Strategies for success

I don’t know about you, but I go into new goals with only the best intentions. I’m going to work out every day! I’m going to eat clean! I’m going to rise above temptations and become the best version of myself! I am unstoppable and I will reach my goals before I know it!

 That’s how I picture myself whenever I tackle a new project. Perfect abs, killing it in a scenic field. Obviously. 

Anyway. All that is well and good, and my enthusiasm is usually enough to get me through the first day… but then I hit reality. This latest project has followed true to form.

As you might recall, I began my Focus T25 challenge yesterday. Monday mornings aren’t really my thing, usually, but I was ready to crush this. I laid out my clothes the night before, tweeted about my eagerness to get things going, and I hopped out of bed as soon as my 6:30am alarm went off. That first workout felt amazing! I knew, I just knew, that this challenge would be different. Every day would be this easy, right?

Wrong. Today, despite my best efforts, looked a lot more like this:

I hit snooze on my phone alarm 8, 9, 10 times. Before I knew it, it was 8am. I had two options. I could skip my workout, and the challenge would be over before it really began… or I could go into work a little late and push myself to get my T25 session in.

I went with the latter, and it felt great. Today’s T25 session was Speed 1.0, and I loved it. I didn’t have to follow the moderator as much as I did on day one, and I had a great calorie burn when all was said and done. I think I needed today to see that getting past the wall has its rewards. I’m proud of myself for ignoring the little voice inside my head telling me it would be okay to skip a workout, and I’m grateful that the T25 program is set up to make the workouts easy to fit into your schedule while still feeling totally satisfied.

Realistically, though, I know myself, and more often than not, I’m going to be battling the urge to be the woman in that second photo. So what are some ways I can help to keep myself on the road to becoming the goal image? How can we set ourselves up to become the girl kicking ass in the scenic field (aside from hiring a photography team and some photoshop experts, of course!)?

  • Lay out everything you need the night before. This includes making sure you’ve got all your workout clothes ready to go, including the appropriate footwear. Make sure your heart rate monitor is handy (and not sitting in your gym bag in your car, like mine was this morning!). Have your DVD player all set to go so you can just hit play – this is especially important for a program like T25, where you have to consult a workout calendar to find the right routine for any given day!
  • Set a realistic alarm. I am so, so bad at this. If I were just waking up and heading to work, I wouldn’t get out of bed until 8:30am (blessed with flexible working hours and a speedy commute!). In planning for these workouts, I’ve been setting the alarm for 6:30am instead. This is crazy! I do not need two full hours to fit in a 25 minute workout. Instead, I’ll be aiming for 7:25-7:35 from here on out.
  • Ignore the snooze button – or disable it entirely! If you have the willpower, turn off your alarm and immediately jump out of bed. Have a glass of water, brush your teeth, do whatever you have to do to send your body the signal that it is no longer time for sleeping! I lack this willpower, so instead I did a little digging, and it turns out it’s really easy to eliminate the snooze button in IOS7. If I don’t have the option to hit snooze, I’ll have no choice but to get up and get moving.
  • Got an iPhone? Give yourself a little extra nudge! I love that my iPhone gives me the option of labeling my alarms. I take full advantage of this, naming my alarms to give myself that extra little oomph to get up and get going. The label will appear on the screen so when I pick up my phone to turn the alarm off, this is what I’ll see:
    Nothing like some encouraging emojis to get me moving!

    Nothing like some encouraging emojis to get me moving!

How do you keep yourself on track? What strategies do you use for morning workout success? Share them in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

Kudos to my SP amiga Jen E. for suggesting some of the above strategies! Thanks for supporting the blog and for encouraging me to consider ways I can help to set myself up for success. You’re amazing and an inspiration!

 

Music Monday: All About That Bass

I don’t know about you, but music is a HUGE factor in the success or failure of my workouts. If I go out for a run, I better have a bitching playlist, or I’m not going to get much further than the end of my block. My iPod is stocked with great playlists and workout mixes, cultivated from a lot of sources. I plan to dedicate Mondays to sharing some favorite music with you!

Saturday morning, I took a few classes at my happy place. One of my favorite instructresses, Diana – someone who I look up to as a model for the type of fitness and wellness that I aspire to achieve – played this song during both her Arms & Abs and her Poise classes. During Poise, she played it during the notorious “Arms of Death” sequence — and trust, that sequence hurts even more than usual when it comes at the end of a crazy triple! Check out the burn from her three classes that day:

Crushing it with Diana's Saturday SP Triple - Zumba, Arms & Abs, and Poise!

Crushing it with Diana’s Saturday SP Triple – Zumba, Arms & Abs, and Poise!

Anyway, I digress. Back to the point of this post… The song! I feel like any preliminary description just won’t do it justice, so check out the video:

I mean, HOW GREAT IS THIS VIDEO?! The song is “All About That Bass,” by Meghan Trainor [iTunes download / Stream on Spotify]. The song itself fits my criteria for a great workout jam – the beat is fantastic! I will definitely be using this for arms, because I like to have a beat that makes me want to shimmy my booty so I forget how much my arms are screaming out for relief. It will probably also make its way onto a few running playlists for a little oomph.

But more than just the beat, can we pause for a moment and talk about the lyrics? I love that Meghan Trainor is laying down some truth for the world. I relate so strongly to this:

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

I see the magazines workin’ that Photoshop
We know that shit ain’t real
C’mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty beauty, just raise ’em up
Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

In the words of drag queens everywhere…. YAAAASSSSS!

This blog is all about my journey toward fitness and wellness, but let’s be real here. I’m 5’9″ and I am never in my life going to be a size 2… or a 4 or a 6, for that matter. I would frankly not want to see myself at that size, because I don’t think it would be healthy and it certainly wouldn’t feel like me. I’m a tall girl with an athletic build, and I am proud of my hourglass shape. I have been working damn hard for the past two years to get a defined waist again, don’t get me wrong, but I am also in a constant battle with myself to remember that all of this is for the ultimate goal of an overall healthy life.

It’s not about a number on the scale. It’s not about the size of your jeans. It’s not about how many dudes swipe right on your Tinder profile (which, ugh, Tinder. Why. Just… no. That’s another post for another day, though.) At the end of the day, it’s how you feel in your body. And I want nothing more than to carry myself with the confidence that Meghan Trainor exudes in this video. Get it, girl.

My end-of-summer SMART goal!

In my most recent post, I advocated the power of setting SMART goals. As I mentioned, I’ve been using these goals over the past eighteen months to help me along my journey toward wellness and overall health. I do realize that the framework can be pretty vague, so I thought I’d share my end-of-summer SMART goal with you all today.

I have a black tie wedding Labor Day weekend, five weeks from now. This is a great motivator, and it also is a good timeline for a SMART goal!

GOAL: Complete Alpha phase of Focus T25 prior to the wedding.

Let’s apply the SMART framework together!

Is this goal…

  1. Specific? Check! The thought process behind this goal is that I hope to feel more confident in my black tie evening gown when the wedding rolls around, and I want to blow my friends away – I haven’t seen many of them in several months and I want that “Whoa, what have you been doing?!” reaction. But that’s not something that’s easily quantifiable, so instead, I selected a definite workout program to follow over the next five weeks.
  2. Measurable? Definitely! One of the great features of the Focus T25 program is that it builds measurements right into the calendar. Saturday becomes “STATurday,” the day to take your measurements and track your progress. I’ll also be taking before and after photos, which I’ll share once this all wraps up.
  3. Achievable? I sure hope so! I picked T25 for this project because it’s manageable. The program only requires 25 minutes a day, which I can easily do before getting ready for work in the morning. I consulted with two trainers at my gym who I trust, and they both agreed that I should be able to do most of the exercises in the workout without any problem — and there’s also plenty of modification options should I need them.
  4. Relevant? Definitely! I have been looking to add something new into my fitness routine for a while now, and this gives me excellent motivation to stick with the program. I love the fitness studio I go to, but I would like to begin my day consistently with a workout, so if I don’t make it to a studio class after work I won’t have that lingering sense of guilt for missing my daily exercise.
  5. Time defined? Yup! I have five weeks to complete the program. T25 Alpha is exactly five weeks long – check out the calendar here! – so it fits perfectly into my timeline. I’m going on vacation in mid-August, so that will pose a challenge – but fortunately DVDs are portable and a 25 minute workout won’t prevent me from enjoying the rest of my vacation activities.

When I first sat down to decide on my goal for the next 5 weeks, I kept thinking in terms of “feel more confident in my dress” or “love how I look in pictures.” These are both great goals, but they are hard to measure AND nearly impossible to guarantee my final achievement. I have read some great reviews of the T25 program, and I’ve heard firsthand from trainers and fellow studio members that the workouts are accessible and easy to fit into an already busy schedule, so I decided to use the program as the basis for the goal. Hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll emerge at the end of this looking more toned and feeling stronger and more confident, but no matter what, if I pursue my goal, I’ll be able to say I completed the program – and that’s something that will make me feel proud and strong!

Are you interested in tackling this goal with me? Click below to get a copy of Focus T25 for yourself! I’ll be posting weekly updates with reviews of the individual workouts and sharing any challenges and successes I experience along the way, and I definitely want to hear from you if you’re going to try this with me!

GET IT DONE: IN  25 MINUTES A DAY!

Setting SMART Goals

For the past five years, I’ve volunteered as the conference director for a MA-based youth leadership nonprofit organization. This means I spend a lot of my free time thinking about appropriate programming for high school sophomores…and more often than not, I’m surprised by how well the concepts translate to my own life.

I always make sure to include setting SMART goals as one of the core lessons for our annual three day conference. This is a tactic that I use on a regular basis in my own life – personally and professionally. It also remains a fundamental tool for success in my fitness journey, so I’m excited to share the idea with you all today!

Setting goals and planning follow through is so important to long term success. I’ve found that when I use this framework for my goal-setting exercises, I see markedly better results than when I pursue more generalized, less fleshed out goals.

So… what the heck is a SMART goal and why is it so effective as a tool for losing weight, improving fitness, and building a healthier lifestyle?

Every time you begin a new project or set a goal for yourself, take the time to ask the following five questions.

Is my goal…

  1. SPECIFIC? Eliminate any vagueness from your goal. A great place to start is to use the five “w” words – who, what, where, when, and why. What specifically are you trying to achieve and how will you get there?
  2. MEASURABLE? How will you know if you have achieved your goal? Determine at the outset how you will measure your progress, and establish set benchmarks along the way to your ultimate end.
  3. ACHIEVABLE? Make sure that your goal is, in fact, possible. Consult with someone you trust who has experience relevant to your goal – a physician, a trainer, or a coach. Ensure that you won’t be doing yourself any harm by pursuing your goal.
  4. RELEVANT? Why are you pursuing this goal now? What broader impact will it have on your life? Who are you helping by pursuing this goal? Knowing the answers to these questions at the outset will help you down the line, when you might start questioning whether your hard work is really worth it.
  5. TIME DEFINED? Establish a clear beginning and end point for achieving this goal. Again, setting benchmarks is important, so you can check in on your progress and reevaluate your end target. Having a deadline can help to keep you accountable and on track!

 

Follow this SMART Goal framework, and I promise you’ll see improved results! Share your SMART Goals with me in the comments, and don’t be afraid to email me if you’d like help applying this framework to your fitness, health, and wellness goals!

What’s this all about?

So, you’ve somehow stumbled across this blog. Thanks! I have no idea how you got here, as I’m just starting out and things like “SEO” mean nothing to me, but I’m glad to have you.

Now… why should you stick around? I really hope that you will navigate over to the right-hand menu and decide to follow this here blog, but I also get that I haven’t done much just yet to convince you that this blog can hold your interest for the long run. What’s the point of this blog? Why should you care?

The title of this blog, “Being Your Change,” says a lot about what I hope to accomplish here. One of my favorite quotes comes from Mahatma Gandhi:

Change has to start with you. You need to be your own change. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, feel stronger, and improve yourself, you have to start by making the decision to pursue positive changes. My goal with this blog is to document my own process of deciding to “be the change,” and to help others to find the right changes to make for their own healthier lifestyles.

So, what will that actually entail?

  • Workout reviews and recommendations. I love trying new things and plan to review them here. I’m based in the Boston area so many studio reviews will be from this area, but I do travel a lot, so I’ll try to feature fitness classes from other locations as well. I’ll also feature DVDs and YouTube series that are accessible anywhere, anytime!
  • Healthy meal ideas and recipes. I love to cook! I’m a big fan of clean eating and try to avoid processed foods whenever possible. When I find a recipe that works for me, I will share it here.
  • Fitness news and controversies. There’s a lot of information out there. I don’t pretend to be an expert – I don’t have a degree in medicine, nor do I have any certifications in nutrition. However, I do consider myself someone who likes to stay abreast of news stories. When I read an article that interests me, I’ll share it here with commentary.
  • Balancing a busy life with a healthy life. It’s really easy to make excuses. I work a full time job and also volunteer 20 hours a week with a local non profit. For years, I used those commitments to justify skipping workouts or grabbing takeout instead of cooking a healthy meal. I still struggle with balance, especially figuring out how to have a full social life in my late 20s without feeling like I’m making sacrifices.
  • Successes and failures. When things work out, they should be shared and celebrated – and when they’re a disaster, well, there’s something to learn from there, as well. I will put it all out there, my highs and my lows, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Writing has always been a part of my life – from the locked pink diary when I was 8, to the emo kid livejournal in high school (admit it, you had one too!), and now this is just another iteration. I felt I needed to write about my journey in order for it to feel complete. I invite you to join me on this path and I look forward to learning and exploring with you!

What changes do you want to see in your own life? How could I help you to realize this goals? Leave a comment below!

Introductions

Hey there!

My name is Colleen Myers, and I’m a 29 year old female from Boston, MA.

About a year and a half ago, I had reached the low point in my life, physically. Throughout the fall and winter of 2012, I underwent treatment and surgeries for melanoma. I was fortunate to have caught the cancer very early before it spread, but the surgeries to remove it all and rule out any metastases hit me hard. I wasn’t able to work out at all for 6 months — not that I was the picture of fitness before all this, mind you, but the surgeries and aftercare made walking even a few city blocks painful. I found myself giving into depression and trying to sooth my emotions with food. For the record, it didn’t work!

When I went in for my annual physical in February of 2013, I was absolutely horrified by the number on the scale. I’m still not comfortable publicly sharing that number — it’s a goal to one day be happy enough with my progress that I can post where I began. Suffice to say, it wasn’t a number I expected to see, despite how poorly I had been treating my body. I knew that I needed to make a change.

In March of 2013, I started taking classes at Studio Poise in Lynnfield, MA. I didn’t know it when I walked into my first class, but it was about to become a major turning point in my life! The studio offered a huge variety of classes — mat pilates, barre, Zumba, yoga — but more than that, it also featured some of the most supportive and friendly instructors and fellow students! I was hugely self conscious at first – emphasis on the huge. I looked around me and saw girls in their Lululemon pants; I could never fit into those, so I was in my XXL Target gear. I very quickly realized that no one cared how I was dressed or what size I wore. We were all there for the same reason: to work toward better versions of ourselves.

It’s now been just over 14 months since my first class. In that time, I have lost 54 pounds and 42 inches. I now not only fit into those Lululemon yoga pants I envied so much – I had to size down when the largest size got to be too big! I was so happy with my progress, but also frustrated that I seemed to have hit a plateau.

Enter Beachbody. I know that this company gets a bad rep — pushy sales tactics are a turnoff, and I resisted for a long time for exactly that reason! But once I gave the products a try, I realized that I had found something that could work for me as a complement to the studio I loved so much. Adding Shakeology into my diet for the past month has helped to cut down on cravings and keep me on track throughout the day. I’ve stopped drinking coffee (from a 2 or 3 a day habit!) and have dramatically reduced my sugar intake. I also added in the PiYo program to supplement my workouts at the Studio. I am not someone who can get up and drive to a gym or to a fitness class, but PiYo has been just the right fit for me to do in the comfort of my own home before leaving for work in the morning.

So, that’s me. Over the next few posts I’ll explain why I decided to start blogging as an additional tool in my transformational journey. I’ll cover the types of content I hope to publish here, and I’ll let you know a bit more about me.

Thanks for joining me on this journey! What brought you to my blog? What would you like to see here for content?