Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tactics Thursday

Did you do your brain dump yesterday? Have your life list ready? We will consider this list your forest. Now we’re going to get to the trees, branches, and leaves.

To start off, select the first three items on your list that you would like to accomplish. These are your first three "trees". I will give you examples:

1. I’d like to lose weight.
2. I want to go to Italy.
3. I want to begin exercising regularly.

These are good goals, but we need to be more specific. S.M.A.R.T. (refer back to my blog posting on September 26th) (CLICK HERE TO READ) So let’s get a better handle on these goals by adding details (or branches):

1. I’d like to lose 10 pounds by May 1st.
2. I want to go to Italy in the Fall of 2012.
3. I want to exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes and walk 30 minutes on the other four days.

Now you’ve got branches on which to climb up to achieve those goals. The next step is the leaves on those branches. You need to look at those branches, and determine the next steps necessary to get there. It goes something like this:

1. In order to lose 10 pounds by May 1st, I need to lose 2 lbs a month, or a little over 17 weeks, which is about a half a pound a week. One pound is 3,500 calories, so if I eliminate 250 calories a day between what I eat and burn with exercise, I will lose a half-pound a week. I can do this by sticking with my new exercise plan, keeping a food journal daily to check my calories, and being more intentional about my snacks. I’ll try to swap out a piece of fruit for cookies more often.

2. I will begin by research air fares and hotels in Italy, or by contacting a travel agent. Once I know how much it will cost, I will begin putting money away each week towards my new “Italy Fund”. If the trip will cost $3,000, for example, and I want to go on October 1st, I will need to save $75 a week. To save a little more, I can bring my lunch from home instead of eating out, I can make my coffee at home, and I can clean out my closets and basement and plan on a big garage sale in the spring.

3. I will block off time on my calendar three days a week to work out at home or go to the gym. For example, I will hit the gym on the way home from work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 5:30 7:00pm. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and the weekends I will walk at lunchtime or on the weekends in the mornings.

So you see, these are smaller, manageable “leaves” ways in which to reach those lofty goals. Once you’ve gotten comfortable in taking on your first three goals and breaking them down, take your next three goals and so the same… and so on… and so on. Now realize that perhaps some of your goals will take a long amount of time (for example, you want to finish your college degree). That’s okay. Take one course at a time. In five years you may be done – if you give up and say you can’t do it, you will be five years older and still have no degree. Slow and steady, wild woman! It can be done. It may take a lot of blood, sweat, tears, planning, prayers, and good old-fashioned gumption, but it can be done. Start that first step TODAY - turn over one new leaf towards the accomplishment of your dreams.


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