It’s a small, four-letter word and it isn’t even a bad one, though most of us shy away from it! When we do, sadly we also fail to reach our goals. I know you are eager to know what that word is. It is PLAN. It also means: map, chart, diagram, sketch, and arrangement. Simple enough, right? Well then why do people not plan for their success?
This is a subject that constantly comes up. We all have heard the quote “when you fail to plan you plan to fail.” And it means that when you don’t set goals, wants, or intentions (or whatever you like to call them) you have no way of getting what you want!
With my coaching clients, we set specific plans together. They know exactly what they are going to do, when and how. When I work with my in-person fitness groups, they also set a plan for how they are going to reach their goals while they are in my program.
Let’s take weight loss… or even eating better. You might not need to lose weight but I can almost bet at one point or another in your life you have said “I would like to eat better” or a variation of that. (However, if you haven’t, please reach out to me. I’d love to hear how you eat healthy on a regular basis; you are an inspiration!) Most people say “I need to lose weight, I want to lose 10 lbs, I want to eat better, I need to eat better…” you get the idea. And then that’s all they do. That is as far as they get and then wonder why nothing happens. Oh sure, they may go to the gym, walk, or cut back on certain foods, but there’s a missing piece. There is no target, no date for when they will do this, and there is definitely no action plan.
Let’s see if I can’t help you move forward. Here are three steps (I’m keeping it simple) for you to use to make your plan, follow through and experience the results of your plan. By the way, this can be used for anything that you want to get or have in your life. My big AHA was when I realized that I can use planning to get anything I want in my life – eating better, exercising more, and planning for a trip or an event. Anything!
Step 1 – State what it is you want. This is your goal, intention, target, purpose, and aim. Get out some paper, a notebook, or your laptop and write this down. This is your starting point. Be as descriptive as possible. “I will lose 10 lbs by eating healthy and exercising.” State your end date, and make sure you give yourself ample time but not too much time. You want it to be do-able but not so far into the future that you forget or don’t have anything to push you.
Step 2 – Create your roadmap. This is where you write down all that you will do to reach your goals. Using the goal above, here is an example: “I will lose 10 lbs by eating healthy and exercising. I will do this by going to the gym 2x a week and taking a cycling class and a muscle conditioning class. I will plan out my meals and snacks for the week so that I know what I am eating and can shop for healthy ingredients. I will drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. I will keep track of my actions on my log sheet that I will create to hold myself accountable. I will check in with my accountability partner weekly (or daily if I feel I need more support). I am successful and I am already feeling great. I am happy with my results.” Make sure you end your plan with how you want to feel by using an “I am” statement. It will help you stay on target to reach your goals!
Step 3 – Be accountable. Another word for accountable is responsible. Be in charge of your results and your destiny. If you can’t trust yourself to do this, then you need to have a trusted friend or hire a coach. This is the part where the rubber meets the road. If you aren’t taking your steps, why? When we tell others our goals, we almost always follow through. It’s key to not try this on your own. I recommend getting a notebook for you to track your actions and the results. If you say you are going to drink 6 glasses of water a day (remember to be specific), how do you know that you did it? Write it down; record it in a log sheet. Keep yourself on target with useful tools like logs, plus they make it fun to report to your accountability partner.
That’s it! The best part is that by keeping track of your goals, you see the results even if the scale didn’t budge. You can see you are working at your goal and that by itself is such a great feeling! It is all there and you can course-correct and make changes when you see something not working and do more of what is working. That’s a beautiful thing!