February 2012 Goal Check-In

It’s that time again! Well, almost that time. I know we still have a few days left in February, but today seemed as good as any for a look back at the progress I’ve made on goals I set for this month. Shall we?

February seemed to be a pretty busy time for me as far as blog things go. I’ve been doing some extra writing for a few other bloggers and health-related sites (more about those soon!) and working a lot on building my health coaching business, but I’ve also made some great progress in several life areas. Here’s my self-graded monthly report card:

After reviewing my spending for the month of January, I was blown away by the amount of times I ate meals that were restaurant-prepared. As I’ve mentioned before, I love cooking and entertaining, so why I had been eating out so many times seemed very unusual. My target of 6 for February was determined knowing that I had a couple of lunch dates already planned, and guess what?! I only ate in restaurants three times this month!! Was I socially withdrawn from the world? Nope, not at all. I still saw a ton of friends, many of which I hadn’t seen in a while and it was so great to catch up with them. Eating at home more often also resulted in some spectacular recipe creations like my Tuna Caponata Stuffed Tomatoes, and a few others that you’ll hear about soon after I perfect them.

While my number of restaurant visits decreased, my food bill didn’t really budge. But now that I think about it, that totally makes sense. More meals eaten at home means more groceries required, so I’m not particularly concerned about this one. And do you want to know the most awesome part?

After doing my usual monthly receipt logging yesterday, I noticed that my overall monthly expenses (including food, car payments, clothes, health & beauty products, entertainment, home expenses etc) have decreased by a whopping 39%!!!!! This made me wonder what the heck went wrong in January. While grocery expenses were the same give or take a few dollars, the main areas that I noticed differences were in the entertainment section (hence the goal above) and health & beauty products. Remember last month when I bought all those Murad lotions and potions? They seem to be working very well, but they were definitely not cheap! I have to wonder how much of my recent lack of breakouts is associated with the products and how much is due to the dietary changes I’ve made… but that’s an entirely different topic. Back to the goal check-in!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, focus classes are a non-mandatory component of my Institute for Integrative Nutrition program. There’s a big list to choose from and students can choose to listen to the ones that they find particularly interesting, or if the class covers areas that they want to learn about in more depth. I actually ended up listening to a 7, including the three I planned:

  • Superfoods – This was definitely my favourite, and as I mentioned in last week’s superfoods post, it really complimented the reading I’ve  been doing around the topic. Check out that post if you’re interested in learning about 4 of the foods and how to incorporate them into your diet. I’ll do another superfoods post again in the near future because there are many more. I’ve been incorporating them into my diet regularly and so far the results have been great – I’ve noticed more energy, clearer skin, and a great-all-over feeling in general.
  • Yoga of Eating - The description of this class was a little vague so I wasn’t sure what to expect, and the content started off a bit vague too. It talked about how we have learned to eat through conditioning in early childhood, and how desires arise. I found it more interesting when the speaker talked about how one of the most common needs that people are starved for is personal connection. This makes sense – walk down a busy city street and how many people do you come across with headphones on? I’d be willing to be there would be quite a few. In effort to meet that need, people turn to food. The speaker then went on to talk about how this has led society to binge and eat mindlessly, as opposed to eating in order to satisfy an authentic need.
  • What’s Wrong with What We Eat - As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, Mark Bittman is an awesome thought leader when it comes to nutrition and sustainability. He’s not vegan or vegetarian, but he has a lot of valid points that made me (and others) question why we eat the way we do. He talks about how recommended daily guidelines for food consumption, as well as government-funded marketing initiatives (particularly for meat and dairy) has heavily contributed to today’s health crisis. I could talk about his work for ages, but if you’re interested I’d highly recommend reading his book Food Matters, and checking out his website.

The writing is finished! I’ve got all of the content sitting in WordPress, ready to be published as new pages. I still want to create some graphics (because let’s face it, pictures look pretty!) but soon you’ll see a new Health Coaching tab in my top navigation bar that will tell you all about the services I’ll be offering. I’ve also created a new contact form (see the Contact tab) where you can inquire about coaching, or send in whatever feedback, questions, and comments you have about anything health and fitness related. Even though I haven’t begun coaching yet, I’m definitely accepting inquiries so if you think you’d like to work with me, please get in touch!

Done and done – successfully! For more about my adventures in naan bread making, check out this post. You guys gave me some great links to easy-to-make bread recipes, so perhaps I’ll tackle those as my next challenge!

Ok, that is way more than enough about me! Now I need to know about YOU!!

How did February go for you? What goals did you set? Were you a total rockstar? Not so much? Let’s hear it!

Comments

  1. says

    I can not lie to you.

    even tho we get us a LEAP DAY this year Im stunned feb is over.
    and it’s almost march
    and summer will be here in a blink and….HOLD ME :)

  2. Desiree says

    Overall you had a GREAT month!!! Congrats. My biggest goal for February was to clean out the chemicals and toxins used in food and other things I consumed. I tried to eat a lot cleaner this month and really focused on getting rid of the artificial sweeteners. Feeling much better. I also changed up my face/body cleanse routine to Arbonne. They are toxin free and all plant based. So far my body has responded very well to that. What we put in our skin gets inside our system :) I have super complicated skin so I think I found the trick. I also bought a journal…haven’t started it yet…Guess that will be my March goal :)

    • says

      That’s awesome Desiree! Sounds like you’re definitely on the right track by eliminating as many non-food things from your body as possible. Good luck with the Arbonne products. I’ve tried them in the past and I really love that the ingredients are so clean. (You probably know this but the labeling laws where the product is made in Europe are much more strict than here, so nasty ingredients that skincare companies must list over there don’t need to be listed on North American-produced products. Crazy hey? And scary too!) Good luck with the journaling. I’ve had great results with mine so far and I bet you will too! :)

  3. says

    great work, angela!! i think you had a rock-solid month of february!
    two words for you on grocery savings: FOOD BASICS!! i just did a tally of feb grocery spending yesterday and i am down $100-$200 from the usual…i’m impressed!! you can’t get EVERYTHING a f.b., but it’s been a great new spot for me!
    it is wild that we are almost at march! not complaining – end of winter is in sight, then!

    • says

      LOL – I already shop there! :) I totally agree with you though – even though the produce might not look as pretty as at Sobeys, it’s definitely much cheaper and I just make sure I give it a really really good wash. That’s so awesome that you cut so much money!!! And I suppose the Kitchener one is super convenient for you since it’s right across the street from RR. Great work Cathy!

  4. says

    Wow, way to go!!!! Very reflective, and sounds like it helps. I’m curious, too, about the skin clearing up as a result of the products or your nutrition. I always like stories where eating well heals all maladies :)

    My February’s goals? Hm. My workouts suffered because of extra part-time work, but my nutrition motivation really pulled through in the end, and I’m feeling pretty awesome because of it (related to above: eating well heals all.). I also finished reading the books I planned to read, and then some!

    And now, time to set new goals for March…

    • says

      Meredith, that’s FANTASTIC!! Congratulations on keeping your motivation to eat clean all month long. Sometimes I think that can be even harder than working out regularly, but it has such a huge impact. If we don’t eat right, it affects our sleep, mood, energy, appearance, and ability to work out in the first place, so if you can keep that going strong, that’s a huge accomplishment! :)

  5. says

    Wow, great job with your goals! The grocery bill is always a challenging one for me too! I am so proud and inspired that you already have the content for you health coaching website-way to go girl!

  6. says

    Congrats on meeting your goals Angela!! That is amazing. I am terrible about setting goals and completing them… the only thing I’ve planned and stuck with is my half – marathon training. It didn’t go very well this week either! Eek…

  7. says

    As usual, you kick butt and take names with your monthly goals!! :)

    That is so awesome that you ate out only 3 times in February!! I eat out way too often and I need to make a more conscious effort to scale it back.

    I can’t wait to see all of your hard work on your health coaching business – I know you’ll rock it!

    Happy Monday!

  8. says

    hey great work on your report card. I’ve noticed with the food money thing it’s cheaper for me to eat out, but I feel so gross at the end of the week/month/whatever it almost isn’t worth it. I also notice I’ll buy fresh meat but then freeze it and forget about it. So I’m spending the money but not using the product which really isn’t any good.

    • says

      Oh no! Have you tried doing some big-batch cooking on the weekend with your meat? You could make chili, soups, lasagna etc and freeze individual (or family-sized) portions.. that way it wouldn’t go bad and you wouldn’t have to waste money.

  9. says

    I like that you set goals for yourself for each month and then you go back and grade yourself on the progress you made. Such a great way to keep yourself accountable, and also a way to show that you can make progress on things and meet your goals. I think I want to start doing that too. I’m also glad you reminded me about the book Food Matters because I wanted to read it and then I forgot the title and couldn’t find it anywhere!
    How do you decide what your goals for the month are going to be? And how do you make sure to have them be reasonable so you don’t feel overwhelmed or discouraged that you aren’t reaching them?

    • says

      Hi Katie!
      When I set monthly goals, I usually base them on my goals for the year (you can read about these in my 2012 goals post if you haven’t already). I’ll take a big goal and break it down into smaller ones that are more manageable. For example, I’m starting up my own health coaching practice so one of my goals for February was to develop my website content for it. As for how I make them reasonable, I tend to pick 5 each month that vary in difficulty so that I can put more effort into the ones I know really need work. For some things, I make plans right at the beginning of the month to ensure that I work whatever the goal is into my schedule. For example, this month one of my goals is to try rock climbing, so I booked lessons for myself and some friends a couple of weeks ago. We’re going next weekend, but if I’d waited we might not have been able to squeeze it in. With the exception of some things (like sticking to my grocery budget, which is always a challenge!) my own desire to accomplish the goal keeps me motivated. I used to have goals like “I will do yoga 8x this month” which was more of something I felt I SHOULD do, not necessarily something I wanted to do at the time. As long as it’s a target I really do want to reach, I’ll generally put the effort in to ensure that at least some progress is made.
      Phew – ok I just wrote you an essay! Feel free to email me if you have any more questions! :)

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