There are so many things we all want to accomplish in life.
However it is easy to get swept away by the day-to-day and lose sight of your dreams.
For many years I swung by the seat of my pants, and the energy and enthusiasm of my youth.
As I got older, life had a way of standing solidly between me and my intentions.
I have learned that the best way to keep moving forward is to have a plan.
When I have a definite goal in mind, clear action steps, and a way to chart my course, I succeed. When I leave things to chance; I don’t.
Over the years I have created different systems in the areas of my life where I feel I want to improve.
At any given time I may use one or all of these to achieve my health and fitness goals.
The Workout Calendar:
Anyone who has taken my class has gotten a glimpse of my Workout Calendar. This is something I’ve been doing since I was 19 years old and still find it to be my tried and true when exercise has taken a back seat.
I simply fill in a large blank desk calendar with every exercise I plan to do for the month. For example; weights, cardio, abs, yoga, etc. At the end of the day, I check off what I have done and then put a large x-mark thru the box. This is a great way to see if you are staying on track or slacking. The goal is to not break the chain of X’s. I hang this on my wall and it’s a powerful visual motivator.
The Exercise Journal:
I always keep a notebook where I record my workouts. The reason for this is simple; you need to progress. If you are doing the same exercises day in and day out, you will not see the results you are looking for.
Here are some things I include in my journal; date, time, length of workout, what I specifically did (squats, lunges, running, etc.), the poundage, measurements, thoughts about how I felt (tired, strong, could have done more), what I will change/increase next time. A quick look through my log will tell me if I am being challenged enough or overdoing it. It’s a great way to keep track of your progress.
The Food Log:
When the scale starts moving South or you feel sluggish, tired, just not right; it’s time to record your food for a few days. This is especially helpful if you are trying to lose weight. Your mind always believes you are eating so much better than you really are. Putting food to paper will give you a good glimpse of reality. It is easy to see if you have been indulging, or if the sugar has come creeping back in.
At the end of the day take a colored pen and circle all the things you could have done without. Or, circle all the times you made really good, clean choices.
A Menu Planner:
Every week carries a different challenge for the cook of the house. If eating better is a priority, then a planner can help you stay organized and fully stocked with healthy, wholesome foods. At the beginning of the week I like to know what meals I will be making, what ingredients I will need, and what snacks should be on hand for easy grabbing.
Advanced planning and prepping can make your kitchen life so much easier, faster and enjoyable.
This is also a great place to keep new recipes you would like to try. And, it helps to leaf through old menu plans when you are fresh out of ideas.
Morning Pages (or Evening Pages):
While this is not a planning activity per se, I find it to be very powerful.
I learned this many years ago from the bestselling book by Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way.
This exercise was intended to get people to unlock their creativity; I find it works well for those who are battling with food issues.
First thing in the morning (or last thing before bed), simply write down your thoughts. This is a free-flow. Don’t sensor your mind or your emotions; just let your feelings emerge.
Oftentimes excess weight is just a messenger; it is a signal that something is off in your life. Putting your emotions on paper allows you to lay them down, contemplate, and investigate what is affecting you so deeply. On these pages you can also voice plans, dreams and desires.
Continue to write for no more than 15 minutes. When you are finished, put your writings away. Notice how much lighter you feel.
This is an excellent way to begin and/or end your day. It helps to bring greater clarity to your life so you are free to pursue your goals.
It took me many years to realize I was a planner who failed to plan. Don’t make the same mistake.
Without systems to track, guide or motivate, even the most ambitious person will be sidelined by life.
So choose a method that works best for you.
In fact, plan on it.