Three Goals and Charles Duhigg

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It’s Thursday again, and time once more to look at those habits I’m building into my life through repetition.


I’ve heard it said that repetition is the only form of permanence we can attain in this life. I think it’s true.  Change is ever nipping, nipping, nipping at our heels, and much of what we face in life we are powerless to control, but we are not helpless.  We can control ourselves.  One of the fruits of spiritual connection is the promise that we will master our urges.

Surrender to a plan, a program, my God, and a teeny, tiny bit of commitment to stay the course and keep focused on my goals will get me there.

We all have goals.  My teeny, tiny three show up here on my blog every Thursday.  Yours may show up on pages in your journal.  Maybe you share your goals with your significant other, or a support group, or a trusted friend.  Wherever we share our goals, no matter how formally they may be shared or not, we all have something we are striving to attain.  For me, it is creating winning scenarios that build confidence.


I’m currently reading Charles Duhigg’s genius book, Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, and I’m loving it. I have often hawked his previous best seller, The Power of Habit, here.  I love, loved that book and this one is just as informative.  I’m a big fan of HABIT and all the good it can do, especially as it unconsciously moves us through life, but it does seem to have a down side.  Doesn’t everything?


What does Charles Duhigg’s book have to do with my goal list this week?  Just this:  In this newest book by Charles, he talks about the ugly downside of goal setting.

What is that downside?  Closure!

You’ve all heard the word “closure” and probably most often in the sense of ending relationships or the death of loved ones, especially those taken from us suddenly or by violent means.  But closure as Charles refers to it in the book is all about that “Ahhh” moment one gets when a project is finally finished.  It is a feeling I know well.

I am very goal oriented and very methodical, so much so that I adore the “Ahhh” moments of life.  You know them, right? They are what you feel when you’ve read the last page on a good book, or written that final stance of your poem. They come when the ironing is done, the cake is decorated, and the baby is bathed with clean jammies on, laid down for the night, and finally off to the land of nod.  “Ahh,” you say, either consciously or unconsciously (and you might pour yourself a glass of wine).  That sigh you let escape your lips as you fall back into the bed stead after performing mattress gymnastics–its all part of closure.

Charles said that “Ahhh” moment can be good, but it can also be bad. 

The “Ahhh” moment is bad when it becomes your single most loved motivation for what you’re doing. It’s bad because it clouds your judgment.  It makes you narrow minded.  It causes you and me to fixate on the end that we’ve chiseled out for ourselves in our creative minds.  It makes acceptance of other possibilities hard to envision, and of course that means disaster.  It’s incredibly hard to shift gears when you have a hard goal in mind, and even harder when you crave the closure of an “Ahhh” moment.

True story:  I got pregnant for my second child because of a constant lack of an “Ahhh” moment during the work day.  Obviously, that wasn’t the only reason, but it didn’t hurt that I hated that job!  It didn’t help, either, that my “office” was in a building with no windows and I was employed there during the NEPA winter months, so no sunshine for this girl for four months!  Mr was very happy that I quit that job, and I am too as I look on the face of a man I raised who I am very proud to call son.  All this to say, be careful about setting goals that reinforce closure over habit.  Those kind of goals kill brain cells.

My estimation, not Charles Duhigg’s, mind you.

LAST WEEK’S GOALS       (About time, right?!)

  • Exercise for 15 minutes every day this week, and eat my oatmeal every day.


  • Get blood labs done!

DONE, and the results were better than I ever could have anticipated. 5.7 A1C without diabetic meds.  Yay!!!

  • Do an inventory of my pantry this week and throw out anything that is expired or not regularly used by our family.

Oops! Note done.  I missed this goal while I was playing with the wee ones and celebrating Easter.  No problem. I will just set this as a goal for this coming weel.


  • Continue on with exercise and oatmeal every day.
  • Inventory pantry and throw out expired products.
  • Finish reading Smarter, Faster, Better and write a review.

Easy peasy!  These should be small enough for a WIN this week.  Keep me honest, though, and check back to see if I did what I said I would.

What goals did you set for yourself this week? Did you achieve them?





Goals for Another Week

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They were:

1 Drink green tea instead of coffee in the morning at least 4 days this week.

2 Listen to more Dean Ornish videos and contact his organization to learn more about his program.

3 Eat oatmeal every day and exercise every day, following routines already established.


1 FAIL. I drank green tea only once for my morning beverage, and didn’t even remember this goal had been set for most of the week. Ugh! I had to look it up twice, to see what that third goal was, and on one of those searches I didn’t drink the green tea even though I knew it was a goal of mine.

2 SUCCESS!!! I listened to more than one Dean Ornish You Tube video presentation this week and I read most of his web site info. I did not contact his organization, but since I did so much good work regarding his eating plan and my diet, I’m calling this a win.

3 YES, YES, YES–I DID IT!!! I ate my oatmeal every day but today, cuz I ran out and was too lazy to make more last night, cuz I had company, and when they left I was tired, and I still needed to get my exercise in, and blah, blah, blah. Excuses abound, but since I ate right all week except for today, I’m feeling pretty good about this goal.  I also exercised every day/night this week. Most of it was done on the bike. Often I did more than 15 minutes.


I need to spend more time practicing self-care.
Vitamin D levels that are not right are dangerous.
When HDL levels fall below 40 exercise will bring them up quickly.
Even small incremental changes produce big benefits.
Any change is an improvement over no change.
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
Action, Action, Action is the word!!!


1 Continue on with diet and exercise as previously established.

2 Pay increased attention to prompts to pray for others.

3 Get those blood labs done-what in the world are you waiting for?


When I shout at myself (see goal 3 above), it is because I’m procrastinating again. Why do I do it? So I can live in denial. So I don’t have to face the truth. So I don’t have to do anything other than what I want to do. So I can be a free spirit. So, so, so…

Again, excuses abound, but the reality of my situation is that denying means death. Seriously. I need to take action and if I don’t, consequences will ensue. As my doc said this week, “How do you know if you’re doing the right thing for your body if you don’t have labs done? If you can’t see, you can’t know that you’re doing the right thing.”

Smart Doctor!!!

Are you happy, joyous, and free? If not, what one goal could you set for yourself this week that would move you closer to that goal?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Together, we get better!

Lady Parts Doctor Visit

000Dr R

I went for my annual exam today.  You know, with the lady parts doctor.  Weirdly, I was looking forward to this appointment.  I felt I needed to touch base with Dr. R, and get her opinion on a couple of issues that have come up in my life lately.


Dr. R shared three important things with me today:

1  That everything, lady parts wise, looked good to her! Whew, that was a relief.

2  That she feels self-care is very important, and that I’m probably not doing enough of it.

3  That she wants me to quit procrastinating about having labs done!

She says I can’t know that what I’m doing right now is the right thing, if I’m not having labs done that show how my body is responding to what I’m doing.

I know, I know, I need to quit procrastinating!

It’s been a while since I had a blood draw, and she was concerned with my cholesterol levels from last time. Apparently, mine were too low then.  I didn’t understand all that she said, but the paper she gave me said my level was below 40.  She says exercise will help bring that level up.  I told her I had been working on that of late, but it wouldn’t show up in any labs, due to the fact that I haven’t had them done in a while.

I shared with Dr. R the fact that I always put off getting my A1C testing done until March of the new year, so I have time to recover from the holiday eating.   She understood precisely what I was saying. I don’t go whole hog during Thanksgiving and Christmas, like some, but I do live during those seasons of the year.  Translate: I eat sugar during the holidays. Within reason, but more than other times of the year.


1  Get a blood draw done soon.

2  Don’t worry about what Hubs VA doctor had to say at his last appointment, and don’t let anyone push me into doing anything I’m not comfortable doing.  (VA doc doesn’t know my medical history or that of my family members.  He is Mr’s doctor, not mine).

3  Get more exercise.

She also ordered labs to test my vitamin D levels.

All in all, it was a good visit. I felt encouraged when I left.  The assistant at this office, like my derma doctor, thought I looked like I had lost weight since my last visit.  The exercise really must be toning, or else everyone has on rose-colored glasses when seeing me these days, or I’m buying particularly slimming clothes lately. 🙂

I am still working on trimming more of the fat every day, but not seeing a whole lot of progress there. Maybe after the blood draw, we will have a better understanding of what’s going on with me and why my body is so resistant to letting go of some of the stored fat.

My blood pressure was excellent. Woohoo!!!

Do you do as much in the way of self-care as you should?  How much time do you spend thinking about what you need to do to take care of you?

Morning Migraine



No fun.

Definitely hurty!

I exercised anyway.

I kept it low key.

I took aspirin when the blurr began.

I went back to bed for about 20 minutes.  I shut my eyes.

I got strong coffee on the way to work.

I’m here, but not here, if you know what I mean.

Head still hurting, but functional.

I love the power of habit.

Let me say that again: I LOVE the POWER of HABIT!

I woke up at 5am this morning and craved exercise.  Who is this woman living in my skin?  Where did the ole, lazy, uninterested-in-any-exercise-at-all Lori go?  How long will she be away, cuz I’m hoping for a substantial hiatus for her.

Migraine, and yet success!  It feels good!!!!

Bring it on, Friday. Bring it on!!!!

Do you ever suffer from migraine pain?  How do you deal with it?

TGT-Last One in January

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Things have been very busy in my corner of the kingdom this week, so I am a little late in posting my queenly goals for today.

Better late, than never though, right? 🙂


1. Increase morning exercise from 16 to 18 minutes each day.

2. Find someone to be an accountability partner for me when counting sugar intake this week. All I will require at this point is that I log when I have eaten sugary substances and that I share that log with someone.

3. Watch a You Tube video on the best way to use the new glucose monitor, and try using it once this week.


Goal No. 1 Great! I exercised every morning this week for 18 minutes of exercise, save one. That day I was extremely hurty, so I did not clock the time I spent exercising. I know I did a full set of each exercise I usually do, but they were much less strenuous than normal and it hurt a lot. Most mornings my exercise include calisthenics, plus a lil work on the recumbent bike. This week was no different, although I will admit that I spent more time on the bike and less time on the leg lifts this week.

Maybe the stress of the new bosses being in town was too much for me this week, and that’s why I hurt so much. I didn’t feel particularly stressed, mentally, but maybe physically? I dunno…

Goal No. 2 Really Good! I logged all my sugar intake this week, and I found an accountability partner, but I did not go over the entire log with her yet. I do still have the rest of today to accomplish that, though.  I will do it tonight.

My accountability partner didn’t check in with me each day, but that’s okay. This is my goal to achieve, not hers, so I am the one who needs to take action, not her. I did share my log on an accountability board I keep in the bathroom for anyone entering to see. Is that the second half of Goal No. 2 done? I don’t know, but I am counting it as a WIN for me. Yay, Me!

Goal No. 3 I did fairly well with this goal. I did watch a video on You Tube about the meter I have (in fact, I watched several—yay, me), but I found out that the test strips I have are outdated, so I was not able to use the meter. Boo!

I guess I could have gone through the process of checking my BGLs with the outdated strips, but I didn’t want to deal with a number on the meter that was way high or way low after testing with it. I thought it was better to wait and buy new strips before using the meter. This was a meter I had for a while, but did not decided to use until recently.


Feelings are an important part of the recovery journey, especially for a sugar addict like me. How I feel on any given day, whether I am encouraged or discouraged, feisty or floundering–it all has an effect on how I eat. When I’m stressed, I want more sugar, naturally. When I’m calm and serenity has a hold on me, I’m less likely to seek out comfort foods. Good or bad, that’s how it goes with me, so I “guess” I feel okay about my progress this week, but I also don’t feel “on fire” or over-the-moon excited as I begin another week of habit-forming goal setting.


Today is probably not the best day to set these goals. Like I said earlier in this post, I’m hurting and I’m a little flat emotionally today. Regardless, 3 Goals Thursday waits for no mood, so here we go….

This week, my goals will be to:

1 Continue exercising in the morning, 16-18 minutes in duration each day.

2 Add to my morning routine 5 minutes of bike time in the evening. I’m keeping this purposefully teeny, tiny, so I know I can actually do it with all the sore muscles lately.

3 Take a 3-pronged approach to food accountability this week. What that means is that I will count calories one day, meal plan one day, and count sugar intake one day this week. I will not do these all on the same day, but will dedicate 3 days to better planning; an homage to my 3 Goals Thursday initiative.

I’m hoping for less aching and more stretching this week, along with a better understanding of how I eat and how I can improve on that process.  I’m not a machine, so progress will differ given the day, I know.  Some days I wish I were a machine, but most of the time I’m glad to just be me.

When have you found yourself pushing through the pain to reach your goal?  What did you learn about “being you” when that happened to you?


The Room


Last night I met with my sistahs in The Room.

We talked about The Plan.

We talked about The Power.

We talked about procrastination…


Being on time…

Outside interference…

We talked about having a goal, and making that goal preeminent.

What would it take to align our lives with our goal, not waiting for “something” to happen, but planning for it to occur…working to make it so…putting our “all” into that thing that we hope, wish, and dream about?

Delay gets us nowhere.

Resisting is worse than delay.

A new year is about to begin.

If not now, when?

So much to think about. So much!

What are you hoping for, but not planning for at this time in your life?  What do you need to do to move out of the planning stage and into action?

Three Goals Thursday

000goalsThis week’s TGT post was typed on my new tablet.  I gotta say that I am LOVING my new Samsung Galaxy Tab A! What a step up from that netbook I was using before.  Night and Day, people. Night and Day!!!

As you know, my three goals for last week were: to continue with my exercise, continue with my meditation, and begin counting calories.


GOAL 1:  EXERCISE.  Did it every day, but some days were harder than others.  I felt compelled to get up and move most days, which tells me I’m on the right track with this goal, and it is becoming a habit for me. Yay.

GOAL 2:  MEDITATION.  Did okay here too, but this still doesn’t feel like a habit to me, so I will continue on with reading, listening, and opening myself up to hear God’s guidance everyday next week.

GOAL 3:  COUNT CALORIES. Amazingly, this goal was not a hard one to work on this week. Woohoo!!!  That is probably because the goal was so teeny, tiny in scope, but hey, whatever.  I thought this one would trip me up, but it did not.  I counted calories for each meal this week and I did notice a few things in relation to the goal and my attitude going into the challenge.

Before I report on what I learned about myself this week, I want to report my calories eaten each day.

Friday  (Office Christmas Party Day)  1978
Saturday  1556
Sunday  1224 (and that was with my PM skinny latte, yay!)
Monday  1778
Tuesday 1648
Wednesday 1759
Today  465, so far, breakfast having been eaten


This week I learned that I can do something I might not want to do.

I learned that motivation is an important part of any challenge involving doing something you do not want to do.

I learned how important encouragement is to achieving goals.

I learned setting goals isn’t a magic pill. You have to work at meeting those goals you set, beginning with being willing to report honestly on your successes and your failures.

I learned that it’s easier to do difficult things when you keep a positive frame of mind than when you merely “slug it out” in the trenches.  If you are set to try something new or difficult THING week, for crying out loud, try to have fun with it. Laugh at yourself and your attempts. Things go better when you keep your sense of humor firmly intact.

I learned that I probably need to make my serving sizes smaller for breakfast. I don’t wanna give up the oatmeal, because my body loves that stuff, but the calorie count is pretty high at breakfast.  What with the oats, the walnuts, and the milk, the count is 465.  If I make serving sizes smaller, I can get that closer to 375 and that would be good. My other option is to reduce the milk on  my cereal, or not use it at all.  We’ll see which direction I head this week.

This week is about trying new things and paying attention to sizing.  Size matters when you’re counting calories, and in some other ways, too.  😉

Finally, I learned that teeny, tiny changes bring gradual, but measurable results.  That is important for me to realize, because I have the tendency to want “it” now.  I can have it now, but only in lil doses, if my efforts remain small.  Important for ME to remember is that my goals are attached to routines meant to build habits, and habits aren’t built overnight.  They take time.  Mine are teeny tiny changes, so the results will not be BIG TOP results. Thanks, Jonathan, for pointing that out!


1. Continued meditation.

2.  Continued exercise each morning.

3.  Continued calorie counting, paying particular attention to portion sizes.

Wish me luck!

Do you alter your approach to habit at this time of year?  What favorite habits do you practice at this time of year, that you don’t practice other times (re: traditions)?