Improve Yourself!

This challenge was started under the theme of “Your Goals, Your Actions, Your Results.”  Do you notice the word that’s repeated three times in that short tag line?  This is your challenge, and your competition is yourself and your own level of personal commitment.

Personal Responsibility is the Key to Personal Progress

This week’s book giveaway is centered around an incredibly simple but extremely powerful concept: it is your problem, your job and your responsibility.  Personal responsibility is key.  That’s what QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life is all about.

In QBQ, John Miller implores us to get away from the blame-game and our inclination for making excuses for the challenges we face in both business and our personal lives.  Instead of asking who is to blame for the situation, we should ask, “What can I do to improve the situation?” so we can take ownership of the problem and take proactive action to solve it.

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

Whether you are making great progress toward your goals in the Improve Yourself challenge or you are struggling, the results you are seeing are directly related to the effort and commitment that you have exhibited for the last three weeks.  I personally didn’t start off the way I should have, and I made a lot of excuses to myself to make it seem okay.  However, this week I decided that I was done with the pity-party, and it was time that I took responsibility for my actions and my results.

One of the participants in this challenge had a similar realization last week as well.  I won’t use his name here in case he’d rather stay private with his thoughts, but I will tell you that he has inspired me to take my game to the next level.  After giving a half-hearted effort to his fitness goals the previous week, he lost one pound.  That’s not bad, right?  Well, this man hit a turning point and decided it was time to take his health seriously, get off his rear and do the work necessary to achieve extraordinary results.  He decided to take personal responsibility for his actions and his results, and I believe you’ll see him report in with a weekly loss of 7.5 pounds this week!
According to statistics from a research company with WarrenLabsAloe, Phentermine is a sympathomimetic that suppresses appetite. Phentermine shows the same activity in relation to weight loss both with continuous daily use, and when prescribed in short courses. At the same time, weight loss is from 5 to 15% of the original in 60 % of patients.

How are your results thus far?  Are you prepared to own them and do the work necessary to meet your goals? You can do this.

This Week’s Awesome Prize

QBQ BookThis week’s giveaway is an awesome book that has the power to change your life.  I highly recommend that you read QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life by John G. Miller.

Just enter your weekly update in the comments below, and you’ll be eligible to win your own copy of QBQ. Click the link above to read more about this best-selling book.

Just a short perfunctory reminder: if you are a participant, you must leave a comment below giving an update on your personal progress. Please do so by Tuesday, January 26th at 11:59 p.m. central time to be eligible for this week’s giveaway. If you are not signed up, feel free to leave a comment anyhow and give your thoughts on this week’s post or your own progress…you just won’t be winning any prizes.

And please don’t forget that you must subscribe to Engaged Marriage via either RSS or Email to be eligible for prizes. 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.

Last Week’s Lucky Winner

Congratulations to our lucky winner of the Week 3 drawing:

Mike who won The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Thanks to This Week’s Awesome Sponsors!

The great prizes being given away throughout the challenge are only possible through the generous support of our sponsors. Please take a few minutes to visit this week’s sponsors and check out what they have to offer.

Enemy of Debt is the place to be if you want to get out of debt or simply celebrate the goodness that your debt-freedom has brought to your life. Brad is a passionate and informative resource offering a unique perspective on the personal finance scene.

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

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

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.


That’s it from me for Week 4 of the challenge! Look for the Week 5 post next Sunday. Get your progress stated below, visit our sponsors and take ownership for the progress (or lack thereof) that you’re making toward your goals!

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. I have rocked week 3 and I feel really good about my momentum moving forward. I am very proud to announce that as of 5 minutes ago I weighed in for a loss of an amazing 8 pounds.I have decided that the pleasure I supposedly get from eating is less valuable than my desire to add years to my life. I want my body to be younger than my real age rather than older.

    I think I will have to work harder in this coming week as the past week was the very first week I was truly disciplined for the entire week—hence the larger than normal loss. I do not expect to lose eight pounds next week but I am going to work like I do.

    2010 will be the year I become fat free, just like 2009 was the year I became debt free!!

    Very happy right now!
    .-= Brad´s last blog ..Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #3 =-.

  2. I had a great week with my organizational goals! I have a problem with trying to do everything for myself and not asking for help, even if I actually need it (most of the time because I think I can do it). This week, I broke the cycle, and it made all the difference in the world! I am less stressed and well on my way to completely organizing my life. (woot! woot!) I prepared a made a specific weekly To DO list, general monthly plan to accomplish some oddball items I know will be coming up, as well as stroked 2 items of my 2010 goals list!

  3. My goals have been going well! I made my first goal of passing my qualifying exams on Wednesday. I’ve been doing a little bit of work on my classes every day. I have also finished my homework for next week already 🙂
    .-= SavingDiva´s last blog ..True Emergency =-.

  4. Has been a busy week and I have not kept up with my reading like I planned. However I did have a moment when I thought before I spoke and did not respond with a smart a$$ comment to my husband. I’m sure that saved a fight! I have time today though to do the reading I need to in both books and get back on track for the week.

  5. I’m still moving along with my goals. Some money was put into savings this week and some additional debt was paid down. I don’t have the exact numbers at the moment, but I believe I’ve nearly surpassed my debt reduction goal. I guess I underestimated myself with this.

    I’d like to also say that this challenge has helped me get myself together in other areas of my life. I’ve seen my fitness goals surpass anything I thought possible and I’m getting better with my food choices! I’m looking forward to what 2010 has in store for me!
    .-= Sam´s last blog ..Job Hunting In a Recession =-.

  6. This is such a timely post. I was just talking to my daughter about the concepts in QBQ. I’ve also shared the book with several people at my church. As for me I am starting to ask the question “What can I do to improve the situation?” so I can take ownership of the problem and take proactive action to solve it. I would love to win this book for my daughter who is struggling right now asking the wrong questions.

    I have to change up my steps to my goals because the road I was walking on wasn’t giving the desired results. I asked myself what has helped in the past and decided to go back down that road. Since the change on Monday I have lowered my fasting blood sugar from an average of 150 to about 125. I’m still taking meds but I am making good progress. I had to kill the exercise temporally while my body adjusted to the new diet plan but hope to be back on that path in another week or so.

    In addition to the blood sugar I’ve dropped 1.5 lbs this week which is really good for me.

  7. Ah, what a busy week. It was birthday week for the husband so I have to say the nutrition was not stellar this weekend… but the alcohol consumption has remained super low (maybe one or two drinks a week if that) so I have learned to celebrate with H2O!!! I was happy with my fitness goals – I have increased my indurance while running and my time has improved by a minute per mile. In regard to finance I have a funny money saving story… let’s just say that my big money saver invovled my “blond” hair! 🙂 All in all it was a good week. I think I would like to find a way to put at least one part of my goals in overdrive so I may try to increase my miles while running this week. This challange is still such a great focus for my husband and me every week!

    1. Agreed that it is still great focus for us! Oh, the “blond” hair is a dramatic money saver. Maybe not dramatic…noticable 🙂

  8. Well it was my birthday week and by the end of the week my weight had not changed. I am okay with that. My workouts have been stellar, nutrition has been very good, and the drinking this week would be somewhere around moderate. Not bad! I am not sure if I will lose my goal of 15 but I will be okay with that if it means my fat burn was great and so was my lean muscle gain.

  9. I started to get a little sloppy this last week. During the days, and I found myself getting distracted often and blowing off my goal of writing three blog posts and one story per week. But I decided to take Wednesday evening to catch up and focus on writing like mad, so that I was able to still reach my goal by the end of the week.
    .-= Kathleen Quiring´s last blog ..Update – and Prizes! =-.

  10. My week went all right. I managed to work out twice and then we moved fire wood again on Saturday. (I now have some kind of rash. The doctor said it is not poison ivy, but is some kind of allergic reaction, probably to some kind of plant.) I ate well, but I am still finding it hard to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. I don’t eat alot of other stuff, either. How do you do it?

    The Bible reading seems to be on auto pilot. Doing it with my kids’ school work helps.

  11. My week was pretty good. I feel like I have the general structure of my schedules as well done as they can be at this point. This week I am going to start implementing the morning part of my schedules and see what needs to be changed. While it looks great on paper, I know they might not look as great in real life. I am going to pay close attention to what gets done, what doesn’t get done, what needs more time or less time, what I could just do without, what really needs to be added, what needs to move to a different time of day, etc. I am quite happy with my progress at this point and am excited to see how things go as the schedules gets put in place and adjusted to best fit my family.
    .-= Cassidy´s last blog ..Quick Takes #4 =-.

  12. This week was the truth week. After the pounds just kind of falling off in the first few weeks of the diet this week it was all about maintaining weight. I am happy with that and I think pushing my self a little farther I could reach my goal of losing 25 pounds.

    As for the dept almost half gone! Making great progress. I just have to remember a little bit at a time.
    .-= Toby Hartman´s last blog ..Christmas =-.

  13. This week has went pretty well. I have maintained my 5 lb weight loss from last week. I have been doing well with our diet. We tried making arrowroot bread as a pizza crust and that turned out good. I ran four times this week meeting my goal, but this week I am going to push myself to run farther during my runs.

  14. It has been a tough week in Mommyland here! We are still struggling with baby sleep issues (now he refuses to sleep at night AND nap during the day) which has thrown a wrench into many areas of my improvement. I’m still working on being the best mother I can to BOTH of my boys.

    I do need to add to my goals, though. I need to add something about keeping my marriage important as well, because that will also help me be a good parent and I want to be a good wife as much as i want to be a good momI

    I took this week’s post about personal accountability to heart and wrote my blog update to remind myself of my original goals and encourage myself that I can accomplish them.
    .-= Krystal´s last blog ..Flint Children’s Museum review =-.

  15. Great progress everyone! We will all have tough weeks, myself included, but those are the times when you really need to show your resolve and get back on your program. Don’t be like the other half of people who have already given up on their goals for this challenge!

    Personally, I had a pretty good week. I only made 3 workouts (4 is my goal), but I increased the intensity a lot from the previous weeks. I even played some full-court basketball with some younger guys over the weekend. It showed me that I have a long way to go in my fitness quest and I’m still sore, but it was great to get some “pure” and fun exercise in that way.

    Bottom line: I lost 2 pounds this week.

  16. Things are going well. We are continuing to save money and be frugal, but I’m not going to lie…. IT IS HARD.
    .-= Jackie´s last blog ..Outfits for the Week! =-.

  17. I did really well this week! I kept expenses within 2% of budget. I find that it’s easy to not overspend if I start my week with a plan, particularly regarding meals. That stops the eating out at restaurants, which can be a major money sucker and not just that but it’s also not healthy. The conscious goal to improve my spending caused me to pay off two credit cards that had been carrying rinky dink balances for no reason other than my own laziness. Not any more! Now I’m zero-ing in on that last credit card and also saving up for a home improvement that we want to do. We decided long ago never to finance home improvements and that’s why we move slowly on them, but it’s a good feeling once it’s done to know that it’s also bought and paid for. It’s easier to achieve these goals when I make a concerted effort to eliminate wasteful spending and redeploy that money to better purposes.

  18. I am doing well on eating healthier. Did have some sweets as it was my daughters birthday but I didn’t overindulge. Exercised every day because in addition to my walking I played basketball with my nieces, sister and my girls which was fun. Then over the weekend played kickball in the street with my daughters and their friends. I am still sore. Haven’t weighed myself but feel thinner.

  19. Thanks for the post Dustin! I needed some encouragement to get more serious. I’ve actually gained a pound or two this week. I’ve been exercising a little more, but I don’t think that gain is all muscle mass! I’ve been on the road a lot, and it gets me out of my routine. Back to the plan this week–smaller portions more frequently, more ice water, more green tea, more exercise.

  20. Hey all! I’m here to report that I was successful with 2 of 3 goals this week. I’ve been sick so I didn’t do anything with my weight goal. But I’m psyched about my progress with my other 2 goals. Read details here:
    .-= Kristin Gentry´s last blog ..Kelly Hancock is Doin’ It Right in Nashville! =-.

  21. I had a great weight loss week this week. I lost 2.4 pounds this week bringing my weight loss total to 6.4 pounds. I tracked my points on Weight Watchers Online everyday! I got in one 30 minute workout this week. I will take responsibility next week for meeting my 90 minutes a week goal. I can’t wait to begin another week!
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Personalized Name Bow Board =-.

  22. I’m still making steady progress. I hit the halfway mark for my body-fat percentage loss goal. I lost another pound and .5% body-fat. I got all 4 workouts in last week and kept the diet on track (except the pizza on Saturday for lunch). This week is shaping up to be a challenge with lots of work and other commitments, but hopefully I’ll stay on track.

  23. This past week flew by! Holy cow! I actually did get a lot of ‘in-between’ stuff done. I wrote the majority of my short story and know where I’m going with my ending (I had NO idea where to go with it a few weeks back, this is a big improvement for me!). I also did some networking for literary agents, which is scary, but also exciting for me! This upcoming week, I hope to finally finish my short story and send it off to my editor. I compiled a list of (ideal) agents in the Los Angeles region (which I might expand to other American cities) and write some query letters to them. I won’t send them yet; I’ll wait to get feedback from my editor!

  24. I am also responsible for remembering to add my comment on time! My days are really starting to blur together.

    This past week I took the extra money I received as a raise (plus a little more) & paid off 2 bills! These weren’t monthly bills, unfortunately, but they were bills I kept putting off. I’m proud of me for using the money to better our credit than to buy something new!

  25. Ok I’m finally back on track this week. My team has completed 4 problem solving issues and has improved their relationships with their production counterparts. The best part about the week was that one of the issues was completely found and fixed by the team. I didn’t even know about it until it was completed. I’m very proud of the crew. It looks like next week is going to be even better, they already have 2 lined up.

    @everyone: GREAT job, it looks like most people are doing a Super Duper job!!!!
    .-= Jeff´s last blog ..How to Calculate Net Worth =-.

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  30. I’m not making much progress on my weight loss goal. I met my goal for monthly guest posting (which was set for once a month). I am also still plugging away on debts.

    This week I would like to post one new item at Ebay and get back on track with healthy eating.
    .-= Bucksome´s last blog ..Customer Service Story: Lee Jeans =-.

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