It sounds so simple…think ahead. But most of us are very preoccupied with thoughts of the present. Being present is a great discipline to adopt, but thinking ahead is also a discipline that, when acted out, yields strong results.
It is truly in the details. Whether signing up for a 5K, shedding 10 pounds, or spending more time with loved ones, getting there is in the details. Let’s take a quick walk through with these examples of what I am suggesting in truly thinking ahead.
Signing up for a 5K:
You have your training schedule printed out, and you have paid your registration fee. You are officially committed! But what if you are training outdoors and you hear on the news that the next week is going to be bitter cold or raining? You can easily jump this hurdle by having a back up plan. Even if you hate the treadmill, this is a brief time when you need to make it work. Keep your running shoes in the car and hit the gym for a few indoor training sessions. Perhaps one of the local gyms has a walking track that you can pay a drop-in fee for this week if you hate the hamster and wheel thing. If a close friend or neighbor has a home treadmill, don’t be shy! Ask them if you could come over and use it for a few days. No matter what your solution is, you can rest easy knowing you will be able to continue your race training and ensure that the race day itself will be an amazing experience because of the level of commitment you held to!
Losing 10 pounds:
Tonight you are meeting up at a local brew pub with some of your co-workers for a Christmas dinner. You know that many of the choices at the bar will not be on your diet plan. You would like to enjoy a brew with your buddies, and we all know that drinking can lead to extra calories that could slow your weight loss efforts. How can we think ahead here? First, I would recommend checking out the online menu. Decide ahead of time what you are going to order and stick to it! Maybe instead of the pub burger, you choose a huge salad with grilled chicken. Don’t even look at the dinner menu once you arrive-you have made your choice, now go with it! Next I suggest that you adjust your calories for the day. Do not starve yourself all day so that you can gorge at dinner, but do be mindful of your calories throughout the day when going out at night. You still need to stay within your recommended calorie count in order to continue to lose. Adjust your lunch portion or opt out of your snack today. You are ok with this because you know that you’re going to have a satisfying dinner and drinks very soon. Let’s say you just can’t order the salad. I encourage you to be ok with that choice and the effects of it. If you are choosing to order the famous mouth-watering burger or other higher calorie entrée, think ahead by asking for half of your order to be boxed up before it even hits the table. Ask the server to bring out your half, and later your box. Not only will you consume less this evening, but you have lunch for tomorrow!
Spending more time with family:
This week is crazy. Between closing the loop on end of the year stuff at work, getting my Christmas to do’s done, getting my workouts in, the ballet recital, and oh yea…the car needs an oil change…
Sound familiar? How can you stay committed to your goal of seeing the fam more amidst a hectic week? If you know that the week is starting out busy and only going to get busier, you may want to start your Sunday off with a priority list. I know, it seems that everything has priority! However, one trick that was told to me by a mentor is to create buckets. The most important things go in priority “A” bucket, those less pressing go into the “B” bucket, and lastly those things with the least amount of urgency get dropped into the “C” bucket. Let’s say your workouts are important to you but you feel this week they belong in the “B” bucket. Think ahead by perhaps heading to the gym in the morning before work, or staying committed to 3 short but intense days this week instead of your usual 5 days for an hour. You could also log some burn by doing some walking around the office on breaks and at lunch. (Yes, every step counts!) You will be glad you didn’t completely neglect this priority, and will be really glad when this decision frees you up to get home earlier! You can also think ahead by asking for help. Have a family meeting before the week starts and let everyone in on all that needs to be done this week. Asking for help is key in managing stress and all that life requires of us. Even if they grumble, take what you can get! Friends can be of great help as well. Know who and when to call!
I know that you are getting the idea! So now it’s time to reflect on your life, your schedule, and your goals. How and where do you need to think ahead? I know for myself when I am practicing this principle I am much less stressed and I am more successful in maintaining and reaching my goals. Let’s all try it today!
Check this challenge off on your Holiday Challenge Calendar 2013!