Make it happen:
The power of planning
in getting results
Planning makes perfectMarch 30, 2021
Planning makes perfectMarch 30, 2021
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail
We live in a fast-paced world. Without planning, our days, weeks and months get so easily taken over by a barrage of tasks and appointments. Without us even realizing, our schedules have been hijacked, and our well-intended goals slip into the gutter. Knowing what we want to achieve is only the starting point of the path to success. We also need a solid understanding of why that goal is important to us and how to get there, and then work towards it intentionally and consistently.
If you want to develop a quality plan, follow the five steps below to give yourself a better chance of success:
Step One – Understand your why.
Ask yourself: Is this goal really important to me? Why?
Are you motivated intrinsically (from within) or is your drive extrinsic (linked to reward or avoiding punishment)? A goal worth achieving is rarely easy to attain. Understanding the driving force behind the goal taps into a greater sense of purpose to motivate you to hang in there when training sessions get tough. Often, the process of showing up day in and day out is harder and less exciting than expected. There is nothing sexy about that feeling of ground-hog day, but consistency gets results. We need to dig into why achieving this goal is important to us, specifically, so that when the process feels mundane or challenging, we can remind ourselves why it’s worth the fight.
Step Two – Be clear on the process.
Ask yourself: Is this goal realistic?
Do I need equipment/resources (e.g. gym membership or coach)? How much time do I need to commit and how often? You need to get your head around the nitty gritty details of the process. List all the aspects that need to be considered and reach out to any friends or experts that can help you understand what achieving this goal will require. Understanding the process very quickly helps you to identify whether or not the goal is realistic, exciting and something that you’re willing to commit to. For example: you may be attracted to running a 100-mile race, but in fact the 16–20 weeks of consistent, long distance running needed to complete it injury free may not excite you or fit into your schedule. Time to adjust your goal or your plan.
Step Three – Commit the time.
Ask yourself: When, specifically, will I make time for this each day/week/month?
You are in. You understand the process and what’s required. Now you need to allocate specific times in your schedule to allow for consistent action towards your goal. At the start of each week book the session times into your calendar and, when possible, lock this in with a friend or a coach to increase accountability. To support your training consistency, be aware of weeks that will be more demanding in terms of training load (volume or frequency, particularly) and attempt to reduce your external commitments. If, for example, you have a major work event or holiday coming up, plan sessions realistically around your available time, and adapt your future training to match.
Steps Four and Five – Remove any barriers and ensure it’s sustainable.
Ask yourself: What’s standing in my way that I can shift?
Studies show that our environment often trumps willpower when it comes to long-term behavior change, so take the time to adjust your environment to support your goal. Make the process seamless by weaving training into your life, aiming for it to be as convenient, affordable, time-efficient and social as possible. Be conscious of factors that are making showing up difficult and be intentional with commitments.
Ask yourself: Can I continue this habit or training load without burning out or becoming injured?
Whether you are training for a particular event, like a half marathon, or working towards long-term health and fitness changes, it’s important to make sure that your weekly routine is sustainable, both physically and mentally. A healthy routine should be enjoyable and energetically replenishing, balancing the increasing stress placed on the body with adequate recovery. Without monitoring this balance, it’s easy to end up burnt out or laden with overtraining injuries, setting you back to square one. Consistency is King when working towards a specific outcome, so try gently increasing volume, intensity or frequency each week, and monitor how the body responds. Slow progress allows you to make adjustments and avoid the crash and burn.
If you are driven to achieve a particular goal, take the time to plan out the process. A good plan is a powerful tool in helping you understand what’s required, giving you a road map to follow, fast tracking results and setting you up for success.