What to do When You’re Not Meeting Your Goals

The Lean Start Up

A number of years ago I read the book The Lean Start Up. It contains a number of steps about how to start a business while spending the most important time up front, testing your ideas. Initially the business creates a hypothesis. They have measurable tests to which they can draw conclusions quickly, failing fast. These iterations last until the business gets it correct, pivoting.

So this past week and after a few weeks coming closer to my goals, I’m trending in a direction that’s going up in weight and body fat percentage. Getting to this 10% mark, which has been the plan for over a year now, is a moving target. As much as I’d love this to be a linear process, it’s not.

If I take my introspective with transparency in my actions, I can think of some situations where I could’ve exercised a bit more discipline in my life. Below, I’ll hypothesize a few my actions that lead to the weight and fat gain, and I’ll create actions steps to practice. I have four more weeks to reach the 149lb mark.

Hypothesis

1. Alcohol consumed

After weeks of my body fat percentage dropping to an all time low, in my adult life to 13%, it had shot up to 13.9%. At this point I may have been getting a bit cocky, thinking I had it figured out. Slow down…

During that time, my Sunday hockey team had a few make up games during the weeks leading to less water weight held by my body. Essentially, it was as if I was playing twice a week. So thinking I wouldn’t have an adverse effects, I had some drinks pre and post game.

I had my sister and brother in law over for champagne and brunch foods. I hadn’t see either of them since there were married on New Year’s eve. Drinking has been more of a social thing for me, so when catching up I found myself indulging in probably more mimosas than needed. I would guess I drank a champagne bottle to myself and more.

A few hours later with an early hockey game on the schedule, barley pops were strewn about the locker room for my weekly ritual of beer league hockey. At this point, I can probably count the number of beers I’ve consumed all season on both hands over the course of a twenty week schedule. Leaving me, a 1/2 beer week average for the season*.

2. Snacking Once I got home from work

What I like most about the program I’m working is that my food is mostly laid out for what I’ll eat in the day. There’s not a ton of guessing and it’s worked out pretty well. In terms of fat loss, I’ve lost a total of 25lbs of fat over the past year and half. It’s been the cornerstone of my fitness journey. Had I followed the plan, I may not be writing this, but I didn’t and it’s a learning moment.

I’d find myself hungry by the time I got home at 5:30. The kids food was being made, and pistachios are like natures french fries. While I do my best to limit those addictive bastards to a 1/2 cup, that’s an extra 340 calories entering my system.

3. Lack of Sleep

Quiet times are hard to find in a house with two kids, working full time, and trying to constantly learn. In the midst of things, my mornings start pretty early. My workouts begin when I’ve already been awake for an hour and a half.

Over the past week, I got up at 5am, worked on the fitness app until about 6:15am and then headed out the door to start my workout at 6:30-645am. With this lack of sleep, I could be leaving my cortisol levels higher than anticipated. While I’ve been pretty productive in meeting other goals, it’s been a detriment to my almost two years of achieving my first goal, reaching 10% body fat.

4.Stress

Not being productive drives me insane, especially when the problems should be easily resolvable. If you’re developer and develop in client side languages (javascript, typescript, Angular, Ember, Ionic etc), you’ll commiserate with me on this.

At my day job, we wanted to start using Yarn (a piece of software that helps with dependency management of javascript files) on our system. Unfortunately for me, Yarn would stop on the last package it had to download. This is a common issue from my googling. Searching through all the recommendations of similar issues, I decided to update a piece of software that Yarn is dependent on, Node.

No luck. Downloading a newer version of Node left me with the same complications and added another. I have an EmberJS project, that I need to upgrade, that would no longer build because of it’s dependency on Node. After many attempts to resolve this, I thought Docker might help resolve this. This lead to it’s own learning curve and frustrations, but in the end I feel I’m better equipped knowing Docker.

While all this is going on, projects are getting delayed because I don’t have an environment that I’m capable of making changes. Project managers are taken aback and stressing because, being the lead dev on one of the projects, the project isn’t continuing until I get these issues resolved.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram (@swollbro5), you’ll see I took some frustration out shooting pucks.

The Pivot

1. Alcohol Consumed

It’s not often that I consume alcohol. I just finished a book, Six Figures in Six Months. One of the things that has definitely stuck with me was this, paraphrasing, “If I wanted to be a million dollar manager, I needed to act like a million dollar manager. I also needed to ask myself, would a million dollar manager do this.” So next time I think to pick up a barley pop, fermented grapes, or champagne I’ll ask myself the question, “Would someone who wants to get to 10% body fat act like this?”.

2. Snacking When I get home

My personal belief why I’ve been successful in the fat loss arena in that I’m not bored. Since starting this weight loss journey a year and a half ago, I’ve kept myself busy working on an app, writing, and trying to improve my skillsets. And I say this because I am a boredom snacker.

To combat this boredom snacking, I will start making my dinner as soon as I get home from work. This will require a bit of planning in the morning to get the foods I want ready for when I get home. If I keep myself busy making food, I’ll keep myself occupied and away from the foods that I know are adversely contributing to my goal.

Second plan of attack, I need to allow myself a re-feed day.

3. Lack of Sleep

This one is going to be tough for me, but after receiving an extra hour and a half more of sleep last night I feel sharper and more energized. The trade off is getting more accomplished in the morning while there are little distractions. I personally love taking my mornings to learn new things, but it compromises my main goal. So in the end, I’ll be sleeping in until 6am this week to see if there are any noticeable changes.

Finally, I’ll try to schedule everything for each day. My days are pretty consistent, but when I follow a plan it tends to go a bit smoother. I’ll try to get the most of my hours in productivity that I can while I’m awake.

I’ll try to measure:

  • 1. Do my workouts feel better in the morning?
  • 2. Do I feel more energized at work?
  • 3. Do I think more clearly while working on complex problems?

4. Stress

There’s nothing like a feeling of disappointing dependent people, but I felt like I was doing that this week at work. With a combination of the pressure I’m putting on myself to get this app out for feedback, a tool that doesn’t quite work well, and a lack of sleep, these things cascaded into one snow ball of stress.

Most of it has been resolved, and I think with the actionable items I have listed above my stress levels should subside a bit.

IN THE END

If you’re faced in a situation where you’re not meeting an expected goal, take an introspective be transparent and know what you did that could be contributing to not reaching your goals. Pivot when you need, but do it with an understanding on your metrics.

Until next time, Get Swoll Bro.

*Disclaimer – I will bring beer even though I don’t regularly participate in drinking them

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