My dad likes to say that life is what happens when we’re making plans. My clients certainly find this to be true. They want to keep consistent with healthy habits but something always seems to block their best intentions.
You know what though? So much of life is more predictable than we pretend. That is, we know we’ll be disrupted at work. And sometimes need to work late. We know the weather won’t always “cooperate.” It’s really not a surprise when kids create a mess or need to be picked up from some activity at the last minute.
So, why not plan for these things?
The problem isn’t the problem. The problem is thinking there shouldn’t be problems. Planning for – expecting – ideal circumstances sets you up to not keep consistent with healthy habits. It’s one of the biggest reasons I see for people getting stuck in the lose-regain-lose-regain weight cycle.
To execute consistently on your plan I recommend having a backup plan. Here are three options to consider as you create yours:
- If not A, then B: This is about alternatives. “If it’s dark when I get home and I don’t feel safe going for my jog, I’ll ride my stationary bike. If my friend can’t make our weekly walk appointment, I’ll listen to my favorite podcast to keep me company.”
- Minimum standard: Setting a baseline minimum prevents all-or-nothing from taking over, particularly when you have an extended situation that makes it easy to put your healthy habits on the back burner. “No matter what, I exercise for 5 minutes every day. Whatever’s going on, I have a piece of fruit every morning.”
- Have a plethora of options: Have a list of 10 different exercises (e.g. lunges, planks, jumping jacks, even stretches) that you can combine together for a 10-minute workout. Develop a list of go-to meals that you can throw together at a moment’s notice (I talk about this in my Back on Track Challenge that’s coming up next month – let me know if you want to be first to be notified when it’s starting). Then keep certain foods stocked that you know will fit the bill.
These are ideas to get you going. Now brainstorm several in each category. (Even come up with your own category and share below!) If you regularly take action on your healthy habits – or try to – this will be a significant boost to your consistency.
Ultimately, you want to avoid being surprised by things you could readily predict. Be flexible and plan for contingencies. That’s how you create the lifestyle that “gets you there and keeps you there.”