SMART Goal SettingIt’s time to set our goals and get started with Improve Yourself! 2010.  I am a huge fan of goal-setting and believe it makes a profound difference in the level of success we achieve in our lives.  Based on my own experience and lots of reading on the topic, I encourage you to follow the SMART Goals approach to setting your own specific goals for the challenge and in all areas of your life, including your marriage.

What is a SMART Goal?

Specific – What are you going to do? Why are you doing it?  How will you accomplish it?

Measurable – Establish concrete measures of your progress.  Your goal must be quantifiable.

Attainable – Challenge yourself, but be realistic.

Want A Happier Marriage?

Great! Grab our 7 simple steps to improve communication in your marriage (in less than 15 minutes):

Relevant – Be sure your goal fits into your overall lifestyle and greater desires.

Time-Bound – Every goal needs a completion date associated with it.

I will document my own goals for the 8-week Improve Yourself! challenge in the comments below.  And I expect you to hold me and all of the other participants accountable for meeting these self-imposed expectations!  By the way, for those of you focusing on fitness like me, there is a free SparkTeam on Spark People that was created just for the challenge (thanks Carrie!).  Sign-up and you’ll have a convenient way to measure and track your progress.

It’s Time to Set Your Goals!

If you have not already signed-up for the (free) Improve Yourself! 2010 challenge, please do so before you do anything else.

Once you’ve signed up, it is time to post your own goals for the challenge in the comments to this post.  Please state your overall area of focus (just ONE) and your SMART goals.

In order to be part of the challenge and be eligible for all of the awesome prizes being given away, everyone must sign-up on the announcement post AND state their goals in the comments on this post.  The deadline to enter is Tuesday, January 5th at 11:59 p.m. Central time.

Once you’ve stated your goals, it’s time to start working toward meeting them!  With the exception of this first week, I’ll be posting a weekly Improve Yourself! post every Sunday.  Each week, you’ll have to report in with your progress by the following Tuesday (two days later).

This Week’s Awesome Prize(s) & How to Win Them

In order to get things started off with a bang and help attract more participants before the contest closes January 5th, we are giving away THREE books for Week 1!  I’ll be selecting random comments (using from this post and giving away one book to each of three different lucky winners.

This week’s self-improvement book prizes include:

The Happiness Project

Unclutter Your Life in One Week

The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

These are all fantastic resources that will give you tools to improve yourself.  Click on each of these links to read more about them.

Every week, the weekly prize winner will be selected at random from the comments.  For THIS WEEK ONLY, I am going to give you the opportunity to increase your chances of winning by spreading the word about the challenge.  For each of the following actions you take, you’ll get an entry into this week’s prize drawing:

  1. State your goals for the contest in a comment below (required).
  2. Share the announcement post on Facebook using this link: Share on Facebook
  3. Send the following Tweet on Twitter (copy & paste): Have goals for 2010? Join me in the Improve Yourself Challenge & win some of $750 of PRIZES! (@EngagedMarriage)
  4. Email your friends with a link to the announcement post (copy & paste):
  5. Put the “Improve Yourself! 2010” button on your site.  You can grab the HTML in the sidebar to make it easy.
  6. Write a post on your blog and link back to the Improve Yourself announcement post.
  7. Become a “fan” on the Engaged Marriage Facebook page. If you are already a fan, just state that and it will count as an entry.

Whenever you share on Facebook, Tweet on Twitter, Email your friends, put the button on your site, write a blog post or become a Facebook fan, please reply to your goal comment and let me know.  For example, if you did Facebook and Twitter you will have your goal comment followed by two additional comments (one saying “I shared on FB” and one saying “I Tweeted on Twitter”).

And please don’t forget that you MUST subscribe to Engaged Marriage via either RSS or Email to be eligible for prizes.  Starting with this post, there is a secret code at the bottom of the post (just above “Related Posts”) that is only visible if you read this post via an RSS reader or in your email.  If you are selected but aren’t subscribed (you don’t know the code when I email you), the prize will instead to go the next person drawn.

Thanks to This Week’s Sponsors!

The great prizes being given away for Week 1 are only possible through the generous support of our sponsors.  Not only are they generous, but they each have awesome sites as well!  Please take a few minutes to visit them and check out what they have to offer.

Make Mine Happen “Stop Dreaming and Start Doing” by putting the motivational and informational posts at this site to work in your life!

MomStart is a fantastic resource created by a mother of two who provides an incredible amount of reviews, giveaways and writings related to all of the new things going on in the world of parenting.


Budgets are Sexy is simply awesome.  J. Money provides a site that is packed with really useful info about the world of personal finance, and he does it in his own (pimpin’) way.  Entertaining and informative.

Budgets are Sexy

Personal Finance Notebook is a great site created by Patrenia Spears after her family paid off an incredible $93,000 in debt!  Her posts are intended to empower her readers to achieve their financial goals.  Her tag line says it all: “A website that offers ideas, education and the motivation needed to create a personal finance portfolio to be proud of.”  I love it.

If you’d like to become a sponsor of the challenge, it’s not too late.  Please contact me about a sponsorship opportunity before we close the doors to both sponsors and participants on January 5th.

That’s it from me for Week 1 of the challenge!  Get your goals stated below, spread the word, visit our sponsors and GET TO WORK! I’ll be right alongside you! 🙂

I can’t wait to read your goals.  Look for the next Improve Yourself post for Week 2 on Sunday, January 10th.  In the meantime, enjoy the regular, marriage-improving content here at Engaged Marriage.

Happy New Year!

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.

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  1. My goals for this challenge are related to improving my level of fitness. By 3/1/2010, I will lose a minimum of 16 pounds.

    This will put me back at my prime weight from last summer, it will give me increased energy, it will help me avoid the random aches and muscle pulls that I have had the past few months, and it will make me feel better about myself.

    In order to achieve this goal, I will do the following:
    *Exercise 4x per week (two resistance workouts & two cardio/yoga workouts)
    *Reduce my caloric intake by approximately 25% by eating smaller portions and switching to healthy snacks.
    *Drink 8 glasses of water each day.

    Let’s Do This!

  2. I’m excited to get this started! Below is my list of financial goals for 2010. I won’t meet all of these by the end of the challenge, but I will have $1500 in overall debt paid down and at least an additional $700 saved up (across all savings goals/categories) by 03/01/2010.

    1. Open a new “Baby” savings account
    2. Pay off auto loan
    3. Pay off three student loans, currently valued at $1824, $2318 and $962
    4. Beef up vacation savings fund (and possibly take a vacation)
    5. Continue to increase emergency savings
    6. Save enough money to put in new floors in my house!

    BTW, I have already shared this on Facebook and Twitter. I’m drafting up an email to friends and family right now.

    1. I guess I should also tell how I plan to meet these goals! I will continue to live by my budget and look for every opportunity to save more money. I will cut back on unnecessary purchases and ask myself if I really need items I want to purchase.

      Dustin, FYI, an email to friends and family about Improve Yourself has been sent.
      .-= Sam´s last blog ..Happy 2010! =-.

      1. And this one is your entry for sharing on Facebook. Thanks for spreading the word!

        By the way, I won’t be responding to everyone’s comments individually like I did on the Announcement post since I don’t want to mess up the number of chances for everyone to win prizes.

  3. My goal for this challenge is to become more organized in my life by Feb 28/09

    I’m currently working full time, going to school part time, and my husband and I are expecting out first child mid-march; I can’t think of a better time to get organized! I feel this will also help for when the baby comes, as I will already be well into an organized routine, and I will be able to feel less stressed about many areas of me life that will be affected.

    To accomplish this goal, I will create a list of all the activities/events/tasks that occur on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly, etc) that I need to finish (work projects, house cleaning/maintenance tasks, homework tasks, etc). From this list, I will map out a weekly schedule in order fit in all of my self-assigned tasks.
    I will also perform a daily analysis of my schedule for the day (did I do everything I planned? How long was scheduled vs length of time actually used on a task? If I didn’t accomplish anything, was the reason out of my control, or was I watching TV/surfing the net?). This will allow me to adjust my plan/schedule, and allow my to know my own habits better, so I can play to my strengths and accomadate or correct for my weaknesses.

    Good luck to everyone! I hope we all accomplish our goals! Happy New Year!

  4. My goal for this challenge is to save money for a down payment for our first home! Although the challenge only lasts 8 weeks I will continue saving money until we buy our first home, which will likely be sometime during the summer of 2011 after my husband graduates from law school. I will put away $1,000 a month in increments of $250 dollars a week.

    1. I just posted about the challenge on my blog too 🙂
      .-= The Northerner´s last blog ..Challenges to Start the New Year =-.

  5. I am changing my area of focus for this because of new issues with my accident related injuries. Instead I will be working on time management.

    I am the mother of 3 young children (5, 3, and 1 all at home), a wife, and a full time student. Over the next 8 weeks I plan to create and implement a complete schedule that will maximize my ability to complete everything I have on my todo list each week. I will start by creating a list, figuring out the approximate time everything takes, and then building a starting schedule. I am going to implement the schedule one part at a time. Starting with the morning, then afternoon, and finally evening portions. As the schedule is implemented piece by piece I will adjust it as needed so I can get the most possible out of it. I plan to have the entire schedule created, adjusted, and fully implemented by the end of the 8 week challenge.
    .-= Cassidy´s last blog ..Wife, Mom, Student… Woman? Part 5 =-.

    1. Blog post about this at
      .-= Cassidy´s last blog ..Small Successes #1 =-.

  6. Pingback: Improve Yourself: Prizes, Prizes, Prizes! | Engaged Marriage
  7. My goal has to do with communication with my husband. We are great at talking about big life issues, such as kids, money, sex, etc. but when it comes to moving furniture, painting, or any other task around the house we are not that great. I feel like he talks to me like I’m a 3 year old and that his way is the only right way. I in turn get angry and say mean things back and have let this ruin entire weekends.

    So my goal is to take control of how I react to him when he says things in what I view is hurtful way. The only person I can control in the situation is myself.

    To reach this goal I plan on the following:
    -Reading the 5 Love Languages – So I can learn what our individual styles are
    -Refocusing on my spiritual side – I have a book that focuses on a different spiritual quality each day for a month and challenges me to act out that day’s quality. I have not given enough attention my spirituality or the bible prinicples that help build a happy marriage.
    -Every time he says something and it upsets me or I don’t like the tone I am going to take a deep breath and instead of an angry retort back I will tell him I love him along with a reason why I love him.
    -I spend a lot of time at the book store looking for “fun” books to read most of which don’t make me a better person. I will spend time during each visit in the self improvement section and will find one or two books (I can only read so many books in 8 weeks and am already at 2) that will either be directed at me, or at building a stronger communication style with my husband and/or building a stronger marriage.

    Ultimatly this comes down to me and adjusting my attitude and I know that is hard to track as far as did I reach my goal. But, it is something I really want to work on so am putting it out there.

      1. Thanks, Jen! A blog post counts as a separate entry so I’m putting this comment in to give you the credit you deserve. 🙂

  8. I am working on getting myself in shape in 2010. In order to do this, I plan to
    * Exercise for 30 mins at least 3 times a week.
    * Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily.

    (This is me mentioning that I’m already a Facebook fan..LOL)

  9. Tweet. Check.
    Shared on FB. Check.
    Blog post. Tomorrow.
    Button on Blog. Tomorrow.
    Uhh, Goals. Uhh…tomorrow! 🙂
    .-= Stu Gray´s last blog ..Spend 10,000 Hours Getting “Good” at Marriage =-.

    1. Ok.

      In 2010 I am trying the Chris Brogan style of goal setting. Pick three (or so) words, then set goals related to those words.

      One of my “words” is HEALTH. Health in Relational Health, Spiritual Health, and Physical Health.
      I am focusing here on the Physical part of health.

      By 3/1/10, I will lose 10 lbs, by walking three times a week, and limiting my crazy excess carb intake.

      (I might revise a bit as I continue to hammer these out.)
      I am going to post more on my goals at! (woot!)
      .-= Stu´s last blog ..The Top 15 Posts from the Marry Blogger in 2009 =-.

    2. And here’s another for your Facebook share. Please reply here to get more entries when you complete your blog post and button. Thanks, my friend!

  10. Well, my goal is in

    1. Exercise at least 3 times a week while logging my exercise on sparknotes
    2. drink 8 glasses of water
    3. cook my own meals and snacks and bring them to work/school/workouts (which actually saves me money as well as makes me more healthier.
    4. reduce portion sizes by 25%.
    5. use my cpap machine everynight. (Been slacking on that since the holidays.
    6. see my therapist 1 every 2 weeks. (Because the physical and the mental are interlinked

  11. I will lose 10 pounds by March 1, 2010 by doing the following:

    1. Follow Weight Watchers plan/attend meetings
    2. Begin walking program building up to 3 times a week by 3/1/10.
    .-= Bucksome´s last blog ..What’s the Plan for 2010 =-.

  12. My goal to improve myself will be in the area of health and fitness. I will lose 15 lbs by working out a minimum of 4 days a week (weight training, core workouts, and 30 minutes of cardio will make up the majority of my workouts). To achieve this I fully understand that my eating habits will need to change. That means no more late night meals and heavy snacking before bed. 5-6 smaller meals daily (solid protein intakes, more veggies, whole grains). This also means that I will have to say goodbye to my stash of swiss chocolates, decadant cheeses, etc.

    Luckily or unluckily I have been down this road before and it always made me more aware of other things in my life that need attention. I do enjoy working out and cooking healthy meals that promote burning fat and feeding muscle. Time to get back to my “ROCKSTAR” look!

  13. 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).
    .-= SavingDiva´s last blog ..Resolution 3: Decorate/Improve my Condo =-.

    1. I guess I got a little carried away! I will just concentrate on studying 🙂
      .-= SavingDiva´s last blog ..Resolution 3: Decorate/Improve my Condo =-.

      1. Tweet
        .-= SavingDiva´s last blog ..Resolution 3: Decorate/Improve my Condo =-.

  14. My goal is to get serious about my writing by allotting certain amounts of time to it every day and sticking with it. I also want to minimize time wasted. I will do this by:

    -starting each day by writing out my daily goals
    -setting a timer, and only allotting one hour of every day to blog reading
    -writing for at least 3 hours a day, alternating between my two writing projects each day.

    I will have at least one story and three blog posts done by the end of each week.
    .-= Kathleen Quiring´s last blog ..What is the Point of Marriage? Part 2: To Grow Us Up =-.

  15. *Limit eating out to only twice a month max.
    *Get back on the Weight Watchers point system.
    *Commit to at least 2 hours of exercise per week. (4 days)
    *Lose 20 pounds by the end of the 8 weeks. (2.5 pounds per week)
    *Limit my salt and sugar intake drastically.
    *Drink 8 glasses of water daily.

    These are my SMART goals Dustin. I may come back and add more, but this is the main focus of what I want to accomplish!
    .-= Brad´s last blog ..My 2010 Comprehensive List Of New Years Resolutions =-.

  16. My goals are financial. Since my husband gets three paychecks in January instead of two, my goal is to pay off one of our credit cards using his third paycheck. Since I know from experience that the third paycheck isn’t magically available all at once, I plan on paying a portion of the credit card every week.
    .-= Jodi´s last blog ..OMG – I’m hosed =-.

  17. My over all goals consist of making my financial peace university class a success and getting organized!!!

    This is my very first time hosting the class so I am very excited. I hope this challenge will allow me to stay on track and make sure I prioritize things during the week.
    .-= Divine and Debt Free´s last blog ..The Nguzo Saba # 6 & 7 Kuumba Creativity & Imani Faith =-.

  18. My goals are for the area of health/fitness.

    I am not attempting to lose weight, but I want to exercise more for my health, flexibility, and tone.
    In order to achieve these goals, I plan to:

    > use my elliptical machine at least 4 days a week for approx 15 minutes.
    > take my dog for daily walks.
    > use my weights on my arms and incorporate pilates and yoga videos into my days.
    > keep track of my progress in my planner so i can keep track of my numbers.

    Those are my goals that should get me back on track for exercising, which in turn is going to make me feel better physically and emotionally. I can’t wait!

  19. Ok… this was a tough one because I really wanted to start with a fitness goal but to be perfectly honest, being that I work in the YMCA I am already in the gym 4 or 5 times a week… so then I came upon the whole issue of eating like I am never going to see another meal in my life. 🙂 Hence the reason I need to be in the gym so very often.

    So… my fitness goal will include closely monitoring my diet (similar to what my husband will be doing), cutting out my alcohol intake even further (I am down to one drink here and there but what the heck… right?), spinning an average of three times a week (prepping for certification in mid-March), including at least three other workouts during the week, and being prepared to run the St. Pats day 5 mile in March (by far the hardest part of this… I am not the best runner – ask Dustin’s wife).

    I will also be including a bit of a financial goal by shopping within a limited budget each month… and praying for God to give me strength with this one… not an easy task for me, either. Speaking of God, he and I are going to be “talking” a bit more than usual, as well – another part of my goal. Strengthening my personal relationship with the Lord.

    Looking forward to this and I wish everyone the best of luck! YAY 2010!

  20. I’m working on a lot of different areas in my life. What I think I want to focus on here is growing my blog, meeting other bloggers, and reaching out to others. That’s why I wanted to help sponsor the giveaways.

    Specific – I’m going to comment on each of your blogs and help encourage you along with your goals.

    Measurable – Encourage six of you a day

    Attainable – I know that I can go to six blogs a day, it will be a challenge next week because I’m not going to have all this free time on the computer. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit up to ten blogs a day and return every comment that I receive.

    Relevant – It’s relevant to this certain goal, which is a business goal. Trying to monetize my blog and building a readership or network will help. But it’s also good to build personal relationship and I hope to get to know all of you during this challenge

    Time-Bound – This is just for one week. I think next week I want to do something different. I’m not sure, I have so many ideas for this next year.
    .-= Louise´s last blog ..Fitness Friday with the Wii Moms is Fitness On =-.

  21. Thank you Dustin for encouraging your FB/Twitter followers to this excellent challenge. My family and I just finished writing down our goals today using the 5X5+5 Goals booklet ( I want to share with you the 6 areas and at least highlights of the top 2 on each category.

    Health & Fitness:
    1) Lose 15 lbs. in 8 weeks (26-Feb) (why 15? Because Wii Fit says I should)
    2) Start a low glycemic eating habit
    Family & Relationship:
    1) Practice random acts of kindness; at least 50 per week (documented)
    2) Hand write (not through social media) a letter/note each week to someone God puts in my heart to write to
    Education & Training:
    1) Read 4 books per month
    2) Sign up for photography class
    Financial & Business
    1) Earn Association certification by May 1, 2010
    2) Save 10% each paycheck to go towards Christmas Fund
    Recreation & Leisure
    1) Schedule weeke-end getaway with husband every quarter
    2) Take family on a cruise
    Spiritual & Ministry
    1) Begin daily journal
    2) Read entire bible in a year

  22. Pingback: Announcing “Improve Yourself! 2010″ | Engaged Marriage
  23. I’m working on Personal Growth. There’s not really a set timeline or thing I can really do to achieve a certain status. I just want to continue to push myself.

    I’m hoping to make the following actions a habbit:

    *Read 10 pages of motivational reading EVERY SINGLE DAY!
    *Scripture Reading EVERY SINGLE DAY!
    *20 minutes of silencing my mind EVERY SINGLE DAY!
    *Avoiding any negativity AT ALL!
    .-= Amanda (Garibay Soup)´s last blog ..A Year of Personal Growth =-.

  24. My goals will be mostly for fitness, but I need/want one spriitual disipline goal, too. If that the spiritual goal needs to be ignored for the contest, that’s all right, but I still want the accountability.

    For the fitness goals, I’m not concerned with weight as it has remained within 5 pounds of my average for the last ten years. What I need is more endurance and strength. I want to be able to walk briskly for 30 minutes. (I will modify this next week to include a specific time/distance combination. Right now I don’t know what I can do.) I want to be able to do fifty crunches and twenty push-ups.

    To do this I will
    1. work out three times a week for at least 30 minutes each
    2. drink 6 glasses of water a day
    3. eat 5 servings of fruits/vegetables a day.

    4. My bonus spiritual discipline goal is to simply read my Bible for 60 minutes a week.

  25. My SMART Goal:
    Specific – I am going to lower my Fasting Blood Sugar from an average of 170 to an average of 130. Not only am I wanting to avoid having to take insulin to control my Blood Sugar I am wanting a healthy, long, life. I will accomplish this goal by following the low-carb diet prescribed by my doctor and do cardio exercise at least 5 days per week and weights at least 3 days per week.

    Measurable – I will do a Fasting Blood test every morning.

    Attainable – I know this is possible because I’ve done it in the past.

    Relevant – My overall lifestyle and greater desires include living to see my grandkids grow up.

    Time-Bound – I plan to meet this goal within the 8 week period I am part of this challenge and maintain it to a point where I can lose enough weight to be able to get off the oral medication I am now using.

  26. DONE: Share the announcement post on Facebook using this link: Share on Facebook
    DONE: Send the following Tweet on Twitter (copy & paste)
    DONE: Email your friends with a link to the announcement post (copy & paste):
    DONE: Become a “fan” on the Engaged Marriage Facebook page. If you are already a fan, just state that and it will count as an entry.

    Looking forward to this great start on fulfilling my goals for 2010!

  27. My goal is to lose 20 pounds by my wedding anniversary in june and also to develop healthier eating habits. to do this i am going to exercise 6 days a week (3 cardio/ 3 weights); drink only water; begin cutting high carb/low fiber and white sugar foods from my diet and replacing them with fruits, veggies, and 100% whole grain foods.

  28. Ok, so everyone’s goals are super admirable and it almost – almost – convinced me to increase my goal of weight loss, but I know me and I know my body, so I am sticking to my goal of 8 lbs in 8 weeks. I want to keep this going after these eight weeks to my target weight loss goal of 15 lbs in 2010. We purchased a Wii fit this weekend as motivation, so that plus making healthy meals, smaller portions and cutting out sweets should help me achieve my goals. Cutting out sweets will be the hardest part of all of this for me, and I am hoping the dark chocolate-covered walnuts I have at work (I will allow myself two-per day – one after each pumping session because I need a reward to motivate myself for that, too) will take the edge off. 🙂 Best of luck to everyone.
    I am already a fan on facebook and I will make a post about this on facebook. 🙂

    1. Megan, you sound a lot like me. If I can lose a pound a week I’m doing good. A lot depends on a person metabolism, how much weight you need to lose etc. I think your goal is a good one. If you can deal with “just one” I commend you. Good luck to you.

        1. Megan, I just came back from my doctor and he was happy with my 3lb loss over the past 6 weeks! He said the added exercise should help to boost that and improve my blood sugars as well. He was even pleased with the 10 point drop in my blood sugars even though it is still too high. “Baby Steps; Baby Steps”

          1. Exactly. Crashing it off doesn’t help your body or long-term maintenance of weight. So I am hoping this is more of a lifestyle change instead of a blip on the failed new year’s resolution chart.

    2. Awesome, Megan! Gina’s reply can serve as your Facebook fan entry, and this one is your bonus for posting on Facebook. You rock!

  29. Hey Dustin,
    Ok my goals for this year are to pay off all debts except for our house and to build a better relationship with my wife for a killer marriage.

    .-= Chris Goforth´s last blog ..The blind side got me =-.

  30. Okay, okay, so I can’t really win the prizes I’m sponsoring (wink), but I still have to declare my goals for this challenge! I said health & fitness were my goals. This is a big goal, actually, but my IMPROVE YOURSELF 2010 “SMART” goal (I’m in Human Resources… we love SMART goals) is:

    ~.•*´¨ ) † ~*-:¦:-* ♥ ||| I want to lose 5% of my body weight (12.5 lbs.) by the end of the challenge. I will do that with smart eating, accountability on here and at, and by utilizing my gym membership. |||~.•*´¨ ) † ~*-:¦:-* ♥

    Having a background in HR/Employee Wellness Programs, I am a FIRM believer in incentives. My first incentive is a $15 gift card to Starbucks (I love [Tall] nonfat chai tea lattes and fancy teas as treats) that I bought myself and 1 book from my Amazon Wishlist.

    If you join us at SparkPeople, you can see my full incentive plan for every 5% of my starting weight lost. Here is the link to join (it’s free):

    Carrie @ Make Mine Happen
    .-= Carrie @ Make Mine Happen´s last blog ..Perfection is Boring and Dangerous =-.

    1. I should say that for ME, especially taking medication that makes it challenging to lose weight, it is a big goal. 🙂
      .-= Carrie @ Make Mine Happen´s last blog ..Perfection is Boring and Dangerous =-.

  31. I am going to complete, edit (and have someone edit) and submit my manuscript for (possible) publication.

    I’m going to do that by researching at least 10 publishers and touch base with someone there about submitting query letters.

    I’m going to complete my manuscript (duh…), by the end of January.

    I’m going to have someone I know edit it for me during February.

    I’m going to write a query letter and then submit it to at least 10 publishers by the end of February.

    Hmm… maybe I’m unrealistic.

      1. You’re the writer; if you say Facebook is a verb, I’ll believe it! 🙂

        And this is your bonus entry for said Facebook-ing.

  32. My overall area for improvement was, along with many others, is health/improvement

    By 3/1/10, I would like to have lost 12 lbs. This gives me a goal of about a little over 1 lb/week.

    I am planning on executing this by:

    *exercising 3-4 times per week at a minimum (if not at the gym, then my home exercise video)
    *limiting my calorie in take to 2200 calories/day and doing this by trying to cut back on pasta and adding more whole grains, also cutting back on deserts and limiting those to twice a week
    *drinking more water, I’m already great about drinking water, but there’s always room for improvement!
    *i will be weighing in once a week

      1. Thanks for sharing on Facebook! This is your other bonus entry for being a fan on FB. Tomorrow’s the last day for everyone to get signed up!

  33. My goal is to become a better speaker as I grow in my new profession.

    Specific – I’ve hired a speaking coach and will be meeting with him 4 times in the next 8 weeks.

    Measurable – My progress will be measured in how well I’m able to communicate my message, 30, 45, and 60 minutes.

    Attainable – Yes, I did a lot of public speaking in my past.

    Relevant – This will stretch and allow me to grow as well as spread the word to other married couples.

    Time-Bound – Completion date Feb 16th 2010.

    .-= Tony´s last blog ..I Resolve To… =-.

    1. I’m leaving this for you, Tony, because I know you’ve tweeted the heck out of the announcement for this challenge and you’ve earned a bonus shot at the three books this week. I LOVE your goals, my friend!

  34. What? Lose 10% of my weight.
    Why? To better my health. Hopefully my blood pressure will lower enough to be safe.
    How? Walk at least 4 times a week for at least 40 minutes. Limit my (sugar/salty)snacks to weekends.

    Haven’t figured out twitter, or how to link or place button?from a blog but will check out to be a facebook fan. Maybe I should regoal to become computer literate? No, no, improve my health.

    1. I realized (in the bone chilling wind) today that my “How?” has to be changed to exercise for at least 40 minutes. Walking is iffy on some wintery days. Ok?

  35. My goal for the beginning of 2010 is to work toward finding a new career track. I am burned out with my current job and am looking for new challenges.

    In the next week, I will:

    – brainstorm career paths/jobs that interest me
    – communicate with other to gain guidance in career changing

    I will update my progress and have new goals for next week.

    p.s. I am already a fan on Facebook.

  36. Ok, steps to becoming a stay-at-home mom:
    1. Discuss this more in-depth with my husband (hmm, maybe I should have put work on communication skills as my goal!)
    2. REALLY look at where our money goes
    3. Create a budget
    4. Plan menus for entire week (avoid Pizza nights)
    5. Use coupons to reduce grocery bill
    6. Decrease my frivolous spending
    7. Stick with budget
    8. Put one of my ENTIRE paychecks in savings.

    Not saying I will be quitting in 8 weeks (although I would love that) but if in 8 weeks I can change/curb our spending habits then I will be well on my way!

  37. tweeted
    shared on facebook
    emailed friends
    I’m a fan! (now)

    And I’m going to try to figure out adding the button….
    .-= Ellyn´s last blog ..Pocket Diapers for Sale =-.

  38. My goals for the year pertain to fitness/health.

    I am to lose 10 pounds by 3/1/10, in order to get back to my healthy weight from college.

    Starting on Jan. 6th I’m going to start eating paleo.
    I’m going to run at least 30 min 4x a week.
    Go for a 1 mile walk at night.

  39. My goals in my resolution to develop my spirituality are;

    Attend church once a week.

    Take time every day to pray.

    Think of 1 or 2 things I’m thankful for every day.

    Yup, it’s embarrassing to write out because I don’t already do these things on a regular basis – but admitting you have a problem is the first step, right??

  40. My plan is kind of long. I put an awful lot of thought into it. The whole thing can be found here:

    Here are my (condensed) goals to improve myself as parent during this challenge:

    To be a better, more engaged parent,

    I am going to take care of my kids by caring about ME through diet, exercise, taking my vitamins, trying to get adequate sleep and not feeling guilty about taking some necessary ME time…

    I am going to take better care of my kids’ BODIES by cleaning up their diets (removing much of the processed junk), making sure they’re getting the right amounts of fruits, veggies and vitamins, teaching them excellent dental care and making sure they get plenty of fun exercise.

    I am going to stimulate my childrens’ MINDS by reading more to both of them and limiting screen time (Wii, TV and computer). I will also look for more ways to make everyday experiences into learning experiences.

    I am going to be better to my childrens’ SOULS by being more patient with them, stopping and redirecting when I start to raise my voice or get irritated, refrain from talking down to them and I am actually going to get down at their level and actually play with them rather than just occupying them.

    I am going to manage my TIME more wisely, which will reduce my stress level and allow me to accomplish the aforementioned goals.
    .-= Krystal´s last blog ..More than just a resolution =-.

      1. ok, well, just so you know i added it to my extra entries comment, so you can just give me 4 instead of 5.

        thanks for doing this challenge! i love it and i’m excited to put these goals in writing and honestly work on them!
        .-= Krystal´s last blog ..More than just a resolution =-.

  41. My extra entries:
    1-I’m a FaceBook fan (Krystal Johns)
    2-Shared announcement on FaceBook
    3-Follower on Twitter and tweeted

    4-Blogged with link
    5-Added button to my blog
    .-= Krystal´s last blog ..More than just a resolution =-.

  42. Though I have known for a while I was going to need to work hard to accomplish some things in life it is the time I lay them out and make the commitment.


    1. Get Healthy – my body does not feel right and I need to get health, exercise more, and loose 25 pounds.
    2. Be credit card debit free. Currently snowballing all of it down from getting married, buying a house. We can stick to our budget we will be done by June!
    3. Take and pass the GMAT
    .-= Toby´s last blog ..Christmas =-.

  43. Hi everyone, nothing like waiting until the last minute eh?

    My focus for the challenge will be WORK. Over the last year I’ve focused on my finances (tracked on my blog), my family (tracked by my wife), I’ve quit drinking (tracked by me), and my fitness (tracked by all the pizzas I run up to the door while delivering). The one part I’ve had on cruise control is my career and current work assignment.

    Well, thanks to this challenge that is going to change. I manage a team of hourly and salary employees who’s main goal in life is to fix/maintain industrial equipment. The biggest problem I face is a lack of confidence/desire in the team to problem solve repeatative equipment problems. We are a support team for our production operations. Our current problem solving tasks yield us 3 to 6 major repeatative problems solve per month.

    Over the next 8 weeks I’m going to help coach/teach/train/help the team to work as a group in a structured manner to gain the confidence and ability to perform the problem solving process on their own (meaning with me having to “hand hold”). At the same time we need to solve more problems at an even quicker pace.

    SMART goals right? Ok here goes.

    Specific: Use our common problem solving methods and practices to eliminate repeatative issues for our production counterparts.

    Measurable: For January I will lead them through the process to fix 3 problems per week. In February they will lead themselves through 4-5 problems for week (with my help of course) February is a stretch goal to have them lead themselves, but I’m going to set the goal here so you’ll hold me to it.

    Attainable: Oh yeah, this is more than attainable.

    Relevant: Yes, in order to have the team contribute to the bottom line of the company they must perform this work on their own. This frees up other resources (me and a supervisor) to plot and scheme our next challenges.

    Time-bound: Placing the time limits will help everyone to understand the importance of focusing on our issues daily. If we don’t work on them daily then we will not reach the goal. There is no cramming with these tasks.

    WooHoo, now that was great. Ok now everyone pile in here for the team cheer….GOOOO TEAMMMMM!!!!!

    I wish everyone here the best and hope we all can achieve these GREAT GOALS.

    Thanks Dustin for doing this….Jeff
    .-= Jeff´s last blog ..How-to Set Up a Car Maintenance Plan and Budget =-.

  44. Hey Dustin,
    I haven’t been able to sign up on here for some reason. I did go and become a fan on facebook.
    My goals are to work on my marriage – restore passion, communication and fun in my marriage
    2nd goal is to pay off as much debt excluding our house by the end of this year and we have $25,000 worth of debt to pay.

    .-= Chris Goforth´s last blog ..The blind side got me =-.

  45. My goals for this challenge is to improve the communication and intimacy with my wife.

    It is going to be difficult to measure success with this one, so I will need to ask my wife to be the gauge somehow.

    We get caught up in the day to day chaos of family life with 8 children, homeschooling, sports, ministries, college apps etc so much so that time alone together takes a back seat, or gets reprioritized and never happens on a regular basis. It comes and goes so much and so irregularly that it looks like an incredibly pathetic syne curve.

    In order to achieve this goal, I will do the following by 3/1/2010:
    * Celebrate our Anniversary with flowers, a wine tasting event, and dinner at a romantic Italian restaurant. I figure I will start off with an easy one since it is tomorrow and already planned. Unfortunately we cannot wander off too far alone with a nursing baby. But the baby will be staying home! 🙂
    * 5x + per week, write a love letter to her expressing my feelings about a real time topic/issue.
    * 5x + per week STS (Dustin-want to keep this PG rated) Anyone wanting to know can go on a Living in Love retreat with their spouse and find out first hand!
    * 1x per week take at least 1 hour to do something alone together – play a game, exercise, go shopping …
    * 1x per week take care of the household while she gets away for her own “decompression” time.
    * Read a book about improving intimacy related to Theology of the Body. I really do not like to read much, but one that caught my eye was Holy-S_x! A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving by Gregory Popchak, Ph.D. – so I am starting there! (title edited for PG rating purposes)

    I am psyched up and ready to go!

  46. My goals for this challenge are related to improving my level of health/fitness. By 3/1/2010, I will lose a minimum of 15 pounds.

    In order to achieve this goal, I will do the following:
    *Exercise 5 times per week with “Your Shape” by Jenny McCarthy on Wii (Cardio and Yoga)
    *Run 3 times per week
    *Eat and snack healthier by cooking more at home and bringing my food to work
    *Drink 8 glasses of water each day
    *Post an “All New You” challenge on my blog to get my readers involved with me

    1. I posted about your challenge on my blog with a link. You can find it here:
      .-= Heather Silver´s last blog ..Improve Yourself 2010 =-.

  47. One of my goals is to lose 10 pounds by February 28, 2010 by following the Weight Watchers Online plan and completing the 6 week challenge with the EA Sports Active program for the Wii. Upon completion of the 6 week challenge, I will continue working out on a routine basis.

    I have a couple of other goals that I will be concentrating on throughout 2010, and those include, becoming the happy Michelle I once knew, get organized and start a fitness program that will allow me to jog/run this year’s Race for the Cure in April.

    Thanks for such a great challenge to helps us all meet our goals.

  48. I will lose 10 pounds by February 28, 2010 with the help of Weight Watchers Online and a 30 minute workout 3 times per week. I will track my progress on the Weight Watchers website and in a personal journal.

  49. Dustin I know you’ll be upset because I picked two, but I’m picking two!

    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.

  50. I will meet my heath & fitness goals by decreasing my current body fat percentage by 3% by February 28, 2010. I plan to meet this goal by dropping fat and replacing it with lean muscle. I will do this by working out at least 4 times a week (2 cardio/2 muscle building) and concentrating on a high protein, low fat diet. I am doing this to not only improve my overall health but also to begin getting in shape for possible triathlons in the future. I will measure this goal by using an electronic scale and body fat calculator.

  51. My goal is to create a de-cluttering list that goes room by room. This will be done by my wife and I no later than 2 weeks from now, with the completion of the projects on the list by Feb. 28.

    My wife and I did this last year and it was a good spark for our marriage and family. It’s amazing how much clutter piles up in a year.
    .-= Corey – Simple Marriage´s last blog ..A Good Marriage is the Enemy of a Great Marriage =-.

  52. My goal is to lose 10 pounds by the 8th week and increase my fitness level. I plan on doing this by weight training 3 days a week and begin my 5k running program 3 days a week. I will be focusing on eating 6 small meals a day and be sure all meals contain protein and a fruit or veggie. I will also increase my water consumption and be more aware of what I am eating.
    I feel these weeks to come will allow me to push myself and see how truly strong I am!

  53. My goal is to read God’s Word daily. What I started doing (and stopped before the holidays) was actually doing a chapter at a time, and writing it down in a notebook. I find it helps me to focus on what I’m reading, and I almost always pick up something interesting that I never saw before.

    So, using the SMART principle above:

    S: I will read and write daily, picking up where I left off (Genesis 7). I know from personal experience that I’m much more, content at least, when I’m in the Word daily, and it helps me to keep a proper focus in life. I will set aside time each day to this, either morning or evening.

    M: I will cover at least half a chapter per day, but am aiming for one full chapter every day.

    A: That’s why I put at least half a chapter per day above 🙂

    R: My wife and children deserve a godly husband and father, and the deeper my personal relationship with Christ the closer I will get to Him. Just like any relationship, it takes effort and time to get to know the other party.

    T: By the end of the 8-weeks, I will have at least completed Genesis.

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  55. ALL, I’ll be drawing this in the next day or two and contacting the winners by email. Don’t forget you’ll need the secret code found only at the bottom of the email or RSS feed for subscribers to win. I’ll announce the winners to everyone in the Week 2 post on Sunday January 10th.

    This is going to be great!

  56. I’m a bit late to the game! My goal is to work out at least 5 times per week (twice cardio, thrice lifting) through the duration of the challenge. Additionally, I would like to lose at least 15 pounds over the course of that period.

  57. So this goes hand in hand with my goals.
    My wife and I sat down wrote out a comprehensive budget and listed out all our outstanding debts. I usually take care of all the finances and have just managed it without a real budget. I then e-mailed her a copy of it as well as the passwords to our bank account and showed her online bill paying. Now we both can see what we need to do to pay off most of our debt.
    We also looked at what we could cut back on, which isn’t much because we have down scaled so much in the last couple of years, but we are going to have a friend teach us about couponing and we made a decision we would only eat out on dates if we had coupons for food.

    It’s a twofold deal because she has been asking me for years to show her all of the financial stuff in case something happens to me and she had to take care of herself, so she felt like a partner in this.

    Tuesday I surprised her and told her she could have the night off to go and do what she wanted and I would stay home with all 6 kids and take care of them. She went out with her sister and had a great time.

    .-= Chris Goforth´s last blog ..Becoming A Man – The First Step =-.

  58. I could have SWORN I had already done this…oops!

    1. Lose the rest of my baby weight, about 20 lbs (note: my “baby” is now a toddler)
    2. Make intentional steps to improve my marriage
    3. Get 200 Facebook Fans on MY HANDS ARE CLEAN fan page (“Clean Hands, Healthy Baby!”)


    Promoted the challenge through:
    1. Twitter
    2. Facebook
    3. Post on my blog
    4. Button on my blog

    Thanks for letting me squeeze this in! 🙂 We need to check in by Tuesday every week, right? I’m going to post a detailed update on my blog every Tuesday AM and then will jump over here to post.
    .-= Kristin Gentry´s last blog ..Where do you see God’s faithfulness and mercy in your life and marriage? (Week 12) =-.

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  66. It may be over but I am not done! Hopefully this month I will paid off with Credit Cards!!!! I have also lost 23 pounds and still have 15 more to go! I think I am going to start P90X. I am excited to see if it help me get to that point! Thanks all for making me stay true!

    1. Wow, congrats on the AWESOME progress, Toby! I used P90X last spring and had a lot of success with it…but it is intense!

      By the way, make sure you post in Week 8 and the final post next week…it sounds like you could be a front runner for the overall title! 🙂

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