Quarter 2 Started 2 Weeks Ago – How’s Your Progress?

I need this as much as anyone.

Anyone read Mark’s Daily Apple? He had a post the other day with a worksheet about assessing your progress on the goals you made for 2011. I decided to link to it here instead of reinvent his wheel, but here’s the rundown:

How’s your progress?

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you may have seen my posts on the importance of setting goals and tracking them. If you don’t know where you want to end up, you can’t know how to get there nor when you arrive. Tracking the goals is like getting your turn by turn directions.

You might be just starting, and that’s fantastic. Maybe this post is just a refresher for you. But if you’re like me, you’ve been doing this since January (or maybe even December), and it’s time for a quarterly review. April is the start of Quarter 2, so it’s important to take a look back to make sure we’re on the right path.

Refocus if necessary

When I look at where I am today versus where I wanted to have been by now, I’m only half-way there. Ideally I would have been losing 10lbs a month, but because I haven’t been dead focused on it, I have missed that mark. I am definitely doing way better than I have done in previous years, for sure. I’ve consistently lost weight (overall) since Christmas, and I’ve kept everything off that I lost in Paraguay. However I need to start thinking better about food again and reminding myself that I don’t need to overeat anymore.

You might need to refocus like that as well. Maybe you started awesome in January, but three months later you find yourself restarting every week. Maybe you can even pinpoint a specific day or weekend that killed all motivation, but you’ve been reading this blog since then, each time telling yourself you’ll start tomorrow. I’ve been there for sure. That’s why I feel OK telling you to stop starting tomorrow and just start this afternoon!

Or maybe you don’t need to refocus at all. You started strong and you’ve been going strong, but you’re getting a little bored. Experiment with new foods. Now that the weather is nice, you can start jogging or swimming or hiking. Maybe all your exercise has been in your house, or maybe even in a gym, but it’s time for something new. Find a way to make your Q2 fitness as fresh as it was when you started in January! Maybe you’re killing it so hard you need to upgrade your challenge!

Take stock: Fill out the worksheet

I’m not going to rehash Mark’s progress check post here, but here are the questions from the worksheet, with my answers filled in.

What changes have you made since January?
I’ve been eating better this year than I ever have before. Staying away for the most part from the white carbs has made a difference in my energy level during the day as well as my ability to sleep comfortably at night (my reflux has gone away). I’ve started exercising again too, specifically with kettlebells and jogging.

What tools and practices have helped you along the way?
I think the biggest thing that’s helped me keep going is writing this blog and reading others. Also the 4HB Talk forums have been great for tips and motivation. As far as practices, filling up my water bottle as soon as it’s empty has kept me much more hydrated. As far as food goes, taking my lunch to work every day has helped me to avoid dangerous places (like Red Robin), and eating a good breakfast has kept me full to avoid the morning pastry munchies.

What challenges are you still working on?
The biggest challenge I have to my progress is avoiding cheat situations when they’re not scheduled. It’s too easy to eat a bit of candy here and there in my office. It’s getting easier to walk past it, but I have to literally walk past a bowl of candy to get to my desk. There is no other way around it unless I want to jump the wall. I’ve thought about that. ;) It’s also tough to stay on plan on Saturdays (Sunday is my official “cheat day”). I haven’t developed a strategy for overcoming that challenge yet.

What goals do you have moving in to the second quarter of the year?
My main goal is to be dropping 2 lbs a week. I’ll do that by really taking hold of my food and making sure I stick to the plan as well as working on my second goal. My second goal is to finish the Mud Run 5K here in May in under 40 mins. I’m training with my wife, and that will also help the fat loss. My final goal is to finish my 10-email series that I’m developing for my readers. That’s not directly related to my personal fitness necessarily, but via the transitive property it is. It will keep me motivated to keep producing results, and it will involve me coming up with more great recipes for you all.

If you want to, go download Mark’s worksheet, print it out, and hang it on your fridge. I’m going to do the same.

Plan towards Q3

I want to kill it before July. There are a few races I want to do this summer, but I also would like to be starting to look better without a shirt on for the beach. Above all, I want to be able to show my wife that I am making really solid progress. I want to help you all along your ways as well. As I learn new things, I’ll post them here and we’ll be discussing and comparing notes. That’s one of my favorite parts of this whole thing.

If you need some refreshers to get your Q2 plans under way, go back to some of your resources from Q1 and find new inspiration. Check out some of the tags on FMF to find some as well. You can even ask me questions and I’ll do my best to answer them here with solid 4HB info. I’d love to see this community of readers grow and flourish as we head into the summer. This is our year!

What are some of the answers to your worksheet questions? Do you have any resources that can help fellow 4HBers on their way to an awesome Q2? Drop them in the comments!

-j

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Comments

  1. Hey Jason,

    Great post as usual, got me thinking about my lack of tracking my progress and my next post. Will probably be something like refocusing after you reach your goals.

    I have been just going through the motions for the past few weeks because i am pretty happy where I am with my weight and BF% so I don’t track them. But you lose focus when you stop tracking progress.

    Look for my upcoming post on Refocusing :)
    Justin recently posted..My Success … So Far

  2. Another excellent post. I found this article to be helpful. (Disregard the title. It doesn’t devalue goals entirely, but gives some suggestions on how to make them effective.)

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201104/why-goal-setting-doesnt-work

    When I started reading 4HB blogs earlier this year I was amazed at how many bloggers didn’t recognize the fact that a complete lifestyle overhaul was unlikely to be successful and sustainable. They didn’t have realistic or measurable goals. They thought they could go from an entirely sedentary, fast-food lifestyle to hitting the gym for 90 minutes every single day for the rest of their lives. Sure enough, most of them petered out within 7-10 days. I think setting and achieving smaller goals would have led them to greater success.

    One of the things I love is the cheat day. It helps break up the time into manageable chunks (one week at a time, rather than feeling like I’m going to be dieting for the next 6 or 8 months). I can’t reasonably say, “I’ll never eat junk food again” and expect to be successful. But I can say, “I’d love to eat that cake.. And I will… on my cheat day. I’ll eat the whole thing.” (I’ve never been able to eat the whole cake, though…. not that I haven’t tried. :-) )

    • Thanks for the insight, Andrea! And the other post. Seems like I wrote a similar one on Jan 1 (one of the first posts in this blog). :)

      http://www.findingmyfitness.com/2011/01/resolutions-work/

      I’ve spoken a lot about setting REACHABLE goals and starting small. It’s something that was so important for me to be going down this road. Sometimes it’s important to set ambitious goals, but especially at first, and when one is prone to not following through (*raises hand*), the small goals are the ones I finish. Small wins = more motivation for bigger wins.

      I think I have a new goal for you: eat a whole cake on your cheat day! ;)

      -j

  3. What a great thought provoking post. What has kept me going with #4hb has been the community. Between blogs and twitter there’s always a place to find support or find answers to questions, and even new recipes and ideas when things start getting stale. It’s really is an awesome community! I also have to mention that I work for a large public health agency, and the support I get from my co-workers has just been incredible. It really helps me to get through the work day without slip-ups. It’s kind of an office joke that, “if it’s not made from beans, hide it from Dale”. Some drop by my office and simply ask “how much?”, weight loss, then walk away. I think there’s an inter-office betting pool that I don’t know about. It’s just funny and at the same time encouraging.

    As far as goals for the next quarter, I just want to keep tweaking. I’m averaging 2-3 lbs of loss per week, and I’m curious if I can hit 4 or 5. Maybe even sustain that. #4hb is a big fat experiment and I’m loving it!
    Dale recently posted..Week Nine Binge Day

    • Dale, I think that’s my biggest conflict…I want to tweak stuff one by one, but at the same time I want to get some big numbers for a while. :) I think I’ll focus on the numbers for a while, or like Justin suggested focus on exercise and let the numbers follow. In the summer when I’m in the 270s I’ll take my time and do some more experimenting.

      -j

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