#NovGTD -- Guest Post from Phil/@CannyMonkey

Last month, I asked my dear friend, @VinnySlavin, to wrap up #OctGTD for me.  He's one of the first friends I made on Twitter, thanks to #Fitblog.

I thought I'd do something a little different and ask @CannyMonkey to do the honors.  Why? Well for one, he signed up for Twitter just to be able to follow #NovGTD.  Secondly, he's been so good about blogging about his progress as it relates to #NovGTD. Third, he's been one of the most enthusiastic tweeple I know about #DecGTD.

So what follows are his thoughts about the challenge.  As always, feel free to send me links to your final thoughts and I will include them on this page as a link below!

#NovGTD. What has it meant for me?

Up until joining the #NovGTD challenge I had been a solo weightloss-wannabe with the vague goal of wanting to lose weight and get fitter. I had been successful at both of these without the challenge but I lacked focus and, as a result, motivation on occasion. The huge goal of losing 151 lbs hadn't been broken down and managed into smaller chunks with mini-plans as to how to achieve each....I just had that huge goal on the dim and distant horizon with no real idea as to when I would get there. Sure, my blogger-peeps have been great with support and their words of encouragement have kept me strong but at the end of the day only I can feed my body healthily and only I can go for a run/spin 10K/perform 100 press-ups/etc and, as exercise is something I got out of the habit of doing many years ago, it requires me to put in a consistent effort if it is to become habitual again. This is where #NovGTD has really had an impact for me -- the goals we set are still personal ones but the fact that all participants are part of something larger, something with many moving parts and different minds, something inter-connected, something for all body-types (chubby amateurs to seasoned athletes), something which picks you up when you are in a funk, something...fab, means that exercising alone was never more sociable, and with this comes accountability. The weekly posting of results to the #NovGTD spreadsheet meant that I had smaller, workable goals to work towards and I work best and get most motivated, I think, when I have lots of boxes to tick, columns to fill in, results to post, etc as it is some kind of physical evidence (for me mainly, I don't feel the need to prove anything to anyone else) that I am working towards something. So, the spreadsheet helped my accountability to myself, but the Twitter aspect of #NovGTD brought me much deeper into this challenge than most as I got to chat, cajole, motivate, laugh and generally shoot the breeze with other participants and this instant community kept me coming back.

On the one hand, a skeptic could make the argument that all #NovGTD is, is just filling in some spreadsheet and you're on your own the rest of the time, and while that might be true for someone unwilling to make any effort, most of us successful #NovGTD participants realise that the more you engage with [___]GTD the more you get from it, because the true heart of NovGTD, for me, was the new people I met, their successes and failures, their points of view, their training ideas, their nonsense tweets...and mine. And when I say "Successful #NovGTD participants" I mean those that kept posting results each week, stretching their current comfort zone a bit more and posting on others' blogs or tweeting, i.e. getting involved, not necessarily those who achieved their goals. I achieved 88% of my running goal and 81% of my spinning goal, but I still went the distance in November and I'll have words with anyone who says otherwise!   ;o)

NovGTD. What have #NovGTD and the Romans ever done for me then , eh? (apart from the sanitation,...)   
  • It encouraged me to break my goals down into smaller ones and go after them first. This meant that a bit of forward planning was required to allow for things like recovery days between runs.
  • It introduced me to new folks and new ideas.
  • I think that by keeping the challenge focused on exercise rather than weight-loss it kept things simple. Weight-loss was simply a fringe benefit.
  • I learned that when I fall off-plan in what I eat (as i did for 2-3 days during the month), I also shut out the exercise and figure "what's the point?". This is not good and is a behaviour that needs to be corrected.
  • During this month I have lost 2 inches on my waist and I am 9 lbs closer to goal weight thanks partly to healthy eating and partly to consistent exercise as part of my monthly GTD goals. It's great to see that #DecGTD makes more provision to get involved in reporting on daily water intake, fruit and veg consumption, etc. Exercise is nothing without good eating.

GTD has a simple kind of genius to it - the more you put into it, the more you get from it, and the only person you are competing against is yourself, while all around you is a large network of accountabila-buddies (reference for all the South Park junkies like me out there!). There were quite a few folks who started, and slightly over 50% who finished the month (judging by the posts on the spreadsheet) and were still pushing their own envelope and being accountable to themselves and others. The energy seemed to wain a little after the halfway mark but it soon returned in spades and ended November on a high note.....and the anticipation coming up to the start of the all-new, brand-spanking, bling-wearing, all-singing-all-dancing #DecGTD is palpable. For the new challnge I am pushing out of my comfort zone again - my goals are longer and harder, and I may not quite reach them again but quitting isn't even an option. Persistence, my friends, will triumph over perfection.

I would like to thank Robby [Phil, you're welcome -FGvW] for being a great host, opening up GTD to anyone who cares to challenge themselves, and giving me the opportunity to post some of my thoughts here. Three cheers for her and a hearty slap on the back. And lastly, I will leave you with a cheesy, cliched bit of advice (but, thinking about it, advice only becomes a cliche because it is true and it just gets used a lot, so let's not be too down on it).....

"If you don't dare to begin, you don't stand a chance of getting there."

Thanks for reading guys, hope to be cheering you all on in DecGTD.

Simon/@CyclingSi's thoughts.


Phil is like this sleeping storm... at first glance a cloud simple in appearance and looking like so many others. He has been circling the globe for who knows hoe many years. And then one day not long ago, he pops up on the radar screens. Ah, a new fitness wanna-be, cool, the more the merrier, welcome.

Slow and steady his cloud bulks up, it gets swifter in its movements, and dare I say bolder in its presence. No longer a clone amongst us, his character defines purpose and his actions mean business, he is one to follow. Warnings have gone of across the lands that this storm we know as Phil is a must to be watched for someday soon he will be one of the grandest amongst us.

It has been one of my many blogging honors to have been one of his first followers. And lord willing I will continue to be one for eons to come.


Great job Phil and welcome to the GTD family! You are right, this is so much more than just filling out a spreadsheet then being on your own. Use the spreadsheet and Twitter as tools to interact with all the other great people doing this, and you will find yourself part of tremendous support group.

Thanks Phil for the NovGTD wrap-up. It's great to see the guys coming on board!


Patrick, I'm going to hire you to write my bio for whenever I get around to writing a book.

Vinny, you know... never once has someone asked me if people lie on the spreadsheet. I don't think I even need to ask people if they're telling the truth. Like you said, it's a tool. If you're not honest with yourself, are you really charting progress? But I think we keep each other honest, or at least keep each other wanting to be honest. Everyone has ups and downs. It's easier to get back up or to be okay with being down when you have the support.


"Persistence, my friends, will triumph over perfection."

I'll be writing that down somewhere I can see it every single day! I'm so excited to start the December GTD challenge with all of you- you set the bar high! I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this before starting, very insightful! Ad thank you FGvW for hosting this!


Angela Pea always reminds me -- "Progress, not perfection" -- same idea. "Going the Distance" means not letting something stop you from achieving your goals, whatever they may be.


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