Have a Happy (Healthy) New Year!

Your One Stop Shop to Make a Healthy New Year’s Resolution

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New Year, New You?

Happy New Year! How is 2021 going for you so far, did you make a New Year’s resolution? If you did, this post will help give you some ideas to tune up and strengthen your resolution. If you have not made a resolution, it is not too late…make a January 9 resolution! There is nothing magical about the date of January 1 to commit to self improvement, the only truly important factor is your commitment and follow through.

Getting Started on the Path Towards a Healthier You

Given the theme of my blog, I assume you are reading this post for ideas on Health or Fitness related resolutions. The framework I am going to outline can be applied to other goals as well, but the examples will be related to Health and Wellness. Last year, I wrote a fairly extensive blog post about goal setting, please take a look if you would like some additional information about the general topic of goals.

First, start with where you are. Take inventory of your daily and weekly routines of nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep. A great way to accomplish this is a daily journal, to help you log specifics within each category. It is important to be as detailed and specific as possible when journaling, as this will help inform your goals. Also, be honest with yourself, you cannot make goals to improve if you are not being real about your starting point. Here is an example of what I daily journal can look like, to help give you an idea to get started:


Exercise: 2,000 steps during the day.

Food and Drink:

Morning: Coffee with cream and sugar.

Around 9 am: McDonald’s Bacon Egg and Cheese Breakfast Bagel, Hashbrowns, Coffee with cream and sugar.

Around 12 noon: BLT Sandwich with Mayo, 1 granola bar.

Around 3 pm: 1 Diet Coke, 1 Nutra-grain Bar.

Around 6 pm: Baked chicken breast with honey mustard glaze, side of rice, side salad.

Around 7:30 pm: Snack (bag of Doritos), 12 oz Beer.

Sleep: To bed around 11:30 pm (did not fall asleep right away), woke up at 6 am for work.

Stress: I was stressed out by my commute to and from work, my meetings at work, and dinner preparation.

Keep daily journal entries for a week before you think about making any changes, and be honest and accurate with yourself. Once you have a week of “baseline data”, you can then start to look at goals, and how you will work towards them.

If you are looking to make a change to your diet and your journal looks something like above, do not worry about counting calories or macro-nutrients if this is not something you have done before. Rather, take note of the food choices, and estimated portion sizes to give you an idea of your starting point.

If you have weight loss or nutritional goals, start with the obvious answer before taking measures such as counting calories and macro-nutrients. Can you identify the low hanging fruit/obvious improvements to the food journal above? Here are a few that will result in improvements if practiced consistently:

  1. Ditch the cream and sugar in coffee. Drink black coffee, or substitute black or green tea.
  2. Ditch McDonalds, and make your own breakfast. Even with similar food choices at breakfast, you can control the ingredients and limit processed/fried food.
  3. Ditch the soda, substitute water, seltzer, herbal tea.
  4. Ditch the late night snack and drink, you don’t need to eat so soon after dinner, you could move the beer to Saturday as a treat if you like beer. Substitute a cup of herbal tea or other calorie free beverage.

Are there other areas for improvement in the food journals above? Sure there are, and I bet you found a few. The basic concept I wanted to demonstrate is that we all know the parts of our routine that provide little to no nutritional value and do not enhance our health, it is truly not rocket science.

What are your Goals?

Realistically, you probably had an idea about your goals before you did a daily journal to see your baseline. Here are a few examples of common goal categories related to Health and Fitness:

  1. Desire to lose weight or some other physical/appearance related goal.
  2. Desire to change something in our diet (stop drinking soda, for example).
  3. Desire to improve our physical fitness (increase steps per day, get stronger, start running as examples).

If you have not had a chance to think about specific goals, take some time and do this before you start making changes to what you find in your daily journals. If you do not know your goals and outcomes, you can’t really be intentional when making changes to what you are currently doing.

Find Your Theme

In addition to goals, I recommend creating a guiding theme for you to follow and reference during 2021. I had a guiding theme in 2020, and saw some of the best sustained results I have ever experienced. A guiding theme is not a specific goal you can achieve, but rather a phrase that inspires you and keeps you moving towards your goals. For more information on guiding themes, check out the Goal Setting Post I referenced above.

Analyzing your Personal Data from Journals

Now that you have goals, and (hopefully) a guiding theme, take a look and see if what you found in your daily journals is serving you in achieving these results. I will use the sample daily journal above for this example:

Sample Goal: I want to add weight training in to my daily routine, 3 days per week, for 30 minutes. For the example above, assume there is no weight/resistance training at all.

Challenges: I am very inexperienced with weight training, I do not have a Gym membership, I am uncertain about Gyms due to the state of COVID in 2021, I don’t have time during the week.


  1. First, find the time! Based on the daily journals above, this person could find time in the morning, or the evening to do 30 minutes of exercise. For the morning, they would need to go to sleep earlier, so they can wake up earlier to exercise. If they are not a morning person, they could exercise in the evening. Personally, I have a hard time winding down to go to sleep if I work out in the evening, so I choose the morning.
  2. Go on Google or You Tube and find some basic, body weight exercises, you don’t need a Gym to train! The internet is a wonderful tool, and this person will find that you don’t need a Gym (or equipment) to get an excellent workout routine using body weight exercises. In your home with no equipment, you can do push ups, modified pushups, sit ups, crunches, lunges, squats, chair squats, etc, etc. You can even find some free workout videos to follow along with, even better!
  3. Pick very basic exercises, and spend time learning the technique of them before following along with a workout video. You can teach yourself enough of the basics to get moving and get some results.
  4. Considering hiring an online personal trainer or coach. As mentioned above, you can learn enough of the basics to get moving and get some results. However, if someone is inexperienced, it is always advisable to seek professional help to make sure your movements are safe and functional. For example, someone might be powering through push ups and see great results, but if their technique is even slightly off, they may end up with sore elbows and have no idea why.
  5. Once you meet your goal, stop and reassess. It is a big deal to build a routine of consistency when it comes to exercise, but once you accomplish any goal you need to think about what is next. This is where a guiding theme will motivate you for constant improvement.
  6. Keep journaling. Write down your own ideas for goals, challenges, and solutions as you make improvements.

Example Next Level Goals: Using the example above, once you accomplish your goal of weight training three times per week, here are some possible next steps.

  1. Hire a trainer or coach to help me learn better technique, new exercises, and develop a plan.
  2. Find variations of the exercises I have learned to make them more challenging.
  3. Add time to my workouts, perhaps increase to 40 minutes per day 3 times per week.
  4. Add cardio exercise or steps to the days of the week I am not weight training.
  5. Make a change to my diet which will help increase my energy levels and results, such as cutting out added sugar/artificial sweeteners gradually, starting with soda.

Tip: Regardless of your goals, I highly increasing the quality of your sleep. Sleep by nature is restorative, and will enhance any area of your health and wellbeing you have as a goal. I plan to write a more comprehensive post about sleep in the future, but for now just try and make sure you are getting 7-8 good hours of sleep per night.

Also, continue to journal as you make progress and set new goals. The daily journals will help you keep track of what is working for you, and perhaps what may not be working. Journals can also be a source of motivation, they help you see progress along your journey.

Make It Happen!

Remember, there is nothing magical about January 1, you can make meaningful change any time of the year. Make 2021 your year, it starts now!

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Prepare Yourselves, the Holidays are Coming…

Make Your Plan Now to Break the Holiday Cycle, and End 2020 Feeling better than Ever!

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

The Holiday Cycle

I am writing this post in October 2020, in preparation for the Holiday season. Starting with Halloween, and ending with New Years, there are many holidays observed and celebrated between October and January. For a lot of us, the holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, and also to eat, drink, and be merry.

If we are not careful, the holidays can also be a time of overindulgence, which leads to a viscous cycle:

  1. Over eating/drinking from October-January.
  2. Realizing in January that the holidays have had a negative impact on our waistline.
  3. Making a New Years resolution, losing (most of) the excess weight and inches gained during the holidays.
  4. When we reach October, start again at step 1…

Have you ever found yourself in this cycle? I know I have. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to enjoy, but also moderate the holidays, so we did not have to dig out of a hole every January 1? Think about cleaning out your house or garage…is it easier to clean a cluttered room from top to bottom, or to keep it clean and organized? I pick option 2 personally.

Let’s Talk About the Holiday Cycle

Breaking the Holiday Cycle

What if I told you that you could make a plan to navigate the holidays, and you wouldn’t need to make a new years resolution this year to dig out of the holiday slump? There is a way to enjoy the holidays and still be healthy, and it starts right now.

Make a Plan

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels.com

Instead of a New Years resolution, make an October 22 resolution; resolve to focus on your health and well-being between now and January 1, and make a plan. Before making a plan for where you want to finish, let’s take an inventory of where we are starting from in the following areas:

Physical Measurements

Physical measurements can provide a snapshot of where you are right now, and can serve as helpful check points during, and after the Holidays. A few examples:

  1. A photo/mirror selfie
  2. Weight
  3. Circumferences: Measure around your waist, arms, hips, legs.
  4. Body composition/body fat %

You may or may not want to make goals to improve these measurements, that is a personal decision. Certainly, you want to set a goal to maintain these measurements…we do not want to add pounds, body fat, or inches during the Holidays.

Exercise and Movement

Make a journal of how much you move and exercise during a week, and count everything. Your journal should log physical activity each day. Examples of exercise and movement to track:

  1. Steps per day
  2. Cardio exercise-Include type, duration (time), distance (if applicable)
  3. Weight training- Include type of exercise, sets, repetitions
  4. Body weight training- Include type of exercise, sets, repetitions
  5. Physical work- If you work Construction (for example), yard work, etc. include type of activity, duration, frequency (how many times per week)
  6. Stretching, Yoga, recovery activities like foam rolling- Include type of activity, and duration (how long)

Once you have a baseline of your physical activity level, ask yourself, are you happy with your current levels of physical activity? The answer may very well be, yes! If yes, make your goal not to compromise during the holiday season, commit to maintaining your weekly activity levels from now through January.

If you are not happy with your activity levels, make a plan to increase them between now and January 1. For example, if you currently have no exercise routine, you could set a goal as basic as 8,000 steps per day, no matter what. 8,000 steps per day requires no Gym membership, and provides a gaunteed baseline of physical activity every day.


Keep a journal and log what you eat and drink for an entire week. This is important for you to see how you are currently eating, and also decide if you want to make any modifications/improvements during the Holidays. I am not going to ask you to focus on counting calories or macro nutrients, that is not sustainable or helpful for most people. However, here are some key things to look for when you analyze your food journal:

  1. What are you drinking, other than water? Write it all down, include serving size (how much).
  2. Do you drink alcohol? If yes, write down how many drinks each day.
  3. How many items you eat or drink contain sugar or artificial sweetener Write it all down, include serving size (how much).
  4. How many items contain processed grain?
  5. How many items contain processed oil?
    1. For tips on identifying processed food, see my previous blog post here.
  6. What times of the day do you eat your meals?

Similar to exercise, ask yourself, are you happy with your diet (what you eat)? If yes, make a plan to not fundamentally change it during the holidays, and plan your treats very intentionally. If you are not happy with your diet, let’s make a plan to change one thing between now and January, AND plan your treats very intentionally.

For example, if you drink soda, or other beverages with sugar or artificial sweetener, you could make a goal to gradually phase these items out between now and January.


Take an inventory of markers of stress in your life. For example:

  1. Do you have a negative reaction if someone criticizes you?
  2. Do you worry about what others think of you on a daily basis?
  3. How is your self talk? Do you think positive, encouraging thoughts to yourself?
  4. How many hours per night do you sleep?

Sleep is the number 1 low hanging fruit when it comes to managing stress, striving for 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night will have a positive impact on many health markers. It is important to take an inventory of stressors within our day to day life, as these can impact our ability to focus and follow through on goals.

If a Holiday gathering is a stressful environment, or you come into it stressed, eating or drinking to feel better may result. We want to make sure we are eating because we truly enjoy the meal, so being mindful of stress can be a secret weapon to successful and healthy holidays.

Track Your Plan

Once you have your baseline measurements/goals, and your plan, you need to start tracking progress weekly. Here is an example of a very basic plan, and what tracking looks like:


  1. Maintain my body weight and circumference measurements
  2. 8,000 steps per day, 7 days per week
  3. Eliminate soda
  4. Sleep 7 hours per night

Tracking Journal:

  1. This week, I weighed myself and measured circumferences, no changes!
  2. This week, I averaged 8,200 steps per day, however I only achieved 5,000 steps on Sunday. While I am happy with my progress, I need to hold myself accountable and find a way to get all of my steps in, even on days off.
  3. This week, I only drank 1 soda, which is a huge improvement from my usual routine of 1 soda per day. I had the 1 soda as a treat on Sunday, this week I am going to look for alternative treats that I enjoy just as much (like seltzer with a little fresh fruit).
  4. This week, I slept for 7 hours during the week, but only 4-5 on the weekend. I realize that my habit of staying up late and watching TV is impacting my ability to get the sleep I need, and I know I need a plan to change this pattern. This week, I will set a limit to my TV time, and give myself a “bedtime” on the weekend to assure I am targeting 7 hours.

For this example, I made a goal in each major category. You might decide to make more than one, but 1 goal in each area will do wonders during the holidays if you are successful. Also, when you track each goal weekly, always think about (and write down) what you will do to hold yourself accountable and improve the following week.

Make “Micro Plans”

Tracking your plans and goals during a standard week leading up to the holidays is very important, but not nearly as important as making a specific plan when you have a holiday coming up. For example, if you roll into Thanksgiving week with no plan, here is a very real scenario which could manifest itself:

  1. You don’t meet your exercise goals because you are busy at work, and prepping for the big day.
  2. You eat and drink too much Wednesday while prepping for the big day.
  3. You eat and drink WAY too much on Thursday.
  4. You eat too much the rest of the weekend, because, leftovers…

What causes us set backs are not the holidays themselves, after all these are only 1 day events. However, 5 straight days of over indulgence will set your health, fitness, and sleep back quite significantly. The 5 days described above will also start a pattern as you continue through the end of the year…hence,, the holiday cycle.

If you make a plan for Thanksgiving (or any holiday), you can control the outcome, rather than having the event control you. For example, using Thanksgiving (again):

  1. I will get my 8,000 steps per day, no matter what this week.
  2. I will get 10,000 steps on Thanksgiving Day.
  3. I will not change my meal routine the week of Thanksgiving, and I will truly enjoy the food and drink on the Holiday.
  4. On the Holiday, I will enjoy the food and time with my family. In order to help me not overeat, I will limit myself to 1 desert, which will be apple pie with Ice Cream.
  5. On Friday, I will return to my normal routine of meals. If I am still full from Thursday, I will listen to my body, and only eat breakfast if I am hungry (not because it is time to eat).
  6. I will only eat left overs if they fit into my meal plan, I will not eat leftovers because I feel I have to, or as a “treat”.

Strategies for Success

Thinking about getting ready for the Holidays, consider these helpful tips:

  1. Do not eat or drink something if you do not really enjoy it. Have you ever put something on your plate just because it is there, but you don’t really like it? This is a really easy way to overeat. So, if you do not really and truly love mashed potatoes (for example) just skip them, and eat the things you do enjoy!
  2. Identify “Trigger Foods”. Trigger Foods are foods that you are unable to stop eating once you have a little bit, and they are different for everyone. If you are unable to have 1 bite of Grandma’s apple pie without having 5 slices, considering saying “no thank you”.
  3. Do not “Stress Eat”. Eat food because you truly enjoy it, not because Uncle Rob is stressing you out by talking politics. If stress eating and trigger foods have been a challenge for you in the past, make your plan now on how you will navigate them this year.
  4. Exercise on the day of the holiday. Exercise on a day you know that you are going to consume more food than usual helps reinforce healthy patterns. Do not see exercise as a punishment for eating Holiday foods, see it as an affirmation that you have been making healthy choices and you will continue to do so.
  5. Use Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent Fasting means going at strategic intervals without eating, or drinking beverages with calories. I mentioned above to only eat when you are hungry, here is the reality; when we eat significantly more food than we do on a normal day, we create a calorie surplus. Here is how intermittent fasting may help around a Holiday like Thanksgiving:
    1. Intentionally skip Breakfast that morning
    2. Wait until you are hungry to eat the day after, rather than just habitually eating because it is breakfast time
  6. Return to your normal routine immediately after the holiday. Having this as a well established plan will help you steer clear of an entire weekend of treats, and leftover indulgence. If you have a plan to enjoy your holiday meal(s), and immediately go back to your routine, you limit the possibility of establishing new (less healthy) patterns that will sink.

In Summary

To own the Holidays this year, and start January feeling even better than you do now:

  1. Assess where you are with physical measurements, exercise, stress, and nutrition.
  2. Make a specific plan (Goals) either to maintain, or improve in these areas
  3. Track your progress weekly, keeping a journal and working with an accountability partner are great ways to stay on track.
  4. Make “Micro Plans” to get ready for each Holiday, to make sure you enjoy your favorite foods, while also keeping your new healthy patterns.
  5. Always go back to your plan after each Holiday, do not create multiple days in a row of over indulgence.

I will check back in with you soon about how my Holidays are going, I am going to start training for Thanksgiving now! Posts to come later about how the plan is going, and fun Holiday workouts.

The Top 7 Tips for a Healthy Vacation

How to enjoy your vacations to the fullest, and come back healthier, well rested, and more fit!

Why We Love Vacation

Why do we all look forward to vacation? So many reasons! A few examples for you:

  1. Going to places we love
  2. Spending time with the people we love
  3. Time away from work
  4. A chance to be spontaneous and not have a schedule
  5. Delicious food (and drink)
  6. Making memories
  7. Do some activities that fulfill us, that we don’t have time for/can’t do at home

I picked 7 common reasons we look forward to vacation, what are some of yours?

As much as we love vacations, a common pitfall of them can be coming back from vacation feeling tired, sluggish, and maybe with a few extra pounds we did not intend to gain.

Why Do We Feel Sluggish and Unhealthy After Vacation?

Top 3 Reasons People come back unhealthy and sluggish after a vacation:

  1. Overeating and Drinking: You typically have a routine when you are at home and going to work, however on vacation this can shift dramatically. One of the great features we look forward to on vacation is great food and drink, and often we don’t have a plan or set a limit.
  2. Lack of Exercise: Unless your vacation is centered around physical activity (Hiking, Rock Climbing, Skiing), most likely you do not have high levels of physical activity. Even people who exercise regularly while they are at home will let this slip while on vacation.
  3. Lack of Sleep: A lot of us will tend to neglect sleep while on vacation, because there are so many fun things to do, especially late at night! Lack of sleep, or even a change in your sleep routine, can compound the impacts of other lifestyle factors above.

Let’s Talk About these Big 3 [Video]

Top 7 Tips for Success

  1. Make a Plan: It seems basic, but you need a plan for your vacation! Areas to consider making your plan: Where are you going? How are you traveling? How long is your vacation? What is your budget? What kind of experiences will you have? Why this vacation, what do you love about it? If you are a naturally spontaneous person, I understand this may stress you out. Never fear, you can plan unscheduled time in your vacation!
  2. Do Not Go Out to Eat for Every Meal: A lot of us love going out to eat as part of vacation, and this can lead to frequent over eating and contribution to that sluggish feeling. Portions when you go out to eat are usually on the larger side; even if you don’t eat all of it in one sitting, most likely you are hitting those left overs later. To plan, think about what food or restaurants are unique to your vacation, what can you get on this vacation that you can’t get at home? What is your favorite meal to go out for? If it is Breakfast, find some great Breakfast places around your vacation site. If you go out for one meal per day, and do some grocery shopping for other meals, your waistline (and your budget) will thank you after the vacation. Don’t go out to eat just for the sake of going out to eat or because you are on vacation.
  3. Plan Your Exercise: If you are going on a vacation that involves physical activity every day (hiking, rock climbing, skiing as examples) you can skip this step. However, for vacations that do not involve physical activity, you need to make a plan. If you are going on a 6 day vacation, decide in advance how many days you will exercise, and hold yourself accountable. Also, plan around the type of facilities and equipment you will have available. No gym at the hotel? Plan for body weight exercise, walking, jogging!
  4. Train for Vacation: What I mean by this, is spend 3-4 weeks exercising the way you will on vacation. For example, if you have no gym and plan to run and do body weight training, spend 3-4 weeks exercising this way BEFORE you go on vacation. Why? If you have not been running for months, and go for a 5 miler day one of vacation, your legs will be shot the next day, and you are much less likely to be successful on your exercise program for your 6 day vacation. Same idea if you have not been doing push ups, and run yourself through an intense body weight circuit day one of vacation. Train and prepare so you have a routine you can be successful with on vacation.
  5. Prioritize Your Sleep: Make sure you get enough sleep on vacation. Do not stay up late watching TV, go out every night etc, just because you are on vacation and you can. If nightlife and shows are part of the experience of your vacation, great! Just make sure you make up the sleep during the day, do not burn the candle at both ends. If you have a usual bedtime or routine around sleep, stick as close to that as possible while on vacation, and if anything, get more sleep. Parents, make sure your kids stick to their routine as well.
  6. Limit the Booze: If you don’t drink alcohol, you can skip this section. Drinking lots of alcohol adds extra calories, and compounds the issue of overeating. Excess alcohol will also mess with your sleep, and if your are hungover you are less motivated to work out…ask me how I know all this 😉 The tip here is to make sure that IF you have alcohol on vacation, that it enhances your experience and is unique to your vacation. Examples: going to a local Winery, Brewery, Distillery; enjoying a tropical umbrella drink; enjoying a drinking with friends and family. If you roll in to the local liquor store when you arrive onsite and stock up on cheap beer, wine, whiskey that you can just as easily get while you are at home…ask yourself if this is really enhancing your vacation experience? Same advice as with going out to eat, do not drink on vacation just for the sake of drinking.
  7. Make It All About the Experience! The theme in all of these areas is to really focus on your experience on vacation. Make sure the vacation is something you and your family love and will cherish, and that everything else enhances the theme of your experience! If you are going out to eat and having a treat, make sure it is truly special and enhances your vacation! If you find yourself going out for cheap pizza or fried food you could get at home just because you are on vacation and deserve it, ask why? If you stay up late, make sure it is for a show, late night walk on the beach, and not just flipping through TV channels like you could do at home.

Let’s Talk Tips [Videos]

If you like the video discussion format, follow along with me. I had a lot of fun shooting these videos, on scene at Cap Cod, MA.

Tips for Exercise on Vacation
Eat Healthy, and Enjoy Your Favorite Foods
Alcohol as part of your vacation experience-not post vacation hangover
The importance of sleep, and making sure you do not neglect it on vacation

Have a Healthy Vacation!

You can come back from vacation feeling fit, healthy, and well rested if you follow these tips above! Give them a try, and let me know what you think. So far, I have tried them out on a 3 day weekend vacation with great success, and look forward to the next time I am able to have a longer vacation to come back healthy, fit and well rested! Until next time, go find your beach!

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!
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

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!

Workout on Your Birthday!

Birthday Workouts

Ever see your friends posting about their fun, and exciting birthday workouts? Maybe for turning 30, 50, or other milestone birthdays? A custom birthday workout is a healthy alternative to partying and excess. But, how to choose a birthday workout? Where do you start?

Build Your Own Birthday Workout!

Here are some guidelines for building your own fun, exciting birthday workout!

  1. Make it your own! Your birthday workout needs to be unique and exciting to you. So, if you like pushups, build your birthday workout around pushups. If you like hiking, go hiking!
  2. Connect it to the age you are turning! Make sure some component of your workout connects to the age you are turning. Connecting the workout to your age will help you celebrate, and be motivated for your birthday workout! For example, maybe you are turning 50, and you want your workout to be 50 pushups. 5 sets of 10 pushups is one way to do it, but there are many other ways you can do 50 pushups, or multiples if you are really good at pushups!
  3. Make it Familiar! If you have never done Barbell Deadlifts, your birthday is not the time to load up the bar and crank out the amount of reps to correspond with your age. Pick an exercise or routine you are at least somewhat familiar with, and tailor it to your birthday.
  4. Make it Realistic! I am turning 35, and there is no way I am going for a 35 mile hike because A). I don’t hike, and B). I have never walked or run 35 miles at one time. If you are not realistic with your birthday workout, you will miss the last point, which is:
  5. Make it fun! Make sure your birthday workout challenges you, but that you are able to have fun with it! If you design a birthday workout that you cannot complete (like a 35 mile hike for me), you are not going to have a lot of fun, and you might get injured.

Celebrate Yourself!

Make sure you congratulate yourself, and celebrate completing your birthday workout! Give yourself credit for prioritizing health on your birthday.

Keep a Record!

Maybe you can start a birthday workout tradition! That way, you can look back year to year at all of your birthday workouts, and marvel at your progress and creativity!

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Birthday Workout Summary

In summary, here are the keys to designing your own, unique birthday workout:

  1. Make it Your Own!
  2. Connect the Workout to your Birthday/Age!
  3. Make Sure You are Familiar with the Exercise(s).
  4. Be Realistic!
  5. Make it Fun!
  6. Track Your Progress!

Sample Birthday Workout

My example, on my birthday I plan to complete:

  1. Push Presses, with a pair of 35 lb Kettlebells, for a total of 3,500 lbs lifted! (50 total reps of 70 total lbs).
  2. I will follow this up with a 35 minute jog…these are both exercises I am familiar with, related to my birthday, and are fun and challenging!

I hope this was helpful and inspires your creativity to make it a fun and fit birthday!