Reflections on 2014 and Goals for 2015

Ok, New Years has come and gone, and now I feel like I have had time to actually reflect on the year past and think about the year coming up. As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t hit all of my goals last year. But then I started thinking about all of the things that 2014 held for me, and I realized that last year was more about life than about lifting PRs, and I’m ok with that.

2014 started out in an odd way with the loss of my father. I use the word “loss” loosely, because the truth is, he was already lost. Due to choices that he made in his own life, he had not been a part of my life since I was a little girl, so to find out that he had passed away was jarring, but not in the traditional sense of losing ones parent. He was not a parent to me, but the most difficult thing was knowing that for the past couple of years, I had been planning on finding him, trying to have a conversation, trying to get answers to my 1000 questions. And all of a sudden that would no longer be possible.  It was a difficult time, but not one that I can explain easily. How should you feel when you lose something that had already been lost?

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But still, 2014 kept chugging along. Shortly after my fathers death, my life changed again, but this time in a much more positive way. I was introduced to my half sister and brother, both adults, whom I had never met previously. And the completely serendipitous aspect of this is that my half sister, we’ll call her A,  lives extremely close to me (about a half hour away). So after the strange loss of my father, I then gained a brother and sister. I have yet to meet my brother, we’ve only spoken by phone as he is many states away, but I have begun to develop a relationship with my “new” sister and it’s absolutely amazing. We’re still getting to know each other, and I can’t even explain how weirdly awesome it is to be getting to know your 25 year old sister for the first time.

So I guess you can say 2014 started off a little bit strangely for me! Of course our amazing wedding came right in the middle of the year, and as we did almost everything ourselves, I felt like wedding planning became a full time job in the couple of months leading up to the big day. Training for the Falmouth Road Race was happening at exactly the same time, my first ever seven mile race, so that was yet one more thing that kind of pushed my other goals to the side for a while.

The end of my year was again a bit strange, with a concussion leaving me with severe headaches for 3 months straight (seriously, 24/7, sometimes strong enough to make me have to sit and take deep breaths just to be able to keep doing what I was doing).

So, life, you got me in 2014. There were huge ups and huge downs, and everything in between. There were a lot of things going on that forced me to focus on me and my relationships instead of fitness, blogging, and career goals, only I’m just stopping to realize this now. Life happens, and sometimes you just have to deal with it. I guess I say this to show people that even if you didn’t meet all of your goals last year either, it’s ok to give yourself a pass. Sometimes life gets in the way, and the only thing you can do is put your big girl pants on and move forward.  Am I upset that I didn’t reach my lifting PR goals last year? Nope, I got married, and I found my sister, and I had some other pretty crazy things going on too. All that’s left to do now is look forward to the year ahead, set some new goals, and do my best to achieve them!

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So without further ado, here are my fitness and blog related goals for the upcoming year. I do have other goals in my personal life, but this post has already gotten long enough!

1. Bring yoga back into my life – I used to do yoga, particularly hot yoga, quite often. Then about a year and a half ago, we moved and I no longer have super easy access to the studio that I used to frequent. I know, bad excuse huh? I have recently been realizing just how much I miss it mentally, and also how much my body misses it. My hips are ridiculously tight, and no matter how much mobility work I do, heavy deadlifting and squatting doesn’t help the matter. Yoga just helps me feel better over all, so I would like to start going this year again. I don’t know if once per week is realistic, but that’ll be my goal for now. Heck, if I make it to any yoga at all I’ll be happy, who am I kidding?

2. Get back into my lifting groove – I’m not going to attach specific numbers to my lifts right now, simply because I’m still rebuilding strength after my injury last year. My main goal right now is to get back to where I was (235 lb deadlift, 125 lb bench, 165 lb back squat). When I get my numbers back up to that point, then I’ll set some new goals to work forward. For now, it’s all about rebuilding.

3. Increase Social Media Presence – I would really like to increase my presence on social media this year. I have put most of my focus into the blog itself, while putting considerably less energy into Twitter, Instagram, and my blog Facebook page. If you’re not following me on any of those outlets yet, please check them out! (And I finally changed my name on Twitter and Instagram to my married name, so there’s that)

4. Post consistently, but don’t stress about it – I realized last year that keeping up with 3x/week posts was just not going to happen. If I can stick with 1-2 times per week, I’m happy with that, and hopefully you are too! It’s just what works best with my life, and I think it also gives you guys better content — quality over quantity and all that!

2014: Year In Review

I seriously can’t believe that we’re already here at the end of 2014. I feel like I’ve just gotten used to writing “2014” on things, and all of a sudden we’re on the verge of ’15?! Maybe the year flew by simply because that’s what happens as you get older, but maybe it was also because it was one heck of a year for me. My year was pretty much split right down the middle by our wedding — everything up until July was pretty  much a blur as we were in the final planning stages for the big day. After that though, time did not slow down. Work seems to be as crazy as ever, although I was able to get away and relax a bit on our mini-moon and our amazing honeymoon a few months later.

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[Wedding photos courtesy of the AMAZING Rachel Darley Photography]

So where am I compared to last year? First of all, I feel as though I should be looking forward, not comparing myself to the past, but that’s what we always do, isn’t it? To be honest, I feel a little bit defeated looking back on my goals from last year. I am a far, far cry from those lifting PR goals — but a 3 month hiatus from heavy lifting due to post concussion syndrome can account for that.  Looking at it from another direction though, I may not have met my lifting goals, but I did complete something that previously seemed impossible and unimaginable — I trained and completed a seven mile race.

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The morning of the Falmouth Road Race in August

I know that seven miles doesn’t seem like a whole lot to many people, but for a non-runner like myself, it was a challenge that I wasn’t sure I would be able to complete. But I did it, and you know what? I really enjoyed it. And as Amy pointed out to me not so long ago, I’ve been running quite a bit for someone who doesn’t like running! So I guess I can thank 2014 (and New Balance) for being the catalyst for that change. Running may not be my strength, or my favorite fitness routine, but I have certainly found a place for it in my life and have learned to appreciate it more than ever before.

Don’t worry — I am not abandoning strength training, just allowing myself to broaden my horizons a little bit. 🙂 I actually miss it, I miss it a lot. I miss the feeling of an awesome dead lift PR, and I can’t wait to get back to that. I was finally able to get back to some decent lifts at the end of this year, so I’m excited to keep going with that progress!

So what has changed for me in 2014? Well, to be honest, I am not sure that much has changed on the outside. I still live in the same place, I still work at the same job, and I still love strength training, kettle bell workouts, and hill sprints. But when I really get down to it, life, although chugging along, is different these days. I’m a wife now, maybe I’ll be a mom in the foreseeable future. I’m at a point in my career where I could see myself making some major changes — and it could be time on this blog that I start making some changes as well. I’m not exactly sure what this year ahead will bring, and I’m not exactly sure where I want it to take me, but I am sure that I’m loving the process of figuring it all out.

I feel like without a list of goals today, I’m breaking some sort of blogger rule. But really, what’s the point of starting new goals on January 1st anyway? I think goals are awesome and I think they’re imperative for change, but I also believe that the day does not matter. Thursday is no different than Monday, January first is no different than July 7th. I have goals, and I’ll get around to posting them here, but I don’t feel that it’s necessary to do it today, and I think others should feel the same.

I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to start anew on January 1st, and when those goals disappear a few weeks later, we’re left to feel like failures. Instead, work on things you really want to work on, but don’t feel the need to come up with something monumental to change about yourself just because it’s the New Year. If you need a little bit more time to come up with some good, realistic, attainable goals, then do so! Your ability to set goals does not start and end on New Years Day, you have that ability every day of your life.

For now, I’m just going to have myself a darn good time tonight with an awesome group of friends, and try to wrap my head around writing 2015 on things. The goals will come in time, and when they do, I’ll be sure to let you all know what they are — because if I didn’t, what kind of blogger would I be?

Readers, do you set New Years Resolutions or goals? What was your goal from last year that you are most proud of meeting? 

Advice For January Gym Joiners

Since I work out in the gym of the college that I work at, I’m just starting to see the January Joiners (resolutioners, if you will) this week. The students just got back to campus, which means that our gym now has the influx of New Year fitness buffs that many of you have already been seeing for the past couple of weeks.

As I was looking around during my lift yesterday, I saw a handful of people who came in, looked around with a puzzled (and terrified) look on their faces, and then proceeded to just stand there with that same look for at least 10 minutes before doing anything.

I get it. The gym can be a very scary place if you’re not used to going, especially if it’s a new gym that you’ve never been to before. But my gym is about as un-intimidating as gyms can be; it’s fairly small, it’s almost all students, and the weight room is very separate from the main fitness floor. But still, people stand there amidst a sea of treadmills, ellipticals, and Life Fitness machines, without the faintest clue where to begin.

As someone who has gone through this gym-paralysis before, back when I was in college, there are five main pieces of advice I can give to these people to help make the experience a little bit more terrifying, and a little more enjoyable.

1. Just try something. If it’s your first day in a gym in months, years, or ever, start out small and do more as you become more comfortable. Maybe that means today you just walk on the treadmill or ride a stationary bike for 20 minutes. That’s ok, that’s something. Doing something easy is better than just standing there, and it will help make you feel a little bit more comfortable in this foreign space, I promise.

2. Don’t be afraid to walk around and look at things. In other words, don’t just stand there. If you’re not familiar with your gym, how are you going to know what your options are if you don’t walk around and look at things? It’s easy to walk in and hop on the first piece of cardio equipment that you see, but it’s also easy to take 5-10 minutes to walk around to get yourself oriented. No one’s going to look at you strange for doing this either. Trust me, most people at the gym are far more interested in what they are doing than what you are doing.

3. Take it slow. As with big changes in diet, big changes in your fitness routine (like working out for the first time… ever), should be made with baby steps. If you throw yourself into a super intense circuit training on your very first day there, not only do you run the risk of hurting yourself (or someone else, God forbid), but you also run a huge risk of burning out way too soon. Start easy, and go from there. Like I mentioned above, pick something that you know you can do — riding a stationary bike — and then build on it. Maybe do some planks and some body weight squats and lunges. It’s better than nothing, and it’s a good way to get your body moving after not doing so for some time.

4. Talk to an experienced professional. I kind of think this goes without saying, but if you walk into the gym and truly have no idea what to do with yourself, your best bet is probably to spend at least one session with a personal trainer.  At the very least, they will be able to show you the different equipment that the gym offers, and help you with your form on some basic exercises. Use this time well, and don’t be afraid to ask “stupid” questions. It is their job to help you on your fitness journey, and trust me, you are not the first person they’ve seen who has no idea what they’re doing.

5. Focus on what you can do, instead of what you can’t do. A lot of people stay away from the gym because they’re petrified of all of the scary looking equipment, both in and out of the weight room. Sure, you may not be able to squat like the guy in the power rack, but I’m sure that with some proper cues, you’ll be doing body weight squats like a pro in no time. This goes back to tip number 3 of taking it slow. Who cares if you have to start with body weight squats, stationary bike, and wall push ups? Everyone has a starting point, and the only way you’re going to get better is to recognize yours, and work your hardest to improve.

Jumping in over your head and getting frustrated because you can’t do a push up will not help you improve. Learning how to increase your strength gradually, working towards someday doing that first push up is what it’s all about. Focusing on the negative only reinforces the belief that you aren’t good enough, which is probably what kept you out of the gym in the first place. Instead, focus on what’s getting better — maybe your body weight squat suddenly feels too easy and you can add in some dumbbell weight — now that’s progress!

Just remember, your experience is yours and yours alone. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be doing or how fast you should be doing it. Sure, let a personal trainer push you a little bit, but don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be doing this weight lifting program or that running program. The important thing, when starting a new fitness regimen, is just sticking with it. Consistency is key, and hopefully after a little while you’ll actually start to enjoy yourself.

Readers: What is your biggest piece of advice for gym newbies? What scared you the most when you first started going to the gym?

Goals: Then and Now

Looking back over the past year, I can pretty easily say that 2013 was a memorable one for me. I got engaged (!!!), got attacked by an immersion blender, fell 8 feet off a wall and subsequently was saved by Superman, moved to a new apartment, and got rid of my car (welcome to the world of city dwellers with no cars!). There was a lot more, including pretty significant growth of this little blog, but these are the big things that stick out in my mind right now. I also realize, though, that New Year’s is not really about looking back but about looking forward, and thinking about how I can better myself in the new year.

NYE1My New Year’s Date! 

I’ve told you guys a long time ago that I don’t believe in resolutions. I don’t believe in picking one day per year to make up an unrealistic vision of the person that you want to be. I do, however, believe in setting specific and measurable goals that you can track throughout the year, setting new ones when you reach them. Yes, I say when you reach them, because while goals should be ambitious, they should also be attainable. What’s the point in setting goals you can never reach? Sounds pretty non-motivational to me.

I think I did a pretty good job of last year’s goals, even considering some extenuating circumstances that made a few of them pretty difficult. Let’s take a look at my old goals, how I did, and what are my plans for 2014.

Last Year’s Goal: Lifting PRs: I set goals last year of achieving a 200 lb deadlift, a 100 lb bench press, and a 170 lb squat.

Outcome: Well, two out of three ain’t bad! I actually surpassed a couple of these, recently hitting a 230 lb deadlift and a 125 lb bench. Considering there were about two months this year when I couldn’t grip a barbell, and another few months where I was out of heavy lifting all together, I would love to see what I could have accomplished if I had been healthy! Not hitting the squat goal is no surprise though — after my bike accident last year, and the other ankle injury in June, I’ve only just started back squatting again. It will take a while to get back up to where I was lifting previously, but I have no doubt that I’ll get there eventually!

New Goal for 2014:  Bench – 140 lb; Deadlift – 285 lb; Back Squat – 170 lb. Lets Go!!

Last Year’s Goal: Networking in the fitness world, as well as getting assessed at Cressey Performance, which is close to Boston. I would love to get to know them, as well as network with some of the other bigger names in fitness and strength training.

Outcome: Neither pass nor fail here. I have started communicating more with others in the fitness world, but I still have a lot of room to grow and improve. I also put off my assessment at CP, simply because of all of my ridiculous injuries which really limited my lifting abilities.

New Goal for 2014: Continue putting myself out there and reaching out to others in the fitness/strength and conditioning world as much as possible. Networking is key in this field, and I know that there are a lot of great resources out there for me! Also, I do still want to visit CP at some point. It’s kind of a splurge that I can’t afford right now, as I am trying my hardest to save for the wedding, but hopefully by the end of the year.

Last Year’s Goal: Start working on my forever-in-the-background dream — writing a book.

Outcome: Ehhhh I have lots of ideas, some of them written down, some of them not. I wouldn’t say I have anything tangible, but the potential is there.

New Goal for 2014: I think that this needs to go on the back shelf for a while. It is still a goal of mine — eventually — but I think I have too much on my plate right now to pressure myself about this. Maybe it will happen, maybe I’ll start with an ebook and go from there. But I don’t want to make any specific goals, because I don’t feel any rush to stress about this.

NEW Goals for 2014:

  • Stay relatively injury free. I’d like to think that last year was a fluke. I know I don’t have control over everything, but I will do everything in my power to stay healthy this year. Mobility work, foam rolling, regular sleep, etc. These are things that I can control, and that can make a huge difference in training and health.
  • Update my blog. I really need to make some visual updates to the blog, and that will definitely happen this year, hopefully sooner rather than later. I’m not sure that self hosting is in the cards, but a major update is 100% necessary at this point. Stay tuned!
  • Expand my brand. I’ve been throwing around the idea of running an outdoor fitness group or bootcamp type workout when the weather gets warmer. This will need a lot of planning and organization, but it’s something that I would really love to do. Again — stay tuned — I’ll give you all more details when I figure them out myself! I’ve got some other ideas as well, but I think I’ll keep those under wraps until I think it’s the right time 🙂

…. That’ all for now! I’ve got some other life goals that really have nothing to do with nutrition or fitness, so I’ll leave those off of here, for now at least. I hope everyone had a marvelous New Year’s Eve, whether you hit the town or stayed cozied up in your jammies on the couch!

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Happy New Year, blog world! Here’s to 2014! 

2013 Recap: The Best of I Train Therefore I Eat

I can’t believe that in a couple of days, it’ll be 2014. This year absolutely flew by, although I say that every year I suppose. It feels like time this year was just a little bit quicker than normal though. Maybe it’s because it was a memorable year (to say the least), maybe it’s because I realized I’m nowhere close to being invincible (see: this incident and this incident), maybe it’s just because that’s what happens as you get older. Whatever the reason, and whether we like it or not, 2013 is quietly exiting, and 2014 is knocking at the door.

This past year was a big one in my life and on the blog. I had some posts that got a lot of attention, and some that just meant a lot to me personally. Today, I just want to recap some of my most successful (most viewed) posts of the year, and also some of my personal favorites, just in case you missed them. Later this week I’ll be back with a recap of last years goals and my new ones moving forward, because tracking progress is always fun, no?

Any-hoo, I present to you my year in blogging, 2013. Enjoy!

The 5 Most Popular Posts of 2013:

1. Athletic Training: Why I Love My Job – This was absolutely my most popular post of the year — and since I wrote it last January, I guess I peaked early in 2013? 🙂  This post circulated very well on social media, and I was very humbled by the response from other ATCs. I guess when you love what you do, it’s easy to express it well, huh?

2. The Lean Physique And Why It’s Dangerous – This was another post that I was very proud of. Being ultra lean isn’t always the healthiest or most realistic goal for people, and trying to attain that can be downright dangerous.

3. Top 5 Areas That You’re Probably Not Foam Rolling – I should probably do another piece on foam rolling, because there are some other techniques I didn’t cover in this post. I’m glad there’s such an interest in the topic though, I really do believe that it’s one of the most important parts of a fitness program!

4. A Stadium Workout – Apparently people want to be told what to do when they go to workout at a stadium. This is just one example of workouts you can do, but the possibilities are pretty endless!

5. Fitness Friday: How To Use Battling Ropes – One of my other favorite pieces of workout equipment, this is something that I think every gym should have. Relatively inexpensive, you can get a lot of bang for your buck with these, and they are a great tool to add something new into a circuit or conditioning day!

My Favorite Posts of 2013:

Along with the top two above, there are a handful of posts that I am especially fond of, whether they be recapping a personal experience, motivational, or just random thoughts. These posts may not always get the most attention, but they mean a lot to me and are important to my little corner of the blogosphere!

1. Moving And Healing – The Boston Marathon bombing was an event that I’ll never forget, and although we’ve moved on with our normal lives, we are all changed forever, at least a little bit. Healing continues, figuratively and very literally for some, and although it’s important to move on, it’s just as important to remember.

2. A Change In Perspective – Sometimes, all you need is a little change in perspective. Find something you can love and look forward to, and exercising becomes less of a chore.

3. 4 Tips To Improve Your Pullups – because whether you believe it or not, you can do pull ups. Yes, you. Just follow these tips, and work work work!

4. Healthy Living? I’m Not So Sure Anymore – I decided to take a step back from the Healthy Living Blog world this year, and even if it cost me a few readers, I’m ok with that. I still stand behind every word in this post.

5. My Name is Stephanie, and I’m a Quitter. – I’m including this one because I think it’s important for people to know that there is no one diet plan that is right for everyone. I enjoyed IF, but failed miserably at Carb Backloading. Ah well, live and learn, right?

6. Superman Walks: Part One and Part Two – Thomas Mills is such an inspirational man, I almost feel like I should post a link to this every day so that everyone can read his story!

7. The Scale is Not Your Friend – I’m not sure that the battle between women and their scales will ever end, but this was one little piece to try to stop the nonsense. The scale doesn’t matter, but you do!

8. The Great Leggings As Pants Debate – are they or aren’t they? For the record, I think they are, and I wear them proudly.

Hopefully in the coming year, I can continue writing posts that connect me to people like you, and I can continue to motivate people to lead healthier, happier lives. 2013, you were great, but it’s time to move on. Happy New Year everyone! 

Resolutions Are For Suckers: Part 2

I said it last year, and I’ll say it again: Resolutions are for suckers.

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Read here for my explanation of this statement.

But if you’re too lazy to click on that link and read the old post, here’s the gist of it: Resolutions are wishy washy bullshit that are easily broken. Goals have specific end points  and are easily measurable so that you know exactly where you stand. I don’t set resolutions anymore; I set challenging goals that I can keep track of, goals that will keep me on track for the bigger things I want in life. So heading into your new year, do yourself a favor and set some specific, measurable goals so that you will know exactly when you’ve reached them.

If you don’t know when you’ve reached your goals, what’s the point in setting them?

So without further ado, here are the things I would like to accomplish in 2013:

Deadlift/Squat/Bench: In 2013, I want to get stronger. I want to get my DL up to 200 lb, my back squat to 170 lb, and my bench to 100 lb.  I know I can do it! I think the most challenging one will be the back squat,  just based on my experience this year. But I have a lot of confidence that I can accomplish these because I also want to…

Have someone else do my programming: I know a decent amount about strength training and fitness (but I’m no expert). I know a lot about nutrition and sports medicine, so I should be able to just train myself, right? Wrong. Someone on the outside can often see weaknesses that you don’t see, can often pick out faulty movement patterns that you might not even be aware of.  There’s something holding me back on progressing my back squat (and I have a feeling it’s my poor hip mobility), but someone on the outside can probably do a better job at corrective programming, because they’re seeing me with a totally objective eye. I would LOVE to get assessed by Tony Gentilcore and get a program from him, so I’m thinking that will be something I splurge on in the near future. I read Tonys blog all the time, and with him being a local guy, how could I not want him to do my programming, or at the very least an assessment? We’ll see if he has room in his schedule for little ol’ me. 😉

Continue running strong with The Tribe: I’m sure by now we all know how much I hate endurance running (for myself). But if you remember a while back, I wrote a post about running stadiums on Wednesday mornings with a group called the November Project. Well, since I started going,  I have become absolutely addicted, and have become obsessed with improving my times each week. There’s just something intoxicating about the positive energy of the group that keeps me coming back for more. I know that it’s stalling my strength progress a little bit, but I love doing it so much that I think it’s worth the trade off, at least for now. My goal is to make it to every single Wednesday morning November Project run in 2013  (with exceptions for travel, work conflict, serious illness, or injury, of course) And NP, if you’re reading, you can consider that my #Verbal. 

And to give myself an even more specific goal on that front, I want to get my “full tour” (running all 37 columns of the stadium) down to under 37:00. (My best time right now is 40:58.)

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Dream Big: I’ll elaborate more on this in the very near future, but I’ll give you a little teaser now. A big dream of mine is to write a book, and I vow that the process will start this year, in 2013. I’m not saying I’m going to complete it this year, because that’s completely unrealistic. But the ideas are there, the dream and the will power are certainly there, and the only thing left is to just do it.

Talk to my family more: When life gets hectic, I tend to get sucked into a black hole of work, writing, and other things and I don’t always talk to those I love enough. I try to talk to my mother at least once per week, but there have been several times this year where it has slipped by to 2-3 weeks in the blink of an eye. In the wake of the recent Newtown tragedy and my own accident weeks before that, I have really started to think about how very important it is to talk to loved ones regularly, and let them know how important they are. I will call my mother at least once per week, and I will call my sister more often too. It’s easy to take family for granted, but really, without getting too morbid, you never know how much more time you have. Sometimes months can go by before talking to my sister, and that’s just not right. Let’s fix that NOW, while we still can.

Stop being such a pansy and start reaching out to some of the bigger strength and conditioning blogs that I read. Some of those people would make me seriously star struck if I met them (Hello, all of the Girls Gone Strong), but I’m not sure what it is that makes me think that I’m not their peer. Yes, I’m a newer blogger, but I’ve got a lot of good ideas and I need to stop telling myself that I can’t get to their level. I can get to their level, I just have to put a lot of hard work in, and start networking like crazy.  So I have set the goal of reaching out to at least one new blogger per month, via email, and start making some connections. Boom! Done.

These are my bigger goals for 2013. Hopefully I can remember to check back in every few months or so to monitor my progress, but I think I’ve given myself some challenging (but realistic) things to work towards. 2012 was a big year for me, and I must say I worked my butt off to make it that way. If I keep working hard, 2013 could shape up to be just as big, with just as many milestones. Only time (and hard work) will tell!

What about you? What are your biggest goals for 2013? Have you ever thought about writing a book? Do you generally meet your New Years goals or do you forget about them by February? 

The Year In Review

Well, it’s that time of year again isn’t it?

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That time when people look back on the year that has just passed and take stock of their life then vs. now.

Basically, there are two categories of people at the end of December. There are those who had set goals in January and reached them, and then there are those who set goals or resolutions and failed miserably to achieve them (usually within the first couple months of the year). I suppose there are also those who don’t set any goals at all, so they find another way to measure the year they’ve just had (or they don’t take measure at all), but that’s neither here nor there.

Looking back, I realize that I set a few lofty goals for myself back in January, one of which that was realistically beyond my reach. But I did accomplish two out of three, and although I didn’t quite reach the third, I tried my damnedest to. I will say this: even though I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to, I’m very proud of the goals that I did reach, and it only makes me hungrier to keep working towards those other goals in the future.

Since most of you didn’t know I existed way back in January, you can go back and read my original New Years goals post here, or you can just stay right here and I’ll give you the quick version. The following are the goals I set for myself at New Years 2012, followed by a few words about how I fared, when I completed it, or what went wrong if I didn’t.

Goal 1: Complete my MS in Nutrition.

Outcome: DONEZO! I completed my coursework last spring and graduated in April from my Master’s program. It felt amazing to be done after 2 years of grad school combined with working full time, and it was something that I had set my sights on long before I started.

Goal 2: Take (and pass) the CSCS exam from the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association).

Outcome: BOOM. Crushed it! I took this on December 1st and found out 2 weeks later that I had passed. A lot of people have asked me why I took this exam; was I trying to get a new job? And the answer is no, I was just trying to make myself better. So I did. And I will continue to. So there.

Goal 3: Back squat 200 pounds

Outcome: Womp womp. My PR on my back squat this year stalled at 155, and I haven’t even hit that in a while. I’ve been down around 135, and I have a sneaking suspicion what the culprit is.

What went wrong: I added in a decent amount of conditioning work throughout this year; daily bike rides to and from work, as well as stadium runs 1-2 times per week. Although conditioning is great, if you’re training strictly for strength gains, it can zap your progress. I’m still working out the right balance for me, and we’ll revisit this when I tell you guys about my new goals for this coming year!

Not too shabby, huh? And even seeing that one of them wasn’t even close to being met, this doesn’t discourage me in the least. As I said above, it only makes me want to work harder to achieve that 200 lb back squat in the future. I know now that it was unrealistic goal, but at this point it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the process and the work that I have to keep putting into it to one day reach this goal. Maybe it will be in 2013 (although probably not), but I will get there.

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I think that this is an important process for everyone to go through even if you don’t believe in setting New Years Resolutions. If you have any goals at all, it’s essential to go back and revisit them every once in a while with an objective eye. That way, you can either see what you need to work harder on, or you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Of course at that point, it’s time for some new goals to work towards. Because as I’ve learned very well in my line of work, if you’re not looking forward, working towards a goal, you’re just staying the same at best. And I truly believe that no matter who you are, no matter how good you are at something, there’s always room to Be Better. 

What about you? How do you measure up to the goals you set last year?  Which accomplishment over the past year are you most proud of?

I’ll be back on Monday with my new goals for 2013 and some new ideas about the blog. Until then, have a great weekend everyone, and enjoy the last few days of 2012!