How to set goals

enter How’s your week going? Well, I hope.

Setting goals is one of those things that seems like it should be easy, but it really isn’t. There are a lot of reasons why goal setting is more difficult than it seems.

We have already talked some about how a lot of the time, our expectations are not really ours, but often come from our family, friends, boss, society, or that bully from fifth grade.

You’ve been thinking some about what it is that you want, not all those other people and influences.

Now you are going to make your goals into an achievable reality. This week you are going to set your goals and next week you are going to work out a plan on how to best implement them.

Although it might not seem like this should be a two-step process, it really makes it easier in the long run.

Have you heard people talking about short, medium, and long term goals? That is what we are going to be doing this week.

Implementing them, which will be next week, is how you are going to make your goals into reality and where you can get some good trial and error learning in.

For now, I am going to use some examples to make this easier. Let’s use weight loss and getting organized. Weight loss is a fairly major change that touches on many aspects of our lives, while getting organized is much simpler.

So goal setting for weight loss seems straightforward: lose weight. That is definitely the end goal, but losing weight is a little more complicated than that.

So let’s try setting short, medium, and long term goals for weight loss.

Short term: Figure out what is going on that has caused you to gain weight. Are you sedentary? Did you get a new job with a longer commute? Is your stress level out of control? Has your diet changed? Have you been overweight for most of your life?

These are some of the many reasons you might need to lose weight. In my case, I had a huge increase in stress and started eating way more sweets than I had before. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but it got out of control a year ago. The stress and dietary changes led to a 30 pound weight gain last year. I’m not so happy about it, but at least I know why.

Medium term: Make a plan to address the underlying issues, which often have little to do with food. You might be surprised what you find.

As an experiment last fall, I weighed myself every day for a month and learned that I am a big emotional eater at the first and middle of the month, which is when rent is due and I pay my bills. Figuring this out was a big deal because since then, instead of eating away my financial worries, I started talking more to my husband and spent more time with my budget to minimize surprises.

I also realized I am not active enough and I have been eating too much takeout, on top of the increase in sweets. I’ll talk more next week about what I’ve been doing to address these issues in implementing goals.

Long term: Lose weight, of course! But keeping the weight off is important. Lots of people lose weight, only to regain it. This doesn’t sound very interesting to me.

A lot of my work in this area has been to figure out what my goal weight is. There is what I weighed in my 20’s, when I was very slender. At this point in my life, I am just not willing to put the work in to get to that weight again, considering I am older, my metabolism is slower, and I am 80 pounds heavier than I was then. However, in my 30’s, I was not as slender, but had filled out some. My boobs and butt looked great and I was three sizes smaller. I thought I was fat at the time, but looking at pictures, I realize I looked great.

So using pics of when I thought I looked great and my weight was about 175, which is 50 pounds lighter than I am now. Furthermore, because 175 is not as slender, it is a more realistic weight for me to reach and maintain.

Getting organized is much simpler, as long as you aren’t a hoarder. If that’s the case, you need loads of professional help and perseverance.

So on to short, medium, and long term goals for becoming more organized.

Short term: Figure out how you are disorganized and what exactly you want to change. Do you pay your bills late every month because you lose them? Do you constantly lose important documents like your car insurance or birth certificate? Does your desk/office look like a recycling bin threw up on it?

What you might find is that you have internalized nonsense that passes itself as “good organization” and then realized you don’t measure up.

Inbox zero? A load of crap.

Working 12 hour days because all your friends are? Pointless waste of time.

Trying to be Martha Stewart’s mini-me? For the love of god, why?

A good medium term goal for getting more organized is pinpointing how you are disorganized and what is really bothering you. You want to make sure your goal is in line with your life, your personality, and your actual situation. If you are a parent with five kids and a full time job, your organizational demands are going to be different than someone who is single with no children. It is important that your goals reflect your life and needs, not what you think your needs are.

Long term would be living the organizational dream and not feeling bad or guilty for being who you are.

Think about it and let me know! Email me, comment, find me on Twitter and let me know what how setting short, medium, and long term goals has been for you.

Thanks for reading- I appreciate you.



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Do you need goals?

When you’re young, your goals are pretty much laid out for you by your parents and society. Go to school, get a job, get married, start a family, buy a house.

Society has changed a lot though. Outside of finishing school and getting a job, the getting married, starting a family, and buying a house have all changed quite a bit.

Most people want relationships, but a growing number of people don’t want to get married or have children. A sizeable number of people either don’t want to buy a house or can’t afford one.

Societal changes aside, goals change when you’re an adult. Sometimes it can be nice to not have any goals, to just relax and sort of let life happen.

But after awhile, what starts as a break can turn into looking back and wondering what you did with the last year or the last five or ten years.

Maybe you achieved what you set out to, but your family doesn’t view it as success and they constantly pressure you to do something other than what you are doing.

Or maybe you don’t have children yet, because you haven’t met the right person or because you don’t want children. Your family might still be pressuring you to have children, as though your only worth as a human is to reproduce. Maybe you do want children and everyone you know is constantly trying to talk you out of it.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, it will never be good enough for your family, friends, and coworkers.

After awhile, you internalize all the criticism and become increasingly discontent with whatever it is you are doing. Maybe you started out like that, growing up with a family who is constantly critical of you and everything you do.

Goals end up being way more complicated than they should be, oftentimes because of the people around you and the expectations your family has. Maybe you are aware of all the mental baggage you carry and the expectations foisted upon you, but maybe not.

This week, I want you to think about what it is cheap Prozac uk you really want.

Don’t worry about how you’ll make it happen, we’ll work on that the next two weeks. For now, I want you to focus on what it is you want. Not your family, not your boss, not your significant other, not the bully from middle school whose taunts you’ve internalized. Think about what you want.

Not sure what you want? Think about it like this. If you died tomorrow, what on your deathbed would you regret the most? That is a good way to figure out some goals, things you want to do but have been ignoring or minimizing for whatever reason, or what really matters to you. It can be a little anxiety provoking at first, but when you work through it is actually comforting. We really don’t know when we’re going to die, so meditating on what really matters to us is the first step towards making it reality.

From there, you can actually start working towards the things you truly want. Then, if something happens, you know you are working towards what matters the most. When people talk about the journey being what matters, that is what they mean.

The goals I am currently working towards is losing weight, starting a family, relaunching my coaching business, and finishing grad school. These are all multistep goals, that I have been working on in one form or another for months, years, or decades. I keep tabs on my progress, adjust, and set new goals accordingly.

There are some things I’ve spent years on and had to set aside, because that’s how life went. It can be frustrating for sure, but ultimately, I’ve learned from everything I’ve done and I know that I’ve tried.

When I was in my 20’s, I was not ready to start a family but I knew I wanted to get married and have kids. The first step to making that happen was to have a  good relationship. So I read everything I could about what made relationship succeed and fail, and after a string of long-term, but failed, relationships, I took two years off of dating and went to therapy to work through some of my issues. I kept working on myself, figuring out what I did and didn’t want, and faced my fears of being alone head on. I became comfortable with myself, much more clear with my preferences, and I refused to settle when I did start dating again.

After all that time, energy, and work on myself, I met the man I ended up marrying. Even when we got together, we didn’t rush things. We dated for eight years before we got married, living together for almost the entire time. We have done over a year of couples counseling, which has been crucial in learning how to communicate better. Counseling has made us both better people and better partners.

Now that we have been married for a year and together for nine years, we are trying to start a family. Our relationship is great, but we have both put in the time and work. We have met our goals at each stage and progressed as it has felt right for us. We have learned to disregard our families expectations of us and our relationship, because we aren’t them. We have carved out our own path and we are much happier for it.

I share this because it’s a good example of how goals change with time. Having a good relationship takes a lot more work than most people acknowledge. Maintaining a happy relationship is also a lot of work and relationships are an area loaded with family and social influence. It can be really hard to figure out what you want and go for it, while making yourself even the littlest bit happy.

Think about it and let me know! Email me, comment, find me on Twitter and let me know what it is that you actually want.

Thanks for reading- I appreciate you.



P.S. If you like this, tell your friends about it! They can sign up for this newsletter and get it sent directly to their inbox every week. If you’re reading this on my site, you can sign up to get this awesomeness delivered to your inbox every week too! Sign up here:)

Burn your resolutions

Resolutions are a waste of time

It’s New Years, so time for everyone to make a list of all their resolutions. Who wants to miss the fun of turning their perceived flaws into a to-do list for the new year? After all the proclamations of going to the gym, eating better, spending more time with friends and family, quitting smoking or drinking, getting out of debt, and becoming more organized, we all just end up right back where we started.

Maybe for a month or so, you’ll change. But then it’s right back to normal.

I would like to take this moment to point out that people think it only takes 30 days to make or break a habit. Yeah, I call bullshit. If that were so, we would only have to make resolutions once.

We would live in a country of people who don’t need to lose weight, eat all their vegetables, call their mom and grandma regularly, are organized, have no debt, and don’t drink or smoke.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it? If I woke up in a world like that, I would seriously suspect I had been abducted or drugged.

Based on my experiences, both personally and with clients, really changing takes way longer than 30 days. There are usually lots of starts and stops, which get overlooked and shouldn’t be.

Instead of feeling like a failure because you keep doing the exact thing you are trying not to do, you should know that you aren’t alone.

Everyone struggles with change, yet everyone pretends that it’s no big deal.

This video really sums up what it can feel like. Before you read any further, please take a moment and watch the video. It’s less than two minutes long.

I’m pretty sure that dog is my spirit animal. Might be yours too.

Everyone around you is breezing through, no problems, but for some reason every single thing that can possibly distract you does.

You know what though? That dog looks like it had the most fun of all the dogs. Picking up and throwing the toy, eating all those bowls of food, and near the end, eating that giant sausage.

The dog hit the jackpot, but sucked so bad at the obedience course. I wonder if the other dogs watched that dog and started questioning their life choices.

It’s an important reminder that failure and success really depend on perspective. That dog had no regrets. Its owner surely did, but that looked like the happiest dog in the room.

I think it’s similar with failed resolutions. We see the people at the gym who are super fit and only drink protein shakes and eat kale salads, while we prefer video games, Netflix, and takeout.

Success, and happiness,  are relative.

Constantly trying, and failing, to do something is demoralizing. We get so busy beating ourselves up and comparing ourselves to people who have the successes we think we want, while success continues to elude us.

Sometimes success isn’t really what we want, or at least not the way we are defining it.

For the new year, instead of making a list of resolutions that you know you aren’t going to keep and then feel bad about later, try something new.

Here’s your meditation for the week:
Write out a list of resolutions, which will probably consist of things you constantly beat yourself about and want to change, but haven’t. One you have your list written out, on paper, burn it. And then listen to your favorite breakup song because for the new year, you are letting it go and moving on.

I’ve quit lots of bad habits over the years, like a pack-a-day smoking habit, gossipping, and ditching toxic relationships. What I’ve been working on for the last few years is losing weight. This has been on my list for a while, and in 2017 I gained 25 pounds. Not so happy about that. But I’m less happy about all the energy I’ve been using to beat myself up about not losing it.

The resolution I’m burning is losing weight. I need to be done with all the anguish, guilt, and shame and reclaim my mental space and energy. I’m not giving up on weight loss, but there are much better ways to approach it, which I’ll start getting into next week.

Think about it and let me know! Email me, comment, find me on Twitter and let me know what resolutions you’re burning.

Thanks for reading- I appreciate you.



P.S. What’s motivating me this week are the protesters in Iran. There are tens of thousands of Iranians tired of living under oppressive rule and have taken to the streets to demand more freedom. The government is silencing various media and internet platforms, so I am paying attention to as much as I can on Twitter.

P.P.S. If you like this, tell your friends about it! They can sign up for this newsletter and get it sent directly to their inbox every week. If you’re reading this on my site, you can sign up to get this awesomeness delivered to your inbox every week too! Sign up here:)

See you in hell, 2017

2017 has been exhausting. It’s been the rollercoaster that everyone wants off of, but it just keeps going. The current U.S. administration has thrown the world into constant upheaval and the #MeToo movement has seen a lot of women come forward with stories of sexual abuse and harassment. There have been white supremacists, a resurgence of nationalism in different countries, genocide in Myanmar by Buddhists against a small group of Muslims, and Russia reminding us that for them, the Cold War never really ended.

Next year probably is going to be more of the same. We are inching closer to war, possibly nuclear, that most of the world doesn’t want. The stakes are high.

Yet here we are.

So what to do in the face of constant exhaustion and perilous circumstances?

Laugh. At all of it. Then laugh some more. Because you’re still here. So am I.

You know what? We’ll both be here tomorrow too.

Here’s the big secret behind all the madness: No one really knows what they’re doing. No one really knows how things are going to turn out.

In the face of a dire future, there are ample opportunities to change yourself and your part of the world, no matter who you are or where you are.

The problem, well, one of them, is that smart people get caught up in the myriad details of any situation and end up getting paralyzed by insecurity or a never ending cycle of needing to know just a little bit more.

Meanwhile, people who are not nearly as smart, but more confident, are unburdened by the doubts that come with knowing no one ever really knows.  They move boldly, seem to have all the answers, and have little regard for feelings, others, or doubts.

The trick is getting past yourself. For smart people, this is a special kind of hell. Learning how to get out of your own way is crucial for success, peace, satisfaction, or happiness of any kind. Otherwise, doubt will destroy you.

It can be overwhelming to know where to start, or maybe you know exactly what you need to do and just aren’t doing it. Regardless, now is as good as time as any to start facing yourself and casting your doubt and insecurity out like the demons they are.

So here’s your meditation for the week:

What this year has been good, what has been bad, and what has been both? I’ve found that life tends to be a bittersweet mix with amazing gifts wrapped in terrible packaging and shiny presents that are poison.

For me, starting grad school at the beginning of the year has been both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I have been intending to finish grad school since I left a Ph.D. program 10 years ago, but on the other hand the field still has the same problems that prompted my departure and it still isn’t for me. I just can’t squish myself into boxes I don’t belong in. When I was younger I tried, but I’ve been through too much by this point to even bother.

Likewise, I moved out of Texas, where I had been unhappy for years, to South Carolina, a state that is surely one of the layers of hell. We are moving next summer when our lease is up, but man. Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire.

There’s always good though. My boyfriend and I finally got married at the beginning of the year after 8 years together.  World of Warcraft, which I’ve been playing for as many years, has announced the next expansion.

Most years aren’t this eventful, so it has in some ways been a refreshing change. How, in your life, have you changed or stayed the same? What are you ready to leave behind and what are you glad is still around?

Think about it and let me know! Email me, comment, find me on Twitter and let me know what you’re ready to be done with, what you’re glad about, and what is a little bit of both.

No matter what, don’t be afraid.

If you’re anxious or high strung, trying to not be afraid or anxious can be damn near impossible, but that’s ok. Try anyway, and eventually it’ll be true. I promise.

Thanks for reading- I appreciate you.



P.S. Music is great. Here is a remix I found of Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes remixed by Glitch Mob. It’s pretty fantastic. Good motivational music.

P.P.S. If you like this, tell your friends about it! They can sign up for this newsletter and get it sent directly to their inbox every Sunday. If you’re reading this on my site, you can sign up to get this awesomeness delivered to your inbox every Sunday too! Sign up here:)


Computer programmers and electrical engineers: What do they do? An interview with Holly Gibson and Chris Smallwood

Learn what a computer programmer and electrical engineer do and how they do it.  Gabrielle Loehr talks to Holly Gibson, programmer and founder of Women Who Code Austin, and Chris Smallwood, electrical engineer, to find out more about their respective crafts and learn a little bit about how the internet is put together and runs.



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