How to Set Goals That Work (with free worksheet)

How to Set Goals That Work (with free worksheet)

goal setting, New Year's resolutions, smart goals worksheet

My friend, Tom Dixon, guest posts today. I think you will come away with new understanding, motivation, and tools for achieving your goals as I did. Please visit his excellent blog, Monday is Good.

I’ve been trying to lose weight for years. Around the first of each new year, I’d set lofty goals around how many pounds I’d drop. I’d track everything I ate and how much I exercised.

However, instead of getting thinner, I’ve ended every year for the last 20 heavier than I started. Those big goals in January were forgotten by March.

That is, up until last year.

I still have more to go, but I ended 2013 a little more than 35 pounds lighter. That’s just the part the scale says. What feels even better is:

  • I’m completely off my asthma medication, and am taking half the dosage of another prescription
  • I actually own articles of clothing that say “medium”
  • I went from a 42″ jean size to a 36″ – I haven’t been in a 36 since high school!
  • I can jog for 30 minutes (up from 30 seconds) and plan to do a 5k in the Spring
  • I have seventy-five times the energy I’ve ever had

So, what was different?

I got some help.

That’s it. I recognized that I didn’t have the necessary skills or knowledge to accomplish my goal. Fortunately for me, I found someone who did. That was the big difference. In the past I’ve always gone at it alone, but this time I started working with a personal trainer.

I’m not sharing this because you care about my weight loss. I’m quite sure you don’t. I’m not trying to get everyone to hire a personal trainer. However, I am asking you to identify that one goal you keep chasing.

What do you keep trying to do, but can’t quite get done?

  • Get out of debt or control your spending
  • Change careers or get a promotion
  • Lose weight
  • Improve relationships with your spouse or children
  • Manage your time better

I coach people to identify the “why” behind their goals. It’s only when you understand the reason behind what you want to achieve that you stand a chance of succeeding. Assuming that piece is in place, the quickest way to accomplish any of these common goals is to find someone succeeding in that area.

For me, that was a 23-year-old punk at the Y. For you, it may be a career coach or marriage counselor. You’re looking for someone who can:

  • Tell you what to do, and when. I didn’t have the time or inclination to learn about strength training. In fact, there was no place I felt any less comfortable than at the gym. When you get help, you skip the learning curve and go right into solution mode.
  • Help you set goals. This is critical to make sure you are both on the same page. I’m working on being able to bench press 135lbs, do a pull-up (yes, just one), and run a 5k in less than 30 minutes. The work I do with my trainer is to support these specific goals.
  • Keep you accountable. I probably would have quit about 12 times already if I didn’t know I had to show up at 8PM on Tuesday night to workout. If I slack off on my diet or don’t do my homework, then I’m going to struggle.
  • Take your money. Seriously – you want the kind of help you pay for. When you pay for something it becomes a priority. Free advice is okay, but generally won’t move you forward. Both sides need some skin in the game.

I’m hoping you have already set some solid goals for 2014. If not, check out my goal setting guide (which includes a worksheet) to get you going.

Who are you going to ask for help in 2014? Do it.

Tom Dixon, CPIM, is a demand planning expert and experienced career coach. He is passionate about building processes and teams to accomplish great things. Tom founded Monday Is Good to leverage his “in the trenches” experience with career transition to help others look forward to Monday. He believes that work should be fulfilling, energizing, and a source of joy in your life.
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6 Hot Flashes from July

6 Hot Flashes from July

humor, blogging, homeschooling

It’s not been a very hot July, so I should really share cool news. I just visited my mom so she probably isn’t reading this month. Hopefully I can entice the rest of you to read with the recipe reviews at the end. This is what’s been happening with the Psycho family:

#1 Blogging

July’s page views were up 1,000 from the previous month.

In July, the most popular posts were:

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Being Pregnant – my humorous letter that has been Pinterest popular

The Best Places to Buy, Borrow, Sell or Donate Used Homeschool Curriculum – I had used an absolutely awful photo for this post when I wrote it last year. I decided to create a new graphic for it and then pinned it to the Ultimate Homeschool Board on Pinterest and boom. The post received the traffic I hoped it would.

Why Classical Conversations Should be a Part of Your Curriculum – homeschoolers found this post by Googling as they considered options for the upcoming school year. I still believe it’s an excellent, affordable option regardless of your approach and I don’t make anything for saying so.


I am excited that my new iPhone case is emblazoned with my blog graphic. I’m really happy with the price and quality and recommend it to other bloggers.

 #2 Other Writing

I have been spending time working on two book projects–just not as much time as I would like. When I can share details with you, I will!

Many of you are following my Christian Inspiration board on Pinterest. I’m excited about that, because not only will you find links to short posts from the Inspired Day, but from several superb Christian bloggers. Comment below if you’d like to be added to the board with the email address you use on Pinterest.


#3 Our International Guest

This photo makes this 16yo boy from Spain look like he has been lounging around on his visit, but that is not the case. He is the son of a friend’s friend and he has been a delight. He has been visiting to experience American culture and improve his English. My son, Sam, has been enjoying the process of improving his Spanish, too. My boys have been taking advantage of our guest’s graciousness to demand that he do everything with them! It’s a challenge for me to tell them to stop because he is giving me a break. We will certainly miss him when he goes home.

Caleb car

#4 Our New Driver

You may recall my terror at having a Permit Driver. Now you can share my fear as Caleb takes to the road with his license. I would be even more thrilled not to have to drive everywhere with him due to his busy social life, but Sam will be getting his permit any day now.


#5 College

It’s hard to believe that Caleb has just one more year of high school and then he’ll be heading off to college. He has many factors to consider like rankings, research opportunities, distance from home, study abroad programs, money. He’ll be busy making some decisions about where to apply in the coming weeks.

After considering Sam’s future, we have decided to enroll him in College Plus Prep–the same program Caleb went through. We want to determine if independent study is the best way for him to earn his college degree.

#6 New Recipes

I seriously considered doing a weekly post of new things I’ve tried from Pinterest, but the last thing I need is another obligation. Instead, I’ll include my reviews in this monthly wrap-up when I can.

zucchini bread

Clean Eating Zucchini Bread

I want recipes that are whole-grain, low fat, and reduced sugar. So I tried this zucchini bread. Our rating? Too healthy tasting. My friend made a recipe that is a little less healthy and a lot more tasty. When I get her to write it down for me, I’ll post it for you.


Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken

I ended up having to tell my husband how to make this over the phone, only to discover we had no lemons. When life hands you no lemons, you make lime garlic chicken. Our Rating? It’s a winner. Makes for very moist, tasty chicken and it’s easy.

bbq chicken

BBQ Chicken Empanadas

So it’s abundantly clear that I’m not into food photography, especially here. The truth is I was in a huge hurry when I made these. This recipe was very popular when I pinned it to my Lunch Recipes to Try board. I tried rolling and cutting the dough and discovered that just using two crescent rolls together (and smooshing the perforations which I did very poorly) was the quickest method and made large enough empanadas for my teens. I used low-fat crescent rolls and canned chicken. I combined the chicken with BBQ sauce until it was coated. I sprinkled each with cheese, closed the dough with a fork, and baked. The average rating was an 8. I’d say that’s a winner!

I’d love to know about the hot flashes you’re having! Let me know in the comments, your favorite social media format, or just call me so we can have lunch. My birthday is coming up, so you’re buying. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading. You made my day.

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6 Hot Flashes for June

6 Hot Flashes for June

Monthly news for Psychowith6

My blogging buddy Tom Dixon does a review of the month on his blog where he shares statistics and news. I so enjoy these posts, that I decided to do one of my own.

What that means is that everyone but my mom can stop reading now. So, Mom, here’s what’s been going on with me:

#1 Blogging

I merged multiple blogs into this one in October of 2012. (If you don’t know why, read this.) In June, my page views were up 1200% since launch. (Keep in mind that I’ve studied advanced statistics and can make them say anything I want them to.) I am thrilled to have a growing readership, not that you don’t mean the world to me, Mom!

The most popular posts since beginning this blog are:

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Being Pregnant – a Pinterest winner for me. I am working on improving my pins and growing a following on Pinterest as a result.

Why Classical Conversations Should Be a Part of Your Curriculum  – a Twitter winner when Classical Conversations retweeted it

Scarred for Life – a Facebook winner when the shocking photos were all anyone could talk about

In June, the most popular posts were:

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Being Pregnant

Can Mark Forster’s Ultimate Time Management System Help You Get More Done? – readers of Mark Forster’s blog and forum have increased readership of all my time management posts, including the third most popular below

Can Another Simple and Effective Method Help You Get More Done?

 #2 Other Writing

The Once-and-for-All Meal Plan Ebook has been downloaded over 2,300 times. Because I don’t have that many email subscribers, my guess is people are sharing the link. I don’t mind, but soon the link will change because the book will be revised. I’m excited about the changes I’ll be making because the plan will be much easier to implement. You’ll be the first to know, Mom!

#3 My Health

I have mentioned in several posts that my health has been poor. The good news is my energy is back to normal. The bad news is I am not symptom-free and I don’t have an easy-to-treat diagnosis. But I can already see how God is using it for good in my life. One way in which that is true is that I am more committed to eating well and serving healthy food. I would dearly love your prayers that I would be well enough to do what God has called me to do and that I would trust Him completely.

#4 My Marriage

I remember a veteran homeschooler sharing at a group meeting many years ago that what she liked most about homeschooling was that her husband was self-employed and was around to help out with the kids. And what she liked least about homeschooling was that her husband was self-employed and was around…I laughed very loudly because my husband is also self-employed. What’s more is that he has much of the summer off. We’ve learned to deal with our differences, though, and I can honestly say that I love him more than ever after the way he has supported me through my health challenges. We celebrate 21 years of fireworks this week as we were married on the fourth of July.

#5 The Kids

This was a big month for my oldest who has been driving everywhere in our newly purchased used automobile with me in the passenger seat. If you’ve read Permit Driver, you know that I’ve been a bit anxious about him driving. I’m really proud of myself because I’ve made several trips without screaming in terror. I think he just needed that extra time to mature, because he’s really doing great. Mostly.

He also got his first job working for our church. I was so touched when one of the office staff stopped by our house to deliver a cupcake to him on his birthday. Not many employers would do that!

Andy got braces and the youngest kids have been losing teeth like crazy and losing faith in the Tooth Fairy, too. My daughter asked why when she woke up there was no money, but when she went back to make her bed there was. Hm.

#6 Homeschooling

Once again, I’ve sworn an oath to do more school in the summer and once again I haven’t kept it. We have done some reviewing, continued with history, and a bit of workbook stuff, but not much else. Here’s part of the problem. The neighbor kids show up at my door and my children look at me as though they haven’t seen them in years and how could I even think of asking them to do school? I’m weak. All my nerve was used up riding around with the permit driver.

I have been using the time to prepare for the fall, however.

I’d love to know about the hot flashes you’re having! Let me know in the comments, your favorite social media format, or just call me so we can have lunch. 🙂 Sure, you too, Mom!

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