Plan for success

We often adopt a ‘stop-start’ approach to making improved lifestyle choices because we don’t fully understand how to go about identifying, prioritising and implementing them. However, if you do make a simple plan, then your chances of success will increase, your focus will be clear and you will know whether you’re on track or not.

You will all know that we endorse process goals. These ensure we take small steps and don’t rush into totally transforming our lifestyles overnight. A total overnight transformation will very rarely stand any chance of success. Process goals allow us to completely focus on a very small number of simple tasks that you will undertake for two to three weeks.

A new member, with an aim to lose weight and get fitter, with a BMI in the obese range, and is currently inactive may choose something like this to start on their journey.

Process Goal 1 Starting differently
Step 1 I will eat and drink no more than 1,400 calories per day and I will track (record) every item of food and drink before I put them in my body
Step 2 I will walk for 30 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm.

I have weatherproof clothing. I will never miss a walk and stick to the planned time and day like glue!

How long? I will do this for 2 weeks starting today

The goal is not to track calories or increase exercise, it’s to start doing things differently. In this case they’re not doing what they’ve always likely done when embarking on their latest effort to feel better about themselves. This time they’re listening to quality advice, implementing a plan that has a high chance of success, increasing their knowledge on correctly fuelling their body, adopting an achievable new routine and setting a timescale for these changes which is manageable.

So, the goal is to start this latest effort differently and not do what they’ve always done. The food tracking and exercise are the tasks they will undertake. Success is easily measured.

Actions for lifestyle transformation

Its vital that you have a plan for each important action or task in your lifestyle transformation journey. If you have been with us for a while you may find the checklist below useful. It can help you to re-focus if needed, support a shift out of any plateau and if it’s simply not happening for you then it’s a great indicator for any missed opportunities.

Do you understand what made you gain weight in the first place?

When we eat and drink more calories than we use up, our bodies store the excess as body fat. If this continues, over time we may become overweight and can become obese.

Do you know your daily calorie total to lose 1-2lbs per week?

When was it last updated? How does that breakdown into different meals?

Have you tracked your food and drink before consuming them by writing them down?

Did you successfully complete this task for 14 to 21 days? Learning more about nutrition, and eating a balanced diet is very important.

Have you written down a goal or process goal and are following it?

Is it clear? Can it be measured? Is it realistic? Does it set out the steps you need to put in place to achieve it? Does it state when you will achieve it by?

Have you created a meal planner – and have you been following it?

Are you enjoying the food and drink on your plan?

Have your meals been balanced, following the eatwell plate?

Could you confidently tell me about the eatwell plate, what do you know?

Protein is your weight loss friend – fuller/longer, slows down digestion, burns calories digesting it, fuels fat burning and repairs/grows muscles

Do you have a weekly exercise plan – and have you been following it?

What is on your weekly exercise plan, is it enough?

Are you enjoying the exercise activities you’ve chosen?

Is this lifestyle change?

I was speaking to a lady this week who has lost 4 stones in 4 months and this is how she’s done it: –

  1. Joined a gym and gets up early to go 4 mornings per week. In her own words “she hates it”.
  2. Stopped drinking alcohol completely and is looking forward to losing the weight so she can have a drink.
  3. Cut out all the food she likes and is eating lots of chicken, fish and vegetables. She said it’s not what she would choose but its not forever.

This is definitely a lifestyle change, in fact its 3 big ones! All of them are temporary which means that any immediate benefits are likely to follow suit. I asked if she discussed what she’s doing with her consultant and what they thought of her progress. She said they were really pleased, she was often cited as an example of success and her weight loss was used to promote the group. Hopefully at some point she’ll receive some good advice to steer her in the right direction.

Take action

This week we want you all to write a process goal:

  1. Writing down a goal is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible
  2. Goals ‘held’ in the mind are more likely to be jumbled up with the other 1,500 thoughts per minute that the average human being experiences – they get lost or forgotten
  3. People with written goals are 50% more likely to achieve than people who try to achieve similar without goals
  4. The act of writing down a goal down in is a very powerful motivator and forces us to avoid being vague
  5. Only 3 out of every 100 adults will write their goals down on paper

Some goal suggestions

  • Goal Idea – Park the car a short distance from work and walk in and then back for it
  • Goal Idea – Close the kitchen each night at 8pm and don’t reopen it until breakfast
  • Goal Idea – Take the stairs at work instead of the lift
  • Goal Idea – Clear out your cupboards of all your ‘trigger foods’ (take them to the food bank!)
  • Goal Idea – Introduce the 1 mile rule! If the round trip journey is less than 1 mile you walk it.
  • Goal Idea – No chocolate, cakes, biscuits or sweets week
  • Goal Idea – Attend an additional Be Strong HIIT session each week
  • Goal Idea – Track all your food and drink week
  • Goal Idea – Write a weekly exercise plan and follow it
  • Goal Idea – Cut up all your food at every meal and eat slowly, stop eating when you are full
  • Goal Idea – Drink 750 ml water before every meal
  • Goal Idea – Eat your five a day, every day
  • Goal Idea – Create a menu for your kitchen and eat from it each day
  • Goal Idea – Walk for one hour on three days
  • Goal Idea – Walk for 30 mins on four days
  • Goal Idea – 10 min Be Strong HIIT session alternating 2 of your favourite exercises every day
  • Goal Idea – No cheese week
  • Goal Idea – Sign up to a Be Strong challenge
  • Goal Idea – Prepare your next day’s breakfast and lunch the night before, every day
  • Goal Idea – Eat to your calories every day
  • Goal Idea – Add weights to your Be Strong HIIT sessions
  • Goal Idea – No alcohol week
  • Goal Idea – Join a Couch to 5k group!

You can record them in our ‘Check it before you wreck it’ books. Please keep it simple, its more about a new behaviour or routine than making them ridiculously challenging. Before you finalise your new goal take a step back and assess your chances of successfully completing it. It should be high, if its not then tweak it until it is.

Take photos of your new goal and share them with members on our Facebook group.

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