Making changes for better health can be difficult and frustrating. You can have the best intentions, and still be sidetracked by events seemingly out of your control. A good plan gives you detours, exit strategies, and safety zones when hazards or roadblocks stand in your way.
Oftentimes we think about planning in the context of what to do if certain things happen:
- How am I going to resist temptation when my coworker brings in cupcakes?
- What do I do if I can’t afford my medication?
- Who will I call if something goes wrong?
But what about plans for everyday action, like kicking a bad habit or achieving a lifestyle goal?
It’s easy, when temptations arrive, to fall back into unhealthy patterns, but a good plan can be your lifeline on that slippery slope.
For example, let’s say you’re trying to get more active. You’ve joined a gym and your Tiny Step of the week is to go walk on the treadmill after work every day. Now let’s also say your usual after-work routine is going home and watching TV on the couch.
If you go home after work to change into your gym clothes, you might see your couch and be tempted to sit down. From there the power of habit kicks in: chances are, you’re also going to be tempted by the remote.
But what if you planned ahead and kept an exercise bag in your car? Now you’re all set to go to the gym on your way home. You can plan to go to the gym after work, and go directly there. You’ve minimized your risk of getting sidetracked along the way.
The most powerful plans are the ones you follow.
Keeping your goals specific and achievable is key. Typically, the easiest way to replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones is to focus on one healthy behavior at a time and make that one goal your priority.
If you fail, consider it a step in developing a stronger plan.
Your Health Advisor can help you understand your obstacles, and find creative ways to overcome them. With a well thought out plan, you can prepare for anything you can even redefine your routine.