Last week we covered why it is important to set goals, and what we should focus on when setting them, so this week we will look at how we can put effective plans into place, to allow us to achieve these goals.
Just to serve as a reminder, goals are important because:
Goals give you motivation
Goals allow you to measure your success
Goals boost your self-belief and self-confidence
Goals, when written down make the invisible, visible
What you get from achieving your goal, is not as important as what you become in the process
And when setting goals, it is vital that we make those goals ‘S-M-A-R-T’ goals.
T – Time bound
SMART goals allow us to measure our success specifically against our expectations of ourselves, rather than just having some airy fairy idea of what we might fancy doing or achieving.
If you are struggling to decide on what to do – why not have a look at our free programs and decide if there’s a goal in there for you! Because if there is, there’s a ready made plan for you too!
After we have identified our goal we then need a plan. Preferably a plan that is written down.
A plan is like a map, it gets us from where we are now to where we want to be, it gives us something to focus on daily, to keep our eyes on the ultimate prize. It stops us floundering in the world of ‘I’m on it!’. If you have a specific plan, you know what you need to do, and when you need to do it.
A plan increases your chances of success. But like a map, you have to follow it. If you have a good plan, and you stick to it, your chances of success are really high. But you must have a good plan, so that you are putting all your energy into the right things.
When writing your plan, it’s good to work backwards from your goal to where you are now, so that you can plan what steps or actions you need to take.
Really think about what needs to happen for you to achieve your goal. If your goal is a weight loss one, make sure your plan is focused on nutrition. If your goal is fitness related, then your focus should be on exercise.
Get it the right way round – don’t spend all your time and effort working out, if ultimately your goal is to lose weight, because the focus has to be on the nutrition to get the calorie deficit.
Plans should be simple, straightforward and easy to follow.
Essentially, a plan is a series of mini goals for you to tick off every day on the way to the success of your short to medium term goals, so treat them as such, and celebrate your success daily. This will keep you motivated for the longer term.
Plans should have minimal steps to keep them simple, with checks and balances along the way, so that you can measure and track your progress, and adjust the plan if necessary, to keep you on target.
Example plan for weight loss
Weight loss is all about the nutrition. So we need to focus all our attention on this. Forget about the exercise, this is all about the food.
Example goal – I want to lose 2 stones, before my works Christmas party. The party is on Friday 20th December, which is 14 weeks away.
Working backwards – 2 stones is 28 pounds. 28 pounds split over 14 weeks is an average loss of 2lbs a week. So you now know what your weekly goal is 2lbs a week weight loss.
You could also introduce some intermediate goals too, and celebrate with a little treat as you hit them:
w/c 28th October goal – 1 stone gone
w/c 25th November goal – 1 stone 8lbs gone
w/c 16th December – 2 stones gone! And party time!!!
So now you know the goal(s) in detail, how exactly are you going to do it?
To lose 2lbs a week, you need to stick to your calorie allowance like glue, and make sure you get that calorie deficit. Remember! You are not going to exercise your way to 1000 calorie a day deficit!
So your plan simply becomes:
- I will eat to my calorie allowance of 1300 calories every day without fail, by tracking the calories consumed exactly in my Check It Before You Wreck It book.
- My breakfast will be 260 calories, my lunch will be 390 calories, my evening meal will be 390 calories and my total snacks will be 260 calories.
- I will put all my energy into making sure I hit my calorie allowance.
- I will get weighed every week at Be Strong, to make sure I am on track.
Or you could sit down with a pen and paper, and come up with a list of meals and snacks that fit in with your calorie allowance, and use the meal planner to help.
Tales of the unexpected
There might be occasions that throw you off plan unexpectedly (especially as we get nearer to Christmas), and you need to claw some calories back to make sure you are hitting your target, but we have something for that too.
If you know you are going out at the weekend, and will be having food and a few drinks, then use the ‘Weekender plan‘, to lower your calories during the week, fitting your food accordingly, and splurge on your night out.
Equally, the weekender plan can be used in reverse, so if you end up going out and having a splurge unexpectedly, when you haven’t quite planned for it in the days leading up to it, you can pull it back by using the lower calories in the days following the splurge, to regain your deficit.
Example plan for a physical activity goal
Having a goal of a physical activity can only be achieved by training. So your plan has to be a regular training program, aligned to the activity that you want to participate in. There’s no point swimming three times a week if you want to take part in a cycling event.
Whilst there is benefit in cross training, to improve all over fitness and core strength, the majority of your training has to be based upon the main event!
So lets take the Woodland Warrior relay event, that some of our members are taking part in on 20th October as our goal.
We need to know what we want to achieve in detail. The event is a 2.4 mile relay event, where teams of four will be expected to complete as many laps of the 2.4 mile course, in twos, within the 4 hour time slot. The course is on trail and woodland with natural obstacles and natural inclines. Laps can be completed by running or walking.
So from this we can ascertain that in 6 weeks, we need to be able to walk at least 5-6 miles comfortably, we need to include some woodland trails and hills in our training, to make sure we are used to the terrain.
So, depending on our start point, our plan might be to walk three times a week, building the distance over the 6 weeks. We might also want to include some cross training in to build our core strength.
Example goal – I want to be able to walk 5 miles comfortably over rough terrain, to be able to participate in the Woodland Warrior on 20th October
A good plan would be:
- I will walk 2 nights a week and one day at weekend – Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Week Commencing Tuesday 7pm Thursday 7pm Sunday 9am 9th September 2 miles 2 miles 3 miles 16th September 2 miles 2 miles 4 miles 23rd September 3 miles 3 miles 4 miles 30th September 3 miles 3 miles 5 miles 7th October 3 miles 3 miles 6 miles 14th October 3 miles 3 miles EVENT DAY
My routes will include woodland trails and hills.
- I will attend 2 Be Strong sessions and take part in the HIIT session each week – Wednesday (6pm) and Saturday (9am)
- I will fuel my body like an athlete. Eating 5 pieces of fruit and veg a day, lean meats and fish, and complex carbs like pasta and rice. I will hydrate with water, and keep a check on my calorie intake.
Following through with the plan
A plan is only any good if you actually follow through with it, so when planning training days, times and routes, you will have to consider other things going on in your life – work and family commitments, other events that you might be attending. It might be that you need to get up early to get your training in, or watch your favourite TV show at a different time than usual. Make sure that you can actually deliver on what you plan to do in your training program.
There may be things that throw you off plan, that come up unexpectedly, so you will need to juggle things and maybe move things around at short notice to make sure your training happens. If the event scares you, and takes you out of your comfort zone, then the training is the only thing that is going to get you to the start (and finish!) line.
As you can see, having a plan is the only thing that guarantees that you get to where you want to be, so this week we want you to write a plan. If you don’t know where to start, have a look in the shop at the programs we have for you to download for free, or ask us!
It’s the perfect time of year to refocus, so seize the opportunity and maximise your motivation to get you to where you want to be by Christmas.