Plan Ahead For Success

If someone would have told me 2020 would look anything like this, I would have thought they were pitching some kind of sci-fi/horror/drama movie.  How could anyone have predicted anything remotely close to what has happened this year?  Alas, here we are.

How does one prepare for a global pandemic?  It is unprecedented.  We did not and still do not know how long this will last or if it will make another appearance down the road.  As a result, many of us turned to panic in the initial stages.  Our lives were in total chaos and to keep from shutting down completely, we turned to all things comfort.  Food, activity, clothes, you name it!  

Initially, most of us did nothing; we were consumed by it all and paralyzed by fear of the unknown.  Toilet paper became a hot commodity, along with, eggs, milk, and flour.  As we began to adapt, moms and dads became schoolteachers and teleconference experts.  Bored from the confines of home, we got out in our neighborhoods for fresh air and exercise.  We adjusted to a new normal.  We developed a routine.

When it comes to goals, the biggest reason people fail is because there is no plan.  Without a plan and a strategy for achieving goals, failure is eminent.  In the quarantine life of 2020, failure was not an option; we had to do what was necessary to survive (goal).  For many, this was as simple as navigating the new normal of day-to-day life.  The same philosophy can be applied to non-quarantine life, i.e., “normal life”.  What is normal?  According to Merriam-Webster, normal is “a fluid sort of thing” but we have grown to know it as a standard or regular pattern.  Although it may change from time to time, it is what we know as routine.

Without a plan for how to achieve goals in life, how will you get there?  What are the tasks necessary to achieve your goals?  Is there a primary task that must occur before all others?  What is the timing to achieve goals and does that depend on ordered task completion?

One of the first things I teach my nutrition clients is the importance of a plan.  To successfully achieve any goal, we must first establish a list – mental or physical (my favorite) – of tasks that will help us get there. Once you have a plan, it is easy to develop a routine.  Once a routine is established, success is certain to follow.  A good plan helps eliminate stress by removing the decision (or indecision as is often the case) process…which is good for your health.  Let’s face it, we certainly don’t need any additional stress in our lives!  Too many choices often create a sense of overwhelm, which leads to decisions that do not support our goals.

to do list

My top tips for removing obstacles so you can stay on track towards achieving your goals:

  • Create a to-do list.  Keep it simple here: the shorter the list, the more likely you will be to complete each task.  Don’t forget to create your meal plan too!
  • Establish timeframes to complete each task.  If you do not complete a task in the allotted time, don’t sweat it.  You can pick up where you left off tomorrow.
  • Set boundaries.  When you are working on a task, focus only on that task.  Do not allow yourself to be distracted.  Devote 100% of the time allotted to each task.
  • Schedule “fun time”.  Let’s be honest, we all gain a little productivity when there’s a prize involved!

Yes, the pandemic and resulting quarantine sucked, but we will get through it.  If we learned one lesson through it all (aside from the importance of washing our hands) it is adaptation.  The faster we can create a plan (adapting), the easier it will be to manage.  Any bumps in the road become negligible and dealt with easily, rather than bringing things to a screeching halt.

We all learned to walk one step at a time.  A good plan will help you achieve your goals one step at a time.  Remember, it is a marathon not a race. 

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