Planning really is the key to success when it comes to our health goals. Unfortunately just hoping one day we will have the time to get healthier will not happen. Life just seems to get busier and busier as we accumulate more responsibilities. So the only way to have the time to exercise, plan meals, stop and eat well and sleep well is to plan it into our schedules and vehemently protect our plan. There will be multiple factors that will attempt to threaten all our hard planning work but this is where the word ‘No’ comes in handy. We have to learn to be a little selfish in this regard and realise that, ‘I am the only person who can look after me and if I do not look after myself then I will not be able to look after anyone else.’
I have seen so many men and women suffer poor health that just seemed to ‘creep up on them’. In reality, life just passed them by and they forgot to plan into their schedules what was a priority to them. I suggest writing a weekly plan and sticking with it. Of course you can make adjustments to the plan as the need arises, but as a general guide the plan will help keep you on track. Post your weekly plan on the refrigerator, that way you will be reminded of it whenever you are tempted to forgo your health goals.
How to Weekly Plan
Keep in mind when you write a weekly plan that you need to allow margins in your schedule between appointments and activities so that you are not stressed out trying to get from one thing to the next. This creates unnecessary tension and removes the enjoyment out of life. Try to get to appointments 5–10 minutes early and practise deep breathing or meditation while you are waiting rather than checking emails on your mobile phone.
There are also several other elements to an effective plan to consider:
Make time – you have to make the time to write down your plan in advance. This will initially take about an hour of your time. Your plan can then be reviewed monthly to see if it needs to be altered.
Keep it simple – keeping your plan as fuss-free as possible will help with being able to stick with it.
There is No Failure – when it comes to making and sticking with your plan there will be times when you just will not be able to. That is okay and part of life. You have not ‘failed’ per se, you just need to get back on track as soon as you are able to.
Co-ordinate schedules – if you have a partner and/or dependent children you will need to consider their schedules as well. It surprises me how busy schooling and extracurricular activities have become. It is not uncommon for me to hear Mums or Dads say that every afternoon and on the weekends their time is taken up with sporting and other activities. If you find yourself in this same situation consider that you probably only have two options: You either do everything yourself, including all the driving to and from activities and all the cooking and cleaning and forgo your own health goals, or you outsource and ask friends and family to help. You may organise,
for instance, a car pool with another family, hire a cleaner, or even just ask your mum or trusted neighbour to mind the kids while you go for a jog around the block.
Planning our week helps to keep us focussed with our health goals.
Holistic Medical Doctor, Author ‘Healthy Habits, 52 Ways to Better Health‘