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Finance, Fitness, Goals, Mind

Goals & Progress Update

I’ve been feeling uninspired to post so let’s try a quick no-frills update!

Goal: Prepare financially to buy a home in the next 12 months.

Progress: I’ve made huge strides here by significantly reducing my debt at the top of the month. This should boost my credit score over the next several months.

In the meantime, all debt repayment is being redirected into savings for a down payment!

Goal: Lose 10% of body weight by July.

Progress: I’m not feeling brave enough to post my actual weight yet, but thus far I’ve dropped just under 8 lbs since the start of the month. I appreciate this rate of loss will slow, but the boost is certainly inspiring to keep up momentum!

I have been eating primarily vegetarian, having eaten my first meat of the year on Friday. I’ve also been avoiding soda and alcohol as to stay away from empty calories and snack-inducing vibes.

I have also been taking part in a 30 day yoga a challenge through Yoga With Adriene and haven’t missed a day yet! This makes sure I get in at least one workout a day, and usually inspired me to get in more.

Some other habits I’ve maintained but aren’t primary goals include reading daily (I’ve been having trouble with this one, but I believe it was my book choice…) and studying French via Duolingo everyday (success so far). I’m looking forward to see how my progress continues over the coming months!

Goals, Mind


“The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

I keep a bullet journal (if you aren’t sure what that is, watch this.)  A significant and probably the most impactful part is my habit tracker. As the name suggests, a habit tracker is a chart where I track if I’ve met small daily goals, including both things I want to do and things I don’t want to do. Peruse some of my tasks below!

Wake @ 7AM


No spending

No alcohol

Make bed



Walk Miles x3

Water plants

Face routine


Eat vegetarian

Eat vegan

The habit tracker does several things to keep me motivated and, well, on track:

  • Manually keeping track of tasks lets me visualize how I’m doing. Having an off day isn’t a big deal, but having several off days is glaring (and disappointing!) so there is a need to get back on track.
  • I am a stereotypical gamer. I like challenges, I like streaks, and I love achievements. I find it motivating to see how many days I can complete 100% in a row. On a smaller scale, it’s also satisfying to simply check off a box as done!
  • Forcing myself to do the same things every day, or even if I don’t do them then to simply acknowledge that the incomplete task, is an incredible way to ingrain these tasks so they more easily become habits.
  • Doing the same things every day also helps create a schedule. To complete the tasks, you naturally find what times of day and what order of activities best suits your needs. Establishing a schedule also makes your day more efficient, freeing up time to accomplish even more!
  • Tracking your intended habits helps prove what works – and what doesn’t. The structure actually creates a sort of flexibility to adjust goals to ensure your success. For example, I originally set a goal to wake up at 6AM every day. I hadn’t met that goal once this year, but I realized I had gotten up at 7AM several days (still a vast improvement to my 8AM snooze habit). I adjusted the goal so that it was more easily attainable; once 7AM is consistent, I can consider bumping it up to 6AM again!

So far this year, I’ve done well at completing an average of more tasks each day than the days prior. I’m still not at a daily 100% completion rate but I am still making noticeable progress toward my 2018 goals!

Do you track daily habits? If yes, what tracking “system” works for you?


The Boomerang Effect

Meal prep (2 Jan 2018)

In my experience, there are three parts to forming and fulfilling goals:

  1. Aspirations: an unformed goal; the desire to achieve something vague (i.e. “I want to get fit”)
  2. Goals: S.MA.R.T. (i.e. “I want to lose 10% of my body weight by June 30, 2018”)
  3. Habits: the daily actions that lead to fulfillment of the goal (i.e. plant-based meals, no soda, no alcohol, exercise)

Aspirations beget goals. Goals beget habits. Habits fulfill goals. Goals fulfill aspirations. Thus, the Boomerang Effect.

I also like to think of the Boomerang Effect leading you back to yourself after your journey, whatever it may be. I’m finding this to be particularly relevant in Yoga With Adriene‘s 30 day program to kickstart the new year, True (which Shaunna recommended to me and I would highly recommend to you!). While each day has its own focus, the overarching theme is to discover, acknowledge, and honor yourself.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. I’ve been musing over the topic of goals long enough, and will delve into my personal intentions and progress soon. I hope yours are going well now that we’re nearing the end of week 1 in 2018!


Goals: The How

Smoothie prep (31 Dec 2017)

When you set your S.M.A.R.T. goal, you likely imagined what it will feel like once you succeed. That excitement and motivation rolls right into planning and research. Preparing for your journey is one of the most invigorating parts of the process. Unfortunately, it can also be an area where we can spend too much time, energy, and money. Let’s break down those resources, how to appropriately use them to set ourselves up for success, and what happens when we don’t.

The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now.

The time you spend researching and preparing (“I’ll start as soon as the Ultra Useful Product 9000 arrives from Amazon in a few days!”) can very quickly turn into excuses that keep you farther from your goal. In fact, when you know a change is impending, you’re more likely to do the very things you intend to stop (“If I’m planning to save money by ordering out less, I better take advantage and order delivery while I can!”) Don’t give yourself the wiggle room to work against yourself. Start now so you either have more time to, or sooner, meet your goal.

Where focus goes, energy goes.

Energy is not an infinite resource. We sleep daily, consume caffeine, and usually make or break plans around our energy levels. We only have so much energy to give toward a certain project before it’s depleted and we begin weighing our options of what else we want or need to do. Don’t waste valuable energy focusing too much on the easy, less impactful part of your journey – save that burst of energy from your excitement to actually get started!

Don’t underestimate yourself; you can multitask research and planning while you actively make changes to work toward your goal.

Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.

Buying tools, toys, and trinkets can be motivating and fun. I’m especially guilty of this, buying new running shoes to motivate myself at the start of setting a running goal; buying a cookbook for a diet change; buying a notebook to keep a journal when I haven’t kept one for years. While what you buy may be 100% (or as a close friend of mine would say, 200%) useful and relevant to achieving your goal, in most cases it is not necessary.

Work with what you have. Get over the hump of starting to make positive changes: make measurable progress, and reward yourself with that helpful item. Doing this allows the initial motivation of setting your goal to kickstart your journey, and subsequently acts as a “turbo” button to create additional motivation from the reward to keep momentum going when you find yourself struggling.

What do you find has helped or hurt you in the process of achieving your goals?


Goals: The What

Snow in Austin, TX (31 Dec 2017)

Setting goals is easy, exciting, and even satisfying, but fulfilling them is the real challenge. What part of the process fails us when we don’t reach our goals?

Some research shows telling those around you what you’re trying to achieve negatively impacts your chances of success. There’s an interesting Ted Talk on the subject. Per those sources, telling others your goals gives you a false feeling of achievement, leading to complacency since you’ve already made “progress” (not!).

I agree that announcing your goals can be a factor, but once you’re self aware, it’s easy to overcome. Instead, I believe the largest problem with goals is when they aren’t S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific: no generalities; instead of “I want to run farther” say “I will run a 10k by March 2018”
  • Measurable: without a defined end goal, it is impossible to see progress which can diminish motivation
  • Achievable: it must be something you can see yourself accomplishing because it is easy to be discouraged when a goal seems out of reach; instead of going from not running to “I want to run a marathon” say “I will run a 5K” – work up to the larger goal
  • Relevant: if your goal doesn’t directly relate to a passion, hobby, or even work, loss of interest is inevitable
  • Timely: if there is no deadline, there is no fire!

When goals don’t meet all of the above – when a goal can’t answer who/what/when/where/why – it’s very easy to let them fall by the wayside. It’s no surprise, and certainly no one’s fault! Why would you stick with a goal that isn’t relevant to your current interests? How can you achieve a goal when there’s no way to know what’s actually been achieved?

This year, all of my goals are going to be S.M.A.R.T. certified. We’ll visit my goals and intentions for 2018 in the coming days.

In the meantime, have an incredible New Year’s! Have fun and be safe! (It’s snowing in Austin – what’re the odds?! I almost ate it taking Miles downstairs for a walk…)