We have all heard the quote, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” If there is one thing that has helped me the most in reaching my goals, it is having a plan. Whether it’s planning your meals the night before so you don’t end up in the fast food lineup at lunch or writing down your goals to keep you accountable – small manageable changes to your daily routine can lead you to big changes. We all build habits, some better than others, and the key in changing those habits is being able to plan, stay accountable and therefore succeed.
- Plan/schedule your workouts. Write it down, set a reminder on your phone and commit like you would any other type of appointment. Find a time that works best for you and try not to force it in a time that may cause you to miss it (i.e., during lunch break you won’t always have time, if you’re not a morning person you’re not always going to be motivated to get up every morning to workout).
- Meal prep. Set out a day of the week to plan and prepare your meals ahead of time. This is probably one of the most important yet most neglected tools for success. Having your meals ready to go will help stop you from grabbing food on the go or making impulsive decisions when you get hungry. Having snacks at your disposal is also important. Protein bars, fruit, rice cakes, trail mix and veggies are always good to have on hand to keep hunger at bay.
Invest in a good water bottle. Buy a large jug style water bottle that makes it easy to track how much water you are drinking throughout the day. Often times we mistake hunger for being thirsty so it’s important to stay hydrated. Set your water bottle on your counter or by your door every night to remind yourself to bring it with you in the morning. Don’t be afraid to write motivational sayings on your water bottle to help keep you motivated to drink throughout the day.
- Track your progress. Buying a journal or using social media to keep a log of your progress are both great ways to keep yourself accountable. Not only is tracking your physical progress important but taking notes on the amount of reps/weight that you are using is also important for improvement. Building muscle is a result of progressive overload over time so tracking is crucial in making sure you are always moving forward.
- Shop for success. Set out a time where you sit down and write out a grocery list. Without a plan it’s easy to get side tracked by all of the temptation. Pen and paper may not work for everyone so there are now apps that will allow you to create shopping lists right on your phone.
Keep things exciting. If you’re always going to the gym to do the same routine day in and day out, it will start to feel like a chore. Fitness should not feel like a punishment. Changing up your routine can really recharge your motivation. Go for a jog outdoors, try a new sport, go swimming. You may even find something new that you enjoy.
- Know your excuses. You know yourself better than anyone else, you also know your excuses. Being prepared will help you work around them. If you know that a ‘few chips’ turns into eating the entire bag then something has to change. Instead of having a whole bag of chips in your pantry, avoid that by portioning out your chips into snack sized plastic bags. Being able to enjoy the foods you love is important, the key is being smart about it.