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Next week, I will be starting a new “Spark Month” as I call them. A “Spark Month” is about 4 to 5 weeks long. For me, Spark Month 1 began on the first Monday of August (August 1) and ends on the first Sunday of September (September 4). The new Spark Month commences on the first Monday of every month. That is the day I take out the tape measure and body fat scanner and complete all my measurements to check my monthly progress.

For month 1, I decided to be very flexible with my goals and set them as I went along. After all, it was my first full month on any kind of “diet” plan. Ultimately, I ended up setting two goals: one for diet and one for exercise.

My goal for my diet was to track what I ate (as accurately as possible). I ended up staying within my calorie ranges on most days, but I did go over five times so far this Spark Month (four times because of binges- once because of poor planning while eating out). Regardless, I still owned up to every calorie in my tracker- even to the extent of weighing out the marshmallow fluff and peanut butter for my sandwiches over the weekend.

My fitness goal was originally to do the 30 Day Shred daily, but that was a bit too ambitious for someone completely new to working out. I decided to take Sundays off from mandatory exercise. Then, I decided that the important thing was just working out. I’ve done the 30 Day Shred on MOST days, but I’ve done a few Leslie Sansone Walking workouts as well. On a number of days, my schedule and/or lack of energy and motivation led to me completing my workout as late as 11:30PM, but I did at least 10 minutes of exercise every Monday through Saturday. If I continue my streak for the next six days, I get to buy the first book in Francine River’s Mark of the Lion trilogy.

I’ve decided that for Spark Month 2, I need to set up more specific goals than the ones I have for Spark Month 1.

For diet, I’ve decided I need to work on tackling my tendencies to binge. I’ve noticed that, with one exception of poor planning, the days that I went over my calorie range are days I binged. So, I’ve decided to set a goal to stay within my ranges every day from September 5 to October 2. If I succeed (and only if I succeed- no exceptions) I’m planning on rewarding myself with Mandia’s Idoleyes for my Kindle.

I’m keeping a similar fitness goal, but I’m upping it. Instead of just working out every Monday through Saturday, I am setting a 30 minute daily requirement. This would mean the 30 Day Shred won’t be enough. I’ll have to go above and beyond that. If I meet this goal, I’m going to order the second book in The Mark of the Lion trilogy. (Any guesses on my fitness reward for month 3? What am I supposed to do for month 4?)

I am considering rejoining a gym since it’s only $10 a month, and I’m sure I can manage that- especially if I can convince Alex to join as well. It might give me a nice change from Leslie Sansone and Jillian Michaels. I need to do more strength training than I get from Leslie (thanks for making me feel guilty, Mir!), but I need to do more than the 30 Day Shred if I want to keep from burning out or going insane!

I still have another week for this Spark Month, but I figured this last week can be a prep week.

I’m thinking about buying a cheap dry-erase board from Target or Walmart this week to write my goals down as a reminder, and since my goals really continue from month to month, I’ll start keeping track of streaks like tracking, exercising regularly, and whatever else comes up.

So, what goals do you have set for this next week or month? How will you reward yourself?

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