What It *Actually* Takes To Achieve A Goal

So last week, we discussed goal setting for the beginner. This week, we’re talking action plan to get those feet up and moving toward reaching it!

It’s just not enough to want something. To set a goal, make a plan, and then leave it on paper and never look at it again. This is the step most people miss- they mean well in their approach, but can’t get past that resistance to change their thoughts to action. Listen carefully what I’m about to tell you… this, my friend, is how people do great things in the world. This is the single most important- yes, having a solid target and plan are important- the single most important step because a plan without action is meaningless.

This is also the hardest part. This is where most of us grow tired, bored, defeated when we aren’t successful the first or hundredth time. Have you ever heard of the ten thousand hour rule? If not, it states that a person must put in at LEAST 10,000 hours to be a master; and with that, I think mastery is something that requires ongoing and continuous self awareness and growth. I’m going to break some tough news to you- you’re probably going to suck and fall short working toward your goal most of the time. 

A personal example is that I’m currently taking self defense classes from a professional ju-jitsu fighter. I’ve never fought in my life and fighting isn’t something that comes naturally. The entire hour I spend with him every week I can’t stop thinking about how bad I am. Sure I practice and have gotten the basics down, but it’s really hard for me feeling new and unconfident as the techniques take awhile to learn. Do I put in less effort because I suck? No. Do I still take it serious? Of course because that’s how I get better. 

You come to me every week for motivation, yes? Ok, well here’s your cold splash in the face for this week- shut your mouth, quit complaining, stop telling people what you’re going to do, and actually do it. You wrote down the step you need to do to achieve that goal last week, now if you want to be respected in your craft, do it. This isn’t a sugar coated “You’ve got to have XYZ requirement, certification, knowledge, experience, or confidence” to do the thing. This is a show up even when you’re sick, when you’re emotionally off, when you’re tired. 

4 years ago in physical therapy assistant school, I had a sinus infection that lasted for a month. Migraines, dizziness, puking, stuffy nose, everyday for 31 days in December. I missed the opportunity to meet my favorite band, Timeflies, something I very much so regret. Sure I was uncomfortably sick, but that was a once in a lifetime experience. I also dragged myself to school everyday of that horrible illness because I would have gotten kicked out of school had I not. I’m aware that many of you reading this may be thinking “Take a break when you need to” and to some extent, I agree. But at the same time, I want you to learn from my regret and stay hungry for it. Success in any area (health, career, personal, etc.) isn’t for the faint of heart and doesn’t given out last place trophies. It’s incredibly possible to reach high for a goal and not lose yourself in the process. This is something I literally practice everyday. This is something that comes from meditation and knowing yourself really powerfully well. 

I need you to stop watching people on the internet making success look easy. I need you to unfollow the bloggers who look glamorous at every hour of the day, motivational speakers who blow smoke, and athletes who make it rain in the club every weekend in their off season. That’s 10% of the story- they don’t show the other 90%, which is the hard work that sucks.

You wanted motivation to make you excited to get started? Well… here it is- success in any goal looks like you doing the work that you don’t actually want to do. In the same time you spend complaining about not having what you want, you could have put in the energy needed to accomplish the hard work to getting there.

3 Tips For Successful Goal Setting

I’m going to keep this simple- goal setting is an important way to continue building and reaching for a stronger, better version of YOU. Yes, you need a plan, we don’t just naturally continue to progress and improve throughout our lives unless we’re aiming at a solid target. Things may change along the way, but generally those who set goals and work to achieve them feel happier and more fulfilled in the habits and motions of their day. There’s many different ways to do this, but I realize I’m speaking to those new at this or who need a fresh perspective, so we’re starting from the basics. Do me a favor and please don’t overthink this part. It’s so easy to get technical, but I want you to resist the urge to be perfect and just try your best. 🙂

1. Start with the categories in which you want to reach toward something. A few that I use: health (physical and mental are two different categories), professional, relationship, personal, and adventure. If you’re in school or planning a wedding, most certainly include those, as well!

2. Develop the 1-3 goals for each category. Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew, it’s better to focus deeply on just a few goals than just to throw a bunch out there and half-a$$ the effort.

3. Develop a solid plan of a few bullet points of what you can do to work toward it. For example, under mental health, I’m putting together a list of books I want to read:

  • Category: Mental Health
    • Goal: Books I want to read in 2020
      • Action Plan:
      • The War of Art – Jan
      • 10% Happier – Feb
      • The Founders Dilemma – March
      • Blink – April
      • The One Thing – May
      • The Power of Now – June

I’m keeping it at six for now until I hear of other books I want to add to the list, but my goal is the read 1 book per month at minimum. I love to read as it activates the parts of my brain that create ideas and inspiration! This is the most simple, basic version of goal setting. A lot of people like to set a time limit, but I’m iffy on that. I know there will be months that are busier than others and I won’t have a ton of time to read, so if I read 10 I’ll be just as happy as if I read 12. The point is the effort is there, and I can’t predict how many yes’s I’ll get on the career front so the goal setting for that is different than what I do have control over (like health: moving my body to sweat 5x every week). Things happen, people get sick, work gets busy, but point is to set the goal so that when you feel off or stressed from life getting hectic, you fall back into the practices that you set in January to continue on the path to your goal!

That’s all for now. Try not to stress yourself over it, but I encourage you to set aside some time today or this week to really and honestly look at your life now and where you want to be, and practice the “category, goal, action plan” to get there.

New Year New MOOD!

So it’s January… and you’re probably feeling the pressure to get a gym membership, get a better job, and get your entire life together because “new year new me” is all over social media at the moment.

And yes, we will get to that later this month. But for now, I want to project an overall theme for myself, my platform, and my community this year… meaning YOU!

A lot of us struggle to set goals. Especially goals tied to feelings, like for example improving a negative mindset. That’s a very broad goal that has no real tactile plan tied to it, which is why most fail. I believe goal setting is an art in and of itself- to set goals that are achievable, realistic, and that actually matter to the growth of your well-being. So to kick off 2020, I’ve already picked an goal for you to get the ball rolling before you feel comfortable setting goals for yourself.

In 2020, I will not worry about people and situations that do not involve myself.


Traffic patterns and idiots on the road

The opinion of others about me

The career, family, life choices of others that I may not agree with

Political views of others who differ from mine

How other people chose to spend their time, money, and energy

I believe that inserting your opinion where it’s not warranted nor is it needed brings nothing but disruption of inner joy. I’m not saying turn a blind eye to issues going on in the world, but if we listened and watched more people and situations without getting emotionally involved, we’d be sooo much more at peace. We wouldn’t feel as drained interacting with the public everyday. We’d be in control of our emotions and not let the opinions and actions of others dictate our decisions, as long as there’s no direct harm to living beings.

Do you remember the email a few months ago about the lady who told me I looked like I got hit by a train? Yeah, because I’ve decided life is too precious to waste it on the opinions of others, I literally laughed about it to her face and was not offended. I know who I am and have had my inner joy shaken one too many times in the past that I’ve gotten strong. I’m no longer afraid to say what needs to be said to people I love even if it’s uncomfortable because I care about others too much to keep sweeping things under the rug… And for what? Bigger issues arise when things get swept anyways.

I challenge you to write this goal down somewhere like a post it on your mirror, in your journal, in your car, somewhere you will see it everyday. I have it on a post it on my spin bike so I can remember everyday my inner strength and that some things just aren’t worth getting hot and bothered by when they don’t even concern me in the first place. I challenge you to look at it everyday and say it outloud in hopes to bring you a bit more peace. When faced with a situation that could get you worked up, say it loud, decide if it’s going to matter in 3 years, and if not, move along and don’t even give it your attention. Not your circus, not your monkeys.

I’m usually that guy justifying other people’s stupidity, such as “he probably had childhood trauma” or “maybe they lost a loved on recently which is why she’s being such a biotch” but I’ve lost my cool in situations and think back like- yeaaaah that probably wasn’t even a big deal and had I waited a moment for it to pass, I could have stayed more calm.

The most precious thing in the world, in conjunction with time, is attention. Why give your attention to something that literally serves no purpose and doesn’t benefit the growth of your well-being? Let’s make this a goal in the new year to remember everyday and use in small and big moments the needed. 🙂

Goal Setting… Where Do I Begin?

This time of year can be super overwhelming. Trying to clean up the financial and physical messes of the holidays while simultaneously trying to get your life on track… yeah that makes sense. I’ve found that often we get overwhelmed because there was no plan going in, just last minute Christmas parties, gifts, and stress then a quick and messy transition to somehow magically feeling motivated to eat salads and go to the gym. 

What if, instead of the unnecessary pressure we feel obligated to carry, we just let ourselves experiment? What if, instead of figuring it all out, we gave ourselves the grace to set a goal like “I will find an exercise I enjoy” instead of it being tied to an insecurity like losing weight? From my experience in communicating with many different people on an everyday basis, much of the reason we aren’t in the confidence or place we want is because we take life way way too seriously. I don’t doubt you have the willpower and discipline to get in shape, it just might be a shift in perspective to take the first step.

Instead of focusing on what you hate (maybe physical appearance, mean thoughts about yourself, lack of energy, brain fog…) what if you focused on being light? Having a bit more fun with yourself? 

As many of you know, I work as a physical therapist assistant in an outpatient clinic with my boyfriend and some really awesome co workers/boss. For those of you who’ve never been to our clinic, picture the Cleveland Clinic and then change literally every single thing about the environment… there’s plants, salt lamps, coffee, snacks, music or a Disney+ movie playing, and we know everyone’s name and usually the names of their spouse, kids, and pets. We share stories, pictures, and laugh pretty much the whole day. We keep therapy light when its needed and listen to tough conversation that often end in emotional hugs when that’s needed, as well. Moral to the story, we keep it fun. I’ve been to clinics where things are serious and patients are treated like the number of range of motion their doctor wants. We achieve the same results and get patients better, but the overall experience is rich in long lasting relationships as to try and make their visits more than just a doctor requirement. That’s been a metaphor I’ve taken as a way I want to live my life- doing good and hard work while also having fun and realizing what’s important.

Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re looking to change and improve something about your health… like you know what you need to do but have a hard time actually doing it or being successful at it over and over again. Currently, I’m facing the same hurdles in growing my business. Sometimes I get frustrated and take things personally after hearing no so many times, until my boyfriend reminds me that this is something I completely created and choose to pursue, so why be so hard on myself? It’s the very thing that fulfills my purpose, so why do I stew over stupid things that won’t matter in a year? I guess a benefit to having a bad memory is usually I forget about them anyway lol.

Bottom line is: I am incredibly proud of your intention of trying to better the outcome of your choices. I’m proud of you for recognizing you could be more intentional about what you do each day to improve the quality of your mind, body, and spirit. It’s hard to imagine the version of yourself that you want to achieve, and even harder to actually work toward it. But I believe you have what it takes. Members of our community share stories with me sometimes of the hard things they’ve gone through and let me tell you… this crew is made of steel. These women inspire me every single day in the diversity and strength of standing back up again over and over and over again, even through the pain of defeat. Keep this in mind over the new few days heading into the new year.

Lacking Motivation?

Good morning! I haven’t posted a blog in quite some time, but I’m back and ready to help by answering one of the most common questions I get…

For those of you who are new around here, I am a lover of all things wellness including but not limited to healthy food, cute dog videos, running, journaling, and indulging in a piece of chocolate lava cake and a glass of red wine every once in awhile because life is short and deserves to be celebrated!

In March of 2019, I released what I believe to be the foundation of a healthy lifestyle – a guided wellness journal. You see, high school was a hard time for me, during which I channeled my inner struggles through journaling. I started eating better and exercising because I was tired of feeling like crap and wanted more energy, plain and simple. I took the outline that I created in my blank journals and turned it into a guided journaling system to provide a starting place for beginners to avoid feeling intimidated by a blank page. You can check my bookshelf at home to see these 5 or 6 journals from so many years of doing this- the proof is in the experience!

I believe women and men should track their habits in a way that encourages good health as a form of self respect, not one that makes us crazy-obsessed with calories burned or calories eaten, so there is no place that asks either of those questions. My journals differ from the competition as they offer clean, white daily logs with minimal teal wording to start your day off with a sense of clarity and positivity. Complete with a daily quote and a few fill ins, it shouldn’t take you more than 3 minutes to plan out a rough estimate of your day so that’s a few less decisions you’ll have to make in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Need some extra motivation in your life? This journal will help you start your day off with a hot cup of coffee (or tea) and imagine a vivid picture of what you’re grateful for. By day 90, you’ll be waking up already with that thought in the forefront of your mind every single solitary day, improving the amount of joy you are filled with and the quality of your day. 🙂 

Self care is not selfish- you cannot pour your energy into family, friends, or work from an empty cup. Each day, you will focus on making your nutrition, movement, and mindset the most important decision you’ll make in order to give the most authentic and energetic version of yourself to your loved ones. You ARE worth it, and don’t for a second tell yourself any different.

*Also, I post various free educational resources and tips on journaling for beginners on my Instagram www.instagram.com/mariafitnezz. Check out the One Ray Journals by clicking here or under the “Shop” tab at the top!