Announcing “Improve Yourself! 2010” – Engaged Marriage

Announcing “Improve Yourself! 2010”

By Dustin | Individual Fulfillment

Improve Yourself! 2010: Your Goals, Your Actions, Your Results

Improve Yourself!

  • Would you like to start the new year with a purpose and accomplish some concrete goals quickly?

  • Would you like to jump-start your success in 2010 and do more than pay lip-service to your New Year’s Resolutions?

  • Are your ready to make a real commitment to yourself and your family and be held accountable for your progress?

  • Are you ready for some fun and great prizes?

I am excited to announce a little friendly competition that I’ll be holding here at Engaged Marriage as we welcome 2010.  As I looked at some of the goals I want to will accomplish in the new year, I was reminded of how easy it is to resolve to improve ourselves on New Year’s Eve and then slowly (or quickly) abandon our plans a couple weeks later.  I knew what I needed was some accountability and some encouragement from others who hold themselves to a high standard.

Why Here?

And then it hit me.  We have built an incredibly supportive and inspired community here at Engaged Marriage, and I know that many of you face the same “buzzkills” as I do when it comes to sticking with a plan for personal improvement.

We are all insanely busy with a lot of pressing demands for our time and energy.  We know we need to take care of ourselves, but we inevitably put our needs last as we focus on taking care of our family, helping others and advancing our career.  Those things are obviously important, but the truth is that we can accomplish more in all areas of life when we improve ourselves…and we have to quit using those outside influences as our crutch or excuse.

If you’ve been around this site very long, you know that I believe strongly in a holistic approach to marriage.  There is a reason I write about topics like individual fulfillmentspirituality, and finances & careersA healthy life feeds a healthy marriage, and vice-versa.

OK, so now you know where this little idea came from, and I’m sure you can see why this is so relevant to achieving the extraordinary in marriage.  So, what exactly are we talking about here?

What is “Improve Yourself! 2010”?

  1. You will choose one area of your life to improve over the first 8 weeks of 2010 (January 3rd through February 27th).  This is completely open based on your desires, but some suggestions would include the areas of fitness, personal finances, spirituality, communication with your spouse, parenting, career, education, romance, etc.
  2. You will set your own goals for what you intend to accomplish over the course of eight weeks.  Goal-setting is incredibly important, so I will publish a post soon to help you establish specific and effective goals.
  3. Each week, I will publish a post that focuses on self-improvement and motivation, and I’ll report on my own personal progress toward my goals.  You must comment on each weekly post to report your progress and remain accountable.
  4. At the end of eights weeks, I will choose the top three finishers based on who I feel made the most meaningful progress in self-improvement.  At this time, I will also “call out” all those who did NOT finish all eight weeks (to add a little more accountability)!
  5. The final three contestants will summarize their progress in a short write-up, and you (their fellow competitors) will vote to choose the best overall success story.

Why Should You Participate?

  1. It will be fun!
  2. You’ll have the opportunity to both give and receive motivation/accountability from high-quality, proactive people who are striving to reach their own goals.
  3. You will improve yourself and, in turn, improve your marriage and family life.
  4. It builds our community here at Engaged Marriage and makes you an active part of it.
  5. PRIZES!  Please see the Prize Announcement post for the awesome details!

If you, your website, your company or someone you know would like to support this contest by providing prizes, I would be both thrilled and extremely thankful.  And I would be more than happy to promote (appropriate and useful) products in return for your generosity.  Please contact me if you can help!

UPDATE: We have our first sponsorship via the generous Carrie from Make Mine Happen.  Please send Carrie a tweet @thegirlburgan and tell her how great she is!

ANOTHER UPDATE: We have another great sponsor for one week of the competition!  Thank you to Kristin from My Hands are Clean, Are Yours? Please share your appreciation with her on Twitter @mydoodlebop !

AND MORE:  I am pleased to announce that Brad from Enemy of Debt and Patrenia from Personal Finance Notebook have joined as partial sponsors of the challenge as well!  Please let them know we greatly appreciate their support by showing them some love at @enemyofdebt and @patreniaspears

EVEN MORE: Incredibly, we have two more major sponsors to add to the ranks.  Please give props to J. Money from Budgets are Sexy and Louise from MomStart.  And tell them they rule on Twitter at @budgetsaresexy and @momstart

WOW!  Michelle from has also donated a gift certificate for free attendance to one of her awesome workshops.  This is a $420 value!  Thank her on Twitter at @DrMichellexo

If you would like LOTS of attention and link-love throughout this challenge, please contact me about a sponsorship opportunity!

What Do You Need to Do?

  1. Join in the fun by leaving a comment to this post before January 5th at 11:59 p.m. Central time.  Your comment should simply say that you are committed to participate, and it should state what area of life you will be focusing on for Improve Yourself! 2010.
  2. Comment on the Week 1 goal setting post, and include your specific goals for the 8-week contest (also by January 5th).
  3. Comment on each week’s post with a quick report on your progress.
  4. Subscribe to Engaged Marriage via either RSS or Email.  By subscribing, you’ll ensure that you don’t miss any posts and the accountability that they bring.  You can participate even if you choose not to subscribe, though I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want free updates sent to you to read at your convenience.  However, as an incentive to fully participate, I will limit the prize giveaways to those that are subscribed.
  5. Become a “fan” on the Engaged Marriage Facebook page.  The “discussion” area of this page will serve as our private forums for the contest.  Within the discussion area, we’ll be able to share information, gives tips and motivation, and socialize with others striving to meet their goals.

I think that covers it!  I am really looking forward to meeting my own goals for the New Year alongside an awesome community of high-quality friends.  Please leave your comment below stating the area of life you plan to focus on.

*And please don’t forget to state your specific goals in the Week 1 post!*

Finally, please tell your family and friends about “Improve Yourself! 2010”!  Tweet this post to your followers on Twitter and share it on your Facebook page (using the “Sharing is Sexy” buttons below).  The more folks we can get to participate, the better this contest will be for all of us.  And the more people we can get to join us as part of the Engaged Marriage community, the better we can advance our collective mission of achieving the extraordinary in marriage…and in life!

Don’t miss the other Improve Yourself posts…here is a running list:

  1. Improve Yourself! 2010 Announcement.  This is the place to start and sign-up by leaving a comment with your area of focus.
  2. The Prize List.  This is where you’ll get the details about the awesome prizes and learn about our generous sponsors.
  3. Week 1: Set SMART Goals.  Learn about smart goal-setting and leave your specific goals for the challenge in the comments.
  4. Week 2: Baby Step Your Way to Success.  Learn how you can achieve any goal by breaking it down into small, easier-to-handle tasks.
  5. Week 3: Prioritize Your Time for Progress. Learn the importance of focusing on important, but not urgent, tasks to improve your life and achieve long-term effectiveness.
  6. Week 4: YOU are Responsible for Your Progress. Quit making excuses, take ownership for your results and do the work necessary to make your goals a reality.
  7. Week 5: Don’t Be Perfect, Be Remarkable! You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be remarkable in what you do. Don’t you think you can be remarkable in the way your handle your finances?  In your approach to fitness?  In your marriage?
  8. Week 6: Stick With It! I applaud you for sticking with your commitment to yourself and your fellow challenge participants. You are now in the minority as we close in on the finish line. Don’t Quit!
  9. Week 7: Communicate for Success Communication is a certain key to success in nearly all aspects of life.
  10. Week 8: Don’t Accept Mediocrity! Always get better even if it’s only in small increments.  Life is just too short to do otherwise.

About the Author

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

Leave a Comment:

(175) comments


Hi, I was sent here by Enemy of Debt.
Since most of 2009 I focused on finances, I will focus on Health/fitness.


    Welcome, Krystle! I look forward to improving my fitness level right alongside you over the next 8 weeks!


Man Dustin,

You are making this really, really hard. Not only are you suggesting that I decide to improve my life, but also that I choose only one for the first period, and then you’re holding me accountable for my progress. Thank you! The first area I want more improvement in is in fitness/health. I’m already looking forward to the next phase because there are a few other areas that need major work in my life, but I figure improvement here will make me better prepared to work on the other areas later.
.-= Milk & Honey Mommy´s last blog ..Blogging Holiday =-.


    Sorry to burden you, Milk & Honey Mommy! 🙂

    I can already tell from your great attitude that you are going to rock your fitness goals. Hope I can keep up!


What a great idea! Yes, I’m in and focusing on weight loss and exercise. I’ve posted it as one of my goals for this year and this will help me get off to a great start.
.-= Bucksome´s last blog ..What’s the Plan for 2010 =-.


    Glad to have you join, Bucksome Boomer! We have a great group of folks focusing on fitness for the New Year. I look forward to tracking your progress through the challenge!


I plan on focusing on my education (currently a grad student studying for my qualifying exams) and fitness.

Education Goals:
I would like to study for and pass my quals at the end of January.
I want to set aside time every day to study. First the time will be dedicated to my quals studying, but then it will be dedicated to my classes.
I would like to get into the habit of reviewing the material for every class every day, even if I only review the material for 15 minutes.

Fitness Goals:
I would like to start running 5-6 times/week.
I would like to strength train 2-3 times/week.
I would like to bike to class at least once a week (20 miles round trip).


    Excellent goals, Saving Diva! If you haven’t already, please don’t forget to post your goals in the Week 1 post…and please try to stick with one area for your reports here at the challenge. It sounds like you are going to have a great 2010!


I’m on board – I want to improve my credit score in 2010. I dedicated a blog to it as well. Feel free to follow along at

So for the first eight weeks of the year, I’ll be focusing on paying off one of our credit cards.

.-= Jodi´s last blog ..OMG – I’m hosed =-.


    Welcome, Jodi! You have a great idea for your blog and financial goals. Debt free is definitely the way to be! I look forward to following your progress. If you haven’t already, please check out another awesome financial blog that I bet you’ll enjoy:


I am in for this! I have several areas that I want to focus on, however I think my first will be with health and fitness. I am looking forward to starting this journey (:


    Awesome, Laetus! Let’s rock our fitness goals together!


I am going to take a crack at this!! I think I have a few areas to work on which will be

#1 making my Financial Peace university class a success

#2 study for my cosmetology training

#3 get organized
.-= Enemy of Debt Sent ME´s last blog ..The Nguzo Saba # 6 & 7 Kuumba Creativity & Imani Faith =-.


    Welcome, Divine & Debt-Free! I’m glad you decided to sign up, and I’m glad Brad at Enemy of Debt is motivating so many folks…and giving away $100 to do it!


I am pledging my participation in the 8 week challenge. I am very excited to say that I am giving up eating out in restaraunts for the entire year 2010. I plan to track the money I save and to apply it to my car loan to pay it off. I want to pay off my car this calendar year! I know it will be very difficult and some people might say it’s unrealistic to not eat out at all this year but I hope to stick to this as much as possible. I know there will be some times when I must eat out but all in all I hope that I can eat out fewer than once per month the most for a total of $120 total the entire year. That gives me $10 per month budget if need be. Please check in with me and hold me accountable as I know this is an extremely lofty goal!


    PS – Enemy of Debt sent me!


    Shannon, you rock! That’s an incredible goal and one area that my family could definitely use some improvement. I look forward to hearing how it goes. Don’t forget to sign up with your goals in the Week 1 post.

    By the way, it looks like I could learn from you on my fitness goals. Your Team Beachbody page is great! Please tell some of your Beachbody buds to join us….I did P90X last year and got into the best shape of my life.


I’ve already decided to set some goals for 2010…

Finance is one area…I will continue to pay off debt. (goal started in 2009)
Health is another…I plan to lose weight and lower my blood sugar.
Fitness is the other major area…I plan to stick to a reasonable goal.

Oh, I don’t have to be Engaged or Married do I?

ENEMY OF DEBT sent me!



    Welcome, Gina! You definitely don’t have to be engaged or married to participate, and I trust you don’t have to be either to enjoy this site outside of the contest. That’s the focus of many of my posts, of course, but many of our readers are single (though most are in a relationship which makes the posts more relevant to their lives).

    Please choose ONE area to focus on for the challenge and post your specific goals in the Week 1 post. Thanks!


      Dustin, I’m impressed that you reply to all the posts!

      They are all actually one goal (with the exception of last years finance goal which continues).

      So to put it into focus: my ONE goal is to lower my Blood Sugar to an acceptable/healthy range.

      In order to do this I plan to lose weight and exercise more.


        Awesome, Gina! That’s a great goal. I love reading all of these goals and having the opportunity to respond. This site is all about community. 🙂


I’m in. I’d like to focus on fitness with just a little spritual dicipline mixed in.

ENEMY OF DEBT sent me!


    Welcome from EOD Sherry! I look forward to hearing about your progress over the next 8 weeks and hearing whether you snag Brad’s $100!


Count me in!

I have lots of goals. I think, for this challenge, I want to focus on my parenting skills. I’m a pretty good mom but I want to be better.
.-= Krystal´s last blog ..What’s a new year without goals? =-.


    Welcome, Krystal! I love your devotion to being a great mom. I just checked out your blog and saw that you are also doing Mama Note’s “Body after Baby” challenge. That’s awesome! Samantha is part of our Extraordinary Life Network of blogs, and her challenge was part of the inspiration behind Improve Yourself.


Ok Dustin, I’m in.

I will be focusing on a specific part of my career/first job not pizza. This past year I focused on my family and finances, so it’s time to get back to “work” at work.

This looks like a very interesting challenge and I’m looking forward to reading every ones goals/stories. Great community builder.

Oh yeah, Enemy Of Debt sent me. I spoke with Brad on the phone the other day he said I’d better take part in this challenge, otherwise he’s quit talking to me 🙂 Ok, just kidding about the not talking to me part.

.-= Jeff´s last blog ..Net Worth – December 2009 =-.


    I knew you’d make it in, Jeff! I’m glad Brad threatened you enough to pull the trigger. 😉


Hahaha Jeff!1 That was funny! So glad you decided to join! It’s going to be fun!

How many total participants now Dustin?
.-= Brad´s last blog ..My 2010 Comprehensive List Of New Years Resolutions =-.

Amanda G

COUNT ME IN!!! I have a few things that I have already focused one—two of them being my finances and my body after baby (he’s already a year old and I STILL haven’t lost the weight!!!). I’m really eexcited about what this year will bring.


    Welcome Amanda, I’m thrilled to have you join us! Please pick one of your goal areas to track for the challenge, and don’t forget to post the specific goals in the Week 1 post.

Improve Yourself! 2010 Challenge from Engaged Marriage :

[…] over at Engaged Marriage has challenged his readers to set some personal goals for the next 2 months and use him, his blog and his readers […]


I’m committed to this project and want to better nyself in several areas, but mainly my marriage and our finances.
.-= Kim´s last blog ..December Giveaway Winners =-.


    Welcome to the challenge, Kim! Please state your specific goals in the Week 1 post by Tuesday and you’ll be ready to go. Thanks for joining!


As of this point, I think we have 54 folks signed up for the challenge…awesome!!!

If you haven’t already done so, please state your specific goals in the comments of the Week 1 post. You need to do so by the end of Tuesday January 5th in order to officially be part of Improve Yourself and be eligible for all of the fantastic prizes (thanks again sponsors).

And please continue to encourage your friends to join up with us. I can already feel the momentum building behind this large group of motivated and dedicated members. Congrats on taking the first step toward a remarkable 2010!


I am committed to participating in this challenge and will be focusing on finding happiness through organization, personal fitness and mental health.


    Thanks for joining us, Michelle! I love your ultimate goal of happiness and look forward to seeing your specific goals in the Week 1 post. Welcome!


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I’ll have a go at this. My goals are to get in better shape, to be kind, patient and loving to all and to sock away 6 months worth of my husbands’ salary in case of crisis.
“ENEMY OF DEBT sent me!”


    Welcome to the party, Laurie! I look forward to reading your specific goals in the Week 1 post. Please don’t forget to comment there with your goals (in one primary area) by tomorrow. 🙂

Cynthia Gottfredson

Good morning. My focus are in two areas, One goal is to keep my relitive out of financial trouble. He has opened up a checking account at Chase Bank, I showed him how to budget his checking account over the holidays. I hope he continues that practice. My second goal is to reduce my Credit balance over the eight weeks which will continue the rest of the year also.


    Awesome, Cynthia! I’m glad to have you included as part of the challenge. Please don’t forget to comment on the Week 1 post with your specific goals (in one primary area) by tomorrow.

Cynthia Gottfredson

Count me in. I will be helping my relitive in his Budgets every week, second lower my credit card balance.


I am committed to this 8 week challenge. What a great idea to start off the new year! I have so many goals for this year, but to start I’d like to work on 3 major areas:
1) Spirituality
2) Personal Finances
3) Fitness and Health


    Welcome, Heather! I just visited your blog and it looks like you have big plans for 2010, which is awesome! Please don’t forget to post your specific goals in the Week 1 post by tomorrow, and please limit your focus to one area for the challenge. Thanks!


Count me in! And Dustin, as we mentioned, I would rather not win a prize (although bloglove to my Affaircare blog (at is most welcome, as are mentions! LOL 😀

I obviously would like to boost my Facebook page fans, boost my Twitter followers, get more folks to my blog and my Portland Infidelity Examiner page–and honestly those areas are slowly but surely growing. But I want to set concrete goals not just something “pie in the sky” like “more views on my pages”… so my business goals for this contest are:
1) Thank everyone who fans on FB or follows on Twitter–each day.
2) Make one blog post, one post, and at least three FB/Twitter posts every day

Also obviously I am very pro-marriage and have a Dear Hubby with whom I want to have an EXTRAORDINARY marriage! So I want to set concrete goals for my marriage too!
1) Read the bible and do our bible study with Dear Hubby every day at dinner time.
2) Do the thing on the Romance Calendar for him every day.


    Hey Dustin! We are in! We’d like to focus on paying down debt (we are doing DR TMMO).


      Welcome, FallBride! I love Dave Ramsey & look forward to following your progress.


    I’m excited you decided to join us, Cindy! Your goals are great,and I appreciate your willingness to forgo the prizes for the benefit of the other participants.

Improve Yourself 2010 « Frugal Southern Living

[…] already broken them. If your like me and need the extra oomph, check out the awesome “Improve Yourself 2010” challenge by Engaged […]


I am committed to the 8 week challenge. My goal area is health and fitness!


Count me in. I will be concentrating on heath & fitness as my goal. Hopefully this will give me the extra incentive to push myself.


Hi Dustin –

Count me in (if it’s not too late – it’s 7:49 PM PST here). Lots of things I can pick from, but I think I’ll focus on reading God’s Word daily.



    You are good to go, BentWingedBird! I’m glad you found your way here from Twitter. Awesome goal, and please don’t forget to state it over the Week 1 post to be eligible for this week’s great prizes!


We are at 63 participants! Two hours to go!


I am going to join the challenge as well! Thank you Melissa Walden for passing the info!! I am going to focus on health and fitness. I would like to increase the frequency and intensity at the gym and become a minful eater! I am excited!!!!


    Welcome, Nina! I’m so glad to have you join. Please try to get your specific goals stated over in the Week 1 post tonight.


We have a total of 64 participants! Congratulations on taking part in what I hope is a life-changing challenge for each of you.

I am going to get all of the sign-ups in a spreadsheet so I can track your weekly participation. Please don’t forget to report in each week between Sunday and Tuesday night with your progress. You’ll be eligible for great weekly drawings, and if you drop out I WILL CALL YOU OUT! 🙂

Let’s do this!

Batrice Adcock

Week one: I’m doing much better than I hoped for!!! My goal was to lose 8 pounds in 8 weeks. So far, in about a week and a half, I’ve lost 3 pounds. I’m doing it in a good way too. Just eating healthier, with more frequent meals at smaller portions. I’m drinking more ice water and green tea through the day. I’m pumping extra breast milk to mix in my little girl’s oatmeal in addition to still breastfeeding pretty frequently. The only thing I haven’t done yet is incorporate more regular exercise. Hubby and I are planning to work out together later today. The weather has been so cold, and we’ve had snow on the ground for weeks. I prefer to go on walks outside–not much of an indoor exerciser.


Week 2: Baby Step…

I lost you somehow. I thought I was on your mailing list. I’ve made a lot of progress in a lot of areas that I set goals for this year. In the area of fitness which is the goal published here I’ve dropped my average fasting blood sugar by 5 points. I have been using the rebounder almost daily. Need to step it up. I’ve done weight training 3x per week.

It’s the start of tax season my busiest time of the year, helping clients get ready for their tax accountant so it has been a real push to keep on track with this goal.

I hope to post a reply next week. Hopefully, I will get the email to job my memory.



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