Got goals?

I like to visualize my goals. It’s easy to look at and carry everywhere! 

Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” He was right. It’s so easy to say you are going to do something, to create hypothetical goals, to wish that things were different, and to hope that all your dreams will come true without taking any action. But that only leaves you stuck in the rut you are trying to escape.

Many goals are easy – “I’m going to find 10 minutes each day to catch up on the news.” Some are harder – “I’m going to set 3 hours aside each weekend to meal prep for the week.” And then there are those that seem entirely out of reach – “I’m going to increase my annual income by 10% within the next six months.”

Below are some steps to take when goal planning. As you will read, it’s not just one and done – all things, whether great or small take effort. The more you give, the more you’ll get.

Step 1 – Trust in the Universe

Before you even set your goals, you have to set your mindset. The truth is that EVERYTHING is attainable. Yes, you read that right. Everything that you can think up is available to you. The Law of Attraction states that like attracts like, so if you set a goal, but don’t believe it’s possible, it won’t happen. If you have negative thoughts, you’ll only receive more negative situations to feel bad about. On the contrary, if you set a goal, believe in it, and take action, you will achieve it.

This is the hard because it’s difficult to put faith and trust in the unknown, we love the feeling of control, and – let’s face it – when things are rough, it’s hard to be positive. Just give it a try and see what happens!

Recommended Reading: The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein and E-Squared by Pam Grout

Step 2 – Set SMART Goals

You may have heard about SMART goals at work. Companies are all about these, and for good reason. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time-Bound.

Specific

Be specific and detailed in what you want to achieve.

  • Vague Goal– I want to make more money.
  • Specific Goal – I want to make an extra $100 per week through my soap making business by December 25, 2017.

The Universe can have a sense of humor. If you’re not specific with what you want, you may get exactly what you asked for – such as a $5 gift card for taking an online survey Hey, it’s more money, right?

Measurable

This allows you to track your progress and help you stay motivated. So, if your goal is to make $100 more per week through your soap making business by December 25th you might achieve this by increasing your marketing efforts and then tracking the sales. This is something tangible that can be physically reviewed and monitored, so you’ll know when you hit your goal.

Goals that aren’t specific are so much harder to track and measure.

Achievable

Okay, I know I said ALL goals are achievable, and it’s true, but let’s be realistic here too. If you want $1 million by tomorrow, it’s probably not happening unless you win the lotto. But, if you’re just starting out your career and want to grow your retirement savings to $1 million by the time you hit 65, that’s entirely possible and achievable. Make sure you have access to the resources you need to make the goals happen.

Relevant

Does the goal matter to you? People tell you what to do all the time – you should eat better, sleep more, lose weight, etc. But if the goal is not top of mind for you or it’s just not a good time to start working on it, it’s not worth your effort or energy.

Time-Bound

All goals need end dates. When do you hope to lose 50lbs? Eventually? I hate to burst your bubble, but eventually is never going to happen. Set a realistic target date for achieving and then work on it every day.

Recommended Reading: The Push by Chalene Johnson

Step 3 – Take Action & Be Consistent

You don’t have to go at it all at once. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take baby steps. Even small efforts towards a bigger goal will add up over time. You’ll never reach the goal if you don’t start somewhere.

Recommended Reading: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Step 4 – Track Progress

Get a journal or an app to help track your goals. Writing them down reinforces the behavior and looking at them often will help you realize where you are and where you need to be. When you make a step in the right direction, note it. If you have a setback, note that too. This will help you reevaluate future goals.

Recommended Journal: Chalene Johnson’s SmartLife PUSH Journal

Step 5 – Reward Yourself

It goes without saying that kids love rewards. Secretly, adults do too! Indulge your inner child and give yourself a little extra motivation. I wouldn’t go overboard, but having something extra (such as a manicure, new pair of sneakers, or a tablet) at the finish line will give you a boost to reach those goals. I have a few goals to crush by November and I’m picturing a Lularoe Amelia dress (that I’ve wanted for months) hanging in my closet!

What goals are on your list for the coming months?

Remember, whether you think you can achieve them or you think you can’t, you’re right.

 

Keep on blazin’ on

What is the Fitbit Blaze? A smart watch that, in addition to telling time, allows you to track your steps, calories burned, heart rate, and log daily exercise, among other things.
Who is it for? Anyone who wants to track daily activity, up their fitness game, add challenges, and look stylish while doing so.

Price. Starts out at $199.95, but can be caught on sale.

Why I like it

Stylish. The watch has received criticism for its 80s-like retro feel. (As if that were a bad thing!) I prefer the Fitbit’s rectangular shape over a circular watch face. But really, it’s just about personal preference.

Comfortable. I’ll admit that when I first saw the watch in person, I wasn’t sure I would be able to sleep with it. It’s pretty large in comparison to my small wrist. BUT, like (un-itchy) clothing, once you have it on, you don’t really feel it anymore. The band is soft and flexible and there are plenty of holes to find the right fit. I don’t even notice it while sleeping.

Awesome App. The app is very user friendly and automatically syncs to the watch to provide you with updated stats upon launch. You can see your steps, miles traveled, calories burned, time exercised, sleep quality, and so much more. You can even look at trends for the week or month. It also shows you how much battery is left and when you need a recharge. It’s really awesome and gets an A++ from me.

Move Reminders. If you have a desk job, you’ll appreciate the hourly reminders to get up and move. Small movements throughout the day add up – if you take 250 steps each hour while at work, you will have taken 2,000 by the time you quit for the night. Take a walk to refill your water, grab a cup of tea, or, like I prefer, walk to the farthest bathroom and back.

Sleep. Easily track your sleep quality and habits, and awake to a silent alarm each morning. I wasn’t sure that the slight vibrations would wake me up. They do. The problem is hitting snooze!

Customizable. There are so many fun ways to switch up your style. Fitbit sells a variety of interchangeable bands, but some cost upwards of $75. Check eBay for many bands under $5. You can also change the way the clock displays – there are 9 digital and analog styles to choose from.

Battery Life. The battery lasts about 4 days, which is fantastic (and a lot longer than other smart watches). You also get a pretty long warning before the system shuts down. Mine blinked red for over 8 hours and I was able to plug it in before it flat lined (not ideal, but it happens).

Why some people don’t

Display. The Blaze has been criticized for NOT having an Always On display. I can tell you that I’m not a fan of always on for two reasons – it drains the battery faster and it is kind of annoying. With the Blaze, you click the left button to turn on the screen and it stays on for a few seconds – long enough to check the time, the date, and your stats. You can also raise your wrist (as if to check the time) and the display will appear. If that’s a total deal breaker, you might want to look into other smart watches.

It’s not waterproof. I’ve had other activity trackers that you can shower and swim with. It would make it more convenient, but it’s not a must for me. I just remove it with the rest of my jewelry before I hop in the shower and put it back on when I’m done. No big deal.

Charging. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the method of charging. You have to pop the device out of the band / unit and put it into the charging “dock.” I would much prefer wireless charging, or another method that doesn’t require disassembling the unit. But it does only take about 2 hours to get a full charge that lasts 4 days – I definitely can’t complain about that.

These future upgrades would be totally awesome

Notifications. You can get multiple notifications – text, email, calendar appointments, etc. sent straight to your Blaze. I wish you could respond to them with a touch of a finger, but you can’t. While the watch is smart, it’s a smart FITNESS watch, with fitness being the top priority. Future models could include the ability to respond and I’m sure the ratings would be off the charts.

FitStar. The watch comes with a built-in module called FitStar, which helps you to get fit anywhere through body weight workouts. You can do a warm-up, 7-minute workout, or 10-minute abs. The problem? If you don’t use the application, you can’t remove it. Is it annoying? Not to me, but I’ve seen a few complaints about it. Future models could suppress this feature.

Camera. Typical smart watches include the ability to point the camera with the phone and snap a picture from the watch. What an awesome feature this would be on the Blaze. The technology to make a shutter button is out there – think Bluetooth selfie sticks!

The icing on the cake (AKA why this is my must-have fitness gadget)

Heart Rate

  • I started tracking my stress levels and heart rate a few months ago to see if they were migraine triggers. I know that my resting heart rate is between 68 and 72, so when I’m feeling stressed or upset, I can check the watch and see if there is any elevation. Of course there usually is. I know that when my heart rate is elevated I need to practice some relaxation techniques to bring it down.
  • I can also track my heart rate during exercise to see what my average and max heart rates are and when I’m in the fat burning zone. This is also really helpful if you are looking to lose weight.

Calories Burned

  • I had another fitness tracker that wasn’t so great at the calorie tracking. I was getting so discouraged because my morning cardio workouts were only registering as 33 calories burned. I felt like I was just wasting my time. With the Blaze, I can see that I’m burning over 200 calories for every 30 minutes of exercise. That really motivates me to keep it up!

Smart Features

  • This is not just your typical fitness tracker. You can see your texts and calls, and control your music with the tap of your finger. This comes in handy at work when I need to pause my music or audiobook to take a call or if someone stops by my desk – it’s faster than pausing through the phone.

Badges

  • You can earn different badges for exercise milestones and then share them on Facebook or Twitter. When I was in Colorado in early December and we hiked up a gigantic mountain, I got a Stadium badge for climbing 150 floors in a day! I’ll probably never get close to that again, but it was a pretty awesome achievement.

 

Bottom Line: This is, hands-down, the best investment you could make for your personal health. Why? Because you will either see your fitness efforts paying off, which will push you to keep going OR you will realize how inactive you really are during the day and form better habits. I would totally recommend this to a friend.