Friday, March 30, 2012

Stress is a Killer... Let's Set Goals Instead!

Oh, dearest readers... I seem to be failing you repeatedly. Try as I might, posting has just taken the absolute lowest rung on the ladder for me. In three very short weeks, I will be exhibiting my thesis show, and while I am completely elated about the exhibition, I am... well, stressed.  I feel somewhat (somewhat) prepared for the actual show itself, but not the oral review board I must face just three days after the opening reception. I am confident (at least for the moment, though this does admittedly change from hour to hour, and day to day) about my choice of subject matter and feel as though I can defend it, but I've already met half of the review board and I will say that they scared the bejesus out of me. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't more than a little intimidated.
If you happen to be in the Denver area, please feel free to stop by. One of my show cards is posted above with details, but there will be more than 20 individuals showing in this particular exhibition so it should be a good one. For those who aren't close enough to make it, never fear, I'm sure I will post pictures at some point after the exhibition.

In all of this, I had an idea and I thought perhaps others would like to join me, so I'm going to share my thoughts here. If it sounds like something that would work for you, please do join in, and if not, that will be just fine too. 

A few months ago when my mother was out visiting, we were going through some old photos and I spotted one of myself when Sam and I were on vacation in mid-2006. I was a bit disgusted with myself that I have slowly allowed weight to creep on to my body. Mind you, I've never been a tiny person and I never will be, but when I saw that photo of myself as I was training to run my first marathon, I realized that I really have allowed a busy schedule and hectic life to take its toll in pounds on my body. A few weeks ago I decided that I'd had enough and went to work on carefully recording my food intake and exercise. It was a big shock for me to realize how many calories I was consuming, even though most days I was eating only one meal. The problem was that the one meal would consist of whatever was easy to find, and in larger quantities than necessary (not to mention the fact that eating one meal a day is just unhealthy in itself). I went back to my "training days" philosophy and started eating oatmeal in the morning (even if I don't have time), and trying my best to eat good, whole foods. Last week, I joined a local kickboxing class as well. Although I have been riding my bike, the rides have been less than 15 mile rides and I simply loathe the gym as a routine, so I had to find something to keep my interest. Now, I can ride my bike to the kickboxing class, and then ride on the off days as well.

So, what's the deal?  Well, I will first state that I am absolutely NOT a proponent of pushing weight loss on others, nor do I wish to be the scale nazi, nor do I think that beautiful people come in only one size (for the record I am perfectly happy being larger, but there is a limit to how overweight I want to be - and I have exceeded that limit)...however, I also know that it helps me with my goals when I have someone to be accountable to, or at least a small group that is trying to achieve something as well. So, I thought we could do a kind of contest that begins on Sunday, April 1, 2012 (no, it's not an April Fool's joke, but I thought it would make it convenient to end it on September 1 for an even 5 months, so it just works out this way). 

Here is what I am thinking, but please feel free to provide input and we can modify as necessary or appropriate. We will have a "contest" <-- (I hate to use that word, but I think it might work to call it this) in which anyone/everyone may participate. There would be four monthly mini-goals, and then the final five month mega goal. The actual requirements of the contest will be self-generated - meaning, if you want to lose 10 pounds in five months, that is fine, or if you want to be 2 minutes faster on your bike sprints in 1 month that is great too, or whatever your personal goal may be. The only requirement is that you list a goal for each 1st of the month (so: by May 1, June 1, July 1, Aug 1, and finally Sept 1 you will accomplish "X" goal), and then check in with your progress by the first of the month. It can be the same goal with modified results (such as "I want to cover 5 miles more on my bike by 5/1, and then 10 miles more by 6/1), or a completely different goal each month - the decision is yours.

To help get it started, I will list mine here. Please feel free to put yours in comments. I can even put them all into a post as of April 1st, so that it's something that's easy to find if anyone thinks that is easier.
For G.E.:
As of May 1: Complete kickboxing class without having to stop for air (man, that is one tough class!)
As of June 1: Lose 10 pounds (I don't think 5 lbs a month for my level of chubbs is unreasonable)
As of July 1: Have current jeans falling off of me, forcing purchase of new jeans (yay for new clothes!)
As of Aug 1: Complete a 50 mile bike ride (this is a big deal for me b/c my hands generally can't hold out more than about 35 miles, even after training for several months)
As of Sept 1: Lose a total of 25 pounds from start date of April 1st

Of course this is all on the honor system, but I would hope if you're making the decision to participate, you want to complete the goals, so it doesn't benefit you to make up information. If anyone wants to submit before/after pics, I am happy to take those via email (endlessvelolove {at} gmail {dot} com), or anything else you'd rather submit via that means is of course fine too. As far as a prize (let's face it, it's not a contest unless there's a prize), I'm still debating this, but I am thinking about little first of the month prizes and then a final prize at the end. The problem is I'm not entirely sure how to judge these because the goals will be different for everyone. Anyone have suggestions? I'm thinking a cash prize would be nice for the final big goal, but I'm not absolutely set on that, so please feel free to throw in your ideas. What about little mini prizes in between? What would help keep you motivated? We could always do a vote for who should win each month, or do a randomly generated winner as with the holiday giveaway. I really am open to ideas for all of this, so please do chime in.


  1. I love this and want to participate! My jeans are getting tight again and this challenge will help spur me back onto the path towards making them loose again. (I'm totally cribbing one of your goals, by the way.)

    Melanie Suzanne's Goals:
    May 1: Attend four zumba classes.
    Jun 1: Complete at 75 miles ride.
    Jul 1: Complete a 100 mile ride.
    Aug 1: Be independently wealthy. (I kid, I kid...) Do strength training/upper body work twice a week.
    Sep 1: Lose at least 25 pounds from Apr 1.

    I don't know about the prize thing... I think the most fair way to go about it would be using the random winner generator from last December. I think a piece of G.E. artwork would be a splendiferous big prize. Of course, we'd need to figure out something for ~you~. Hrm. More thought required.

    1. I love your goals, Melanie, and am glad you want to participate. :O) I'm not sure anyone is going to want a painting from me, but I'm open to that as a prize. Maybe I could offer up a pet portrait or human portrait (depending on the winners' desires), or it could be an option. I'm trying to keep my thinking cap on for this too.

      Oh, and don't worry about me... honestly, being able to accomplish the goals is prize enough to keep me happy.

  2. Here are my goals:

    May 1: Ride to work at least 5 times.
    Jun 1: Ride my first metric century (67 and some change)
    Jul 1: Lose 15 pounds (started 15 days ago)
    Aug 1: Ride with my little brother at least 3 times over the summer, road or mountain.

    Exciting, I know!


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