Improve Yourself!

As we enter week 5 of this challenge, I am willing to bet that you have lost any illusion of perfection in meeting your goals that you may have had at that start.  I know I have stumbled along personally, and progress hasn’t been as steady and smooth as I had hoped.  However, I know that I am still on the road to…

Be Remarkable!

This week’s book giveaway is centered around a fantastic idea that I have tried to apply to all areas of my own life.  You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be remarkable in what you do.  That’s what The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable is all about.  It’s an idea book, a manifesto for change and a call to action.  It’s awesome.

So, just what does it mean to be “remarkable”?  The back cover of the book gives some great examples:

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Remarkable is being unafraid to stand out.

Remarkable is failing often and then trying again.

Remarkable is having a fire in your belly and an idea that won’t quit.

Remarkable is when you stand for something and make it happen and change the world – or your business or your life – along the way.

It is easy to see how these ideas relate to business and why being remarkable in your career leads to success.  But I don’t think this idea is limited to professional life or entrepreneurship.  Don’t you think you can be remarkable in the way your handle your finances?  In your approach to fitness?  In your marriage?

I do.  And whenever I start to feel lazy, uninspired or apathetic, I take a moment to remind myself that this is the year I declared to be a “Breakthrough” and this is the year I committed to Improve Yourself for at least 8 weeks.

I certainly fail often.  But, I always try again.  I take a moment to close my eyes and remember the fire in my belly that led me to make such bold statements about my goals and aspirations for 2010.  I will change the world, if only for myself and my family.

So, how about you?  We are halfway through this challenge.  Are you prepared to recommit yourself to doing something remarkable with your life?

This Week’s Awesome Prize

The Big MooThis week’s giveaway is an awesome book that has the power to change your life. I highly recommend that you read The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable which is edited by Seth Godin.

This book is actually a compilation of short writings by 33 of the world’s smartest business people.  It is built upon the idea of being remarkable, which originated in Seth Godin’s bestseller Purple Cow.

Just enter your weekly update in the comments below, and you’ll be eligible to win your own copy of The Big Moo. Click the link above to read more about this best-selling book.  It is one of my personal favorites!

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, February 2nd 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 4 drawing:

Ambere who won QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life

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.

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.


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!

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.

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

That’s it from me for Week 5 of the challenge! Look for the Week 6 post next Sunday. Get your progress stated below, visit our sponsors and BE REMARKABLE this week!

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. This past week went well. I am still having a bit of trouble setting realistic goals – most of my goals end of being stretch goals. I still need to get used to the fact that I’m 8 months pregnant and can’t move around as fast and as easily as I used to – carrying around the big belly takes out a lot of my energy. I also misjudged the time it would take to complete a task this week (set my sister up with a budget). Originally what I expected to take about 1 hr total took 5 (she had a lot of questions) – which is awesome; she’s beginning the process of getting her life in order, so I don’t mind the extra time investment to help her out. It just meant that I had less time for the items on my To Do list. I have already made up a plan for next week to get myself back on track. All of my time-sensitive items are getting completed (ie -getting my finances, outstanding items with my job, and school work in order before the baby comes), so I’m happy with my progress so far.

  2. This week went well. I finished The 5 Love Languages and learned a lot about what works for my husband and for me. Now my husband is reading it and likes it as well. It has opened up some great converstaion between the two of us.

    I have struggled with the spiritual goal this week and knew this weeks goal of prayer would be a rough one for me. I have struggled with believing that my prayers are heard my entire life and that makes it difficult to pray like I should. I am not moving on to the next spiritual goal in my book until I have this one down and feel comfortable with it.

  3. My main goal was to drop my fasting Blood Sugar in the accepted range of 80-120. Well even though I ended up taking a different road than I had originally planned out I can say that my blood sugar has tested 118, 112, 111, etc consistently for the past several days! The weight is coming off slowly but it is coming off. I have stopped taking my evening Rx and starting today I am testing the stop of my morning Rx as well.

  4. I can’t believe it’s already week 5! This past week was pretty good. Paid down some debt and put some more money in savings. Next week will be a bit expensive since we’re having a home alarm installed.

    We were snowed-in all weekend, so we didn’t spend any money! I guess that’s the benefit to not being able to go anywhere! 😉

  5. This week went pretty well. I tried to stick to my schedules, and failed a lot. However, I am actually glad I failed this week because it gave me a chance to see where the flaws in the schedule were. Somethings needed more time, some stuff really needed to be moved, and something I had to cut out because I just didn’t leave enough extra time in the day for things to go wrong. This week was a reminder of just how wrong things can go with 3 children. We had fits, illness, injuries, teething, lack of sleep, and so on. I am grateful for these things though because they did clearly highlight the flaws in my schedule.
    .-= Cassidy´s last blog ..Quick Takes #5 =-.

  6. I’ve had to modify my goal a little bit. Instead of writing 3 posts and one story, I decided it was OK to write 3 posts and at least spend some time researching for my stories. And I did that this last week. And I think I’ll be able to do it again this week! But I need to recommit to using my timer to keep me on track – I’ve been slacking, making it harder to reach my goals.

    I really want that book! Yay for Seth Godin!
    .-= Kathleen Quiring´s last blog ..Midnight Ear Wax Adventures =-.

  7. Another week gone by already!

    I am definitely becoming a better mom, if only by continuing to learn and put what I learn into practice. Just participating in this challenge has made me think about how I conduct my days and how to make them better for my boys. I have been dealing with continued sleep issues which are putting a strain on every aspect of life right now, but I’m being REMARKABLE (and very imperfect) and powering through them the best I can.

    Here’s my blog post for this week:
    .-= Krystal´s last blog ..Improve yourself 2010 update =-.

  8. This week was ok. I worked out 3 times. Ate ok except on the weekend. Had some Steak and Shake late Saturday after the gig. Good news. Fit into some jeans that I wasn’t able to wear a couple of weeks ago. Was very focused on some career goals and they seem to be going in the right direction. Total weight drop around 5 lbs still.

  9. I close my eyes and imagine myself remarkable, as in trim with a hint of muscle! This was taken from the success book I won and am halfway through. Unfortunately this past week has been slip sliding around. I got in 2 heart pumping work outs (not 4 =( ) and managed to unthinkingly pop a few too many cookies. Darn children baking.
    But a goal I have managed (not the one stated here) was not to buy anything unnecessary. Yes, I only bought groceries and gas. And since my 17 year old car needed (at the tune of over $900!) work I will continue this for Feb. and then probably March & April.
    Maybe I shouldn’t buy flour and sugar =P

  10. We are still chugging along! Saving money is so much easier when you plan and have goals!
    .-= Jackie´s last blog ..Le Creuset Giveaway! =-.

  11. I signed up for so that we could see how our money is being spent. Unfortunately this caused a small problem, husband didn’t like “someone else” having access to our information. I could see his point, but he calmed down & I showed him how secure it was. He still insists he could chart everything out for us, but since this is free and neither of us have time, we’re sticking with it for now.

    BOY. That was an eye opener. I knew I was spending money here, there, everywhere…but wow. That was more than a slight knock in the head. I’m working to control myself. Not easy, considering our biggest spending (besides bills) was online…and I work in eCommerce! But I’m looking it over, trying to see what triggers the spending (missing my son, mostly) and cutting that back. We paid towards a doctors bill and will be paying that off soon! Oh the joys of not having collectors calling (& getting back your state taxes!)
    .-= Ellyn´s last blog ..Pocket Diapers for Sale =-.

  12. Fell off the wagon a bit this week. Slipped into some old (bad) habits. Bad Kate! But it’s good that I’m participating in this challenge because now there’s accountability instead of rationalizing. I did not keep spending within my predetermined confines this week and I need to re-commit to doing so for the rest of the challenge. Instead of letting myself slip up here and there because it’s easy to, I need to be more disciplined because achieving my goals is worth it.

  13. This week has been a good week. I lost another pound so I’m down 9 from where I started. The diet has been hard the last couple of days, I’ve just been craving sweets, but most days I stick with it pretty good. I went running 3 times last week, 1 less than what I wanted, so this week I’m going to be more proactive and shoot for running everyday.

  14. I did get my query letter this week. Still haven’t finished my short story yet. Work’s been busy, but that’s no excuse. Otherwise, I did write approximately 1,200 words in my short story, but there’s no end in sight! (Maybe that’s a sign…) Anyway. Moving on! This week I pray to finish it, finally, and then edit it. The novel, on the other hand, is complete. 🙂 Feels good! Researched more literary agents, but definitely excited about the query letter and getting them out!

  15. I certainly fell off the wagon this week Dustin. It wasn’t that I ate bad necessarily, it was just that I ended up submitting to the hectic schedule, which is my problem. It was mainly being unprepared for meals, but with all that said I only gained 1 pound. I was kind of scared to weigh myself because I thought it was going to be more like 5, not because I ate so much, but because I didn’t keep track of anything, had little water intake and probably consumed too much salty foods in the process.

    It looks like I am on a on-again off-again trend. I guess that means that this week is my on-week. LOL
    .-= Brad´s last blog ..No More Mondays And Why Everyday Is Friday Now =-.

  16. Missed the last couple of updates. Still not where I want to be (reading every day), but getting more consistent. It’s going to be more challenging the next few weeks as I have a critical project at work that has to be finished and deployed in 3 weeks – and we’re just starting analysis 🙂

    I did do something different last Friday – I’d had a really rough day at work and was a terrible grump by the time I got home, so I took a time-out for an hour or so and went to my room to do that day’s reading. I need to do that (turn to God’s word) more often (all the time) when I’m frustrated, rather than turning to other things as I’m want to do.

    Hopefully I can stay on track over the next few weeks, even as my sleep quotient goes below what I prefer (I’m not the young man I used to be…)

    I’m up to Chapter 24 in Genesis, btw….some days I get a couple chapters done, sometimes part of a chapter (depending on how long it is).

  17. To be honest it was a real hard week. It is so easy to give in on my goals but I am proud to say I am struggling through them! One day at a time I continue to try to be smart with money and also lose some weight. I am still at -15# for the year and at the lowest dept level in a while. I just got to keep doing it!
    .-= Toby Hartman´s last blog ..Joys of a Hyundai Accent =-.

  18. I’m doing about the same… Walking on the treadmill (I even ran on the treadmill for about 3 minutes), Eating the veggies (but I forgot to pack some for a snack today) and drinking my water. I think I may be developing a routine.

    School work was off last week so scripture readin was also. I need to work on that a bit more.

  19. I came across your blog for the first time..

    Interesting post…
    Subscribed… will be back for more..
    .-= Persha -DumpedDays´s last blog ..On Being Dumped: Don’t Cry Over Someone Who Won’t Cry Over You =-.

    1. Hi Persha! Thanks for becoming part of our community here, and I look forward to interacting with you!

      I checked out your blog…cool concept!

  20. This book sounds amazing. If I don’t win a copy of this book, I will have to order myself a copy. From the meanings that you noted at the beginning of this post, the following stands out for me:
    Remarkable is failing often and then trying again.
    I’m ready to be remarkable. I have failed multiple times at losing weight and getting myself in shape, so now it’s time to be remarkable and make it happen. My husband and I have an upcoming trip that we will be taking and I would like to shed a bit of weight prior to our vacation to fully enjoy our time together in a place we have never been.

    Here’s to becoming remarkable!

  21. To be honest, I had a rough week on the fitness front. I only managed to get in two workouts amidst a crazy week with 60 hours at work and late nights preparing to present at a marriage retreat. The retreat also took the entire weekend, but it was great and well worth it!

    End result: same weight. Conclusion: need to do better this week! 🙂

  22. I wish I could go back to only accomplishing the anniversary celebration. That was remarkable! Everything else has been hot and cold.
    loveletters are coming about 3 per week
    STS has been 5+ per week – so that has been a plus
    Our time alone together has happened a few times, but it is a stretch to include errands to Meier.
    Have been unable to release her to get away, mainly because of her drive to get things done and organized.
    Reading the book, oh yes, despite the title, Holy-S_x! A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving by Gregory Popchak, Ph.D., my motivation to pick it up has been very underwhelming. Actually looking to get back to that this week as a spark to the other goals.


  23. I see I’m not the only one completely behind! I’ve been out of town teaching classes, and now I’m stuck here for a few more days due to a large winter storm coming. I have not idea if I’ve lost more weight and do not have access to the things I normally do–green tea, pumping, etc.

    Will do the best I can.

  24. Oh crap. I got so busy last week I forgot to post my progress. Please forgive me for my tardiness, but I understand if you don’t.

    Our team was part a new round of audits our upper management have started to conduct. We were the first ones to go through the process. During the audit, the team was able to show the problem solving that they have been working on. Our managers where extremely impressed with the work that was completed and the money we’ve saved. I couldn’t be happier with the team. They now have people from all over the factory coming to talk to them about how they are getting their results.

    .-= Jeff´s last blog ..How to Create Sinking Funds =-.

  25. Pingback: Communication is the Key to Success
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