What makes a plan or a strategy successful in achieving your goal?
It needs to be a complete and fully flexible plan that has
- a built in contingency
- different directions in which to attack the issue
- a backup should the unexpected happen
In fat loss and fitness, we sometimes make our plan extremely simple.
I will eat healthy clean food worth x calories a day and exercise for at least x mins x days a week.
That is it. That is as far as we get.
As soon as something unexpected comes up, or we fail to complete one part of our plan, we are left floundering.
So my new expanded Plan for Success V2.0 looks something like this (contingencies in red).
- monitor progress in the following 5 areas - lean (fat loss), healthy (food behaviours), joyful (emotional/spiritual), athlete (training), empowerment (mental)
- if I can't do this I will monitor progress in as many as possible
- eat mostly unprocessed food, up to 1800 calories a day with 20-40-40 F-P-C
- if I overeat I will wait until I get physically hungry before I eat again. If I don't hit my macros I won't do anything to compensate. I will not eat to make up calories so I have some in reserve should I have 'hungry' days. I will use the +200 rule in emergencies
- track food in Calorie King
- if I eat food that I am unable to weigh or find in CK, I will make the best estimate possible
- allow one treat meal no more than once every seven days
- if I don't feel like I need a treat meal, I will wait until I do. If I need a treat before 7 days is up, I will attempt to have it within my calorie allowance and use the +200 if necessary.
- restrict my treat window so food must be consumed within a one hour period of time
- if a treat meal triggers bingeing, I will attempt to stop at the earliest I can, and forgive myself. I will be especially observant of how hungry I am the next day and make adjustments in my eating (even if that means not having breakfast until I am hungry again)
- journal successes in all areas
- negative statements in my journal must be re-written in positive language by the next morning at the latest
- listen to self esteem affirmations, do yoga or meditate daily
- if I miss this task, I just need to be conscious of the reason why and then try again the next day
- train at least 5 days a week - 4 weight sessions and 1 spin class
- should my schedule or my body prevent achieving this action, I will at least go for a walk (walking to and from the ferry counts!). I am only allowed 1 day maximum when I don't leave the house at all. Preferably I should be active in some way every day.
- train with a personal trainer once a week
- this is a "optional extra"
- compare myself to myself
- I am coming off an injury (a spiritual and emotional crazy brain type injury not a physical one) so I will not compare myself to my peak at competition time. I will only compare today to yesterday and last week.
- practice visualisation and positive mental attitudes
- at the very least I will look at the inspirational photos on the sidebar of my computer
- blog inspirationally
- no blogging is better than self indulgent self pity blogging. If I need to wallow I will do it somewhere else
- treat myself as though I am worth it
- I will spend money on the best things for myself, the best gym shoes, the best perfume, the best shampoo, the best haircut. The very least I will do is have a shower every day and get dressed.
If I only have two components to my strategy (food and exercise) and I fail to complete one of those, I am at down to 50% of my effort. If I fail to complete one of the above tasks I have 12 other successes that move me toward my goal.
How will I know if my plan is working? I need feedback in order to make adjustments as I go along.
This is the evidence of my effective strategy ...
- I am moving towards fitting into my skinny jeans
- I am moving towards 12% body fat
- I eat cleanly, controlled and within my calorie limit and treat rules
- I have higher self esteem
- my good behaviours start to become automatic
- it feels easier and easier
- I feel rewarded
- I am lifting heavier weights in the gym
- I have friends who share my love of training
- I am learning and trying different things
- I am active by choice
- my body confidence is improving
- I am moving towards peak performance
- I have a positive mental attitude and self talk
- I am happier and more peaceful
(notice none of that says "I haven't..." or "I won't...)
Now I have a fully fleshed out strategy written down I have confidence that even getting just some of my plan right will help me reach my goals. Of course, you probably need to be someone like me who needs structure in their lives. If you are an impulsive person this might feel like boarding school rules and make you head for the hills! I am just suggesting that maybe our transformation plans could do with some work. Go ahead and write yours down ... it might just help.