Benjamin Franklin stated that “failing to plan is planning to fail”. As we head into month 2, and the January adrenaline wears of, having a plan is the most imperative component of your plan to best yourself in 2014. Although meticulous planning can be a fine balance point and over-planning can lead to immediate failure when you’re running a few minutes late, a basic blueprint is essential to success.
Your blueprint for successful achievement of your goals must include the following basics.
- Define your actions for success, not just your outcome goals. An action goal can be as simple as “complete 3 1hour workouts per week” or “eat one cup of vegetables with each meal and snack”. Having clear action goals will allow you to celebrate success daily and weekly based on your choices.
- Determine when you are going to prepare to achieve your action goals. Eating one cup of vegetables with every meal/snack can be hard if you haven’t planned to have vegetables on hand. Decide when you will be doing your preparation work for food and workouts. Specifically book the time for your preparation, including gym laundry, grocery shopping, meal preparation, packing your gym bag etc. If you don’t book the time, you won’t find the time. Try your best to develop a routine for preparation, Sunday and Wednesday evenings tend to work well for many people.
- Decide how you are going to execute your plans. Plan your when; choose a time of day for your workouts that you know will consistently work in your schedule at least 80% of the time. If it’s too hard to schedule, you won’t make it. Plan your what; Don’t show up to the gym to look around at the options and make up your workout as you go. This extra effort due to lack of organization often makes completing your workout more cumbersome which results in skipped workouts as they are too much hassle. Unplanned workouts are also less productive leading to lack of results and eventually to skipped workouts and failure. Options for workout planning include taking the time to write out your workouts each week on Sunday while your food is cooking, following workouts from a publication series (there are lots of books out there), showing up for a scheduled group exercise class where you just have to follow-along (easier said than done sometimes) or hiring a personal trainer to do the work for you. Whatever your choice, don’t show up without a plan.
- Describe the importance of your goals. Why is so imperative that you accomplish your goals this year. How will this change your life? Who else is going to be affected by these changes? Will this change your career or career opportunities? Will this change your relationships inside your household? How? Take some time and really think about the things you’ll be able to do once you achieve these goals, things that you aren’t doing now. The more you understand about why your goals are important to you and you can attach your success to the possibilities that lie ahead, the more likely you are to stick with steps 1-3 and be successful.
- Divulge. You need to share your goals and your plans with others who can provide support and guidance. Give yourself a true gift this year and book a consultation (GoodLife Fitness offers consultations free of charge) with a Personal Trainer at your gym. A trained fitness professional will be able to coach you through your past barriers, establish realistic goals and timeframes so that you know what successes you should reasonably be accomplishing in different timeframes throughout the year. You will leave this appointment with additional education, a better understanding of yourself and your goals and a specific, personalized plan that beats any generic plan in a book. You will also have a great support contact. Regardless of whether you choose to hire a trainer or not, a good trainer will continue to check in with you based on the goals and markers you set to make sure you’re making progress. Give yourself the advantage by getting your year started with a professional, personalized plan which will provide you with additional motivation to stick to it and prove that you can trump your own best and Best Yourself every day, week and month this year!
Every year, I see so many people with hopes and dreams of making a change. Every year, I see 50% of those people last about 20 days on their new plan. The best goal you can set for yourself is a goal to consistently decide to execute what’s on your plan each day. The best plan you can create for yourself is truly a plan for YOURSELF. Plan based on your personal realities, priorities and personality. Start a notebook, write down your plan, track your execution and reward yourself for your successful choices (preferably with a new pair or gym socks not a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s). Know your current habits and acknowledge every time you make a better choice, a better move. When you do better than you would have done yesterday, last week, last month… you BEST YOURSELF.