Exactly How to Create an Effective Action Plan
Starting a new habit is one thing. But, changing an existing habit is a whole new game, and not one that is easy to win.
Read This: How to Chang a Habit in 4 Steps
We have to take time and think about what we want to change, and why. Write out a brief plan of action, and you’ll have a solid foundation, and a better chance of success.
How to Create an Effective Action Plan
- First, dissect What your “big picture” goal. Losing 5 pounds is a small goal of the big picture goal of leading an active lifestyle.
- The Why goes deeper than simply, “to look better”. Imagine yourself living in your big picture world, and ask yourself how it will make your life more enjoyable. Maybe your big picture goal is to lead an active lifestyle. So, your Why could be that you want to keep up with your kids. Or, go on vacations with your spouse that require a lot of activity.
- The How contains your general goal actions. If eating more cleanly is your big picture goal, your How consists of eating out less, cooking more and/or reading food labels.
Set them. Crush them.
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- Be very specific in the habits you want to change. This keeps you focused, and from getting overwhelmed. You don’t have to have 3. One goal is a good place to start, and once you’re comfortable with that goal, you can add another!
- These goals should all be relatively small and tangible. Instead of, “I will cook more”, make your goal, “I will cook dinner 4 nights a week”, or “I will bring my lunch to work 4 days a week”. If you never cook at home, make it 1-2 days and go from there. These goals must be feasible.
- Let’s say your goal is to cook 4 nights a week. The “by doing” section could be, “I will meal plan for the week on Saturday and grocery shop on Sundays.”. Or, if your goal is to run 4 times a week, your “by doing” could be, “I will join a run group, and do 3 weekday runs and 1 weekend run.”.
Read This: How to Set SMART Goals
Barriers & Plan
- Life happens. Stress happens. Your kids get sick, you get sick, you take on a more demanding job or your in-laws come stay with you. These occasions call for a back up plan. What has derailed you from your goals in the past? Come up with a plan/action to combat it. This way, when you’re stressed and your first line of defense isn’t plausible, you have a go-to action at the ready.
- For example: “If I get home too late to get dinner ready, then I will order from one of these healthy take-out places”. In this instance, when you fill out your worksheet, look through local delivery places and circle or bookmark 3-4 healthy options from each. This way, all you have to do is pick from a list of things you’ve already deemed healthy, instead of grabbing fast food.
- Another example; if your goal is to workout at your local gym 3 days a week, but you’re stuck at home with a sick child, your back up plan could be to do a Youtube strength training video.
Read This: How to Create a Plan B For Your Workouts
Having a defined goal and action plan clearly laid out is empowering! Print yours out, and place it somewhere you will see it daily. You’ll find your willpower increases by seeing your big picture goal so often. By doing the leg work when you aren’t stressed or pressed for time, the more willpower and resources you will have when you find yourself tested.
If you want assistance in determining appropriate goals, or would like help creating and sticking to a plan to get you there, I would love to work with you! Reach out at email@example.com today for a FREE 20 minute Discovery Call to see if health coaching is right for you.