The will to prepare….

All change

As we enter the next phase of the governments road map out of lockdown, our lives will start to change again, so it’s time to start thinking about how we will manage our lives and our goals, in the coming weeks and months. A huge weapon in your arsenal will be your willingness to prepare. Because you have to be prepared to prepared. It takes time, and it isn’t always easy.

Bobby Knight. Getty images

The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.Bobby Knight, American Basketball Coach

And it is the will to prepare that is most definitely the hardest thing to find at times.

Preparation is most definitely the hardest part in achieving any goal that we set for ourselves. Preparation is weeks, months and years, potentially, of training for exams, sporting events or competitions.   It is early mornings, late nights, exhaustion and stress. It is sacrifice, commitment, dedication and motivation. Four words that we say a lot at Be Strong. But all of these things, we are capable of and we don’t need a special talent for. We just have to take a step back, think logically about what we want to achieve and set a plan in motion.

With lockdown easing, it’s time to refocus, and find that motivation again, if we had lost it. Count how many weeks it is until Christmas, or significant birthdays, is there another event coming up that we might actually get to attend and  you want to wear a particular outfit for, or is it really just time to get your act together for you, your family and your combined futures?

You have to give yourself permission to do this for you, to give you a better future, to spend more time with your family in the long run. It isn’t selfish to want to be a better version of yourself, or to improve your health to live a longer and more healthful life with your family.

Prior preparation prevents poor performance

The 5P’s – yet another one of those acronyms that are banded about on training courses at work, but whilst we may well roll our eyes at such, there is more than a grain of truth in it.

So when it comes to getting this job done, what does preparation actually look like?  What sort of preparation is going to get us the results that we want and ultimately on the right path to our goal?

Preparation is having your kit ready, on the days when you have planned do some exercise on your way home from work.

It’s planning what you are going to have as meals throughout the week, doing the big shop for all the ingredients and prepping for work lunches, and evening meals ready to serve when you get in from work, rather than running to the shops at the last minute when you are starving hungry and ready to eat whatever you first set your eyes on.

It’s examining your habits and triggers and using the things we have discussed in the last few months about breaking habits and stretching ourselves, and then preparing for those tricky moments. Working out strategies to deal with the things that can throw us off track.

Preparation and planning is perhaps seen as boring, particularly for those people who like to be impulsive and spontaneous.  But, preparation is proactive rather than reactive, allowing you to deal with situations as they arise, that will keep you on track to your goal, rather than it knocking you off kilter and sending you into a tailspin.  Being prepared means you can solve problems quicker because you have the tools in your arsenal to deal with them.

Lets look at this in more detail with an example….

“I am going back in to the office as of next week, and the kids activities are starting up, so I don’t know if I am going to be able to eat well, or do my  planned exercise…”

What could go wrong with this situation?

  • Rushing after work to get stuff for tea, shopping whilst hungry and making poor choices
  • No kit ready so you don’t complete planned exercise
  • No idea where I will be at lunch time, so eating food on the go, picking up poor choices at drive through fast food outlets or sandwich shops with no calorie info.

What would this lead to?

No idea of how many calories I have eaten and therefore no idea if I am going to see a successful week on the scales next week. Because of that, its quite likely I will swerve the scales, or maybe even not bother trying at all.

To plan and prep for this situation would mean:

  • Know your calorie allowance for each day and each meal occasion and tracking food and drink in the meal tracker before you consume any of them.
  • Spending 5 or 10 minutes looking at your work and home commitments for the week, on a Sunday afternoon, then setting your exercise schedule around that.
  • Doing your weekly shop on the weekend, making sure you buy food, that will allow you to make meals and snacks suitable for all the family, within your calorie allowance.
  • Preparing your lunch to take to work, the night before.
  • Preparing an evening meal for the following day, so it’s ready to cook/eat when everyone gets in from work.
  • Having a selection of healthy, low calorie snacks to hand to keep you topped up and stop you reaching for the biscuit tin or the chocolate bars
  • Having a go to list of emergency lunch stops and know what you enjoy eating within your calories there, just in case.
  • Making sure you have got enough appropriate kit washed and dried for the weeks exercise plan.
  • Getting your kit ready the night before and put it in the car, so that you can do your exercise on the way home from work, or have it next to the bed, to put on in the morning, if you are going to exercise early morning.
  • Agreeing childcare with partners/parents at the beginning of the week so that you can complete your exercise plan.
  • Making sure you don’t have a late night to enable you to get up early and feel like you have the energy to achieve all you want to in a day.

Take Action!

As things change with the lockdown, it’s important, at each stage, to review your plans and take stock of what you have been doing and think about how you might need to adapt to keep things up in the future.

Ask yourself, what you were doing over the last few weeks and months that brought you success, and what and how can you carry that over into the next phase of lockdown? What problems or hurdles might come your way? How will you manage this?

  • With your food, it actually might actually be easier to eat better as things return to normal. Our lives will undoubtedly get busier again, which will mean that we snack less, if we are in the house for shorter periods.
  • As we get busier though, it will mean that we have to get a lot more organised, and we will have to spend time each week planning food, activities and childcare.
  • Our social lives will probably improve with pubs and restaurants reopening, meaning we have less control over the food we eat, and perhaps will drink more alcohol than we have been doing.  So we must plan for this, in the way we distribute our calories for the week – think about using weekender plan, or adjusting your calories appropriately.
  • With regards to exercise, if you were out walking or running  a few times a week or even daily, then you will have to start planning your new exercise routine. Your friends that you have been exercising with may have other commitments too, so you will have a lot more things to factor in. Maybe it’s time to get a new goal.  But take the time to build a new, most importantly realistic, schedule with time for you to achieve your goals.

As normal life returns,  we want you to think about how you can become more prepared to boost your success to the next level. Take some time out to look for your opportunities to become more prepared and do it!

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