Plan to Fail

Are you a planner?

Or are you more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of guy or girl?

I can honestly say I am a planner. I plan everything. From meals for the week, to my workouts and which days I will go skiing. I know which days I will write these posts for you (Monday, first thing in the morning in case you are wondering) and when I will check email and reply to phone calls. I know when I will work on the conference and when I will book appointments for meetings.

Here’s a story that might explain it all for you.

When Alexandra and I made our first trip to New York a few years ago we knew had a list a mile long of things we wanted to see and do in NYC. There was the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, Madison Square Garden, The Late Show with David Letterman…and well you get the idea. For a city that never sleeps there are endless options to see and do while in the big apple.

So someone had to come up with a plan. And here’s what I did.

I photocopied a map of Manhattan on a legal size piece of paper. I then located all the places we wanted to be. For example, there was an ‘x’ showing where our hotel was, and one for Rockefeller Centre, the Empire State Building and any other landmark or event we wanted to do. Next I started to arrange these plans in terms of location and days they would take place. For example, some Broadway shows don’t have performances on certain nights. So we made sure that if there was something close to Broadway we wanted to do we would coordinate to do that on the same day we would be in the area for the show.

Deep thoughts on the NYC subway.

Deep thoughts on the NYC subway.

Anyways, you get the picture.

Lucky for us, the trip was a fantastic success!
But what if it hadn’t been? What if a whole slew of things went wrong?

A lot of the time, we need to PLAN for failure.

What I mean by that is that not everything will go according to plan 100% of the time.

Consider all the ways your training sessions could get derailed.

  • Your training partner could cancel.
  • The pool where you swim laps could be closed for cleaning.
  • You might forget your running shoes for your lunch time run.
  • Your knee might be a little sore from multiple days of skiing on the weekend.
  • You may need to go straight into work rather then train before work.

These aren’t even all of the things that could get between you and a great workout!

Not to mention all the things that could mess up your nutrition. Or your sleep. Or your positive outlook and belief in the process!

It can almost feel as though the universe is conspiring against you. Maybe you weren’t meant to have it all? Maybe you should just be happy with the extra 30 lbs you carry, the low back pain and the poor state of health you are in?

Instead of giving up and throwing the towel, I want you to prepare for failure. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Think of one aspect of healthy living (exercise, nutrition, sleep) that repeatedly gets pushed to the side, missed altogether and or is not being addressed in your day to day lifestyle. (For some people this might be missing their workouts. For others this might mean poor quality nutrition. And for others this might be a lack of quality sleep.For some people they may be missing all three elements)
  2. For now, just pick of the above. Then:
  3. Think of as many contingencies for when your ideal plan breaks down. Let’s use missing a morning training session as an example. Here are your contingencies.

                  * Keep your lunch hour open in case you can get in a different training session.

                  * Keep training gear at work or in the car for a lunch hour workout.

                  * Look to be as efficient during the day to ensure finishing work on time for an afternoon training session.

                  * Instead of meeting a client for coffee see if they would be interested in going for a run, a ride or some other type of

                  * Have training gear in your car when work takes you on the road. Meetings get cancelled, pushed back or finish early.
Be prepared to take advantage of this opening in your schedule.

                  * At the end of the day put the kids on a sled and go for a walk or a jog. It’s time with the family and it allows you to stay
on track with your training.

There are many more ways you can have a plan in place for when training doesn’t happen as it is scheduled. Instead of allowing this and doing nothing about it recognize that you may need to go to plan B, or C or…until you find something that works for you.

Once you have enough contingencies in place for exercise look to do the same thing for your nutrition. Pretty soon you will be out of excuses and will be enjoying the results of all your efforts.

Planning is great. Just don’t forget to plan for failure as well.

Chris [fb-like]



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