Checking In! Sticking with your Goals

Can you believe that January has already come and gone? We are already 1/12th of the way into 2015 and its time to take a look at all the goals you made for the new year. Are you on track? Have you had a hard time getting your goals off the ground? Remember change doesn’t happen over night and progress is slow. If one of the goals you took on involves changing long held habits, it will take many many repetitions of the new positive behavior to win out over those stubborn old habits. And that doesn’t even speak for the times when you are stressed and fall to those old behaviors more readily. Have you noticed yourself getting into a mental war about trying to get workout in or trying to walk away from that coffee you so desperately want but swore off? All the time you spending mentally fighting wears you out in other ways also and makes it easier to give in the want to watch TV after work or get that morning latte. So what can be done about that? Create new habits – patterns you can follow without thinking about it! Have you ever found yourself in any of the following scenarios?

I don’t have time to get my whole workout in. 

It’s not all or bust. If you can’t get your whole workout in get in what you can. Some exercise is better than no exercise. If you stick with it, pretty soon you will find yourself missing how good you feel afterwards. You can also try splitting your workouts on days when you are running short on time. Can you get half a run in in the morning or 30 minutes of your 1 hour spin? Then snag the rest afterwork. Can you drop the kids at soccer practice and run laps around the field? At the risk of the being the most uncool mom ever you will feel pretty good about yourself for making it work. Think about a lunch time work out also! Even if you can’t get a run in pack your shoes and go for a walk at lunch.

I stuck to my goal yesterday so I don’t need to today. 

That bad little voice that gives you a cheat day one too many times during the week is speaking up again. The more days you skip that workout or allow an old behavior the sooner you will just allow for it all the time. Be Consistent! A good training plan has built in rest days. You know ahead of time they are coming so just get through one workout one day at a time, the rest day will be like a little reward at the end. Every time you stick to the plan your are building stronger and stronger mental connections to your new habit. Eventually the new connections will override the old ones. If you can try to exercise at a similar time each day. This way it just becomes part of your daily routine. It also allows you to figure out good eating patterns to be well fueled pre and post your workout.

Its dark, cold, wet, or Monday, I don’t want to workout today. 

Using the conditions (yes we feel that Monday is a condition) as an excuse to skip your workout? Find a buddy to workout with, we promise it will keep you accountable. Who wants to be the one that bags out of a run because its raining? Think up a nice treat for yourself when you get back home. An extra long extra hot shower can often keep you moving on a cold wet day. Put your workout clothes out the night before and your shoes by the door. Don’t let it be out of sight out of mind. Its a bit like heckling yourself from the sidelines…your clothes are just screaming really? really? you’re going to walk past us? And if you do then the shoes will chime in too? Tell your significant other what your workout plan is for the next day. If you can’t hold yourself to it, sometimes just the thought of having to tell someone else you bailed is enough to squash the idea. Make a special playlist just for bad weather days…like a little musical treat for braving the weather. (Just remember to only wear head phones at a low volume, in well light, well populated areas, with minimal traffic…Be safe out there.)

I don’t have time to cook a good meal – I’ll just eat what I can find at work. 

If you aren’t eating well all that exercising will not do your body justice. You will find yourself feeling run down and sluggish which is hugely discouraging when you have been sticking to your schedule and it seems to be getting harder. Check your eating! Are you eating enough? Are you eating the right balance? One of the best tricks our team uses is to cook as much as possible for the whole week on Sunday. If you think about all 3 meals for the whole week and pre-plan and prep as much as you can it takes the thinking out of eating during the week. You have lots of good options that keep you from the 3pm office troll for what always turn out to be bad snacks or the drive through stop on the way home. Its also a great idea to keep a snack pack at work…keep things like nuts, dried fruit, cut up fruits or veggies, yogurt in a spare lunch box in the office fridge. This way when your meetings run long or your day changes you are never without a good healthy snack to keep you going. Try making smoothies too for times when you need a meal on the go but never skip eating! It is so important to treat your body right and feed it!

I’m too tired to workout today. 

Getting enough sleep is paramount to reaching goals. You have to be well rested to tackle big behavioral changes and grow your physical fitness. Learn to gauge that feeling of being too tired, if you have been dragging all week and getting 4 hours of sleep a night, it may be time to take an extra day off and say today my focus is letting my body rest. Our bodies do a lot repair work and metabolizing with our sleep cycles. The more you can get into the habit of getting quality sleep each night the less stressed your body will be mentally and physically. Make your bedroom a no technology zone. Leave the TV, laptop, Kindle, cell phone, tablet, gameboy (throwback!) out of the bedroom. Let that space be your sanctuary for sleeping, cuddling and good good lovin’. Treat yourself to a good new pillow or special blanket and make a commitment to getting to bed.

Tackling new goals is hard work whether your just starting out or striving to reach the next level in your training. Its takes time, dedication and a whole lot of believing in yourself. No one is perfect and life is rarely ever optimal to accommodate our training schedules. Don’t beat yourself up when it doesn’t go your way. Always always always feel good about what you have done and take each new day as a clean slate to start entirely new.

Maybe the goal you started with isn’t the one you’ll end up with but in the words of the Heath brothers “When you’re at the beginning, don’t obsess about the middle, because the middle is going to look different once you get there. Just look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get moving.”.

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Captain Ogre’s Energy Bars

These bars have both low and high glycemic carbs that make them awesome for training or post workout! Thanks for the treat Captain Ogre. 

Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Bar w/ pecans and dried cherries

1.25 cups (6.25 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1.5 tsp table salt (or 1 tsp)

1.25 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, chopped in food processor.

1 cup (4 oz) pecans, roasted and coarsely chopped in food processor and salted. A mixed salted nut mixture also works, but peanuts overpower the taste and almonds are too bland.

1 cup dried sour cherries, chopped coarse in food processor (can also use cranberries or raisins although I’ve not tried it)

3 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped into chunks about the size of chocolate chips (3/4 of a 4 oz bar of chocolate found in baker’s aisle) or 3 oz semi sweet chocolate chips.

4 tbs softened butter, salted or unsalted (I always have salted and use that)

0.25 cup applesauce

1.25 cups packed brown sugar, preferably dark

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into small bowl and whisk together. In second bowl, stir together oats, pecans and cherries.
  3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed; add half of flour mixture until just combined. Add applesauce and then the rest of the flour until just combined. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixture; mix until just incorporated. Put in chocolate chips or chunks and give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that flour is incorporated and ingredients are evenly distributed. (We have a mixer and use it. If you do not, just use fork to cream butter and sugar together, add egg and vanilla and mix. Add some flour and mix, then applesauce and the rest of the ingredients. It is a fairly thick batter.)
  4. Dump batter into a pyrex 13x9x2 pan. The batter will have to be pushed into the corners with spatula and smoothed out. Bake for 15 minutes then rotate. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until edges are slightly browning and the rest of it looks set. Run knife around the edges.
  5. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes. Cut 5 x 4 with knife or pizza cutter at this time. I usually pull them out onto the wire rack to cool more completely and get a lot of the moisture out. Store out of the fridge for a week. Otherwise can be frozen.

Nutritional analysis:

Calories   221
Calories from fat 85
Total Fat (g)   9
Saturated Fat (g) 3
Cholesterol (mg) 17
Sodium (mg)   160
Total Carbohydrate (g) 33
Dietary Fiber (g) 3
Sugars (g)   15
Protein (g)   4
* Vitamin A (% Daily Value) 4
* Vitamin C (% Daily Value) 3
* Calcium (% Daily Value) 3
* Iron (% Daily Value) 10

Tips from the Captain:

Based on “Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie” from Cook’s Illustrated 5/05 issue. I wanted nuts and dried fruit with a salty/sweet oatmeal base for my sports bar.

I got the salted roasted pecans and dried sour cherries at Trader Joe’s.

Happy Baking Team!