My credit card limit is low, but at the end of August, it was almost maxed out. When I first got my credit card, I was a pro at it – spent very little on it, paid it off immediately. Then I slowly began to have more expenses, less time, less ‘free’ money, and a hard time saying no. By the end of August, I was very uncomfortable with where my VISA was at.

My goal was to have my card paid off by December 1st. That didn’t quite happen, but I’m well on my way to reaching my goal. More importantly, I’ve been very good about only using my card when absolutely necessary, such as to make ferry reservations.

Baby steps are still a win, but since the card isn’t paid off, I’ve got to start making bigger steps!

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I gave myself one “out” during this plan – if I found a new job, one of the goals could be dropped. Well, I did find a new job, and this is the goal that got dropped. 🙂

We still want to move, but we’ve just changed the timeline. Now we’re looking at moving sometime in February, and since we both got new jobs, we can afford a nicer place than we could have a few months ago.

More about the new job in a couple of days!


At the end of August, I signed up for a course through BCIT. I’m pursuing an associate’s certificate in non-profit management through them, and decided to take a class on human resource management.

My goal for the class was to get better than 75% overall, and on each of my assignments. Well I did better than my goal on my assignments – I got 90% or better on each one! I only wrote my final this weekend, so I won’t have my final grade for another week or two, but I’m feeling good about it.

I learned a ton about HRM, but I learned even more about myself, my study habits, and how hard it is to commit to an online class! Not having it as part of my schedule made it difficult to focus on getting every bit done, but I did better as the course went on. Success!


The Weight Goal

03Dec08

All week, I’m writing about “Mare’s Awesome Plan of Awesomeness”, my quest to achieve four major goals in four months. So far, I’ve told you about the motivation behind my plan and described the four goals. Today, I’m writing about my weight goal.

Remember that my weight goal was to be under 200lbs by December 1st. At the beginning of August, I was weighing in around 212lbs. To achieve my goal, I needed to lose approximately 0.75lbs a week, which is a very modest approach to weight loss. In August we were eating a reasonably healthy diet, except that we were supplementing our healthy diet with a lot of junk. For example, breakfast, lunch and dinner would be healthy, but I would eat a junky snack in the afternoon and have a junky dessert after dinner. I was also more sedentary than I had ever been – I sat at a desk at work all day, sat on the couch most nights, and my only real exercise was the walks to and from my bus stops.

One of the changes I wanted to make to achieve this goal was to start making a healthy meal plan every week. To save money, we had been meal planning most weeks, but we weren’t really thinking our plans through. We would throw a plan together right before we left for the grocery store, and usually our eye was to convenience and cost, rather than health or balance. I wanted to make meal planning more of a priority so that we could eat healthful, balanced meals that weren’t repetitive or costly. Our meal plans have improved hugely over the last four months.

I also had some fitness ideas to help with this goal, and they were only moderately successful. The Hundred Pushup Challenge started off well, but I found it increased too rapidly, which was frustrating. Frustration does NOT lead to success for me! I started Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred at the beginning of November, which was going GREAT until I hurt myself (I had a bad fall), had to take a week off to heal, started the 30DS again, and then hurt myself again. Sometimes I think my middle name should be Klutz.

As of Nov 30th, I weigh 209lbs. This is actually a loss of 5 pounds in 4 months, because I gained up to 214 from my August weight of 212lbs. I’m actively choosing to be excited about this, instead of sad that I didn’t reach my goal. I’ve learned to take care of myself so much better in the last 4 months, and that will truly help me take the weight off slowly and keep it off. I’m eating more intuitively, making sleep a priority, taking time to relax, and most importantly, not beating myself up over every little thing I do.

PS: I was looking back at some posts from this time last year, when I was starting the Best Life Diet. That ended up not working out so well for me, but when I think of what I’ve been changing since August… it’s the same things listed in Phase 1 that I blogged about here! Breakfast every day, three meals and a snack every day, more activity, not eating much after dinner, and cutting down on alcohol. All I need to do is add in a multivitamin and I’m a BLD Phase 1 star without even trying!


Yesterday, I told you that in early August, I made a plan. I was tired of living my life passively and decided to take control of my life and my goals. This week marks 4 months since I started my plan, and I’m going to use this week to describe my plan and how it has progressed.

My plan is called Mare’s Awesome Plan of Awesomeness, because I wanted to look at my plan and laugh. I also wanted a reminder that this plan is about ME and about working towards the life I dream about.

My plan is short and sweet – it only has four goals on it. Four months, four goals. I chose goals that won’t achieve my ultimate dreams; instead, each goal is intended to be a solid foundation or step towards my dreams. Each goal will prepare me to move further into challenging myself and achieving my dreams.

Here’s what I wrote at the beginning of August: “By December 1st, 2008, I will weigh less than 200lbs, take a BCIT course and get 75% or higher, move to a new apartment in a professionally managed building, and pay off my VISA card.”

Now, this makes no sense unless you know where I was at in August.

My first goal is weight-related. In early August, I was weighing in around 212lbs. I was reasonably content with my body, overall, but I was constantly frustrated at how tired I was and how much harder physical endeavours had become. I didn’t like being naked, because I was ashamed at what I had let happen to my body. I missed the strength and muscle tone I had just a few years ago. And to be honest, I was pissed off about looking fat in a wedding dress. I didn’t want to be one of those women who starves herself for her wedding or buys a too-small dress, but I also wanted to feel sexy, confident and womanly.

My second goal is academic, but also related to my career. I want to work in non-profit management, and to build my knowledge and skills, I am joining BCIT’s non-profit management certificate. I took one class in the spring, and did very well in the class, so I decided to take another class and commit to getting another great grade!

My third goal is domestic. Since May 2007, we had been living in a basement apartment. We had lots of space, lots of clutter, and lots of problems with the apartment. The people upstairs were frustrating, the apartment wasn’t very well maintained, and it just didn’t feel like home. I wanted to find a new place for the two of us to call home – a place that was welcoming, comfortable and well managed.

My fourth goal is financial. In August 2008, my credit card was hovering near maxed out at $1000. Until 2008, I had always been really good at paying off my credit card in a timely manner. Then I graduated and my financial help from my parents stopped. My income stayed the same while the cost of living rose and rose and rose. While it seemed like my debt came out of nowhere, I know that it was really a slow process of justifications and desperation. I wanted to clear my debt and re-adjust my finances so that I can prepare to save for our wedding and enter into our marriage in a responsible manner.

Over the next four days, I’ll write about each goal and the steps I took to achieve it.


I made a plan

01Dec08

At the beginning of August, I made a plan.

I had been having a rough week. I had been having a rough year, if I’m honest with myself, but I kept that pretty boxed up. Lots of great things were happening, and I was overjoyed at the positive parts of my life. I just kept the less positive thoughts tucked up in my head, thinking that I was coping just fine and that my life would sort itself out.

At the beginning of August, I made a plan.

I decided that it was time to stop waiting for my life to sort itself out, to take back the agency and responsibility and control of my life. If life was going to make me be a grown up without asking, then I was going to show it just what I could do. I decided that it was time to start going after the life I want, deserve and imagine.

At the beginning of August I made a plan.

My plan was really just a return to my one little word for 2008 – TRY. I wanted to stop being passive and start taking an active role in my life. I wanted to stop sitting around, literally and figuratively, and make things happen.

At the beginning of August, I made a plan.

Today is the beginning of December, and all this week I’m going to write about my plan and how it worked out.


I’ve let the Happiness Project slide over the last few months. I’d really like to get back into it, for reasons I’ll reveal in January. I’m going to share it between here and Flickr, so keep an eye on both.

So today, I’m finding happiness in treating a friend to Starbucks and a manicure after she’s had a tough week. We had a great time together, and both left feeling refreshed and cheerful. Just what we both needed!


Remembrance

10Nov08

Please stop and take a moment tomorrow to remember our past and present servicemen and women.

I will be wearing my poppy proudly, remembering the service of my grandparents, and praying for our troops, both those deployed and on Canadian soil.


Lately, we’ve tried to have special dinners on Sunday nights, where we set the dining room table, light some candles, and eat something extra delicious. It gets us out of our usual, rushed, eating-at-the-coffee-table rut that is so typical of week nights. We both come home from work exhausted (especially because I have a 45min commute to and from work) and just try to throw dinner together as quickly as possible. Sundays, though, we have all the time in the world. Sitting down together really helps wrap up the weekend and gives us a few moments to just put the rest of the world on pause.

Tonight we made one of our new favourite recipes – lemon pasta. I found the recipe on the Technicolor Kitchen blog months ago, and we only made it recently. It’s a little more expensive of a meal than we would normally make, because of the fresh parmesan, but it’s a great meal for Sunday night treats!

The lemons make it fresh and chockful of vitamin C, while the cheese packs it full of protein, which makes up for this being meatless, in Adam’s opinion. While it is a little high in fat and sodium, the vitamins, minerals and protein make me happy to eat this as a once-in-a-while treat – just right for Sunday nights!


I spent the two days last week in motivational interviewing training at work. While the other staff members at the training deal directly with our clients, I work in the admin section, very removed from the one-on-one work. The training was much more applicable for them, but for me, it was a good view into their work and provided me some tools to use in my personal life. The trainer we had was great, and had us do all the exercises and role plays using our own lives, instead of pretending to be clients.

The part of our training that stuck with me the most was working through a decisional balance. We had to think of a change we want to make in our lives, then our partner walked us through the grid, guiding us to list the concerns and benefits of staying the same or making the change – basically, a more thorough pros/cons list.

I decided that my “change” would be to exercise more, while “staying the same” would be remaining my couch potato ways. At first I wasn’t taking it very seriously, but as I listed off different ideas, and my partner prompted me (in a totally hilarious, flattering-but-blunt way), things started just pouring out and getting a little intense.

If you want to see what the decisional balance looked like for me, it’s available as a PDF here. It’s a fascinating way to work through whatever is pushing you towards and keeping you from a change.

Today I started Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, and I’m committing myself to doing it throughout November. It’s hard and it sucks, but it’s less than half an hour a day, it was $15, and I can do it in my living room, which crosses out a few of my objections!