On Resolutions (3): Planning for Awesome

By Jorge Tendeiro, 04/01/2016

Okay, you’ve identified your actual motivation and true goal that you have a burning desire to do. Then, you went further and wrote it down in a clear and precise statement. You wrote this on your mirror, wall, door, fridge, car. It’s everywhere you go.

It’s there to remind you the end goal; your destination. It’s in your handwriting and with your signature. It’s your word of honour, a personal contract with yourself. If this goal is what you desire and not a passing fancy or a spurious wish, then you’ll have no problem honouring the contract with yourself.

Then, you backed this up with a visual reminder by sticking pictures of your goal alongside your statement. Whether it’s a place you want to visit, a project you wish to build, a sport or activity you want to do or even the clothes you want to wear in your slimmer body. Pictures and visual cues give you a clearer goal to aim and strive towards.

Anything worthwhile requires precise planning

In this section, your aim will be to set up the foundation, so you’ll know how to proceed. A foundation is your planning stage and essential to your success. You’ll know ahead of time what’s involved, and what you’ll need to do to stay motivated. The process involves breaking down your end goal into its individual parts.

Planning is an absolute, non-negotiable part of the process. Don’t skimp on this part. Besides, if you have chosen the right resolution for the right reason, this step should be fun and exciting, not a chore. Think about it; you’re actually planning what you wish to happen.

I’d like to clarify something here first. I’m using a weight-loss example to demonstrate the five principles so that you can see the thinking behind it. Also, losing weight and getting healthier type of resolutions are the most common made every new year after the Christmas and NYE binges. It makes sense to demonstrate the principles through a goal desired by the majority. But the five steps work on any goal. So, let’s continue with our sample resolution: size-loss.

Your clear and precise statement is — Size X pants/dress.

Okay, you’ve decided not to focus on weight because that’s arbitrary and fluctuating. Forget the scales. They cause more frustration than necessary. One week you lose X kilos, the next you lose grams. It’s demoralising and not productive here. Rather, you want to be a particular size again, like you used to be.

Three primary things need to be planned: You’ll need to probably eat or drink less, improve the quality of your food and drink intake, and do some form of physical activity.

Halve your meal size. You’ll feel better for it.

Mostly, I’ve noticed a pattern across the board that meal sizes could be reduced, even halved. As a personal example, I’ve noticed that as I got older and less active, I habitually ate the same sized meals I did when I was younger and much more active (and growing). Or, mindlessly filled a large plate or bowl, and ate it all because it was there.

Every time I finished these unnecessarily large meals, I would feel too full, lethargic and dull. Considering that a meal was meant to energise me so I could do other things, the over-eating habits were acting like a stupefying sedative. Add to that the after dinner desserts, between meal snacks and high sugar drinks, and you have a lot of energy going in with nowhere to spend it on.

From this observation, you have your first parameter: halve your meal size.

You may feel like you’re going to starve if you do this, but, although you may feel hungry initially, remember it’s your habit that’s protesting. You’re going to ignore this initial hunger signal because you now know it’s a false alarm. If you get desperate, you can eat high fibre foods in between meals to settle those hunger pains and simultaneously improve your digestion.

Replace your worst food choices with natural options

The next thing you can do is replace high energy foods with more nutritious options. You know what they are. Everyone knows what good, healthy food is. We’re inundated with examples on television, magazines, social media. Make the choices.

You don’t have to change everything, but change your worst foods for something better. I think it’s better to change smaller habits then one big one straight out. That’s been my experience anyway. Besides, the fact that you’re halving everything you eat and drink is already a massive step towards your goal.

Sport is the best exercise

The last thing that I think is crucial is to find an activity that you simply love to do. It may be physical because you need to get back to doing what your body was designed to do: move! Unfortunately, people seem to think that the gym or exercise specific classes are the only options when it comes to “exercise”. They’re not.

There’s this thing called, “Sports”.

You remember, that’s the thing you used to play with your friends when you were young, and exercise was a side-effect of playing.

Was there a sport that you excelled at or enjoyed in your younger days?

  • Ball sports: Soccer, Football, Rugby, Touch Football, Basketball, Netball, Volleyball.
  • Bat Sports: Cricket, Baseball, Softball.
  • Combat Sports: Martial Arts, Boxing, Wrestling
  • Water Sports: Swimming, Diving, Skiing, Water Polo, Kayaking, Sailing.
  • Body Sports: Athletics, Gymnastics, Dancing, Rock Climbing, Hiking.
  • Racket Sports: Tennis, Badmington, Racket Ball, Squash.
  • Winter Sports: Skiing, Snowboarding, Speed Skating, Ice Skating, Ice Hockey
  • Cycling, Golf, Fencing, Equestrian, Weight Lifting, Hockey, Archery, Bowling and so many more!

Two questions to consider are: What did you love to play (that was fun and not a chore) and are you solo or team person?

If you’re a social person that has more fun in a group than alone, you should pick a team sport to join. This way, you’re more likely to stick with it, because those team members will become your friends and depend on you turning up. That’s great motivation right there. Team sports require less personal focus than solo sports but demand wider attention of the game and others.

On the other hand, if you’re a solo player, you can pick a sport where you’re still part of a club, but your performance is evaluated on its own merits. Personally, I’m a solo player, but I loved being around others doing the same thing, although I didn’t like depending on a team.

My sports were Gymnastics and Martial Arts. I would look forward to seeing and training with my fellow gymnasts and martial artists. Some became life-long friends. Solo sports are for those that are self-motivated and enjoy the self-development through skill growth.

With team sports, I’d end up getting frustrated or bored, so I’d never stick with it. Others I know, however, love team sports and the camaraderie that comes with it. On trying solo sports, they’d get bored and quit. Choosing the right sport is vital to your “stickiness”.

The great advantage of getting back into a sport is you’ll be exercising as a result of playing the game with others. You won’t be going to “exercise”; you’ll be going to train and play.

A creative craft is a salve to the soul

If a sport isn’t possible, take up another activity, hobby or project that you love to do. Having a creative interest is important because you’ll need to find joy and fulfillment in something rather than the taste of food. Often, our lives are hectic, stressful or just feel plain boring, and the only solace we feel we have is when we sit down and eat.

You may start or learn painting, writing, gardening, craft, sewing, learning any new skill, pottery, musical instrument, singing, photography, videography, etc. The choices are endless.

Furthermore, you don’t have to do these alone if you’re a social person. There are clubs and associations for every conceivable undertaking. Take a friend, partner or your children with you if you feel self-conscious turning up alone the first time. But make sure whatever you choose has three components:

  • You must love the activity. It must be one where you lose yourself in its practice. If you don’t love doing it and get bored quickly, you’ll return to eating as a way to feel fulfilled again.
  • It must be skill-based. If your activity has no room for improvement or you can’t get better at doing it, you’ll probably end up getting bored quickly.
  • You must be able to create something. We humans are creation machines. We get a serious amount of pleasure from making something and saying: “Hey, look what I made”. Creating is so important that I can’t emphasize it enough. The joy you’ll receive from creating something is fantastic. Whatever you create remains as a physical signature of you.
There’s another important feature of taking up a sport or craft: psychological reset.

The focus of performing a task that you enjoy, whether it’s running with your teammates down a field or planting a personal herb garden, is that for those moments, your mind is preoccupied with a personal, fun task. It’s joy to a weary heart. Do it. You have absolutely nothing to lose and so much more to gain.

Okay, you’ve discovered what you’re passionate about, you’ve written it everywhere as a clear and precise statement, and you’ve broken down the steps to achieving it. You’ve planned what you’re going to do to achieve your goal, which in our example, is fitting into a size X clothing with style. You’re gonna bring sexy back!

In the next section, you’re going to take all this preparation and put it into action. You’re going to start the physical process of achieving your goal.

See you soon.


PS. If you found this article useful, please comment, “like”, rate and share it with your friends. Share the passion!

Originally published at socraticlife.com.au on January 4, 2016.

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