How to Successfully Achieve Reasonable Professional/Personal Growth in 2013

By: Helen M. Thamm, APRN, CPC

Have you made annual grand goals and/or set professional/personal growth expectations so high that even by the end of January you start to feel discouraged?  I heard recently on TV from a manager of a health club that people who want to get into shape and/or lose some extra weight, start strong right after the New Year, then they seem to not only get discouraged, but often quit their workouts by March!

What can happen if you set a health or other goal too high?

Recently a client of mine bought a home gym piece of equipment and started right off exercising hard for one hour per day, even though she was about 100 lbs. over what healthcare people suggest is a “healthy” weight.  Needless to say, after a few grueling weeks where she exercised daily and hurt a lot afterwards, she stopped her workouts altogether.   Luckily, she brought the issue to our sessions and we preplanned how she could gently resume her workouts beginning at about twenty minutes at a time, every other day, to let her muscles rest in between.

She came in with a smile a couple of months later saying she actually had begun to look forward to her exercise time.  She shared she would watch a comedy show awhile she worked out to make it a more pleasant experience.  She gradually increased her workout time to one half hour three to four times per week. (Yes, she did also begin to tone up ad slim down—slowly and steadily.)

In addition, she was pleased to report that for some reason she had more energy, felt less stressed and her male friend and co-worker had commented she seemed to have gotten her sense of humor back to boot!  She was pleased that her moderate exercise program seemed to have these additional benefits which she not guessed would happen.  This bonus also helped her stay motivated to continue on her quest to create a healthier body.

Motivation to keep up an exercise regimen and many other long-term goals that at first may not show any dramatic results is a challenge for most people.  What many people find helpful for exercise programs is having an exercise buddy.  Others observe exercising at a specific time every other day when they have the most energy helps. This client was also lucky enough to have a supportive boyfriend, who recognized how her efforts were paying off, and encouraged her to continue her efforts.  Some people engage the help of a coach to keep them on track and celebrate their victories as they attain each small step towards their overall wellness goal.

Moral of this story?  Set realistic professional/personal goals, start slow and steady to help avoid discouragement and maybe even failure.

Remember the tortoise and hare race—and who won!


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About the Author: Helen Thamm, APRN, CPC is a licensed nurse therapist. Author, Certified Professional Career and Wellness Specialist. She is the Co-Author of the bestseller “The Wellness Code” with Dr. John Ellis. Visit for a free copy of her ebook “How to Manage with a Magic Wand (No, Don’t Hit Your “Problem Employees” over the Head with it!)” and tips on career success and wellness issues.