The single biggest piece of advice for losing weight, is to make a plan, and then implement it. If you plan and track what you are doing, you are more likely to be successful.
Planning may take extra time on the front end, but in the long run, it will allow you to align your daily activities with what you really desire which is to live a healthier lifestyle.
Visualize the upcoming event or your daily schedule. Think about what you want to incorporate in your day or what specific behavior you want to change. Think about each of the steps you normally take and where you want to change or add a healthy habit. If you’re going to a party and still want to eat healthily, picture what steps you will be taking to do so. Or maybe you want to bring your own lunch to work more often and stop dining out. Can you see yourself in the future and what will happen?
Plan backward from there. Once you visualize what your day looks like, think about what you need to have in place to get there. For example, if you want to bring your lunch to work, then you will have to prepare it beforehand, which means you will need the ingredients and containers and preparation time.
Plan the plan. Now it’s time to map out all the steps for a goal. For example:
Step 1: Figure out what you want to eat (keep it simple to start with).
Step 2: Write down the ingredients and plan when you can get to the store to buy them.
Step 3: Plan when you will make your lunch. Imagine what you’ll be doing right beforehand and add the activity to it. For example, “I will make my lunch right after I eat dinner tonight”. Consider making multiple lunches at one time to save time.
Step 4: Set a cue to remind you to take your lunch with you in the morning, for example put a post it note on your keys. Linking a new behavior (grabbing lunch) to something you already do (grabbing keys) will help you to remember as you form new habits.
Visualizing and taking a few minutes to map out the details will help you plan for success.
Planning can be very powerful. Here are some other examples:
At the end of the day, track your progress. Did you follow your plan? If so, put a mark on your calendar so you can see your progress. If not, what adjustments could you make?
The busier you are, the more essential planning becomes. Leaving healthy eating and exercise to chance will likely mean that it doesn’t happen. Schedule these activities the way you would other important meetings. It takes effort and discipline to plan, especially as you develop new habits, but the more you can do it, the more successful you are likely to be.
How has planning worked for you? Tell us in the comments below.
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