How Autopilot Works, and How It Can Work For You

The other day I read an article about how the autopilot feature works in an airplane. Knowing next to nothing about modern aviation (or any aviation really) I assumed that you just put in the coordinates of where you’re going, and the autopilot keeps the plane in a relatively straight line to get there.

In reality, the autopilot routinely calculates the trajectory on where it’s headed vs where it’s supposed to be right now and makes minor adjustments accordingly.  Sort of like driving a car, but on a bigger scale, it’s constantly making tiny corrections back and forth to keep headed in the general direction of the destination. It’s not a consistent straight line, and will veer off course for a time until the recalculations direct it back on track.

I realized that this is a fabulous metaphor to goal setting and life in general. You have an idea of where you want to go, you put in the coordinates (schedule, plans, tasks) to get there. And you cruise. Sometimes you look up and realize you’re off course, so you correct and continue on. The airplane doesn’t beat itself up for going off course, so why should I? The pack of cookies I ate before lunch, the wod I skipped the other day, the chores I blew off so I could lay around and read comic books with my kids, they are deviations from my goals to keep healthy and stay on top of my life stuff. But as long as I course correct back to my target coordinates, they do not distract me for long.

Today, take a few minutes to do an honest evaluation of your goals. Is what I’m doing making sense? Am I making progress? Do I even want to do the work to get to this goal? It’s okay if the answers are no, not really, and can’t even.

  • If you felt like last week was an off week, make a plan to change 1 or 2 things to get motivated again.
  • If you were spot on last week and feel pumped to do it all again, Yay! That’s awesome, and keep up the great work!
  • If you’re starting to feel a little burned out and need a break, be kind to yourself but make a plan for how you want to recharge and how to recommit as soon as you start feeling spunky again. Don’t just blindly throw yourself off of the wagon because you’re facing a case of the can’t-evens (speaking purely from experience here)! Be deliberate about what you need, make a plan, and go forward guilt-free and knowing you’re doing the best job you can for your health and goals.

Now go get ‘em, tiger.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!    

October 2016 Goals

Better late than never, right? Now that we’re a few days into the month, it’s the perfect time to start pondering what all shiny, exciting accomplishments we might have a scarce chance of achieving before we crack out on Halloween candy and celebrate my birth-month of November. My birthday’s on November 1st, but it sneaks up on you, so I find it’s best to stick in some extra celebratiousness just in case it blows by too fast, you know?

My big, hairy, scary goal for October is to blog more. In all my free time.


Mostly because I want to talk about CrossFit more, and my friends and family are afraid for me. Or maybe tired of hearing about it, I can never tell if those are looks of panic or concern. So I’m going to blog more about CrossFit. Which means I should, like, keep going to the gym so I have stuff to talk about. Which is a good transition to my next goal:

CrossFit more. Right now I’m going about 3 times a week, and I think I can squeeze in another class as long as I stay on top of my recovery and sleep and food and life and stuff. Should be do-able, right? Plus, my gym offers specialty classes in Olympic lifting and yoga an other stuff I want to take advantage of. I know Hulk mentioned he wants to go more often, so I think if we blend our collective motivations together we will become the most unstoppable CrossFit bores ever. Sorry not sorry.

I’m also going to keep plugging away at my 2016 CrossFit Goals. I am particularly interested in learning more of what I like to call Stupid Human Tricks, like HSPU and muscle-ups,  of which I am so far, far, far away from doing but it’s going to be so awesome once I can finally land them. But first, pike push-ups and negative pull-ups all. the. time.

Finally, since I will hopefully be ending my September Whole30 on Monday, I’ll start a legit reintroduction protocol and plan out my “Life After” in a sustainable way where I can enjoy the things I missed (beer!) in a way that doesn’t make me dive head first into Safeway sheet cake and go back to feeling the craptasticalness I felt prior to this round.

Sounds easy enough, right? And of course now that I’ve announced all this and planned it out I shall spend the next 27 days not doing anything to get me to any of these goals. Being a “Rebel” is so fun.

That’s all for now! Go make it a great day!

September 2016 Goals Recap

Well, this is funny. I want to review the goals I accomplished in September, but I realized I never posted at the beginning of the month what my goals were going to be. So we can view this as a bit of a “Did It List”.

Anyway, I wanted to do the September Whole30 with the rest of the Whole30 community in anticipation for the release of the new book “Food Freedom Forever,” which I preordered on Amazon and is due at my doorstep any day now! I also wanted to chip away at my 2016 CrossFit Goals list, and I did hit a couple which was very exciting!

I guess I can’t say that I’ve successfully completed my Whole30 goal since I’m not done yet, but as far as sticking with it for the month of September it was great success. I did have a party six days in where the whole point of the party was to share our home brew, an after pondering it well before embarking on my Whole30  I decided it would be reasonable and worth it to indulge in some beer for the party. I kept the rest of the food compliant (okay, I did have a handful of nuts that I found out had peanut oil later, but that was a whoops), and only drank a couple beers while serving others. It was a very fun party, and I was still motivated to pick up my Whole30 where I left off the next day, which I figured would be the biggest risk. Today would be Day 30, but I’m going to hold out for 6 more days to get in a full 30 days sticking with the program.

Other fun goals accomplished:

  • I ran a mile in 8:56, which is HUGE for me. Back in the day when I ran marathons and stuff, 12:00 was my “happy” pace, and if I pushed it I might have squeaked out a 10:00. Anything under 9 minutes is unheard of for my stumpy little legs. Yay!
  • I pulled off a 50kg (110lb) push press max! I can now lift a slightly emaciated Hollywood starlet over my head if required to do so.
  • I also surprised myself with a 72kg 10-rep-max deadlift. Which is 158 lbs. That would be a standard-sized human. I can pick up and put down a standard-sized human 10 times in a row. Then on further analysis, I realize that I weigh roughly 158 lbs. So really,  I could clone myself, then pick my clone up and set me down 10 times in a row.
  • I’m still working on double-unders as well. So far the record’s 18 unbroken. My goal is to get to 25 unbroken. The consistency of being able to string multiples together is getting better, especially since I got my own rope (ordered this one on Amazon in yellow, and I’ve named her Betty) and I like to do a few before class to warm up. I found out there is really no good place at home to jump rope, since the garage has a really low ceiling and the rope keeps whacking the fluorescent lights, which is bad. And I don’t want to do it outside since the concrete will chew the rope cord up. Ah, suburban homeowner problems. But I’ve been getting some good practice in before and after class, so I’m not too stressed about it.

That’s it for now, I’m excited on what fun stuff October will bring!

Go make it a great day!

A Plane Ticket Level of Commitment, and Coffee!

September is nearly over, and I just remembered that I had set some September goals for last month.

Ha. Yeah, none of these got done.

Ugh, commitment. I have all these great ideas for goals, but it’s really, really hard for me to put them into practice. And it hurts because I love goals and I love progress. I guess I just don’t like hard work?


I’ve been wanting to use that card for a while.

Anyway, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. Like, a lot. Because I commute 2-3 hours a day. Just recently I’ve been really getting into the Harder to Kill podcast by Steph Gaudreau, and my brain is practically exploding with information. Such good stuff, but one topic in particular was discussed in a recent episode with special guest Allegra Stein. She spoke about how commitment is like a plane ticket, which is an analogy I love. When you buy a plane ticket, you double- and triple-check your calendar. You call all your family and friends and make sure the dates work. When you book the ticket, almost nothing stops you from getting to the airport on time. Oversleeping, traffic, and other unforeseen delays all have a contingency plan. Barring serious illness, you make your flight. That’s commitment. Once you’ve set your goal, you make it with no excuses.

For me, I think of the plane ticket commitment as one step further. If you don’t want to get up and go to where the plane ticket is taking you, don’t buy the ticket. I only really stick with stuff that I’m all-in committed to. This is what I learned from numerous starts and fails on the Whole30. I am still not sure exactly what the catalyst is, but I need to somehow be very head-in-the-game, in-my-bones committed or it won’t happen. So when I set cute goals like “exercise every day!” I just don’t. Because I know I should, but I don’t really want to. But when I finally figure out a fitness goal I actually want to succeed on, it’ll get done.

Okay, now the real reason for this post. It’s National Coffee Day!


coffee giraffe

coffee monster

Go drink a cup (or seven), and make it a great day!

Snaps for September!

How can it be the last day of August already? I still think it’s June in my mind.


(Side note: Calvin and Hobbes was the best part of my childhood. They practically raised me.)

I’m wrapping up my Whole30 this Friday (woot!) and now that the end of this challenge is in sights, I’m looking forward to the next one. Right now it feels good to be challenged, so I’m rolling with it. So for September, I’m going to get back to the gym and running again. What will be nice is having a whole week in Alaska that I can use to “reset” some habits. Do you use vacations or travel to try and adopt a new habit or mindset? I find that getting out of Dodge helps me to put things in perspective, and when I get back home I’m usually pretty recharged to tacking life again head-on. And it’ll totally be do-able to work out in Alaska given that we have no real plans or schedule yet. All I know is we’re flying into Anchorage, and if we don’t get eaten by wolves or bears or something we’ll fly home the following week. Real vacations don’t do plans.

I also want to knock out some goals for the month:

  1. Work out six days a week (one rest day in there)
  2. Do one pull-up (assisted somehow)
  3. Do a two minute plank
  4. Squat, deadlift, and bench 100# (this one might be tough for a month, but we’ll see)

Okay, now I feel really pumped and want to run like 10 miles now. But instead I’ll go to work and sit at a desk all day. That’s fun, too.

Go make it a great day!

On the Brain Lately #2

Hello, and happy Friday! I have a whole smoosh of randomness to share today.

First, I posted a rant yesterday about weight loss that I’m half proud of, and half feeling a major vulnerability hangover about. If you’re curious, take a gander.

Meanwhile on the home front, Squish just started kung fu lessons. It is all kinds of adorable, I can’t even.


It’s inspiring me to dust off the old black belt and find some martial arts classes of my own.

Buttercup continues to be a bit of a fashionista. She’s outgrown most of her clothes so I had to go and load up on 12-Month sizes at Carter’s the other day. Little girls are sooooo much more fun to dress up than little boys. It’s just fact.


Stop growing up.

Does anyone still use watches for running? I found my old Garmin 405 and charged it up, but since I’ve been using mostly phone apps for my couch-to-5k, I’m not sure if it’s worth the bother. But then how else do I take those classy Garmin selfless post-run to prove it happened?


We scored an entire tray of leftover fresh veggies from a friend that worked a charity event this week. There goes my “darn, no veggies to eat” excuses. I have made it a personal goal to make sure they all get eaten and don’t go bad just sitting in the fridge. Wish me luck.


What have you got on the brain lately?

Go make it a great (Fri)day!

Other “On the Brain Lately” Posts:

On the Brain Lately #1

August Goals Review

It’s September already! Okay, it’s been September for a couple of days now, but I can’t seem to shake that bright, shiny, new-month feeling. Anyway, time to review my goals I set for August:

  1. Work out 4 days a week
  2. Daily blog post
  3. Sleep/nap more – 8 hours/night

Eww. Do I have to? Because I kind of, you know, didn’t do them again. Well, I certainly did my part on #3, the whole sleeping thing. Good grief, all the sleep. If I didn’t have to actively be at work or forcibly take care of another human, I’m pretty much in bed or laying on the couch. I get an A+ for sleep. Even if I do wake up 1,000,000 a night and wake up more tired than when I went to bed. My goal was quantity, not quality.

Anyway, I also crapped out on working out, mostly to make way for more sleep. But I’ve figured out an ingenious way around my whole boo-the-gym attitude. I have stopped riding my bike to the train station, and instead am now taking the Caltrain shuttle from the station to the business park in the morning, then walking the 1.5 miles from the office to the train station in the evening. It’s about a half hour walk, so this way I am guaranteed to get SOME activity in during the day. Then I pepper the week with sporatic squats, push-ups, and the occasional prenatal yoga (which I’ve been able to hit up here and there and I am LOVING it!) either at Satori Yoga in downtown SF or from a podcast. I do feel better, even though I still want all the sleep.

I felt really weird about blogging lately, because I’ve been so lazy and eating so crappily. But as I mentioned yesterday, you can’t present the good without also paying tribute to the bad. I’m struggling with giving myself a break and letting me just embrace the fact that this is the one point in my life where I am allowed to be lazy. Once the little miss comes (in just a couple of short months! Eek!) I’ll have my fair share of running around again. Until then, it’s time to order some more Indian take-out and watch another season of Archer in one sitting.

August Goals

Okay, so, how is it August already? That means summer is nearly over, and Baby v2.0 is going to make her squishy baby-like appearance in just a few short months. Eek! Time can just slow down a bit, that would be completely all right with me.

These days, I’m staring at the end of my second trimester, big projects at work, and the usual triumphs and battles on the home front. My focus this August is to just keep maintaining what I’m doing well, and to get in the habit of tracking and keeping accountable for what I said I’d do. So for my August goals, I plan on keeping them simple and setting the groundwork for handling the future unavoidable craziness ahead. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. Work out 4 days a week
  2. Daily blog post
  3. Sleep/nap more – 8 hours/night

Work out 4 Days a Week

Last month I thought I could fit in 5 days a week at the gym, and it didn’t happen. Some days I just lack the energy, others are too busy. So I’ll work on finding a “sweet spot” where I can get into a consistent routine that doesn’t stress or burn me out. At this point, any progress is still progress!

I think it would help if I had a fitness goal to work for, like a race, but since I’m going to pop a kid out in a few short months all I really want to focus on is to be ready for D-Day and make sure I can physically handle it. I’ve been to this rodeo once, and know it’s a doozy!

Daily Blog Post

I really, really want to keep track and be accountable with my food and fitness, but it’s so easy for me to blow off a post for tomorrow, or not discuss the fudge brownie sundae I made last night (it was totally delicious, btw). I need to be more transparent and honest with what I’m doing, for me, so I can see the patterns and know what needs to be tweaked. It’s so easy to miss the forest for the trees when it comes to the daily stuff. A treat here, a skipped workout there, they don’t really matter. Until it’s routine, but by then it’s now a problem and so hard to get back into it. That’s where I feel I am, and by documenting my food and workouts I aim to give myself a good 360-degree look at where I stand today so I can improve. I’ve got nothing but love and good vibes for me on this adventure!

Sleep/nap more (8 hrs/night)

I have been horrible about sleep lately. Mostly because I’m trying too hard to stay up late with Hulk and friends. It’s hard to be an early bird when you’re surrounded by night owls. But it’s also hard to get to work by 8am when you’ve been staying up watching Nurse Jackie and drinking scotch until midnight (okay, maybe not the drinking scotch. That’s what the boys were doing. But you know). I need to put my sleep as a priority again, before a certain little miss makes her debut and insists on reprioritizing it for me!

I feel that this is a way more manageable list than what I accomplished last month; it’s enough to make it a challenge, but not adding so many new habits that I get overwhelmed and can’t fit them into my lifestyle. By always focusing on making things better, I can build the habit of continuous self-improvement, if nothing else works 🙂

What are your August goals? Or if you aren’t a goal-setter, what’s your biggest pet peeve (besides people who set goals?)

July Recap – the Sweet Smell of Goal Success (Kinda)

Another month over and done! Now that July is in the past (*sob*) I want to reflect on the goals I set out for last month.

I used to do this all the time, to identify a handful of monthly goals that can be carried out through a month. I might pick a big goal that needs to span several months, like a race, but for right now I just want to focus on some “small win” stuff to get me back into the goal-setting mindset.

Here are the little goals I had this July:

  1. Work out 5 days a week
  2. Drink 4 water bottles of water a day
  3. Get in to work by 8:00 am
  4. Start a Whole30

How did I do?

Work out 5 Days a Week

With the exception of being in SoCal last week, I made it to the gym at least 4 days a week, which is still better than the 0-1 day a week I was averaging. I think if I post weekly workout recaps, I might be better able to track what I did and when I did it.

Drink 4 Water Bottles a Day

I almost made away with 100% on this one. I didn’t write it down every day, but I do notice that my hydration has improved. My skin feels better, and I don’t get as crampy as I did before. This is sort of an “always” goal, but I needed to make consistent water drinking more of a habit.

Get in to Work by 8:00 am

For the most part I made this goal, but there was one week where I wasn’t sleeping well, and would get in a little later than intended. However I did notice my productivity perk up when I made it in by my goal, so I need to start doing a better job of getting things ready the night before so I have fewer excuses to take the later train in.

Start a Whole30

Well, I started one. Actually, I tried to start a couple of times. But I couldn’t stick with it. I need a little more support and motivation on the home front, but between all of the other commitments I’m trying to work on the extra time and expense for food purchase and prep was a lot more to handle than I thought it would be. Plus, I’m in this weird, funky social place right now with being pregnant; I can’t go out late, I can’t drink, none of my friends have ever been pregnant, so putting one more “look at me, I’m weird” variable to the mix was bumming me out. If I eat clean 80% of the time, then I can go out to pizza and beer with friends and not feel like a total drag, only a partial drag because I can’t drink beer and I just want to go home and nap.

Overall, I didn’t do a totally stellar job of tracking my goal progress. I would make a note in my calendar if I either succeeded or failed that day, but I wasn’t very consistent, and I didn’t have a lot of “hard numbers” to go from. My progress was sort of subjective. Next month, I think I’ll stick with 2-3 goals and put some better thought and effort into tracking them, so I’ll stick with it.

How did you do on your goals this month? Or is goal setting sort of lame and it’s more fun to throw the planner in the ocean and roll with life? I like that, too.

July Goals! Let’s Get Started

Now that July is half over, I might as well start talking about the goals I set up for the month. Better late than never, right?

I used to do this all the time. At the beginning of the month, I would make up 3-4 goals to work towards for that month. I haven’t been doing that, and it would be fun to start again.  And I use the word “fun” like having a baby is fun or running a marathon is fun. As in, it sounds like a good idea until you’re committed and now you just try to get it over and done with while keeping your sanity.

Anyway, here is what I’ve been working on this month:

  1. Work out 5 days a week
  2. Drink 4 water bottles of water a day
  3. Get in to work by 8:00 am
  4. Start a Whole30

Work out 5 days a Week

Five seems to be the magic number for me, where I start seeing/feeling results but don’t get too burned out. The trick is to not plan rest days; they will happen to me when I travel or get too busy and the day slips away. So in my head I plan on working out every day, but if it doesn’t happen I just make darn sure to get to the gym tomorrow.

Drink 4 bottles of Water Daily

This is pretty much always a goal, but I’m never sure how good I am at achieving it. And you can’t improve what you don’t measure, so I’m (trying to) keep track this month how many times I refill my water bottle. Usually it’s a 20 oz bike bottle, but I also have a nice, large cup with a straw I use at home. As long as I drink 4 full drinking vessels in a day, I call it good.

Get to Work by 8:00 am

This one is hard for me for some reason. My work is pretty lax about working hours; you just show up and get your work done. Some come early, some stay late. But I know I’m at my best in the morning, so the earlier I get in the more I get done. But the snooze button is appealing, breakfast always takes longer to cook than I think it should, and more often than not I’m running late and miss my train. So I need to commit to getting to my train on time so I’m at work at a decent hour. The bonus is when I travel, I’m always at the office early for meetings, so it’s only a struggle when I’m at home.

Start a Whole30

Note that I didn’t say “do a Whole30” or “finish a Whole30.” But I wanted to start one this month. I did on Monday July 7, but that was a travel week followed by a weekend in Tahoe, so it was really hard to be complaint and I just sort of gave up. Plus, Hulk was going to do it with me, but then I found out he was still drinking his protein shakes and going to happy hour, so he wasn’t really committed. So I dropped the ball a few days, and am getting ready again for next week, so I have time to meal plan and prep over the weekend. If you don’t plan, it’s a million times harder to do it from my experience.

I’m tracking my goals in my notebook, giving myself green checks for days I did what I said I would do, and red checks for days that don’t count toward my goals. I’m by no means perfect, but at least it gets my head in the game.

How about you? Do you set monthly goals? Or do you think it’s stupid? What are your goals this July?