All Entries For goals
Planning ahead is a common key ingredient to a successful story, no matter what the goal may be. Having a plan will not only help you reach your goal(s), but it can help you stay on track with your goal(s) a lot easier. Something that I have experienced and greatly believe in is having a plan, along with having alternative plans for those times of "just in case." Similarly, Coach Nicole has blogged about developing a Plan B, which has helped numerous people, including myself when times get busy or tough. I'm sure many of you have experienced those times when unexpected things come up and catch you completely off guard. When you have a plan, plan B, and maybe even a plan C, you are more likely to stick with your goal(s), which will make you happier in the end and you will have given yourself a perfect recipe for success.
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Do you ever find yourself wondering why you should keep trying? Are you considering giving up because your progress is slow or nonexistent? I'm specifically talking about continuing to get and stay healthy, but the thoughts I am sharing could also be used in other areas of your life.
Getting out of a rut can be hard work. You get tired of fighting to change yourself or the ''thing'' in your life that needs changing, and you just want to lay down in the rut and give up. Accepting "what is" becomes easier than struggling to get to "what could be." The vision or dream becomes lost in the midst of everyday life.
I’ve seen hundreds of posts during my time on SparkPeople where people ask variations of the same question: "Why should I keep trying?" Hope has faded and they’ve lost their way momentarily. We all go through that. How do you gather the energy to suit up and get back in the game? Why should you? One of the things that has kept me pushing forward is the opportunity to experience more in life. When I was heavier, it took all of my energy to get through the general tasks of each day. There wasn’t anything left for finding the "what could be" in my life. Read More ›
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about how I normally work out alone, whether I'm at the gym or at home. I also shared my concerns that I had about taking fitness classes and asked for recommendations for getting over those concerns. I was impressed by the amazing amount of positive and supportive comments, along with the fitness class recommendations that were made on that blog and I truly thank each and every one of you that left a comment! In response to those wonderful comments that you all left on that blog, I wanted to write another blog to let you know what I have done since then.
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I used to feel like running was a big part of who I was. I was always looking forward to the next race and training for something. Even though I had days where the run was rough, I didn’t feel good or I was tired and didn’t want to go, I always felt good when it was over. That feeling is what kept me going and what kept me motivated to continue challenging myself through the sport.
Recently, I’ve been struggling to remember what it was like to love running. I’m still a regular runner, but going out for a run just isn’t what it used to be. I’m currently training for a half-marathon so I feel like I need to stick to the schedule. But most of the time I don’t really want to go, which is unusual for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m so busy, I’m tired (3 young kids will do that to you), or because I miss training for events with a group (which I just haven’t had time to do since baby #3 arrived.) Maybe it’s a combination of those things. Read More ›
Have you ever seen any of the X-Men movies? During an action-packed scene in the latest movie, the Captain of a naval vessel shouted out a line that really spoke to me. As things heightened to a climax in the standoff he turned and yelled to someone else in the room, ''Gun Boss, prepare to fire!'' Why on earth would that ''speak'' to me, you wonder?
For almost four years, I have been personally engaged in a battle to fight my way healthy from a state of morbid obesity. I embrace the idea of having lots of weapons at my disposal to aid me in the battle. (I mean no offense to anyone by using a military example of a battle. It’s just something that is very clear to me in my mind.) What if that Gun Boss had been unprepared to engage in the battle? What if he had forgotten to load the missiles onto the ship when it was in harbor? What if he had failed to prepare his staff to know how to maintain them, and load them when the time came? That crew wouldn’t have stood a chance to defend themselves. There wasn’t time in that moment to go back and do any of those things. Either he was ready or he was going to lose.
The position of Gun Boss was critical in that scenario, and it reminds me that I am in a similar position in my own struggle to health. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you’ll know that I consider preparedness to be critical to success. Using all that is available to us to be prepared in that moment when you need to be your own Gun Boss. What can you do to be prepared on a day to day basis to fight the battle against the bulge? Read More ›
Throughout the years of being a member and employee of SparkPeople, I have seen many success stories on the site. While a lot of those success stories started out being weight-loss related, they turned into so much more. As many of those members lost weight, they also gained much more than that: confidence. Confidence is not always something that comes easy for many, including myself.
When I embarked on my weight-loss journey back in 2004, I never imagined that I would get so much more out of reaching my goals. For me, I gained confidence in myself and the ability to do whatever I set my mind on. After reaching some of my goals with SparkPeople, I started doing Tae Kwon Do and stuck with that for several years (until I moved to a new state where there isn't a place to train nearby). That was a huge step for me as I could never imagine all the things that I actually did when I was training in martial arts.
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One of the reasons I have managed to work out consistently for many years is that I always keep my routines fresh and interesting. For me, it's not enough to just change up my strength-training routine or running route (although I do both). I also like to set new goals to give myself something to look forward to with anticipation and excitement.
With winter behind us and the spring in full swing, now is a great time to revisit your fitness goals and try something new—especially if it involves the great outdoors. Here's what I'm doing this spring, plus a few more fitness ideas that are perfect for the season of rebirth. Read More ›
Are you looking for something to give you an extra push in the right direction to help you reach your goals? Or maybe you just want to join a team that can help you find that motivation you are looking for. Many of you may already belong to SparkTeams that might help you with motivation and accountability, but some of you may not know that SparkPeople actually has a Challenge Central page that has Challenges that are geared toward specific goals.
SparkPeople’s Challenge Central offers various “official” challenges that “give you a specific plan to follow and all the information you need to reach a new goal or make a new personal breakthrough.” So not only do you get to be a part of a challenge that is offered by SparkPeople and led by SparkPeople Coaches (along with the help of co-leaders who are experienced SparkPeople members), but you also get detailed information on how to complete the Challenge and you can earn a SparkTrophy for each of the Challenges from the Challenge Central page that you complete!
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Have you ever seen an episode of StarGate? The series is no longer being produced, but a few years ago, I watched it faithfully. Yes, I am a Sci-Fi geek! In the show, the people had a ''StarGate'' that they could step through and travel to another planet within a matter of minutes. They were explorers traveling from earth to various locations in the universe. Periodically – okay, in most episodes – they would stumble across bad guys intent on destroying life as we know it and they would have to protect the earth or face certain disaster. On a few occasions, they would write themselves notes telling them not to go to Planet XYZ and throw it back into the Star Gate to their past self. The past self could then decide the note was a warning and take Planet XYZ off the gate system so no one would ever travel there, thereby averting the disaster in the first place. They would then go on their merry way exploring other new worlds.
Can you imagine what it would be like if we had the power to send ourselves a note into the past? When I thought about this I knew exactly where in my past I would have sent it and what I would have said. When I was in high school I swam for two teams (school and city league), but after my senior year I just stopped. The junior college I started out at didn’t have a team. I quickly gained the freshman 15-20lbs. That started the yo-yo cycle that became a substantial part of my adult life. It progressed from the 15-20 all the way up to the 90-100 lb mark. Read More ›
Deciding to change your lifestyle for improved health or to reach weight goals requires commitment. Because the crazy journey often includes successful motivational boosts with trying setbacks and plateaus, people frequently give up on the marathon necessary to reach desired goals. For those that remain focused on the prize and are willing to do the hard work, additional benefits are typically realized especially through personal development in other areas of life.
Being an accountable person means being responsible or answerable to someone for something. Self-accountability forces us to be honest with ourselves and to take responsibility for our actions and can be one of the keys to successful personal development and goal achievement. Failing to be accountable for the food we choose to eat or the lack of effort we put into our workouts can be a major pitfall and obstacle to successfully reaching goals that also limits personal development. However, with conscious decisions and intentional effort you can live an accountable life that helps you reach your personal goals while also improving other areas of your life. Here are some tips and tools that might help you begin living a more accountable life.
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I used to think most goals were out of my reach. I live life more day by day as my journey to health continues. Instead of looking at how far I have to go, I rejoice at how far I’ve come. Every extra effort to get where we are going counts as a success in this journey of ours. Even if we fall, we tried. We are like babies learning a new lifestyle of walking, and we should always get up and try again. Wouldn’t it be sad if a baby just decided it was too much effort and never tried to walk? We would weep for the hopes and dreams we would have for him or her.
Hopes and dreams keep me going now. I shop looking at clothes with a “Someday I will wear that” attitude, as opposed to just envying those who can wear it now. No, I probably will never be a size 5, but I’ll have more choices of clothes that I like better. It’s already happening. I never realized I had an active wear side before. Usually, I’m a girly girl. I think new sides of you start to surface as you remove the layers. My husband is sometimes surprised by how drastically my taste in clothing has changed. I have a few shorter skirts and tighter tops and have given up the baggy, frumpy look. I dream of the day of picking anything I want off of the rack at any store I want. Read More ›
I do not live in a perfect world where everything falls into place inside the boxes and lines of my day planner. Few of us do. So many of us can relate to the day-to-day chaos that requires quick decisions made in the heat of battle. I don’t keep the same schedule for more than 7 days at a time. Just as soon as I adjust to day shift, I rotate to midnight shift, then afternoons, then back again. It seems like I am always scrambling to adjust, to regain my balance only to have to adapt again.
Many of us can tell a similar story. Maybe you are someone constantly devoting your time to the care and nurture of others. Maybe you are on the road a lot. Every person has a unique set of challenges that seems to get in the way of their goals.
So how did I do it? How did I manage to overcome all of that, lose 100 pounds and train for a marathon? These are my top must-dos to gain traction on a demanding schedule. Read More ›
Don’t worry -- I’m not talking about that kind of streaking (keep your clothes on). I’m talking about a consistency streak to help you reach your goals (health and non-health-related). Something that I have said in the past, and still believe, is that "Consistency is the key to success! If you are consistent in reaching smaller goals, that leads to bigger goals, and you'll be successful no matter how you look at it."
I recently looked at my SparkStreaks page and noticed that I currently have a streak of 854 days (over 2 years) since my last drink of soda. WOW! That’s a long streak and I am proudly keeping it going. Not only am I keeping track of that goal as a streak though, I’m also keeping track of other various goals on my SparkStreaks page. Some of those include doing a minimum of 4 days of cardio, doing a minimum of 2 strength training session days, drinking at least 8 cups of water daily, and many more. While I am doing great with those streaks, my longest streak is my “don’t drink soda” goal. Now, while that may not seem like a big deal to others, that was a hard habit for me to break. I admit though, the first couple weeks were the hardest for me, but once I got past the first month, it did get easier. The longer I went without soda, it got even easier to not drink it. Today I don’t think a soda sounds appealing at all.
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For me, this is so much more than simply losing weight. I didn’t get to be 170 pounds overweight because all was right in my world. What pushed me to the point where I woke up one day and found a 385-pound man staring back in the mirror?
I sometimes think that the continued popularity of fad diets, quick-fix weight solutions in spite of their dismal track record is simply because it focuses on the symptoms rather than the root cause. These quick-fix, knee-jerk solutions exploit the panic that people feel when they are confronted by their condition. Dealing with the root causes requires digging deep and peeling back painful layers of truth until an answer is unearthed. Unraveling knots is a tedious process.
I believe the path to ultimate success for me isn’t in some mystic root or berry found in a remote part of the world or some new fad fitness routine that will magically melt off pounds. How about the latest gizmo that will flatten your problem areas with just a few minutes a day? If the diet and gizmo industry had the solution, why would obesity still be such an issue?
Before I continue, let's focus on the word ultimate, which I used when describing success. Let me define. The word ultimate can be used in a sense that states that the success that you experience will be unparalleled in its greatness, but that is not the application here. ‘Ultimate’ defined in my statement “ultimate success” is the sum total of all your efforts, the final outcome, where you will finally wind up. In my journey I have lost a lot of skirmishes with my eating addictions yet I have managed to lose more than 100 pounds and keep it off in spite of my failings. My success was ultimately determined by my overall commitment to the ultimate end of reclaiming my life, not in day to day perfection in routine.
So where does the path to ultimate success lie? For me, I found it in identifying the hotspots in my life. Like a firefighter, I have put out a wildfire that threatened to consume my very existence. I have endured, fought and continued to fight the good fight; however, underneath the ashes lie hotspots. Hotspots that threaten to re-ignite with a vengeance. The fire could burn again and all my hard work would be lost.
I have found that if I do not address the forces that influenced me to get to such an unhealthy place, I will soon find myself back there again.
My hotspot. Read More ›
Sam Pisenti, known to his students as Coach Sam, is the beloved Physical Education teacher at Village and Whited Elementary schools in Northern California. He is also my Dad. Recently, NBC Bay Area News featured him in a segment called “A Force of Nurture” about how he’s inspired tens of thousands of students to live healthy and happy lives. When I was a teenager, my Dad decided to lose weight and get healthy, and 20 years later I see the affects in my family and in my community. I can’t think of anyone who epitomizes the values of SparkPeople—the power of one decision, one goal, one belief that the hard work is worth it--than my Dad, Coach Sam. Read More ›