Volunteering for a Healthier Life

BAC Challenge # 3 – Your Personal State of the Union

Last night many of you took time to watch the State of the Union Address by President Obama. This got me to thinking…what would I have to say in my state of the union address? We all know that January is the time when many of us talk about resolutions and goals for the new year but what is the state of the union of you? Is it well-rounded, does it make sense or are you just spewing empty promises to yourself or setting yourself up for failure? Lets be honest about where we are in our lives so we can make a real change in our future.

So yes this is what our 3rd challenge is about…the state of You. There are a lot of steps to this challenge so we will jump right in:

1. Write out your goals – this should be pretty easy because most of us vocalize these every year. The difference is I want you to write them down. Put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards) and get them recorded in a list format. You don’t have to know all the specifics at this stage just a high level goal.

2. Measure yourself (Assuming health is one of your goals, if not you can skip) – get a tape measure, wait not the stiff ones you measure walls with…you want a soft measuring tape!!!. Take measurements of key areas of your body – waist, thigh, arms, etc. (note you may need help). This is important because so many people focus on weight alone and never factor in the inches lost or gained. Honestly when I lost four dress sizes a few years ago, I weighed exactly the same size but lost in inches. That was because I was turning fat to muscle which weighs the same…but is more compact.

3. Get a full physical checkup and go to the dentist – why did my computer just shake??? because I heard the screams of horror and the vibration from the moans across the world lol. Many times we may not be really overweight which is what most people focus on when they think of being healthy, but you need to also consider the silent killers. When was the last time your BP was checked, what about your cholesterol, your teeth cleaned? We are all getting a little older and our bodies react differently as we age. Many in our community and beyond are scared of going to the doctor, especially our older generations, but ignoring it doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it worse and more expensive when we do find a problem.

4. Review/Revise your resume – When was the last time you did this? Was it ten years ago when you started your current job? Has your job changed since you first started at your company? What about your email address is it representative of your personal life or your business life? Make sure you have an up-to-date resume because you never know when an opportunity may present itself or when you may be affected by layoffs or cutbacks. You might even get someone to review it to ensure it is relevant for today. (Now don’t take it to your current boss…that may cause unnecessary problems). Take it to an independent person or business acquaintance and let them know this is part of your annual review.

5. Get your credit report – I’m going to pause so you can take it in. For those who were affected by the recent target hack you should be receiving information about how to obtain your free credit report…if not, the government offers a free credit report to everyone once a year. You can also pay the 20 or so bucks to get your report and score together. Please note that one of the reporting agencies split off and is no longer offered with the other two agencies. You can pay separately for this third report or just use the two that are grouped together. Also, make sure the source you use offers the credit score if you are paying for it…because again you can get just the report for free.

6. Review your spending – This is something that could take some time unless you use a program to analyze your finances for you. Although we don’t officially endorse any one site, has a way of doing this analysis for free. It does require some input from you as it sometimes lumps items together that you wouldn’t put together. The key is look at what is going out and what is coming in…determine the categories all of this falls into as well. Many are shocked by the amount they spend on eating out, shopping and various fees once they do this analysis.

7. Evaluate your wardrobe – I’m not suggesting you use this to replace your wardrobe every year, but you should really evaluate what it says about you. Last year did you lose a lot of weight and now all your clothes are too big, or did you go in the opposite direction and all your clothes are too small? Do you find your items have holes or stains in them that you keep saying I’ll deal with that later? What about your shoes, are the soles torn or worn…are they scuffed up and need to be shined or are they appropriate for your workplace or the workplace you want to be in? Do you have at least one black or dark colored suit? Your appearance says a lot about you as a person, what does yours say about you?

8. Evaluate the state of your home – Look around do you see a lot of clutter? Do you regularly have to hunt to locate things? Are you maintaining it properly? Evaluate the areas of your home that could use some help. Many times we are so focused with our lives outside the home that we neglect the inside of our homes. The state of your home can affect the attitude and health of your entire family.

I will warn you…You may be shocked by the various results from 1 – 8 above. I know I was when I did some of these last year. Some will find they are doing much better than they thought some will find they are doing much worse while others are smacked in the face with the reality of the changes they must make. Be honest with yourselves because this is the first step.

9. Develop your plan – now that the hard part is done you should be able to go back to your goal list that you developed in step 1 and devise plans on how you can accomplish these goals or you may need to add a few more. In doing this, I always suggest that people break their goals down, it makes them easier to digest and to set benchmarks. For example, one of your goals is to lose 20 lbs by Sept 1st so you will have time to shop for your new wardrobe that you plan to wear at homecoming. This means you need to lose approximately 3 lbs a month to accomplish this goal in 7 months. By focusing on the 3 lbs your goal doesn’t seem that impossible, especially if you haven’t lost any weight in recent years. The key is to make sure your goals are realistic to your situations. To say you are going to lose 100 lbs by homecoming isn’t realistic and you set yourself up for heartache and failure.

10. Create your state of the union address – Now that you know how you can accomplish each of the goals you had in step 1, you need to look at them all as a whole in relation to your lifestyle and your family. You know what it takes to accomplish each one so now you need to put them in priority order. Once that is done you start plugging these into your year. Again, write this down so you can visually see what you are expecting of yourself for the year…is it possible? Is there enough time in your plan to honestly accomplish your goals? I believe a little pressure on yourself is healthy we all should push ourselves to do more…but make sure you have a healthy balance. Take your goals as a whole and ensure the goals you are setting make sense. If you are married your spouse should do the same thing separately first and then you should come together and create a state of the union for your family…I encourage you to include your children or anyone living in the household in this process as well…in fact have each member do this too.

Over the next few weeks you will see how each of these areas bleed into one another, but the key is to write them down and to start doing something. Many times we are more talk than action and we wanted you to begin taking action. Push yourself to be a better you in 2014 and if you need to push through to 2015 or 2016 to fully accomplish your goals that is fine, you know this going in and aren’t trying to squeeze a three-year plan into one year.

So…did we forget something? Is there something you try to do annually to determine how you did the year before and what you want to change for the current year that isn’t listed here? If so, please share so we can grow together.

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