If there is anything I have found about success when it comes to reaching a goal, it’s that you need to have a plan. The second most important thing I have discovered? You have to have a backup plan (or two).
Like the before flight instructions showing multiple exits out of the plane in the event of an evacuation, you must have several plans of attack in case your best laid plans get derailed. Knowing that nothing will get in the way of your exercise or diet plan is very empowering.
From weather interfering with that epic bike ride you had scheduled (hello tornado-esque wind and rain!) to forgetting your perfectly packed (and healthy!) lunch at home…backup plans are a MUST.
I always keep several workout plans on hand that can be done inside – at home, even – if the weather is too dangerous to venture out (think ice storms). Sure, I may have really wanted to go for a run or a ride that day, but the reality is sometimes time or weather make that tricky (I am not one to run in the dark on my own. Safety first, folks!) so if I already have a plan B in place, I am more likely to not scrap the workout.
Same goes for meals. When traveling or at work, pack healthy meals and snacks. Some great ideas include cottage cheese, vegetables and hummus, hardboiled eggs, fruit (apples, grapes, bananas) beef or chicken jerky (if you eat meat) and judicious servings of nuts such as walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts. Cook healthy meals with more servings than you need at the time; refrigerate or freeze portions to take with you to work or to serve on evenings when you don’t have time to cook a healthy meal.
Stock your fridge with salad staples; I always keep the following on hand: spinach, bell peppers, hard boiled eggs, carrots, hard cheeses, and tomatoes (amongst other options) so that I can make a salad in a snap. I personally love THIS option in the spring and summer! I am a vegetarian, but for those of you who like meat on your salad, pre-cook some chicken breasts or salmon and slice up so they are ready to throw on a salad during the week.
What happens if your best laid plans fail, and you forget to pack your snack or you get off of work starving and an empty fridge? I always know of a few options for take out where I know I can get a healthy meal. (Chipotle is a favorite of mine.)
Don’t play the victim and use the excuse of forgetting your meal or not preparing a back up training option derail you from your goal. Plan, then have a backup plan. Not only are you more likely to have success, you are also more likely to feel empowered and in control of the situation. You will have the confidence that nothing will get between you and your plan(s)!
Challenge: Write down the three most common obstacles that get in the way of your goals. Now for each of the obstacles above, write down three backup plans. Forget your lunch? What is a healthy option you can “go to” in a pinch? Have a late night meeting that often interferes with your Monday night Crossfit class? What plans can you make to still get your training in that day? Wake up 30 min earlier? Sneak your workout in at lunch? If weather would make it impossible to get your training down outside or for you to hit the gym, do you have a few bodyweight or workout options at home for use “in case of emergency”? Do you know you always get hungry at 3:00pm, and that’s when you reach for the sweets? How can you counteract that? What healthy snacks can you keep on hand when you feel the urge to nosh? Create an action plan with plan a B (and C and D!) so you never have an excuse not to make a smart choice!