We Got Goals: Jenn Junk Found Balance in the Now By Planning Ahead

After meeting  Jenn Junk, founder of Recovery on Water, it’s easy to feel like she has it all together. But when you dig into her success, Jenn credits planning and preparation as a means to stay sane in the midst of craziness. Jenn talked to us about her goals and how she spent 2016 planning to set herself up for success in 2017.

Jenn Gibbons, founder of Revovery On Water. 2012 photo. Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki
Jenn Junk, founder of Recoverery On Water. Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki

What goal are you proud of accomplishing in 2016?

2016 was a big year in my life! There was so much going on, and like every year of life, some things I could anticipate and some I could not. Personally, I got married (planned), bought a house (not planned), and became an aunt (so fun)! Professionally, we partnered with the Chicago Park District and moved into a state of the art boathouse, our program expanded to serving 150 women and we doubled our outreach efforts.

Very few people are so “lucky” that the perfect lifestyle, career or personal life is going to fall into their lap – not to mention the balance of all those things. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’ll always make good choices on the fly, but why plan on making choices on the fly? Knowing that there would be a lot going on in 2016, my goal was to prepare in every way possible.

This meant that on Sundays I did all my laundry, bought all groceries and made all meals (that weren’t work or planned meals out). I looked at my week and asked myself just how balanced it was. Was I going to have a date night with my husband? What’s my workout each day? Am I seeing my best friend at some point and just when will I call my mom? “Prep” also meant that I got to meetings early, did my homework on who I was meeting with and ran through agendas on my own before board meetings … I was prepared.

While I don’t think I did all these perfectly, I did make some huge improvements. With my breakfasts and lunches all ready to go each week, I made better food choices all year long. I felt more confident when I walked into a room to give a presentation or met with a new supporter because I prioritized the time it would take to be prepared. Maybe I didn’t call my mom at the exact time I put in my calendar that week, but did end up calling her that week. Nobody is perfect, but it’s much easier to hit your goals when you’re giving yourself the time and space to prepare, plan and stay on track.

What goal are you working on for 2017 and how do you plan to get there?

2017 will be just as crazy, minus the wedding, plus the Chicago Marathon.

My goal for 2017 is to focus on all aspects of my health – not just exercise and nutrition. 2016 helped me get those two things balanced; 2017 is for getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and practicing mindfulness. I joined and Whole Life Challenge with some friends to track all these activities daily to stay accountable.

Another goal is to live the practice that less is more. It’s really easy to stretch yourself so thin because of the FOMO society we live in. I’ve been guilty of this almost every year of my 20s … and my body is paying for it now. I ran marathons, rowed marathons, signed up for every race I could fit in to my schedule – but I never really felt great about any of them.

I’ve already got my “physical challenge” goals for 2017 and I am committed to sticking to that list, and that list only. The temptation to take on something new is always going to be there, but my plan is to focus on how great it will feel to do three things really well that I am proud of, instead of doing thirty things that I just crammed into my life.


Take a page from Jenn’s book and use the word “No” more often this year. Plan ahead for your weeks and ask yourself what works for you to create more space and allow you to be more in the present on a daily basis?


About Maggie Umberger

Maggie moved to Chicago from North Carolina in 2014 with a degree in Journalism and Spanish, a 200-hour yoga certification, a group fitness cert and a passion to teach and to sweat. It wasn't until she found aSweatLife that she really started to feel at home. Here, she's incorporated her passion for health and wellness into her career as she helps to build the network of Ambassadors, trainers and fitness enthusiasts that exist within the aSweatLife ecosystem. You can also find her coaching at CrossTown Fitness and teaching yoga classes at Bare Feet Power Yoga, Yoga Six and exhale.

2 thoughts on “We Got Goals: Jenn Junk Found Balance in the Now By Planning Ahead

  1. Yes! Love this Jenn! Congrats all around. Really enjoy WLC, as well. Bringing more balance in my life in 2017, all areas! Starting out on my own again, kids all flying the coop and my partner of 30 years alas, gone. It could bring me down and I do have my moments as I’m sure you do, as well. Life isn’t easy, but with dedication, hard work, and blind faith SHOWING UP for it….. just celebrated 10 years of my Pilates studio! So grateful. Love this article and one of my personal goals is to do more writing!

Comments are closed.