Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals and Resolutions

Today is New Years' Eve, a time for reflections on the past year and thoughts of what the new year will bring. It also brings the inevitable "New Years' Resolution."

I have to admit, I'm a bit jaded on the whole NY Resolution thing, mostly because what begin as grand intentions very rarely evolve into long-term plans or actions. Case in point: ever notice how busy the gym is from January to March? Filled with clueless people wandering around like they're lost? By April, the gym is back to the regulars, and all the "New Years' Resolutioners" have gone back to their televisions and couches. Am I being too harsh? Perhaps. But it's been my observation that very few of those people actually stick to their resolution plan for more than a month or two. (And the ones who actually DO continue with their resolutions? I salute you!)

This is the first time I've put this much thought into a "NY Resolution." Usually, my "resolutions" are things like "I will swear less this year," or "I will give more to those in need." While those statements are good intentions, they're usually quickly forgotten and abandoned.

Because of my negative feelings about NY Resolutions, I was going to write about how I'm going to make GOALS, not RESOLUTIONS for this year. So I looked up the words "goal" and "resolution." And guess what I discovered? BOTH terms describe my plans for 2011!

2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
5. the act or process of resolving or separating into constituent or elementary parts.

resolve, determination, perseverance, tenacity; strength, fortitude.

the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

1. target; purpose, object, objective, intent, intention. 2. finish.

Some may see these two words as synonymous; however, I see them as completely different. "Resolution" focuses more on the process, while "goal" focuses more on the end result. And yet, these terms used together create a strong action plan.

Operation Pro

I've already started this plan, but 2011 will bring in the increased level of intensity, hard work, and yes, suffering (don't get me started on this term; that's a whole 'nother debate for a different day). My "resolution" for Operation Pro involves a course of action, a plan and process, and a firmness of purpose, or tenacity, if you will. My "goal" is to win my Pro card at Team Universe.

I'm excited about this coming year, because I feel I finally have a strong action plan and a set timeline to follow (trust me - this is crucial for us planner-type people).

What are your resolutions and goals?

When you're thinking of what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it in 2011, remember to think about a course of action and a plan. So many resolutions fail because they're simple statements, which is the state of mind, but they lack a plan of action and process. If a simple plan and milestones are set, it's much easier to achieve the end result, or the goal.

Here's to a healthy, successful, and exciting new year, filled with friends, family, and fun!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

We wish you a happy, healthy holiday season filled with family, friends, and fun!

Merry Christmas!
Kari, Jerry
Ed, Ginger, Nikko, & Bruno

(Note the skeptical expressions on the kitties' faces. Also note the intensely curious expressions on the dogs' faces.)

Ever try to set the camera timer, grab two cats (who dislike the dogs), and make it into the picture frame within 10 seconds? I dare you to try!

First Attempt

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Other Relationship

I have a confession to make. I've been spending a lot of time with a certain someone. Every morning, I have a date with him. And every evening, we see each other too. I don't spend as much time with him on weekends, although I do dress up to meet him on Saturday and Sunday mornings. During contest prep, we spend so much time together, I yearn for a break away from him. But I still keep our dates, because he's an important element in my success.

Yes, J is aware of this relationship. And he actually encourages it!

Who am I talking about?

Why, Mr. Treadmill, of course! (Srsly, who did you think I was talking about?!)

Mr. Dreadmill at home

This is Mr. Treadmill in his home attire. He looks a bit different at the gym, but his personality is the same.

I've spent many holidays chillin' with Mr. Treadmill, and for a couple years, he was my Valentine's Day date. I wake up early just to hang out with him, and sometimes during prep, he keeps me up past my bedtime.

I have a love/hate relationship with him. I don't particularly enjoy our dates (and I gotta be honest - sometimes I dread them), but like I said, he's an integral component of my success. He helps me get lean, which helps me win trophies ... and hopefully he'll help me win my Pro card this year!

And now I'm off for my evening date with Mr. Treadmill!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Failure is Part of the Journey

This quote was posted on Staggs Fitness site this morning, and I liked it so much, I wanted to share it too.
You've failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn't you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.

R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.
English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.

Don't worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try.

~ Wall Street Journal

How many times do we let failure slow us down or even stop us from reaching our goals? How many times do we let doubt creep into our minds and sabotage our own attempts at greatness?

Don't let yourself stop yourself from following your dreams. Don't let yourself talk yourself out of trying and trying until you succeed. Failure is part of the journey toward your goal ... accept it, learn from it, and then use that knowledge to continue your journey.

Let's make today a great day!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Popcorn Pothole

One of my goals of this blog is to be open, honest, and real with not only myself, but also with you. While I haven't entered the super-strict phase of Operation Pro yet, I have tightened up my diet and training. I'm feeling good, strong, and focused. But today I'm struggling with some strong urges to dig into the flavored popcorn I bought for our Christmas celebration tomorrow.

So many treats in stores this time of year!

I haven't dug into the popcorn ... but I'm tempted to. Sure, as competitors, we deal with temptations on an everyday basis. Sometimes it's really easy to say "No," and sometimes it takes a lot of willpower. I'm happy to say that I'm choosing willpower today, and will not dig into the popcorn until tomorrow.

I don't feel like I'm depriving myself, even though I'm choosing not to eat the popcorn today. I know full well that it will taste just as good tomorrow. I'm remembering my Operation Pro goal, and know that popcorn is not in the plan today. I know that if I eat it today, I'll be disappointed in myself for not following the plan, when I know that I'm fully capable of following it. I also know that I'll have a better workout without the extra sugar in my body, and I won't run the risk of having a blood sugar crash at any point today.

I realize that things are going to get more difficult, especially when I start my actual contest prep diet, so I'm not complaining. I'm trying to prepare myself for a mentally challenging, yet inherently rewarding prep. My craving for the popcorn is just one small pothole in the road to turning pro.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Bodybuilder's Perspective on Being Hardcore

Last month, I was pondering what it means to be hardcore in the gym. I came to the conclusion that "hardcore" means a dirty gym, hard training, '80's clothes, and a fanny pack. When J read the blog, he disagreed with a couple things, and wanted to share his own opinion. So I interviewed him to get a bodybuilder's perspective of what it means to be "hardcore."

In a nutshell, J's definition of hardcore is "no frills, go to the gym, get the job done." It's a state of mind.

What's your definition of "hardcore"? What kind of gym do you train in? Health club? No frills gym? Home basement?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lusting for a New Suit

As some of you may know, I'm moderately active on Twitter (meaning I'm online during the weekday, but rarely in evenings or weekends). I've met several wonderful people through Twitter, and have had some great conversations regarding fitness, training, diet, and competing. A couple weeks ago, a few of us were chatting about competition suits, and I started thinking about whether I wanted to sell two of my 2-piece suits. I also started thinking about a new suit for this year.

I usually wear the same suit for all competitions in a two-year span, then I get a new suit. Since suits are so expensive (well, at least the ones I want are expensive), it doesn't make sense to me to wear them only one time. I bought a new (to me) suit last year, and wore it at both competitions. It fits me better than any other suit I've owned, and it's beautiful ... so why am I still thinking about getting a new suit?

My last two suits have been pre-owned, which has saved me a bundle of money. I was able to get pro-level suits for about half the cost of a new one, and I got a ton of compliments on both of them. I haven't custom ordered a new suit for about five years, though, and I keep thinking that it'd be so wonderful to have a suit designed to my exact measurements. At this point, a new suit isn't in my budget, though. (sigh)

I do have two suits that I could sell, but haven't decided if I even want to sell them at all. J had a good idea of putting the suits in a box frame along with some stage photos and hanging them on the wall. I have to admit, I kind of like that idea!

For you competitors ... how many times (years) do you wear a suit? Have you ever purchased a used suit? What were your experiences?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Operation Pro Explained

You've been hearing about Operation Pro in my past couple blogs ... but what exactly does it entail?

It's Go Time!

Monday, December 13, 2010

All I Want For Christmas ...

Every year, my mom asks everyone in our family to create a Christmas List with ideas of what we want for Christmas. When I was younger, I'd just open the Sears catalog to the toy section and circle all the toys I wanted. Cuz really, who wanted something as boring as clothes?!

Now that I'm older (and have fully embraced my planning and organizational tendencies), I create an Excel spreadsheet, complete with item, size, price, store where it can be purchased, image of the item, and website link. (Yes, I actually do this, cuz hey, I figure the more thorough I am with the list, the less questions the person who picks my name has.)

When I created my list this year, I discovered it contained mostly items pertaining to working out. Of course, it contained expensive workout clothes, among other items. J's list, not coincidentally, also contained several gym-related items. As I thought about it, I realized that people's Christmas lists are really a reflection of themselves: their interests, their tastes, and their lifestyle. Since J and I spend a fair amount of time in the gym (him more than me, since he's a trainer), it's only natural that our lists would include training items and gym clothes.

What's on your list this year? Do you feel it's an accurate representation of your lifestyle?