I know it’s cliché but it’s 100% true: “failing to plan is planning to fail.”
I bring this up because it’s common and normal to be motivated and confident the first week of a new diet or fitness plan. But all to often I think people believe this motivation will be enough to get them to the gym or make a healthy dinner every night.
They neglect to consider what needs to be adjusted in their current schedule to fit in new habits like meal prep. Or how they're going get in workouts during an unexpected crazy week.
Getting clear about your goals, putting it on the calendar, and making a plan to overcome any potential obstacles, will guarantee you stay the course and see the results you want.
Below are questions to help you get clear on your health goal and create a plan to achieving it. Grab your calendar; a pen, and some paper and answer the questions below. Remember, people who write out their goals are more likely to accomplish them than those who don’t.
As you’re creating your nutrition and exercise plan you should be checking in to see if you can maintain it for the next 3 months, 6 months, and even in a year. If it’s too aggressive, you may see results but it’s unlikely you’ll maintain them.
Let's get started
Step 1: Get specific about your health and fitness goal
What is the result you want and is it clear and measurable?
How will you track your progress?
Why is this important to you?
Step 2: Identify all the actions that will be necessary for you to reach that goal.
What new habits or actions do you need to implement?
What current behaviors do you need to let go of?
Are there any new skills you need to learn to achieve this goal?
Step 3: Schedule it
First, categorize your list of actions by your current skill level or confidence in completing it.
Second, pick one action you can easily implement and one that will require more effort. For example, you already make breakfast everyday, including a protein rich food will be easy. You eat most dinners out so preparing and cooking dinner 5x out of the week will require more skills and time.
*Trying to learn and implement too many goals at once will set you up for failure. After you feel confident, for example with making healthy dinners, then add in a new healthy action.
Third, assign an amount of time you think it will take to complete these actions and how often during the week you want to complete it.
Fourth, now place your tasks and actions on your calendar just like it’s an appointment.
Putting it into practice:
Result: Lose 4% of body fat, have more energy by June 18th
Track: Energy levels, weekly weigh ins, girth measurements, and progress pictures
Why: I want to feel more confident, fit better in my clothes, have more energy by the end of each week.
Actions: Bring healthy lunches to work 5x/week, decrease alcohol to x1/week, weekly grocery shopping, drink more water, prepare meals on Sunday. Exercise 5x per week, get to 3 Fit Societe classes/week.
Would like to stop snacking at night, eating out during lunch, decrease added sugar.
Would like to learn how to meal prep, increase vegetables in my meals, take yoga for the first time.
Easy habits to implement: include more veggies, increase exercise
Harder habits to implement: Meal prep and cooking every week, snacking, decreasing alcohol
This week I will focus on: Adding an extra day of exercise, not snacking if I'm not hungry and having healthy options. Pick healthy options off the menu when eating out
Saturday 8am yoga, 10-11am: Grocery shopping to buy healthy snacks
Sunday: Plan out the week and my goals
Mon-Fri: Bring a healthy snack to work, choose healthy options when eating out
MWF: Fit Societe classes at 6am
Thur: Run at 6pm
Friday: Fun meal out with friends, monitor portions
This can seem like a lot but once it’s on the calendar, scheduled, and assigned an amount of time to complete, it’s as good as done. You’ll actually save time time in your day because you'll cut down any indecision about what to eat or when to exercise. It will also help you stay consistent which tends to get faster results.
Do not skip this exercise or try to do it in your head, if you want to fast track your results, this is the first step.
I’ve worked with clients long enough to know that the ones who are successful are those that are patient and make small consistent changes. The best way to stay consistent is to have a plan and stick to the schedule.
Once you’ve completed the exercise above you should have a pretty good idea of what needs to happen to improve your performance or body composition. Now all you have to do is show up.