A plan, by definition, is intentional. Most of our approaches to fitness, eating, and overall health are NOT intentional.
A simple health plan includes some measure of planning, goal-setting, and forethought. You must make conscious decisions to move yourself in the right direction.
The second principle that should guide any simple eating and exercise plan is intentionality. (Read about the first principle here)
Lack of intentionality gives way to procrastination. Procrastination gives way to the couch, Netflix, and a bowl of popcorn. The couch, Netflix, and bowls of popcorn has the capability of destroying momentum (although they can also be a fine reward at the end of a day when you were able to knock out your main health habits like a boss).
A definition –
Intentionality: the fact of being deliberate or purposive.
I love the word intentional but frankly I’ve never stopped to consider its meaning.
To be intentional is to be deliberate and to have purpose.
Purposive means simply that you have good reason, a strong ‘why’ behind your efforts.For a simple health plan, here are elements that make your efforts ‘intentional’
- A Goal Orientation
- A Plan
- A Schedule
- The Ability to Say No
Have a Goal Orientation
I’ve never been successful when I’ve tried to make improvements that aren’t driven by a some sort of goal. Even if your goal isn’t structured in the most effective way, a strong picture of what the purpose behind your efforts are is vital.
For instance, if you are getting older, yet your children are still younger, then your effective ‘Why’ might be to make sure you can play sports with your children in their teenage years. That is a very clear picture of a preferred future. That can drive you.
Others might be shooting for a specific weight, an event like a 5k, 10k or marathon, a weightlifting personal best, or some other clearly defined, easily measurable, time-bound goal.
Regardless of what your purpose is, an intentional health plan needs to have a clear one in order to sustain itself over time.
Have a Plan
Even if it’s only a plan to walk 4 times a week for 30 minutes. Being intentional requires a plan.
The plan can be simple or it can be somewhat involved (I’d work up to complexity or else you’ll violate principle number one of a simple health plan: Simplicity).
From Couch to 5K to Weight Watchers to Whole30 to sitting down with a notebook and pen and writing out what you know works for you and what you know you can accomplish for the upcoming week, pick a plan and go for it.
Iterate as you need to, but you must have a plan in order to keep your efforts intentional and to avoid procrastination.
Don’t be overly elaborate, but have a plan.
Put It in Your Schedule
If it ain’t in the calendar. It won’t get done.
Don’t just wait for exercise inspiration to hit you upside the head.
You must schedule it.
My wife makes a mental note for each day the night before as to when she will go on a walk or schedule or weightlifting time with her workout buddy.
Others know that every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, they will hit the gym at 5:30am.
I, currently, am kind of a wimp and just want to make sure I get 1500-3000 steps in before doing anything else in the morning.
Learn to Say No
I won’t drone on about this, but if you are trying to start a new push toward health, wellness, and fitness, then you will have to say ‘good-bye’ to some stuff.
You might have to stop the 2-3 glasses of wine a night. You might have to decrease the sitcom consumption. You might have to put a hobby on hold for a bit while you build a new, more vital habit.
You know where you need to say “No” with emphasis and commitment.
How do you keep your workouts intentional?
Are you committed to a plan and a schedule and a goal or do you allow your fitness to just kind of take care of itself (and have found this hands-off approach ineffective)?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments (or in a reply email if you get this by email).
Who else realizes that all of these ideas are plagued with a blinding case of the obvious? This guy knows.
But if you keep your plan simple and intentional, my last 3 principles might not even matter.