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Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

I know it’s been awhile since I blogged regularly…….it’s the last thing on my mind during the holidays, but I thought I’d give you an update on my progress with losing weight in 2009.

I started at Thanksgiving of 2008 with managing my food intake. For me, that meant smaller portions, drinking water, not sodas, no french fries, grilled chicken instead of crispy chicken and cutting back on snacks, sweets, etc.

I started taking green tea pills as an antioxidant, they really seemed to help with weight loss.

I struggle with exercising consistently and I don’t like to go to the gym to work out, so I tell myself that a little bit of exercise is better than none. In the summer, we went for walks a couple times a week and did some swimming, even though it was just once in awhile, I could tell that I lost more weight the weeks we went for walks than I did when we didn’t get any exercise in. I also count mowing the lawn as exercise…..that counts…..right ? ūüôā

My other approach was to work on my weight goals 5lbs at a time. I didn’t work on the total number I needed to lose, just the next 5 lb goal. I was on the scale 3 or 4 mornings a week monitoring my progress to the next goal and cheering myself on!

The grand total lost in 2009 was 35 lbs! It felt so good to see the numbers on the scale drop and to drop to clothing sizes…..but it was a daily process and little bits of progress here and there.

My goal for 2010 is 20 lbs (5 lbs at a time of course) and then I’ll be where I need to be.

Those of you who are working on weight loss……you can do it! Find what works for you, and work on it little by little.

You know what they say….”Slow and steady wins the race.”

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Happy 2009!!!¬† Can you believe it’s already 2009?¬† Just 10 years ago we were all hyped up about Y2K and now we’re sailing through¬† the 2000’s.¬†

I usually don’t like to see the old year end, but this year is different.¬† I am so excited about this year.¬† I think it’s because I’m self employed and I get to make all of my own business decisions.¬† God is blessing my business despite the national economic crisis, I have 4 new students that start next week and 3 others who will possibly start in the next month.¬† I am so thankful for each new student He sends my way and am so greatful every day that I am able to spend the majority of my day being a mom and that I don’t deal with all of the unnecessary ¬†stress¬†from¬†the office politics.

Anyway…..here are my goals for 2009.¬† These are the big things I want to accomplish.¬† I will also set goals for each month as I go along to get these accomplished.

  • Get to bed on a consistent basis by 11 p.m.
  • Have a total of 35 piano students by the end of the year.
  • Lose the last 20 lbs (5 lbs at a time.)
  • Find and purchase¬†a house.
  • Get the paint on my car touched up. (There’s some scratches on the front end that are driving me insane.)
  • Finish paying off my credit card.
  • Increase ebay sales.
  • Take more time to reach out to other people who need encouragement.
  • Work on Grace’s scrapbook. (I’m way behind on this.)

I must say that looking back on my goals for 2008, almost all of them were accomplished.¬† The big ones were paying off my car and becoming self employed.¬† It was a lot of work to accomplish both of these goals, and for several months, it was crazy.¬† Waking up early, staying up late, trying to get it all done, but I’m so glad I made these my goals for 2008.¬† At the start of the year when I wrote them down, they were really only wishes.¬† I didn’t really believe I would accomplish them, but I wanted to.¬† By focusing on them and taking small steps each month, they became a reality.

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I know that Christmas has passed, but I wanted to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. I hope your holiday was very blessed.¬† Our Christmas was a lot of fun.¬† Grace is such a good gift opener.¬† I wish I could be as good of a gift opener as she is.¬† She opens each present and makes a HUGE deal over it before moving on to the next one saying, “Oh, THANK YOU Grandma!” and running over to give Grandma huge hugs and kisses.¬† I tend to be a little bit more reserved in this area.¬† It’s not that I don’t say “thank you”¬† or make a comment about how much I like it, I just don’t get as dramatic as she does……..anyway…….

I know that holidays can be a tough time of year for single parents.¬† Not only can staying within a reasonable budget be a challenge, but things don’t always go as planned, you get sick, you split holidays, or you spend the holiday alone.¬†

I was reminded by a good friend of mine, who also is a single mom, that even though we’d like to have more money to spend on our kids, we’d like to celebrate a certain way, or we’d like it if we weren’t alone for Christmas, Christmas is not at all about us . (gulp) It’s all about celebrating Jesus’ birthday. (She’s good at putting things in perspective for me, even if it hurts for me to hear it.)

The day after Christmas, Grace and I went to check out some of the sales and have lunch together.¬† We also cleaned her room and donated books and toys that she doesn’t need anymore to a thrift store.

I’m contemplating my goals for the New Year, as soon as I finalize them, I’ll post them here so you can see what I’ll be working on this year.¬† In the mean time, I’m busy organizing almost every closet and drawer in our house.

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Good news!!!¬† The scale confirms it….I’ve reached my 5lb goal!¬† Now I only have 5lbs left until I reach my next goal!¬† (You can read about my weight loss goals¬†here.)

I seemed to be on a plateau in weight loss and you know how you beat yourself up for it…….anyway, I kept telling myself…..”This is crazy….you have to get this baby weight off!”¬† So, in my attempt to figure out how to get the last half of the weight off, I read almost every article I could find about weight loss in women’s magazines.¬†

I don’t go for diets where you have to eat weird things to lose weight and I don’t go for weight loss pills, so most of the diets I read about I discarded…..then I came across a diet article that said you can lose weight by drinking tea each day.¬† It gave all of these great ways to get your tea consumption in.¬† While I was reading it, I thought to myself…”It sounds simple enough, but I’m not a tea drinker.”¬† (I cannot stand tea…..anyway…) so I was about to discard this diet too when I saw that it suggested that if you’re not a tea drinker, you can still use the diet by taking Green Tea Pills.

I hadn’t heard of Green Tea Pills, but I thought I’d check it out the next time I went to the store.¬† I also ran it by a friend of mine and she¬†said that she takes them and thinks they help with weight loss and energy.¬† They’re all natural, so I thought I’d give it a try.¬† I’m on day 2 of the green tea pills, I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks if I think they’re working.

Another encouraging thing I read about weight loss this week is that any form of exercise, even if it’s for only 5 minutes helps you burn calories.¬† The article said that 5 minutes of exercise a day, 6x a day is JUST AS EFFECTIVE as 30 minutes at the same time.

I like the 5 minute concept, just like I like the setting goals to lose 5 LBS at a time, it makes it not so overwhelming.

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If you’ve been a reader of neverforsaked for any length of time, you know already that I am VERY goal oriented.¬† My philosophy is set a goal, (using the SMART Goals Method)¬†break it down into small action steps,and accomplish your goal.¬† I’ve used goal setting for everything from starting my own business to getting daily tasks accomplished.¬†

I’ve been a Christian for many years, I grew up in a Christian home, but I’ve always struggled with Bible reading.¬† Church attendance, tithing, giving to missions, giving of my time and talents, praying-none of them have been struggles for me, they have been a natural part of my spiritual life for many years.¬†

I always have good intentions.¬† I start the year out and I read the Bible for a few days, I get busy and then I don’t pick it up for months except to go to Church.¬† I sit in Church and I think “I really want to read my Bible, I’m going to read it today” and then I get busy and it doesn’t happen.¬† I hear other people talk about what they read in the Bible and I think “I really want to start reading my Bible again.”¬† I’ve tried using bookmarks,¬†Bible reading guides and even just reading one chapeter a day and I always end up with the same results.¬† I’ve prayed and asked God to give me the desire to read the Bible.¬† It’s not that I don’t have the desire, I really WANT to read it, it just¬†seems like things just “come up” and it doesn’t get done.¬†

Then¬†it dawned on me last week……Set a¬†goal!¬† If you remember some of the principles¬†from my post on¬†“Setting Goals to Accomplish Things”¬†¬† you’ll remember that if I’m making a goal out of something that isn’t currently in my schedule or routine, it has to be ‘attainable.”

That means that I’m not going to set a goal to read a book of the Bible every day.¬† I’m not going to set a goal to read the Bible every day this year.¬† Not only is that not attinable for me since I don’t do it now, but it’s also very overwhelming and discouraging because I know that if I set a goal to read my Bible every day, I’ll fall short of it and give up (again)¬† so following the principles of SMART goals, I set a goal to read the Bible just three times a week.¬† That gives me room so that if I miss a couple of days, I’m not overwhelmed.¬† It’s also attainable for me.¬† I know that most Christians are taught that they need to read the Bible EVERY day, and that’s true, but reading three days a week is so much better than what I’ve currently been reading it, and once I get the three days a week down, I can change my goal to four days a week, then five, six, and then to every day.¬†

See how small steps help you accomplish BIG goals?¬† Since I started with this goal last week, I’ve already read the book of Revelation, I’ve read through the New Testament about the Second Coming of Christ and I’m almost done with Romans.¬†¬† WOW, that’s A LOT of Bible reading for someone who hasn’t been successful in this area in the past.¬† Now that I’ve set a goal, I look forward to spending time each evening reading¬†a few chapters before I go to sleep.

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A lot of times, people say to me, “I don’t know how you do it…..how do you get everything done?” (Other than God gives me the strength to make it through every day and every challenge, I don’t know how I “do it” either, but I don’t really stop to think about it, I just have to get it all done.)

I’ve had several single moms tell me they are discouraged because they feel like they can’t get ahead.¬† They feel like they’re taking 1 step forward and 2 steps backward.¬† I can identify.¬† During Grace’s first year, I felt like all I was doing was going backward and that everything in my life was “on hold”¬† I went to work, came home and took care of Grace and went to bed.¬† It was all I had the strength to do.¬† When I look back and see how far I’ve come in just a couple of years, it has all been because of VERY tiny baby steps.¬† very tiny steps (and some patience.)¬† A few things that have helped me are:

  • Having good cheerleaders (When people are telling you that they’re proud of you and you can do it, you begin to believe them.)
  • Writing things down. (To do lists, goals for the year, month, week, and breaking the BIG goals down into manageable steps.)
  • Maintaining a positive attitude and outlook.¬† Yes there have been tough times, but I choose to not let it ruin my day, or my life, I’m making a conscious choice to have a “good day” even when bad things happen.
  • Prayer.¬† BIG things come up that I don’t have the answers to.¬† Lucky for me, I know someone who does know all the answers, and He’s available 24/7.

I also got some VERY good advice from a wise single mom before Grace was born.¬† She told me to remember that I ALWAYS have options, I don’t ever have to feel like I’m “stuck” somewhere in life.¬† She told me to put things into perspective and remember that what I’m going through is only “temporary” (pregnancy, finding a job, losing weight, finding a house, making a car payment, working long hours, illnesses¬†etc. even though it may FEEL like it takes forever.)¬† She told me to put Grace first above myself, and most of all she told me, “You can do it.¬† I did it for many years, and you can do it too.”

I cannot tell you how many times our conversation has replayed in my mind.¬† She gave me perspective, encouragement, empowerment, and HOPE.¬† In our short conversation, she inspired me to do great things with the rest of my life…….she made me realize that I had to stop floating through life day to day and come up with a long range plan or I’d never end up where I wanted to be.¬† I wasn’t going to happen magically overnight.

It took me awhile to sort through everything, get back on track and be able to move forward with my life, but it’s been well worth all of the time and effort.¬† Because of her advice to put Grace first above myself, I am living out my dream to be self-employed and have more time for being a mom.¬† I’m not someone who’s an extraordinary super mom.¬† I’m just a single mom who loves her little one and wants to be the best mom I can be.¬† I’m not someone who has fairy dust in her back pocket¬†to make everything turn out “Happily Everafter”¬† I’m just working on my goals little by little.¬†¬†But I am someone who is telling you that¬†no matter where you are in life and no matter where you want to be, with a little bit of determination, goal setting and extra effort…..YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!

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It’s almost 11:00pm here in Cali, it’s been quite the day, Grace and I just finished having a “camp out” in her room before putting her in bed, but I’ve wanted to write this post for quite some time, so here we go…….

I am big on goals.¬† For a long time, I’ve set New Year’s Goals instead of resolutions.¬† I feel like when you set a resolution, you break it a few days (or a few hours) later and you give up on them…..when you set a goal, it gives you something to work toward.

I’ve set New Year’s Goals for several years now, but a¬†few years ago, I started setting my New Year’s Goals as long term goals for the year, and then I set goals at the beginning of the month for that month.¬† The first year I did this, my goals each month were PATHETIC.¬† I was SOOOOO busy at the time I barely had time to breathe, so everything was getting pushed aside into a “Someday I want to….” list.¬† I decided to make “someday” now, so I started working on my goals.¬† Some of my pathetic goals were things like “research how much it will cost to touch up the paint on the front end of my car”¬† (I know….what does that take….3 Phone calls?¬† But I was so busy, and if it’s something I’ve never done before, I put it off forever, which is why these things kept piling up.) or “figure out how to ebay.”¬† My rule was that whatever my goal for the month was, I had to have it done by the LAST DAY of that month.¬† If I got done earlier, I could set another goal, but I counted it successful if the goal was accomplished by the end of the month….well, let’s just say that the majority of that year, I finished my goal in the last couple of days of the month.¬†

I learned SO much that year by setting my goals and working on them.  That was the year I learned how to do my taxes myself, how to weave baskets, how to ebay, and lots more.  I was so excited and I felt like I was accomplishing SO much (I was).  The next year, I was so excited about setting goals and working on them, again I got a LOT accomplished that year.

This year, I’m getting so good at setting and accomplishing goals that I usually set goals for the WEEK. (and it’s usually more than one goal a week……compared to the one goal a MONTH that I was setting previously.)¬† It feels so good to get things accomplished and to be making progress in my life!

So, this is the story of how I used goals so I can quit my job and teach piano lessons for a living.¬† (Something that a couple of years ago I thought was impossible….it was on my “Someday” list.)

First of all, goals have to be SMART.¬† That is Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Timely, in order for them to work.¬† For example, I am not a person who likes to exercise, and I currently don’t exercise more than a couple of times a month, so if I set a goal to go to the gym and work out an hour a day for 5 days, that’s not going to work……Just the thought of that goal overwhelms me and it will NEVER get done.¬† A SMART goal would be to say that my goal is to Swim 30 minutes once a week.¬† Once I reach that goal, I can say that my goal is to swim for 45 minutes twice a week, etc.¬† The point is that if I just say I will “exercise” it’s not going to happen, I have to be specific and say that I will swim.¬† If I don’t exercise now and my goal is to exercise an hour a day 5 days a week, that’s not reasonable, and it’s not attainable.¬† I’m defeating myself before I even get started,¬†but by breaking my goals up into small action steps they are SMART for me, and I can work up to the bigger goals.

This is how I did it for teaching piano.¬† I did the math and I know that at my current rate, I need 30 students to make what I’m making at my job.¬† 30 students is a lot when you only have 2 students.¬† So I told myself, work toward 10 students.¬† Then you can work toward 15 students, when you get 15 students, you can quit your job and work toward 20 students.¬† Do you see how this works?¬† Small steps.¬† The other things that I did during the last year to get ready to quit my job and teach for a living were:

  • Pay off my car (and lower my insurance premium.)
  • Put money in savings.
  • Talk to other Piano teachers to figure out the details.
  • Work on marketing ideas.
  • Talk to the Small Business Association for advice.
  • A¬†LOT of prayer went into this too.

  As far as weekly goals, I split them into goals for the week and goals for the weekend.  My goal may be something as simple as getting to the music store, or it maybe something big like building Grace a swingset, either way by breaking it into attainable action steps, I get them done.  To do lists help a lot with this too.

It’s not that I don’t have time for fun, but by setting my goals and working toward them, I am not only accomplishing things on a daily basis, but I am able to look at the priorities in my life and work on my personal goals.¬†¬†SMART goals have helped me move from wishing that I could stay home with Grace and teach piano, to making it a reality.

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