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Weight Management, Part V: If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail (part B)

Back on track with our weight management series. In case you missed out, here are the previous four parts of our series:
Part 1: “If You Do What You Always Did, You’ll Get What You Always Got”
Part 2: Setting Emotional Goals
Part 3: Start Easy, Build on Success
Part 4: Mastering the “Basics”
Part 5: If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail (part A)

So we’re continuing today talking about contingency planning, and how applying the concepts of “S.M.A.R.T.” to your contingency plan can have a tremendous impact on your success. Let’s go ahead and breakdown this pneumonic shall we?

S – SPECIFIC:
Your plan to reach your goal must be specific… ask yourself questions, MANY OF THEM! The more specific you are, the more you can narrow down just exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, and it will make your plan that much clearer and that much easier to devise. Ask yourself:
What do I want to accomplish?
Why am I doing this? What Benefits will I achieve after accomplishing this goal?
Who am I doing this for?
Where will I be able to do this?
When will I have the time to do all of this?
How long do I anticipate this goal to be accomplished?

Here is a GREAT response to answering these questions:
“I want to lose 10 lbs of body fat (the WHAT) in 16 weeks (the HOW). I am doing this because I will be able to move around easier, I’ll feel more confident in a bathing suit next summer, and I will have more energy for myself and for my kids (the WHO and the WHY). I will do this either at my home, at the gym, or down at the track, depending on what my workout is for the day (the WHERE). I will do this either before or after work (the WHEN).

Boom.  Everything is laid out nice and clean, no questions left on the table.

M – MEASURABLE:
The second part is that your goals MUST be able to be measurable! Think about it… if you can’t measure progress, how do you know when you’re successful? I’m sure you’ve heard of this before… “What gets Measured, gets Managed”.   A measurable goal will tell you all you need to know about your progress. One of the things that I will start doing with my clients to improve accountability is to measure progress more frequently… in the form of body fat percentage measurements, girth measurements, and scale measurements.  I’ll also let them know when I see performance improvements with certain exercises that they may not have paid particular attention to.  This might manifest through better control within a certain exercise, better Range of motion, longer set duration, heavier weight used, etc.

A – ACHIEVABLE:
This should probably be listed first before any of them, but then the pneumonic wouldn’t really make much sense. ASMRT anyone? Bueller?

Bottom line, if you’re goal is not achievable, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It is important that the goal be a stretch, but not out of your potential for reaching it.
In terms of weight management, healthy weight loss = 1-2 pounds a week. If you’re one of the lucky ones that tend to drop pounds more quickly in the beginning, 3-5 pounds isn’t abnormal, although much of that could be coming from water weight. As you get deeper and deeper within the months to accomplishing your goal, weight loss will become harder and plateaus will arise, trust me. The first 5-10 lbs are ALWAYS a lot easier than the next 5-10 lbs, and these are a lot easier to lose then the next 5-10 lbs….etc. Set ACHIEVABLE goals, that are WITHIN your means.

R-RELEVANT
A relevant goal is entirely consistent of things that are most important to you. If something is TRULY important to you, then you will find a way, to make it happen… period. No time to work out? Weights are typically $.50/lb on any discount sports outlet. Get some dumbells and a kettlebell and get your workout in your living room. No time to prepare meals for the week? Turn off the tv for 15-20 minutes, get in the kitchen, chop up some vegetables, bake some chicken/tuna/salmon/whatever lean meat choice you please, mix up some beans/quinoa with your favorite seasonings and a squirt of lemon juice….If it’s truly relevant to you, sacrifices must be made to make it happen.

T- TIME-BOUND
Last but not least, set a time frame, for two reasons: 1) Setting deadlines keeps the goal on your mind more frequently.  It’ll put the impetus on goal-oriented action to occur.

At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  This is a necessary process we all must go through to learn how your body best responds.  This also means that you’ll have set backs every now and then that will accompany your successes.  S.M.A.R.T. contingency planning will ensure a stronger identification with your goals, as well as a much stronger affinity towards those goals. Sustained effort and intention will be what brings you there.

Have a great weekend everyone!

MG

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