Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Setting an Achievable Resolution - Step Three

Happy New Year's Eve! 2013 is ticking away.  The morning news, newspaper and Internet are filled with reports and articles about setting a New Year's Resolution and deciding to get healthy in 2014.  Statistically, only 8% of people keep their Resolutions.  I feel that the main reason for that is because people set unachievable resolutions.  They set themselves up for failure as soon as the words roll off their tongue. 

In 2010 I set, kept and am STILL keeping my New Year's Resolution.  I did it with three simple steps:

1) Set small goals and celebrate often (SMART goals!)
2) Accept the fact that I am going to mess up

3) Ask someone (or several someones) to hold you accountable

When I set out to run my first 5k, I knew that I would not be able to do it by myself.  It would be too easy for me to just quit.  So I asked my brother-in-law Chris if he would run with me.  Why?  Chris is an experienced runner.  He had run 5k's before.  Chris is a very encouraging and calm person.  He could handle me if I started to completely freak out (He is married to my sister so I knew he could definitely handle a Hamer Woman Meltdown - Ha! Ha!).  Chris is funny, so if nothing else I knew I'd be laughing throughout the 3.1 mile race!  It turned out that I needed Chris with me during that first 5k.  I would not have crossed the finish line without him!
My brother-in-law Chris and I celebrating my first 5k Registration in 2010

Four years later, I have several people who hold me accountable to my resolution to live a healthy life (Chris is still one of them!).  I am a part of two groups - Cat's Zumbettes (Ladies from my Zumba Class) and Mom's Run This Town - who will nudge me if I am away too long.  My staff at work know about my bad habits and take great joy in calling me out in front of everyone if they see me getting too close to the vending machines.  My biggest cheerleaders are my friend Amy, my sister Meg and my mom.  They listen to me whine and complain about being tired and sore.  They get on my case if I start to slack off.  They join in my celebrations with hugs and high-fives for even the smallest of milestones. 
Amy and I at Cat's Celebration of Life, 2013
Meg and I at Pittsburgh's Turkey Trot, 2013

My daughter Ellie with my mom at the Jingle Bell Run, 2013
Sharing your Resolution, your goal, your DREAM takes courage.  You may feel extremely embarrassed because you've tried and failed so many times.  You may have tried to quit smoking every January 1st for the past ten years.  You may have started and re-started fitness plans more times than you can count.  You may still be working on losing that baby weight even though your baby is eleven years-old.  Don't worry about that.  Today starts fresh. 
Choose a person to encourage you who will lift you up and propel you forward.  Someone who will be honest with you, will cry with you and will make you laugh.  Someone who when they simply look at you is saying YOU CAN DO THIS! 
There you go . . . three easy steps to setting an ACHIEVABLE RESOLUTION.  You can do this . . . make 2014 the year YOU CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Setting an Achievable Resolution - Step Two

In 2010 I beat the odds and actually kept my New Year's Resolution to live a healthier life.  Earlier this week I shared with you that I did three simple things to make my Resolution a reality.  Step one was to take my "big picture" resolution and break it down into a series of small goals.  Setting small goals allowed me to celebrate victories often which helped to push me forward toward success.

Step Two: Accept the fact that I am going to MESS UP.

My life is not perfect.  I am far from perfect.  So why should I ever think that getting myself from point A to point B should play out perfectly?  Back in 2010 I did.

All or Nothing Thinking.  If I make a single mistake or if things aren't going exactly as I planned then let's just scrap the whole idea.  I messed up.  The whole thing is ruined.  It's over.  That's a very unhealthy frame of mind because no one is perfect.   

When I was training for that first 5k, I kept missing Tuesdays.  My kids would have a lot of homework.  I'd have to work late.  There would be a basketball game or soccer practice.  For whatever reason, Tuesdays were always rough.  After a couple of weeks of missing the Tuesday workouts, I was talking to my mom and told her that I was giving up on the 5k.  I couldn't complete the training.  I remember her asking me what was so special about the training on Tuesdays.  When I thought about it, there really wasn't anything special about Tuesdays.  It was just a regular run.  Then she asked me if the training schedule had a rest day.  It did - Sundays.  She suggested that I simply adjust the training schedule to work for me and make Tuesdays my rest day.  What a brilliant idea! 

"Messing up" isn't an opportunity to "give up."  Rather it's an opportunity to look at WHY you stumbled and make an adjustment to prevent it from happening again.  Or, it could simply be a time when you say "Oooooops!" and move on. 

Even now, four years later, I still have lots of "Oooooops" moments.  Finding myself sitting on the couch devouring a bag of chips after a stressful day rather than putting a handful in a small bowl.  Letting several days pass without lacing up my running shoes.  Yes, I always feel bad when I let those things happen, but I use those times to push me to "get up" and get back on track.

Remember - Messing Up does not mean Giving Up.  Messing Up means Getting Up and starting again. 

2014 is almost here.  I have one more tip for you to help you set and Achievable Resolution . . . check back tomorrow!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Setting An Achievable Resolution - Step One

New Year's Resolutions drive me CRAZY! According to research done at the University of Scranton, only 8% of people actually keep them. 

For some people, New Year's Resolutions are a joke or merely a topic of conversation during holiday gatherings.  For others, there is a serious need to make a lifestyle change and the New Year seems like the perfect time to make those changes.  However, many people are setting themselves up for failure as soon as the words roll off their tongue.

I agree that a new year is the perfect time to make some changes in your life.  It was in January 2010 that I resolved to live a healthier life and started training for my first 5k - a step that four years later continues to have a positive impact on my life!  What did I do differently that allowed me to succeed?  THREE simple things . . .

1) Set SMALL goals and CELEBRATE often

"I'm going to lose 50 pounds this year."

There are some people who will make a statement like that and be able to do it, but the average person is going to stay strong for a few days or even a few weeks and then give up.  This resolution is too big.  It is going to take a long time to achieve it.  While it is good to see the big picture, it is easier to accomplish a goal if you break it down into smaller pieces.

"I'm going to lose five pounds this month."

Or even smaller . . .

"I'm going to lose one pound this week." 

That is do-able!  When you achieve that goal - celebrate!  Do a victory dance!  Hi-Five your family!  Pump your fist in the air!  Allow yourself to feel good and bask in the joy of victory!  That good feeling will spur you on to achieve your next goal . . . "I'm going to lose one pound this week." 

One week will turn into two and then three and then four . . . and then fifty!

Back in 2010, my resolution was to live a healthier life.  I set a goal for myself - I will complete my first 5k on April 10, 2010. Using a Couch to 5k training schedule (http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/sofa-to-5k-training-tips), I broke my goal down further - I will complete the 5k training schedule this week.  After 15 weeks I was ready to go!  Fifteen weeks of small goals and small celebrations led to my successfully crossing the finish line of the Genesis Riverside Run 5k on April 10, 2010.
April 10, 2010 - My First 5k!

My friend Emily Jackson shared this acronym with me - Goals should be SMART.
     Time Specific

What New Year's Resolution have you been thinking about?  Is it a SMART one?  How can you break it down to make it SMART?  The SMART-er or SMALLER your goal the more often you get to celebrate a victory.  Celebrating those small victories is going to make you feel good about yourself and push you toward achieving your bigger goal.

Setting small goals and celebrating often is only one of three simple actions that helped me keep my New Year's Resolution back in 2010.  Number two is . . . I'll share that one tomorrow!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

STOP!!! . . . . ok, you may continue

Life is a series of
disastrous moments,
painful moments,
unexpected moments
and things that will break your heart.
In between those moments you
savor, savor, savor.
Sandra Bullock
That is what this week felt like.  One thing after another.  Crazy stress-filled moments sprinkled with moments of fun and laughter.  However, by Friday I was struggling to see the sprinkles.
My brain was muddled from hours spent studying the American Revolution and Metals and Mathematical equations and cell structure and Quel mois est-il?  (The fact that I was French Club President in high school is not helping me help my 14 year-old at all!)  Basketball season has started so we have practice and games and a pile of sweat-soaked laundry every night.  There are chorus concerts and potlucks and work deadlines.  Have I exercised this week?  Barely!  And don't forget that as of today there are only 11 days until Christmas and I'm not done shopping and my tree is still bare and I have given zero thought to a Christmas card??? 
chaos reigns within
reflect, repent, reboot
haiku by Suzie Wagner
Quiet.  Steaming coffee.  Pine-scented candle lit.  Warm fuzzy pajamas.  Christmas jazz.  Children and hubby still sleeping. Ahhhhh . . . Savor . . . Reflect . . .
Week's schedule organized and posted on cupboard.  Menu planned.  Grocery list complete.  Washer whirling. Kitchen sink empty.  Running Shoes on . . .  Reboot . . .

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Lesson on Compromise

This past Saturday, a rare event happened - my mom, sister and I all had several hours of free time at the same time.  We love doing things together, but it's hard to find a time that works for each of us.  This was our chance! 

My sister wanted to do something that involved her children.  My mom wanted to do something to kick-off her holiday season.  There are few options for 5ks in December, so I wanted everyone to join me at the Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run.  We ALL wanted to be together.  So . . .

The Hamer Women with the Jingle Bell Elf

Compromise was the key.  My sister brought one of her children (Our little guy was too cold at the Turkey Trot so we knew he would not be happy!).  My mom threw on several extra layers (If you look at the picture her coat is not zipped because she literally can't get the zipper together!).  I still completed my 5k for the month of December, but I walked it rather than ran (Remember, my goal is to COMPLETE a 5k a month, not RUN a 5k a month!).  My daughter came along, too, making it a special outing for only the Hamer women - no men allowed on this adventure!

I have to confess that there was a small piece of me that wasn't too keen on this idea at first.  Obviously, family is more important that anything else.  Yet, I kept thinking about the time clock and how by walking the event my time would stick out among all of my other 5k times.  It would be so slow in comparison. 

"Really Lisa???  Who is looking at your times and comparing them?  No one but you," I could picture that smaller version of me standing on my shoulder with her arms crossed, rolling her eyes and talking in an annoyed tone. 

"Excellent point," I told myself.  "Let's move on!"  And I did . . .

. . . And we had an EXCELLENT morning at the Jingle Bell Run! 

I think that too often adults are not willing to compromise.  That's what leads to so many family feuds.  In this situation it did take us several days of text messages and phone calls, but when our wise mother reminded us that our initial plan was to spend time together it made the decision an easy one.  By putting our individual agendas aside and putting our hearts together, we ended up having an incredible day TOGETHER.

OK, OK, OK . . . I have to confess that I still set a goal for that stupid time clock!  I wanted us to complete the event in under one hour.  Our time . . . 59:11!!!  Woo-Hoo!!

A bonus for me - I got an unexpected gift.  I felt great joy and pride as I crossed the finish line with my mom as she completed her second 5k.  She exercises on a regular basis, but 3.1 miles is farther than her normal distance.  Our mom is one of our best cheerleaders on our journey to be healthy and incorporate exercise into busy family life.  What an example to my sister and I (and our daughters!) on supporting someone's dreams and goals by literally jumping into their adventure - I LOVE it!  A high-five to Ellie and Arden who also completed their second 5ks on Saturday. 

A lesson for all of us - As you make plans with your family and friends, plan with your heart.  Compromise can lead to great memories made TOGETHER rather than getting angry and spending time apart.

Ellie and My Mom

These two are just TOO CUTE together!!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

One Mile is Better than No Mile

This weekend the Hustle and Bustle of the Holiday Season arrived in full force!  While I make it a point to try to enjoy every crazy moment, it is so easy to let the stress of getting everything done get the best of me.  So while I maintain my focus on including some type of exercise into my schedule on a regular basis, I also adopt the attitude that doing something is better than doing nothing.

Yesterday was a perfect example . . .

I started my day by getting dressed in my running clothes.  My plan was to drop JJ off at basketball practice, zip into Pat Catan's to purchase the picture frames I needed for Christmas gifts, sprint through the grocery store and arrive back at the school with enough time to run three miles at the track.  All within two hours.

Well, as I'm sure you guessed my plan didn't exactly work out that way.  I called my mom on the way to my first stop and we ended up having a very encouraging conversation.  One that I definitely needed, but one that took over 30 minutes.  Once I finally got into the craft store I got a little bit distracted by all of the paper and beads and sparkles and snowmen and . . . I am rarely in this store by myself and the frames are all the way in the back and it was just so much fun to wander around and . . . yep, I got sucked in by all of the wonderful holiday magic . . . and it was WONDERFUL!  I had a ball. 

After standing in the line that wound across the front and down an aisle all the way to the back, I left with only 30 minutes to spare.  Totally not enough time to go to the grocery store AND most definitely not enough time to run three miles. 

I arrived at the school with less than 15 minutes before practice ended.  Sitting in my car I mentally reviewed the rest of my day and realized that this was it.  This was my only chance to fit in exercise.  So I got out of my car, zipped up my jacket, pulled my hat over my ears and took off around the track. 

Now I am not a fast runner and in my haste to get going I forgot to start my watch, but I must have been flying around that track!  I ran a full mile before seeing JJ walk out of the school.  Go Me!

I've decided that I'm going to use this experience as my motto for the rest of this crazy holiday month . . . One Mile is Better than No Mile!  I'm still including full workouts into my schedule, but I'm not going to let myself feel upset if time runs out.  Doing something is better than doing nothing.  Plus I know that this Mom is a much more relaxed happier Mom when she gets her workout in! 

Before entering back into the world of Holiday Craziness, I want to take a moment and THANK YOU for reading my Blog and wish you a belated Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope that you had a fun-filled day.  My day was FANTASTIC!  Below are some pictures from Pittsburgh's Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot that benefited the local YMCA.  I am SO THANKFUL for those who encourage me and support my desire to find a way to fit exercise into my crazy life. 
My sister Meg is my FAVORITE 5K Running Buddy!!  I am so thankful we have running in common and go to these events together.  She is my head cheerleader!  Thank you Meg - love you!

 There are some of the Moms from the local Moms Run This Town Chapter.  I haven't been able to meet them for their organized group runs (yet!), but I enjoy being a part of the group through Facebook and seeing them at races.  I am thankful for a great group of encouraging and hilarious women!  The woman on the right sporting the fashionable yet warm garbage bag is our awesome leader Melanie Fleming.  Find a chapter near you at www.momsrunthistown.com 
I was happy my brother-in-law Chris ran.  It's been a while since we ran an event together (Meaning we stand at the starting line together and then he's there at the finish line waiting for me.  Ha!Ha!)  I don't think he fully understands the important role he played in my running journey.  Had he not been with me at my first 5k, I would have walked away from the course after the first 100 yards!  I am so thankful for that moment when he encouraged me to stick with it!