The Ultimate Goal Setting Blog Post!

Your One Stop Shop to Frame Out Health and Fitness Goals!

This blog post is designed to help you explore resources, and programs which will help you develop, and follow through on Health and Fitness Goals! Included in this post will be:

  1. Overview of “CoJourn” personal development program, and some sharing of my experience with the program.
  2. Video interview with Dr. Molly Keehn, Co-Founder of the CoJourn program.
  3. What a Personal Mission statement is, and how mission/purpose may be helpful in development of goals.
  4. Helpful tips to find the time you need to develop and accomplish goals!
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What is CoJourn?

In my own words, CoJourn is a personal development program, which combines goal setting and accountability with human connection. Please take a look at the CoJourn website for a more detailed breakdown in the words of the founders, and helpful resources, and contact information.

One key piece of research that backs up the accountability piece of CoJourn, when you write down a goal, you are 76% likely to follow through (compared to 35% when you don’t). If you tell someone your goals, you generate what the program calls “interpersonal accountability”, which can have an even more enhanced effect than personal accountability to yourself.

The very basics of the program in my own words are:

  1. Find a partner who will agree to meet with you (in person, phone, or video chat) once per week.
  2. Decide with your partner the length of time you will work together (3 months to a year, typically), develop a contract/agreement, and both of you sign it.
  3. Work with your partner and each of you develop your own “Guiding Theme” for the program, which is one broad focus area written in your own words that gets you excited to learn and improve.
  4. During your weekly meetings with your partner, develop goals (called “milestones”) which work towards your guiding theme, write these down, and track them.
  5. Celebrate your successes with your partner!
  6. Practice self compassion, if you don’t follow through on a goal when life happens, be kind to yourself and find something that is realistic for you at that time.
  7. Complete a reflection meeting with your partner at the end of your established time together, celebrate all of your goals accomplished and wins!

Interview with Dr. Molly Keehn, Co-Founder of CoJourn

Interview with Dr. Molly Keehn

CoJourn Interview Highlights

During our interview, Molly and I explore the foundations and structure of the CoJourn program. Molly also asks me some questions about personal experience with the program.

Why a Guiding Theme?

Molly explains that a Guiding theme is part of CoJourn to help us narrow our focus to a single area of improvement, rather than making many, individual, unrelated goals and trying to accomplish them all at once. I gave the example of having a new years resolution to fix many aspects of one’s life, and falling short of many of these goals. Molly references the proverb “chase two rabbits, and catch neither” to strengthen the case for a guiding theme during our interview.

Some examples of guiding themes related to Health and Fitness:

  • Turning my body into a healthy, high performing machine!
  • Becoming stronger and healthier, everyday (mine for 2020)
  • Focus on healthy living

Molly points out that Guiding Themes can designed to be very broad, or narrow, to fit your individual needs (that is why you create it).

The guiding theme in CoJourn is intended to help you find your own “why” for all of your smaller goals and milestones. The example that Molly shares in the interview when I ask her how a goal to lose 20 pounds fits into CoJourn, Molly suggests it is important to find out why someone wants to lose 20 pounds. Once we all do some work and discover why we want to make a change, we can use this to develop a memorable, empowering guiding theme.

What Are Path Maintenance Goals?

Molly and I also discuss path maintenance goals during our interview, and how they fit into CoJourn. Think of path maintenance goals as everyday, task related items, that may not be related to your guiding theme. If you need to trim your hedges or clean up your yard and keep blowing it off, that task is occupying time and mental space that could be utilized focusing on your guiding theme and milestones. Molly suggested using the weekly meetings and accountability structure of CoJourn to help accomplish important tasks which may be lurking on your to-do list, like taxes.

Weekly Milestones

Weekly milestones can be developed with your partner, for example “this week, I will wake up at 5 am on Friday to exercise.” You want to make sure that the majority of your milestones are SMART goals, please check out this previous blog post I created if you need any additional information on what SMART goals are and how to develop them.

One approach Molly discusses in the interview, is using weekly milestones to break larger goals down into more manageable steps. For example, if you want to make a lifestyle change like giving up added/processes sugar, use your weekly meetings to make a plan and give yourself gradual steps to accomplish this goal/lifestyle change. For example, “this week, I will drink a glass of water with lemon instead of a soda every time I crave a soda.”

My approach to CoJourn has been to create sustainable lifestyle changes that I can adopt within the accountability structure of my year long experience for 2020, and make them part of my routine moving forward.

For example, due to my Health focused guiding theme, I now have adopted the lifestyle change of grinding my own coffee beans. One of my other lifestyle changes (listening to educational podcasts) tuned me in to the importance of the freshness of coffee beans, and quality of the water used to brew. The podcast explained that once you grind a coffee bean, it starts the process of spoiling (unless preservatives are added).

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Develop Your Mission and Purpose

Another way to think about your purpose, is development of a personal Mission Statement. Most successful Companies have a Mission Statement, which guides all of the work performed, customer service, and corporate social responsibility. At a previous job, my executive director would tell employees at every level that they should be able to articulate how every job responsibility they perform in some way upholds the Mission; he would add that if anyone found this not to be the case, please contact him so that the responsibility in question could be reviewed.

A Personal Mission Statement applies the same principles that Companies use to your own life purpose. I wrote a guest blog post for the personal development blog It’s All About You Boo. If you are interested in looking into a personal Mission Statement and if it may be helpful for you, please take a look at my guest post!

Finding the Time

One thing I have learned over the years, and especially through my experience with CoJourn, is we all must make the time to prioritize our goals and development. CoJourn creates built in time, once per week, in which you are committed to sitting down with your partner and reviewing your progress. For me, this built in check in time motivates me to make time in my week to focus on and accomplish my goals.

Finding time for goals, or any personal priorities can be challenging with all of the demands on our day to day lives. I created a Blog Post which is written to help people take inventory on how we currently spend our time, and potential opportunities to improve time management, and finding time for what matters to us. The post is about finding time to exercise and meal prep etc, but can absolutely be applied to finding the time to prioritize goals, family time, and anything else we find important.

Go Get Your Goals!

This post was created to provide content and information to give you a set of resources that you can explore now, or later. I am committed to more blog posts about my CoJourn process during 2020, and I am excited to share out all of the progress I continue to make. Don’t wait until the New Year to start prioritize your goals and personal development, there is no time like now!

The Processed Food Detective (Video)

This video shows you how to be a detective and track down processed sugar, grain, and oil in your food!

Processed Food Detective

Find Out What is in Your Food!

In this video, I share some tips on how to find processed sugar, grain, and oil in packaged foods. Included is a helpful tip on the many names for “Sugar” when you are looking at ingredients. Take a look at the video, and try it out at home, or next time you shop!

Food Labels 101-Reading and Understanding Nutrition Facts

If reading and understanding food labels is brand new for you, please take a look at a previous blog post I created on how to read and understand what is in your food. This post (and video) covers the very basics of reading and understanding nutrition facts, and the ingredients label.

Learn one Diet Secret that’s 100% Non-Debatable! (Video)

Watch this video and learn one secret to diet and nutrition which is 100% non-debatable, doesn’t matter who you ask!

Diet Secret!

Are You Ready!

Diets and nutrition can be very confusing, do we even know what is healthy anymore?! What if I told you that there is one nutrition tip that has 100% consensus across all diets, and nutrition plans? Well, there is! Doesn’t matter if you ask someone who is Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean Diet…anyone!

The Diet Secret you need to know…

Here it is: if you cut processed sugar, processed grains, and processed oils from your diet, and substitute in more whole foods/ingredients, that is a healthy move! If you ask a Vegan, they might say “well yes, that is a healthy thing to do, but don’t eat Animal products!” If you ask someone who is Keto: “well yes, that would be a healthy thing to do, but on my plan you can eat Butter, Bacon, and Burgers! (with no bun, of course)”

So, while there is not consensus from everyone about the proper macro nutrient ratios etc, you will not find anyone who works in the Health/Fitness industry who will argue with you about this tip. If you do find anyone in the industry who argues that leaving processed sugar, grains, and oils in your diet is healthy, personally I would question the validity of any other advice they give.

Why are Sugar, Processed Grain, and Processed Oils Problematic?

In short, the processing methods for all of these foods cause our body to react differently to these foods, compared to in their natural state. The example I give in the video is that a whole Apple does have some naturally occurring sugar, called Fructose; when you eat the Apple, you get the Fructose with some natural packaging/dietary fiber, which results in a more moderate impact on your blood sugar and insulin. Your body’s response to Fructose in fruit with that of High Fructose Corn Syrup (processed sugar) is dramatically different. A similar comparison can be made to your body’s response to whole grain vs processed, enriched flour and other processed grain products.

For an breakdown of Oil processing methods and why some may be problematic, check out my previous blog post/video. Unfortunately, you will see a theme that the most highly processed sugar, grains, and oils are the cheapest for you to buy, and the most heavily marketed.

How to start this Diet Secret

If you eat a lot of processed food and want to make this change, it is best to start gradually. For example, if you drink a lot of soda or other sugary drinks, that is a great place to put this diet secret into action. What are some options to substitute for sugary drinks?

  1. Water
  2. Water with fresh lemon/fruit
  3. Seltzer water
  4. Herbal Tea
  5. Black Tea
  6. Black Coffee

Your staples should be water or water with lemon/fruit since everyone needs to stay hydrated, but there are some options to explore if you want to substitute in something else for your sweet drinks. Diet/artificially sweetened drinks are a whole other topic, if our focus is eliminating processed foods, steering clear of these products fits that aim.

How do I know if I am eating Processed Food???

How do I find these mystery ingredients in food I have in my pantry, food I see at the grocery store?! Never fear, my next blog post will show you how to be a detective and track down processed sugar, grain, and oil in your food…see you next time!

Interview 02: Gina Cain (Video)

Interview covers Insights from Working in Healthcare, the transition when you stop being an Athlete, and Fitness Benefits for Mothers to be.

Interview Topics:

  1. Health Insights from CRNA (and what a CRNA is)
  2. What happens when you stop being an Athlete?
  3. Why is activity/fitness important for expecting mothers?

Insights from Working in Healthcare

My sister, Gina shares insights with us from her experience as an ICU Nurse and a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist). The most surprising topic was what happens to people who come to the Hospital with chronic diseases, which may be influenced by lifestyle factors; no nutrition or exercise consultation! Hospital staff are trained to treat the patient so they can leave the Hospital, Gina explains, and Doctors do not provide any advice or resources on lifestyle factors which may help manage their condition (in her experience).

Gina does share that one lifestyle intervention Hospitals do provide information on is smoking cessation. We both speculate that the reason for this is that the science is settled at this point, smoking is bad for you. Because there are some many different diets/nutritional approaches, perhaps the medical field has collectively decided to stay out of the discussion when treating patients.

What Happens When you Stop Being an Athlete?

Gina played NCAA Division 1 Field Hockey, and even played in a Final 4! We discuss what happens when you go from having a competitive season to train for, meals and workouts scheduled, to working full time, paying bills, and having to make time for exercise.

The Benefits of Exercise and Fitness for Mothers to Be

Gina is going to be a mom soon, super exciting! We talk about the benefits of staying active during pregnancy, from her experience so far. There are many different guidelines to exercising while pregnant, so anyone reading this or viewing the interview is advised to consult with their Doctor about considerations during all different time periods and trimesters of pregnancy.

We hope to be back soon with an interview on how to prioritize your health and fitness as a new mom!

Interview 01: Bob Uguccioni (Video)

On Personal Training, Keto Diet, Fasting

The Interview Series Begins!

I’m sitting down with my dad, Bob Uguccioni, who is an experienced personal trainer, and strength and conditioning coach. Topics Bob gives insights on include:

  1. How to pick the right Personal Trainer
  2. Intro to the Ketogenic Diet
  3. Intro to Intermittent Fasting

Top Insights

Bob walks us through his experience, and professional certifications related to training and nutrition. One thing to note, not all certifications are created equal, in fact some only require a multiple choice exam! A good test taker does not (necessary) make a good personal trainer/coach. Bob gives some tips on how to pick the right trainer to help you meet your goals.

When thinking about the Keto Diet, a lot of people think that eating Bacon Cheeseburgers with no bun put us right into Ketosis/Fat Burning mode. Bob clarifies the important role of vegetables in the Keto Diet, and gives insight into his experience with the Diet.

Fasting means controlled periods of time when one chooses not to eat, this is different from starvation. Intermittent Fasting is periodic times when someone chooses to fast; the most basic model is a 16 hour fasting window, and an 8 hour eating window each day (rather than constantly eating small meals/snacking. Bob tells us why fasting is more challenging for people who eat processed sugar and grains.

In Closing

Thanks so much for checking out this interview, I will have many more coming to help gain additional perspective and expertise on Health and Fitness related topics.