Before I launch into this blog post, I must ask you a favor.
Please don’t talk to me about the Super Bowl, about the Broncos, or about Peyton Manning. Unless it’s to say something fluffy and cheerful like “Peyton’s still the best/amazing/wonderful/a class act” et cetera. I’ve had to spend all morning dodging tweets and Facebook posts that said the exact opposite, and as I don’t really feel like spending today in a depressed funk, I’d appreciate your consideration. Thank you.
Now, on to the business. Let’s begin with Fearless Leader Jon’s Day 2 e-mail.
It’s fun to do a second month because you get to build on the first.
We already have a month or so of data to pull from.
So here’s your first challenge:
Find out what worked last month.
I want you make a list today of all the things that helped you hustle on your goal last month. The tips, the tricks, the tools, the people, anyone and anything that moved your forward on your goal needs to go on your list.
For example: My goal was to lose 2.5 pounds. Here were a few things that worked:
1. The exercise program from my trainer.
2. Eating smaller meals more often in the day.
3. Only weighing myself twice a week instead of compulsively.
That’s the kind of stuff I want you to write down.
Here’s what I wrote in my journal yesterday:
Things that worked last month:
1. Starting at night. As I said yesterday, building on my night owl tendencies really helped.
2. Having tasks in list form. Really helps keep me on track.
3. Blogging/accountability. Writing about the process in a public forum and knowing that others were “watching” (or could be watching) kept me motivated.
4. Not giving up and not beating myself up when I had setbacks.
To this I want to add something that really hit me forcefully this morning, as I unrolled my yoga mat and prepared for my morning planking/yoga: music has really helped. I’ve been listening to my new favorite album (if you know me at all, you know which one), and that’s gotten me excited about my morning exercises. At night, I take my phone and my headphones and take care of my kitchen chores while listening to either that new favorite album or a live recording.
In short, music has helped me take things that are normally drudgery to me and turned them into something that’s rather enjoyable.
Day 3 (i.e., today):
The problem with a lot of goal setting measures is that they’re too nice. They act like only good things happen or that it’s negative to admit things that didn’t work. Nonsense.
Today, we’re doing the opposite of yesterday.
What didn’t work?
That’s the challenge.
Be honest about what sucked.
What part of your plan failed? What part fell flat or didn’t deliver the results you expected? Which one bombed?
For example, I would say that travel was the hardest on me. Despite knowing I needed to, I didn’t do nearly enough to plan ahead for the days I traveled with my goal of losing a few pounds. I didn’t eat well in airports. That didn’t work.
So that’s your question today.
What didn’t work last month?
And here’s what I wrote in my journal this morning:
I said the period of time during which the Australian Open was played was going to be the most difficult time in which to follow my hustle. I was wrong.
The hardest time for me was actually in the days immediately following Graham’s show. It was compounded because I didn’t expect it (which was stupid of me), and because I didn’t expect it, I was upset with myself when it happened, which in turn stretched my struggles a few days further.
So, yes. I totally failed in predicting when I would have the most trouble following my routine.
To this, I want to add that I have stricken something completely from my Evening Must-Dos that are so essential to my morning routine. I abandoned setting breakfast fixins of any type on the kitchen table the night before. Why? Because my family just isn’t that predictable when it comes to breakfast. So it was kind of waste of time to set out, say, oatmeal for myself when I would wind up eating toast or cold cereal instead (just as an example).
I have, however, made clearing off the kitchen table part of “cleaning the kitchen,” and that has helped me not be so lazy about getting breakfast on the table for either my daughters or myself. Also, my morning routine changed my mindset enough so that I’m no longer all about expending as little energy as possible in the morning. I’m focused on “what needs to happen next?”
Granted, this might not really be a “failure” per se (because I replaced something that wasn’t working with something that did work). But I wanted to bring it up anyway.
Now then, I have to tell you all about my husband’s amazing budget spreadsheet.
Two days ago, on Saturday morning, I informed Eric that I had decided on a new goal for February. With the air of someone bracing herself for a backlash, I told him, “I want to get our budget in order.”
He reacted a little overdramatically (for comic effect, I hasten to add). Once he was done with the comedy moment, he agreed that it was something we should do.
What he did blew my mind (although, after nearly 17 years of marriage, nothing Eric does should surprise me anymore).
He pulled out our Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University textbook and workbook, sat down with his laptop, and spent about 2 hours working out a new budget.
Now, he did call me in several times to check figures with me and ask me if they seemed reasonable. We also discussed how we would allocate my freelance income and my Etsy shop sales.
But this was all Eric. He set it up, did the formulas, and all that.
As remarkable as this was, what he did after that really blew me away.
He set up additional tabs so that I could add and subtract amounts in various categories as necessary throughout the month.
Let me show you what all this gloriousness looks like.
Here’s the original page, which shows our categories and subcategories.
Now, here’s a sample tab. You can see what he’s done here — he has “budget amount,” “envelope amount” (ie amount placed into our virtual envelope for that pay period), “transaction,” “date,” “credit,” and “debit.” So now, to update our budget for each day, all I have to do is take our receipts and enter the amounts into the right places.
You can see that this is our “Eats” tab — at the bottom you can see tabs for our other budget categories.
Now, those of you who already have a budget spreadsheet may well have something set up very much like this. But I have personally never seen anything like it, and I am so excited to use it. Yes, I am excited about using a spreadsheet. People, please write down today’s date, because I never thought I would ever say such a thing. Ever.
So if you will excuse me, I’m going to go update our budget. I’m turning on an old EP I haven’t listened to in a very long time, and I’m about to go crunch numbers. Yippee!