A Tale of Two Selfies & An Unpodcast

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been struggling hard to keep up with my life and feeling this knot of doom hanging over me about the holidays coming up and how am I going to do it all, be everything that everyone needs me to be, and have enough of me to put out all the fires that keep popping up. It was exhausting. I haven’t been sleeping well, and having a hard time keeping myself from eating all the bad things!

Since I started PiYo, my morning workouts have been where I work through those emotional leftovers from the day before, but for the past two weeks I could barely drag myself out of bed for them and I just didn’t feel that “ahhhhhhhhhh” moment afterwards. My success partner, Lacy, and I made a commitment to post our sweaty selfies as a way to be accountable to each other and our clients. Here’s mine from Wednesday…

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I took TEN and this was the best smile I could manage. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was too wrapped up in what I knew was coming in the rest of my day, and it wrecked my ability to make the most of my morning. I wasn’t wrong about my day, either. I have a recurring project that was assigned to me a couple of years ago that gives me a lot of anxiety because it’s pretty far outside of my strong skill set. I have begged and pleaded for reassignment with no luck. Meanwhile, it keeps growing and getting more complicated, and at one point on Wednesday I locked myself in my office, put my head down and cried like a baby because I felt like it would never end.

On Thursday, I didn’t even bother getting out of bed to work out. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I considered calling out, fantasized about quitting, and eventually dragged myself out the door and into the office. I listen to podcasts in the car, and happened to be listening to the Unpodcast that day. And Scott Stratten said something along the lines of “I don’t spend time working on my weaknesses. I think that just wastes time I could spend on getting great at my strengths.”

And I was like – WHOA. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing to myself. I’ve been feeling like there are so many things about me that I need to fix, that I need to work on, that I need to get better at, that I need to just manage, that I haven’t put any time into the things I’m GOOD at. No wonder I feel like crap about myself if all my energy is going into things I can barely scrape together and whose only role in my bigger plan is to eventually GO AWAY.

So I pushed the nightmare project off to the side, took care of the things that were on deadline, and spent the entire rest of my day on a project that I love and that I excel at. And you know what? It worked. It freaking worked! I rushed back from lunch to get back to it, and was almost late leaving for the day because I had to get one last thought down into my notes – which I brought home for the weekend because some of them can be reused for my coaching business.

When I got home, I had quality time with PJ and Paul, and I slept like a rock. I woke up this morning excited for my workout, and I nailed it. It was FUN again! Here’s today’s selfie:

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On the FIRST try too. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, not that I won’t ever try to learn a new skill or get better about something I’m not good at, but I’m definitely going to be more guarded with my time to make sure that these things don’t take over my life again. Life lessons from (un)marketers for the win!

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How To: Set Up Goal Jars

First of all, I want to say a big thank you to everyone for being so supportive of my clean eating post! I was a little nervous about starting to share about this health and fitness journey we’re on here, but I felt so great after many of your responses that I’m feeling good about sharing more along the way. So thank you for that 🙂

I saw a project on Pinterest in the fitness category awhile back that was intriguing. And like the menu planner, I knew it needed a little tweaking to work for me. It’s been a work in progress, but this feels like a good time to share about it anyway.

The original project has two matching jars painted with a variation of “Pounds To Go” on one and “Pounds Lost” on the other. They’ve got marbles in them to represent pounds or half pounds and as you lose weight, you’re supposed to move a marble from one jar to the other. I tried it once, and it ended up being just another way to fail because I just don’t shed pounds easily and it was depressing to stare at that full jar every day.

And then I realized that I was going about it all wrong, and I could use some of the skills from my job to put together a version that would work better for me.
At work, I keep a dashboard of all our marketing campaigns. I track how many people see each message, how many people visit our website, how many call or email us for more information, and how many ultimately make a purchase from us. Our main goal is, of course, to make that last  number as big as possible, but – here’s the big secret – you can only do that by making changes to the other numbers. There’s no way for me to make an extra 50 or 100 people make a purchase. But if I can place a message in front of 10,000 people and 1000 of them visit my website, where 100 of them contact us for more information, and I do that over and over and over again, I will get my 100 new customers. The more you look at the numbers and figure out where you are falling behind in that conversion to the next level, the better you’ll get at knowing where to make changes to help boost the process along.

So, I took that idea and put it in a jar that lives next to my jewelry box, where I see it every day. I added pearls to represent inches I need to lose to fit into my long term goal dress size. Then I added stones to represent pounds to lose along the way to my long term goal. And last, I added a penny for each of the 30 sessions in my workout program.

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Every day after my workout, I move a penny from the “goal” jar to the “done” jar. And on my check in days, I move stones and/or pearls over for any inches or pounds I’ve lost.

At the end of my first program, my done jar had 30 pennies, 6 pearls, and 4 stones in it. If it had just had those lonely little stones in it after all that work, I probably would have quit. Again. But making the work part of the goal itself made a huge difference for me.

I didn’t feel like I had failed because I only had 4 stones, I felt like I was really making progress because my “done” jar was starting to fill up. So I gave myself the reward I had promised myself for finishing the program, and added 48 more pennies to the “goal” jar for the workouts in my next program.

I have rewards planned for myself as I move those stones and pearls too, and it feels really good to see that pile of pennies stacking up in the bottom of the jar! I’m already thinking about what program I want to do next – any suggestions?

What keeps you motivated? Does it make a difference if you are at a point where your goal seems far away, or right around the corner? What kinds of rewards do you give yourself for meeting your goals? I’d love to hear about them all!