New Year, New Plan for Heart Health
Outlining the steps you need to take to achieve your health and weight loss goals is critical to your success. This includes recognizing your big vision, setting a goal, outlining your action plan, identifying your motivators and achieving the expected outcome.
Your action plan is your map for moving from where you are to where you want to be. It’s all the steps you’ll be taking. After you’ve outlined your action plan, you need to pick one or two steps on which to focus. Trying to change too much at once can set you up for failure, so identify your first two goals or steps to tackle.
It is important to be specific about how you are going to make your action plan a reality. Here’s an example of what I mean: I commit to walking 45 minutes three times per week starting this week.
That is a great action plan step. But you need to go further by asking yourself questions like the following:
- What days of the week are you going to walk?
- What time of day?
- Are you going to have to get up earlier, go to the gym on your way home from work or alter your lunch schedule?
- If you have children, are they going with you? Or do you need to line up a sitter?
- Do you have good walking shoes?
Try to think of everything that could affect your decision to walk on the days and times you’ve set for this exercise.
Next, grab your schedule. This could be your wall calendar, appointment book, online calendar—whatever you use to manage your time. Add your appointment to walk just as you would anything else.
After you complete the activity, check it off your schedule. This is a great visual tool you can use to monitor your progress. If you don’t accomplish a goal, you can look back and see when you accomplished your action step and when you did not. This can help you identify why you weren’t successful and what you need to change to meet your goal.
For instance, if you intended to walk Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and met that goal Mondays and Wednesdays, but always seemed to miss Fridays, it’s time to revise your action plan—change the day, change the time, etc.
The key is to take exercise activity as seriously as any other appointment you make and do whatever you need to do to ensure that you stick to your plan.
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