Ready, Set, Achieve!: A Guide to Taking Charge of Your Life, Creating Balance, and Achieving Your Goals

Ready, Set, Achieve!: A Guide to Taking Charge of Your Life, Creating Balance, and Achieving Your Goals

by Yuri Diogenes, Jodi Leigh Miller
Ready, Set, Achieve!: A Guide to Taking Charge of Your Life, Creating Balance, and Achieving Your Goals

Ready, Set, Achieve!: A Guide to Taking Charge of Your Life, Creating Balance, and Achieving Your Goals

by Yuri Diogenes, Jodi Leigh Miller


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When charging after a goal, most people act like a bull in an arena, focusing solely on the swinging red flag in the bullfighter’s hands and forgetting about the rest of the surrounding area and neighboring responsibilities. Ready, Set, Achieve! presents an organized guide to turning a dream into reality without sacrificing achievements in other areas of life. Studies have shown that personal health directly affects professional well-being and vice versa. As one decreases, the other suffers. Conversely, as one increases, the other rises as well. By learning how to effectively and evenly pull the strings of both aspects of life and avoiding a collision of priorities, all goals can be reached with less stress and better health. Ready, Set, Achieve! digs into the psyche of setting a goal, creating a plan of action, carrying out those action steps, finding support systems, and cycling back around to do it all over again or a new and higher goal. Personal anecdotes from authors Yuri Diogenes and Jodi Miller punctuate each chapter and give an inside view into overcoming their own real-life struggles and turning them into tangible success stories. Both authors rely on real-life experience to shed light on how to transform one’s mind and body and still create balance. Diogenes shares the tale of his amazing 100-pound weight loss and subsequent appearance on a national-qualifying bodybuilding stage in one of the biggest states in the country while rising to the top ranks in his IT career. And Miller describes her feat of lifting almost three times her bodyweight at national- and world-level lifting championships while remaining well-rounded in both her athletic and career worlds. Ready, Set, Achieve! shows the road to just that: your best.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781630475895
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Publication date: 11/10/2015
Pages: 148
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.20(d)

About the Author

Jodi Leigh Miller earned the title of Ms. Natural Olympia in 2011 and 2012, and set national and world records in the American Powerlifting Federation and World Powerlifting Congress. Jodi is currently a top-five national-level National Physique Committee (NPC) Women’s Physique Competitor and has previously competed in Figure and Bodybuilding, having won the 2007 NPC Team Universe in the lightweight bodybuilding division. She holds a BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin, a lifetime secondary teaching certification in Texas, and is a certified personal trainer.

Yuri Diogenes, M.S, MBA, technical speaker and author of more than ten technical books about technology and information security published in United States and Brazil. In the past Yuri was also a University Professor and a Certified Instructor. After his journey to lose one hundred pounds, Yuri became a NPC (National Physique Committee) bodybuilder competitor.

Read an Excerpt



* * *


Every time I watch the beginning to a Dreamworks production, I wonder what life would be like if we really could climb up to the moon, settle into the crook of it with our legs dangling, attach bait to a fishing line, and swing far and wide to catch our dreams. Would we have the same appreciation for our achievements if it were that simple? I doubt it.

But the starting line of reaching our goals actually does exist in a farfetched, fairy tale-like world. We typically see another person doing something we wish to do, or we experience a change in our lives that sparks our desire to move to a different rung on the life ladder. Whatever it is that initiates the spark, that ember is a very necessary part to our ability to grab a fishing pole, hook bait upon the line, and swing with all of our might to catch the big one.

The thing is, we cannot simply grab that pole and catch our metaphorical fish in any body of water. We have to determine what type of fish we wish to catch, where the best place is to catch such a fish, what type of bait will attract that variety of fish, and what we will do should changes in weather, lake levels, or boat maintenance change. This means that while achievement of goals begins in the recesses of our imagination, order and organization must exist if we expect to actually attain said goals with any measure of success. This chapter will delve into how we can go about doing exactly that.

Setting a Winning Goal

We could begin this section with a discussion of desire, but in all honesty, desire is the easiest part of this whole process. So instead, let's jump straight into the deep end and examine how to set a goal. One word sums up this process well: SMART.

The SMART acronym, as shown in Figure 1-1 displays the following five necessary components to successful goal setting:

1. A goal must be specific.

If a goal is vague, the outcome will be blurry and fuzzy as well. If we wish to have crisp, sharp, precise changes in our lives, then our goals must have the same clarity. We cannot simply state we wish to lose weight and expect a considerable shift in our appearance. We must narrow the focus of our goal. Is this one pound or 20 pounds? Is it fat we wish to lose or muscle? Do we care from where we lose the weight, or are we focused on our derrieres? Do we have a lifetime to lose this weight, or are we trying to fit into a bikini or bathing trunks for a summer vacation? When we add details to the goal at hand, we see our eventual results better and can plan a precise path to our change more adequately and appropriately.

2. A goal must be measurable.

This sounds redundant to the "specific" portion of the SMART acronym, but this is where a little mathematics comes into play: numbers and percentages. We will stick with the losing weight scenario to explain this since ultimately this book is focused on your ability to transform your body in today's society. What if you set a goal to lose 20 pounds? That seems specific enough, right? But how will you measure this goal of 20 pounds? Will you weigh yourself at the end of your designated time for achieving this goal? What if you are building muscle and don't lose 20 pounds but actually look better than you did if you only lost 20 pounds of fat and didn't gain an ounce of muscle? Would that mean you failed? No. So determining a specific measure for this weight-loss goal is extremely important to ensure you are attaining the exact change you wish to achieve. You might instead have a goal of fitting into a size-six bikini or a 32-waistline for men's swim trunks and seeing the outline of your obliques when that time comes. Now, with a measurable element in hand, it is okay if you do not quite reach a 20-pound weight loss since you would presumably gain muscle while you simultaneously work towards this overall goal. As you can see, we have taken a specific goal and added a measuring tape to it.

3. A goal must be aligned to one's life or attainable with one's resources and time allotment.

The Biggest Loser and other weight-loss reality shows often depict massive weight loss achievements. We are talking 100-pounds or more in a very short span of time. What we forget when we talk about these shows the next day around the proverbial water cooler at work is that the contestants on these shows are spending upwards of six to eight hours per day sweating, grunting, running, lifting and also have access to very vocal, passionate coaches who watch their every move like a hawk waiting for road kill. Most of us don't have this luxury of time, amount of energy, or monetary expenditure; thus setting a goal to lose 100 pounds in less than six months would not only set us up for failure but would be a truly unhealthy, rapid result in the span of our lives. So after adding specificity and measurement to our goal, we need to assess our budget, our schedules, the people with whom we share our lives, our other goals (since we can and should attain more than one goal at a time), and many other influences in order to determine if we can reasonably insert this goal into our lives without driving ourselves insane in the process.

4. A goal must be realistic.

There is a distinct difference between a dream and a goal. Winning the lottery fits into the category of a dream because it is dependent upon so many factors outside of our control. No matter how diligent we are, we may never achieve the correct selection of winning numbers. In contrast, a goal is typically chosen based upon one's time, resources, and capabilities. And these are the factors that determine whether the goal is truly realistic. If I am a size 12, can I realistically fit into a size-four bathing suit within the next two months without causing damage to my metabolism? Additionally, do I have a gym membership? Do I have the funds for a personal trainer? What is my work schedule like? Is my partner someone who is understanding and supportive, or will I experience a hint of sabotage and jealousy that might slow down my progress? Is a size four even the right size for my body type? Maybe I should give myself six months to reach this goal rather than just two months. And maybe I should alter this goal to fitting into a size six pair of jeans by the fall months rather than a size-four bathing suit by the summer months. This way, I give myself a fighting chance to capture this goal instead of setting myself up for failure before I've even put bait onto my fishing line.

5. A goal must be time driven.

Have you ever had a boss or a friend or a significant other ask you to do a task or chore and simply told you, "as soon as you can"? Did you do it right away? Or did it get buried in a pile of other "as soon as you can" tasks while those with specific deadlines took priority? There is something about a specific date looming in front of us that gets our blood moving, our brains firing off, and our bodies working. Our goals are no different. If you simply tell yourself, "I want to fit into a size-six bikini," and you are at a Fourth of July dinner bash with your friends, you are less likely to pass on that cheesecake for dessert than if you have a goal of fitting into that same size-six bikini by July 31st. Putting your goal into a time capsule provides more insurance on the completion of the goal as well as allows for opportunities to set benchmarks along the way to measure your rate of success towards your goal.

Planning to Win

Typically, it is quite hard to give someone a task with minimal instructions or little direction and say, "just do it." Not everyone lives his or her life like a Nike commercial. Additionally so many in this day and age are too caught up in the mundane tasks of moving from one auto-pilot motion to the next without delving into how a particular action in present time affects the big picture. But this thought process does not work from a company perspective. Now, you might think, "Wait a minute; I'm not a company. What are you talking about? I'm a person, an individual." Well, in actuality you are your own company, and you are the CEO of it. You need structure and organization in your life; you have to pay yourself and pay others who render services to and for you; you have stocks in relationships, health, possessions; you have a career path, and you act as a guide for others who wish to follow in your footsteps. As a result, drafting a plan to achieve, improve, excel, and win becomes necessary when building the infrastructure of your future and the future of those who surround you (significant other, children, parents, friends, and others who provide value and meaning into your company, your world).

Remembering we have our SMART goal in place, let us examine how to draft the plan to achieve that very goal.

• Step One – Write a checklist of needs and wants.

• Step Two – Determine HWH (How, Why and How): How your goal may affect you and your surroundings, who and what will be affected, and how you can mitigate those effects.

• Step Three – Create a chronological timeline, utilizing backwards planning and inserting benchmark measures — or short-term goals — that propel forward motion towards your long-term goal.

Step One

Let us dig into the first step of planning to win, which is writing a checklist of elements that affect your achievement of your goal. If your goal is to lose three inches around your waist while increasing your strength by at least 10% in the next three months, you have to first determine the resources — tangible and intangible — you will need in your plan of action toward this goal. Basically, this is a list of items you should consider before you ever step foot onto your path of self-improvement. Below is an example of this list:

• Do I need a nutritional plan?

* Do I need to hire someone, or can I determine on my own the caloric intake and macronutrients I need for healthy and sustainable weight loss/ muscle gain?

* If I need to hire someone, who is a reputable nutritionist or coach?

* What qualities am I looking for in this person?

* What expenditure am I willing to allocate to this person?

* If I can do it myself, what resources do I need?

* Software

* Books for research

* Website articles and forums

* How much will following a specific plan cost?

* What do I need to buy and do I have access to those items in my area?

* How many trips to the store will I need to make per week?

* How many meals a day will I need to prepare, and what is the time factor involved?

* Will my job allow my frequent eating?

* How will I pack my food if I am gone from the house for several hours?

* Are there any upcoming trips that may be affected by this food plan?

• Do I need a training program?

* How can I get this training program?

* Should I hire a personal trainer?

* How much am I willing to spend on a personal trainer or coach?

* What qualifications and experience do I wish for this trainer/coach to have?

* How often will I need to see this trainer?

* Can I get an online program, and from where on the Internet would I find one?

* How effective would this online program be for me? Will I really stick with it when I have little to no accountability? What are the pros and cons compared to hiring a trainer or coach?

* Should I do more cardio or weight lifting? For how long? Which exercises do I do? Which equipment should I use?

* How much time a day should I spend exercising?

• Do I need a gym membership?

* If I am hiring a trainer, is the trainer at my current gym or at a different gym?

* Where is the gym in location to my work/home commute?

* If I travel for my job, do I have access to this gym franchise or another gym in the cities/states to which I'm traveling?

* What does my company or boss offer in terms of monies for gym memberships?

• Do I have appropriate gym clothes? Tennis shoes?

• How many hours of rest do I need?

* Do I need to sleep more?

* Will my job and family life allow for that?

* Can I keep my stress level to a minimum?

* Will working out help or hinder that?

• Who is my support group?

* Parents, friends, siblings, significant other? (Write a list of names.)

* Would anyone object or feel uncomfortable by me bettering myself?

* Who?

* How will I deal with that negativity and keep it from affecting my path to success?

Of course, these are only sample questions that we initially suggest to bring to the surface, obtain the answers, and create a guided action plan based upon those answers. You may have more questions that rise up as you work your way through your checklist and even as you begin digging into your plan. Later on in this chapter, we will examine the need for flexibility, which is based upon a willingness to add, change, delete, and grow as the need arises, especially as smaller plans hatch out of the bigger picture. For example, you have a broad plan for losing three inches around the waist, which includes nutrition, working out, relying on your support group. Within that broad plan, you will also have a nutritional plan that has specific bullet points to follow, and you will have a training program that has specific step-by-step actions to follow. The diagram below demonstrates this plan-within-a-plan idea:


Step Two

Now that you have a checklist of questions to answer and steps to take that will drive you towards your goal, you are now ready for step two of the planning-to-win process. This involves concrete identification of areas and people in your life that will be affected by your journey towards your goal and is done by completing an HWH chart, seen in the table that it follows.

1. How your goal may affect you and your surroundings

2. Who and what will be affected

3. How you can mitigate those effects

Below is an example of how to use an HWH chart: Area

How it will affect?

Who and why it will affect?

How can I mitigate the effect(s)?

Below is an example of how to use an HWH chart:


As you can see, completing the HWH table is not that complicated and may even be a soothing or motivating mental exercise. As time passes, you will have this matrix memorized and may not even need paper or a computer to physically fill it in, though seeing the challenges and solutions in black and white often helps us to adhere to a plan. In addition, new challenges may arise and others may stay the same or even disappear, so please remember that this matrix should be considered dynamic — flexible and ever-changing — rather than static.

Step Three

A major part of planning to win involves the creation of a timeline and benchmarks that allow you to measure your timely success towards reaching your goal. You might think that you begin this timeline at the starting line, but in actuality it should be designed in a backwards fashion, from the finish line. Planning a vacation or trip is a perfect example of how backwards design works. If we wish to travel from Dallas to Las Vegas, we need to know the end date in order to determine how long we have to travel from our starting city to the final destination. We can then determine our means of transportation, what we wish to do in Las Vegas, when those particular shows or events are occurring and accepting reservations, which hotels have available rooms, etc. Once we know these answers, we can then look for a departing flight or choose a starting driving date and time that will allow us to reach Las Vegas. Returning to our weight-loss goal, if we know that we wish to meet this goal by August 31st, then we are better able to work backwards from that point and know how far out to begin working towards this goal.

While Figure 1-3 shows the actual benchmarks that are set at specific dates to ensure the goal will be reached by the set date, Figure 1-4 shows how to work your way backwards from the end goal to the starting point, create specific questions, and set up benchmarks to track your progress in a measurable manner. Some of these benchmarks include checking in with the trainer, taking progress pictures, trying on the swimsuit, making alterations to the meal plan, re-examining a meal prep schedule, preparing for a vacation while still maintaining healthy eating habits, and gearing up for a busy time at work while not falling off the wagon. By stating a specific date, looking backwards to when the project should begin (as Figure 1-3 demonstrates), and moving forward to implement concrete action steps (as Figure 1-4 demonstrates), success will be attained.

But please note that once you complete these three steps, the planning process does not end there. Some or all of these steps may need to revisited — and not necessarily in the order in which we provided them. Reviewing a certain step, returning to a previous juncture, and relaxing in order to catch one's breath and remain sane are all part of the process. So be prepared to reassess your situation often and be flexible should circumstances change or one area of your journey become more challenging than you originally imagined. This will allow you to remain proactive in making appropriate changes. It will also prevent you from punishing yourself or slipping in your self-esteem should you miss meeting a benchmark since you will be able to react with conviction rather than impulse. Again, remain pliable and flexible in your solutions, and you will not break when storms bend your branches.


Excerpted from "Ready, Set, Achieve!"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Yuri Diogenes & Jodi Miller.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Table of Content Acknowledgements 5 Foreword 7 Chapter 1 – It’s Time to Change! 9 Introduction 9 Setting a Winning Goal 9 Planning to Win 11 Step One 12 Step Two 14 Step Three 16 The “No Excuses” Rule 18 Finding the Winning Balance 19 Flexible Winning 22 The Winds of Change 24 Chapter 2 – Building the Best You…Brick by Brick 25 Introduction 25 The Blueprint: 25 Step on the Sturdy Parts First: Starting with Right 25 Checking for Cracks: Moving Into Wrong 26 Take Actions to Fix the Problem 28 Health 29 Work 31 Social 33 Maintaining a Balanced State 33 Transforming the Change to a Lifestyle 36 Chapter 3 – Enlightening the Mind and Activating the Body through Exercise and Nutrition 38 Introduction 38 Self-Awareness 38 Mind 40 Body 42 Food 42 Exercise 43 Nutrition and Training 44 Nutrition 44 What is Your Healthy Weight? 45 Calorie 45 Protein 46 Carbohydrates 46 Fats 47 To Cheat or Not to Cheat 48 Training 50 Cardiovascular Exercise 50 Weightlifting 51 Tools to Assist You 53 Online Community Tools 54 Tracking Tools for Nutrition 56 Tracking Tools for Exercise Programs 58 Wearable Technology 59 Keep Track of your Results 60 Chapter 4 – Performing Better: At Work and Beyond 62 Introduction 62 A Healthy Body Opens the Door for a Productive Mind 62 Beyond Self-Esteem 67 Shield Yourself at Work 69 Shielding Steps 69 Give to Get: The Act of Mentorship 71 Other Best Practices to Turn Negative Behavior from Others into Positive: 72 What’s Next? 73 Chapter 5 – Planning for the Future 75 Introduction 75 Decisions, Decisions 75 Lists 77 Common Thread 77 More Lists 77 Research 78 Moment of Truth 80 About the Authors 81

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