc.).
  10. Find and participate in a volunteer opportunity.

This week’s questions:

1.  What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?

I went out to dinner with a good friend who moved away over the summer, but was back in town and caught up with her and her little guy, successfully wrapping up my six friends things goal.

I completed a few more steps in the 401(k) process, pretty much all of them, including requesting the funds be rolled into my new accounts.  And then I ran into another wall.  Hope to work it out within the next week.

I focused on eating better and limiting my portions and started a new training plan and lost some weight (and quite possibly reversed it during the Super Bowl).  More importantly, I’m feeling more in control and seeing that I’m more slender and feel more comfortable in my clothes.

I’ve been eating out of my pantry/freezer, so the meal was a little tricky this week and wasn’t totally what I had in mind with the goal, but I made a veggie burger and had it with roasted potatoes left over from my dinner out.  I guess it kind of is what I had in mind because I planned it ahead of time and ate it like a real dinner instead of just snacking all night because I didn’t know what to make.

2.  New month! Fresh starts! How are you feeling in February?

I’m feeling very focused, although I wavered a bit.  My January was so all about my race, once it was over, I was kinda at a loss, but I’m glad I have WWW to keep me focused on other goals and I feel like I’m going to rock out a handful of my goals this month!

3.  Are you competitive? Do you find that seeing how well {or not so well} others do pushes you?

I am pretty competitive.  During my race, I was motivated by challenging myself to punch it until I passed a person or group.

4.  What is your favourite outdoor winter activity?

In Arizona, I love anything outdoors in the winter because it’s so beautiful, but if we’re thinking authentic winter here, I do enjoy heading up north about two hours to sled when it snows and then rush back in the car, change into thick and dry socks, go for hot chocolate and drive back home to where there’s no crazy white stuff on the ground.

5.  Fun Question of the Week: What would be your ideal way to spend a Saturday night?

I’ve been trying to throw together a game night for a while now.  I love hosting and think staying at home with a close group of friends, drinking some wine and playing board games is a great night.  If there were a man in my life worthy a Saturday night, I would want to have a slow progressive dinner.  Drinks at a bar, shared appetizers at a restaurant, a bottle of wine at a lounge and a stop for a sweet treat to enjoy in bed.  Someday!

Positive picture:

{from}

Saving (My Sanity)

My budget spreadsheet got a makeover this year.  Specifically, it’s actually acting as a budget, whereas up until last December it was basically just where I tracked what I spent and prayed that my end-of-the-month number was smaller than my income.

Now I’m creating a monthly budget and am still trying to figure out the whole following it thing.  Baby steps, right?

Basically, I simplified my budget spreadsheet, but the thing I’m most excited about is the addition I made.  Hello goals tab.  

I’ve always been good at saving money, in fact, my sister used to tease me for it, but there was never real organization to it until now.

Now, in lovely 2011, I’m tracking my savings goals – bridesmaid fund, e-fund and retirement contributions – and my goals for paying off my student loans ahead of schedule.  I made a column for my planned and actual contribution to each fund and I set up the equations to show me what percentage of my goals I’ve reached.  It makes it a lot easier to follow my budget because all the money I save goes to one of the funds.  And now I know which one. 

And when I pay for wedding-related things, I’ll know I’m spending the wedding money.  And instead of pretending all of my money in my bank accounts in my e-fund, I will see when I actually meet my eight-month goal and be able to pad the fun part of my budget. 

The uber-organization of the color-coded charts made my heart flutter a bit.  Until I realized those funds suck.

Yes, I’m excited about being in two weddings and the time I get to spend with family and good friends during all the related festivities, the idea of fully-funded emergency and retirement accounts keeps me sleeping as snug as a bug in a rug and I’m planning a 24-hour happy dance-a-thon for when I finally pay off my student loans. 

BUT…a girl’s gotta live, am I right?

So, I added one last goal.  A wanderlust fund.  It gets the least amount of attention money, but the point is that it gets some.  All work and no play makes MJ a sad girl.  I love knowing that I’m putting aside money specifically to get on a plane and stay in a hotel and experience something totally new and wonderful.  Even if I’m only at 1% of my total goal at this point.  Again, baby steps.

WWW5

Mini-update on my half:  Since I starting talking about it here, I wanted to include the results here as well.  I ran my first half-marathon on Saturday.  I finished officially at 2:09:06 (my first goal was 2:34 and my second was 2:10) and loved the experience!  Now, on to WWW!

Life's Journey with a SmileMy 10 goals are:

  1. Lose 5 pounds in January and maintain (starting is 122.6).
  2. Sign up for a new dating site in February (assuming Mr. Amazing doesn’t waltz in before that).
  3. Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.
  4. Make a real meal at least once a week.
  5. Adopt a pet.
  6. Get a bike and decrease my gas usage.
  7. Write my guest post for The Chick Lit Bee.
  8. Roll over my 401(k)s.
  9. Do six things with friends (happy hours, game nights, etc.).
  10. Find and participate in a volunteer opportunity.

This week’s questions:

1.  What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?

I found out I actually have an account at eHarmony and went in and updated some of my profile (made during one of those free communication weekends way back in 2009, reminding me just how long I’ve been relationship-challenged).  I also looked into the cost of it so I can budget it into February.  Yeah, it’s expensive.  I’m so hesitant to spend money AND my online adventures have not been great (but I know it’s because of the sites I’m on, thus the upgrade), so I confused myself over if I actually want to do it.  I think I’d probably pay for three months but thinking I’m going to find someone online in three months conflicts with my desire to take on my great dating challenge of 2011!

After two nights of heavy dinners out (man, dating is tough), I needed something light and made a modified version of The Runner’s Kitchen’s Creamy Winter Veggie Pasta.  The (tease alert) simple sauce made with just goat cheese and starchy water was perfect, I got my veggies in AND it was carbolicious for a race week dinner.

I opened an actual rollover account (all these rules I didn’t know!) and found my funds from my old retirement plans and got the forms that will allow me to transfer them.  I’m inching closer and closer on this one.

2.  January is coming to an end! How do you think you did in the month of January? Review time!

Well, I kinda failed at the January part of my first goal.  Now it’s my goal to lose it by the end of the challenge.  Five little pounds suck!  I did well at keeping up with my weekly dinner goal and I’m beyond on-track for my time with friends goal.  With the bits and pieces I’ve done of the others, I’d say I’m about one-third of the way there, but I’d like to have some more completed. 

3.  Do you feel like your motivation is tapering off now that a month has passed, or are you just as motivated as the beginning of the challenge?

I think my motivated tapered a bit, but I like that the end of the month is a check point that will get my butt back in gear!

4.  Who/what inspires you to keep going?

I usually inspire myself, as I’ve said, I don’t like letting myself down.  I’m also big on rewards.  I’ve been wanting a bike for a while, so when I set out to do my half, I set my goal time and told myself the bike was mine if I hit it.  Thinking about that helped me keep up my pace throughout the race and I hit not only my first goal, but by second goal as well!  Some of my WWW goals are rewards in themselves, but perhaps I will set up rewards for the ones that have proven to be a bit more of a struggle.  A massage after completing seven hikes in seven days, a weekly guilty pleasure night-in for jumping into the serious online dating world, a shopping splurge for being responsible and rolling over my 401(k) funds!

5.  Fun Question of the Week:  What is the first thing you think of/do in the morning?

Lately it’s been talking myself out of an A.M. workout!  Oops!  Usually I rationalize that I can do it after work (and I do, but I just really prefer to do it in the morning).  On days when I can’t get out of it or actually have the motivation and enough sleep to get to the gym, the first thing I do when my alarm goes off at 4:30 is lace up and head out the door!  

When I’m feeling a little lazier, I’ve already outed myself as a first-thing Facebook checker and so, yeah, that’s what I do before hitting the shower and getting ready for work.  On these days, I reset my alarm to 6, which gives me just 20 minutes to be out the door!

On weekends, I usually try to force myself to sleep longer (because waking up by 6 during the week means waking up by 7 without an alarm on the weekends, ugh!) and then get up and run or, if it’s going to be a long run, eat breakfast, wait for it to settle and head out.

Positive Picture:

Kind of a weird selection this week, I know.  The race on Saturday was to benefit a kids’ cancer charity and they had pictures of kids fighting cancer along the route.  It was very inspirational and kept me going.  If these little guys can take on this totally unfair hand that’s been dealt to them, I can surely get over whatever excuses I might be using and achieve my goals!  {from}

WWW4

Four weeks in? Wow!

Life's Journey with a Smile

My 10 goals are:

  1. Lose 5 pounds in January and maintain (starting is 122.6).
  2. Sign up for a new dating site in February (assuming Mr. Amazing doesn’t waltz in before that).
  3. Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.
  4. Make a real meal at least once a week.
  5. Adopt a pet.
  6. Get a bike and decrease my gas usage.
  7. Write my guest post for The Chick Lit Bee.
  8. Roll over my 401(k)s.
  9. Do six things with friends (happy hours, game nights, etc.).
  10. Find and participate in a volunteer opportunity.

This week’s questions:

1.  What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?

I banished my scale. Weighing myself every day, multiple times a day, was not working for me.  I had planned a weigh in today, but I am actually going to wait it out until the end of the month.  When I’m not so focused on what the chocolate I ate did to my weight and why my weight didn’t go down after a “good” day, I think my weight will find its natural balance, which is closer to 117, again.

I made turkey mini-loaves with roasted red potatoes and zucchini and I went ice skating with a group of friends for Kanga’s birthday.

2.  How are you feeling about the goals you set for yourself? Overwhelmed? Too easy? Just right?

I’m a good mix of overwhelmed and thinking they’re too easy, so I guess just about right. It’s funny how things change though because, similar to some of my big goals for 2011, I’m already wondering if they’re things I really want and my attention has been stolen by some other shiny thing.

3.  Do you prefer to exercise inside or outside?

I go very back and forth on this.  I used to be outside only, but I’ve learned to love the gym in the past few months.  There are days I feel like I can rock it out on the treadmill and then days when I know I’ll be faster outside. Depends on my mood and the weather I suppose.  There are about seven months out of the year here where if I don’t get out and run before work (or about 8:00 a.m. on the weekends), it’s not happening because it just gets too hot, so my newfound love for the gym will serve me well come April.

4.  Are you a self-starter or do you need a little push?

I’m a self-starter.  The thought of just letting myself down by not going after what I want is enough to keep me going. 

5.  Fun Question of the Week: Why did you decide to start a blog?

I was so far out of the blog community until a college friend told me her friend blogged anonymously and I thought, hey that’s really cool and I started following her and jumped to other blogs and then eventually jumped in with my own.  I thought it was a really cool way to record my life and thoughts.  I also really like having it as an outlet for my writing and that writing regularly has helped me find my voice.

Positive picture for the week:


{from} 

WWW3

Life's Journey with a Smile

My 10 goals are:

  1. Lose 5 pounds in January and maintain (starting is 122.6).
  2. Sign up for a new dating site in February (assuming Mr. Amazing doesn’t waltz in before that).
  3. Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.
  4. Make a real meal at least once a week.
  5. Adopt a pet.
  6. Get a bike and decrease my gas usage.
  7. Write my guest post for The Chick Lit Bee.
  8. Roll over my 401(k)s.
  9. Do six things with friends (happy hours, game nights, etc.).
  10. Find and participate in a volunteer opportunity.

Now, on to this week’s questions!

1.  What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?

I kept up with my “make one real meal a week” with pizza amazingness part two last week, kind of a cop out to do a repeat, but I had the ingredients!  I went out with friends on Thursday and again last night (up to four now).  I wrote my chick lit guest post and sent it to my friend, Nancy, at The Chick Lit Bee and found an event to volunteer for and signed up (since my first attempt was a fail).  I kinda felt like I slumped this past week, but that’s not too shabby! 

My goal for January weight loss is not going as expected.  I was expecting that with kicking my running up, I’d be able to get back down to 117 without much additional effort, but it’s going the other direction and I’m seeing bigger numbers than I’ve ever seen on the scale and freaking out!  So I came up with a plan for eating for the next few weeks because I know it is a conscious thing that needs effort to work together with my exercise, so hopefully I’ll have positive progress to report on that soon.  

2.  Do you find that your motivation/mood changes in the winter? If so, what do you do to help/avoid it?

I definitely tend to get holiday brain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, especially in terms of wellness.  Heading into the new year, though, with my resolutions laid out, I do feel focused and ready to take them on.  In terms of exercise, this is honestly the best time for it in Arizona (sorry, to anyone who got tons of snow just dumped on them last week, but we’re having highs almost hitting the 80s!) and I want to go outside and get my sweat on.  That kind of motivation wanes during the summer for me when I have like a two-hour window (3am-5am) to be outside and not be taken by heat exhaustion.

3.  Do you have any advice for your fellow challengers on staying on task?

I know a lot of the goals I’ve seen from others in the challenge are ongoing, but my advice would be that if there’s a goal that’s a one-time thing to do or achieve, do it.  It will do wonders for your confidence and determination to cross just one thing off the list early on.

4.  What day{s} of the week/month do you find it difficult to stay on task/motivated?

I often have big plans for the weekend (in terms of moving toward goals), but they tend to be forgotten or pushed aside for other things.  I’m much more focused during the week because I’m usually looking at my planner, which has all my to-dos laid out, daily and I am thinking about the tasks I want to accomplish.

5.  Fun Question of the Week:  If you were going on a road trip {longer than a day} who would you take with you? Where would you go?

This is a tough question because often I think that I’d like to go here or I’d like to do this or that with a special person, but I haven’t found that special person yet.  I’m getting better at telling myself that I don’t have to wait for someone else to do things I want to do, but still, of course it would be nice. 

Back to the question, though.  Go to a new state, visit a major U.S. metro and take a road trip are all on my 101 list, so I’ve put plenty of thought into this idea!  I’d want to road trip to Austin (it would be all three for me!) and I’d want my old roomie to come with me because we haven’t seen each other much since I moved to Arizona a year and a half ago and the 14.5 hour trip would give us plenty of time to catch up and it would be fun to explore a new city with her because even though she’s old and married now she’s still one fun chick! 

Picture, this is how I felt about my training this week:


{from}

Liar, Liar

The first thing I did this morning was lie to myself.  Although I’ve been looking forward to the day when thinking about the guy who recently dumped me is NOT the first thing I do, this is not where I wanted to go with it.

My alarm went off at 4:30.  Eek.  That is MF early.  The plan was go to the gym for tread time and weights before work, but when I heard that God-awful sound, I thought, “I don’t want to.”

This excuse is great.  It’s why we go to school for 16+ years.  It’s why we suffer through braces and zits, crushes that actually leave us crushed and awful first and entry-level jobs.  Because when we come out at the other end, we’re adults and we can do whatever we want.

(Is it wrong that sometimes I think that means eating chocolate cake for dinner because I might as well save the calories of eating actual dinner if I’m just going to eat the cake anyway?)

I reset my alarm for 5:40, but after discussing with myself for 4 minutes, I was getting up because the lie was that I actually DID want to get to the gym and work out. 

I’m just getting back into working out in the morning, but when I was hardcore about it before, my early morning conversations with myself were more like, “you’re never going to regret getting up and working out, but you WILL regret hitting snooze” (although getting hit by a car if I’m running outside is one of my biggest fears and if THAT happened, I might regret it) or, “this is your only opportunity to work out today” (if I had plans after work, often like more work, or on occasion, a social activity).

Whatever the motivation, I’m glad to be back on track and glad that I’m learning to be honest with myself about what I want and going for it, soon to expand to other areas of my life.