Coach’s Corner: Planning Your Way Towards Health Goals
So you chose a health goal and are ready to change. Now what? Sometimes, despite your motivation to practice new healthy behaviors, life gets in the way. Planning your actions in advance can help you avoid common barriers like lack of time, convenience, or energy.
Know your body.
Some people are ready to get moving right when their morning alarm goes off, whereas others are more alert and motivated in the evening. Some people get hungry between breakfast and lunch, and others get hungry between lunch and dinner. This is your body telling you what is best for it! Schedule your workouts based on what time you prefer, and come prepared with a healthy snack, like Greek yogurt or a fruit and nut bar, if you usually get hungry at a certain time.
Treat your healthy behaviors like appointments.
Use your calendar to schedule healthy activities like exercise, cooking, and meditation. Putting these behaviors on your calendar will give you a set time to focus on them without distraction. This also allows you to worry less about when to fit in your workout or meal prep and focus more on the healthy habits that you’re forming.
Plan for potential roadblocks.
From time to time, we all experience roadblocks. Brainstorm things that could potentially get in the way of your healthy behaviors, and develop a plan for handling them when they come up. Armed with a plan, you will know exactly what to do to move past these roadblocks and continue practicing your healthy habits.
Track your successes and struggles.
Keeping a journal or log can help you identify your struggles and recognize your successes as you work toward a goal. Write about how your new healthy behaviors are going and what emotions they are making you feel. This practice can help you understand what strategies are and aren’t working for you. Your journal can also help motivate you to keep up the hard work, since you’ll be able to look back and see everything you’ve accomplished so far!
Take 10 for reflection.
Give yourself 10 minutes at the end of each week to reflect on what you did and how you felt. What have you accomplished this week, and where does that leave you now? How are your new healthy behaviors helping you to improve your life? Stick to a regular time and place for this reflection. If you need help remembering, set an alarm on your phone as a reminder.
It’s easier to make progress when we’re focused, well-prepared, and have a plan. And in this case, the more simple planning we can do, the less stressful and overwhelming achieving those goals can be.