“If you want to make God laugh – tell him your plans.”
Obviously Fitegic Planning is about just that: planning – specifically planning related to attaining and sustaining a healthy weight. But whether you’re trying to lose weight, or stay within a healthy weight range, it seems that life gets a kick out of ruining our plans.
I don’t care what your situation or circumstances are: rich or poor, young or old(er), stay-at-home Mom or working parent – they have a tendency to get the way, or completely keep us from, doing the things we need (want) to do – especially when it comes to weight loss and healthy weight.
Life just seems to be too complicated to add all the “more things” necessary to successfully obtain our objectives and goals. This isn’t only true for those whose schedules are packed. Even semi-retired Empty Nesters like myself with what must seem like all the time in the world to a young working parent with three kids has to deal with life throwing them unexpected curve balls.
When we plan to achieve objectives and goals – we must “expect the unexpected” in order to succeed. But how can you plan for something you don’t know is going to happen?
Queen of analogies that I am, try thinking of it this way:
At any given time there are over 4,000 planes in the air over the United States and between 8,000 and 13,000 world-wide. Each one of these planes follows a plan and schedule for take-off, flight pattern, and landing. The plan for the individual planes is designed in the context of all the other planes’ plans and schedules. Obviously, each plane has a specific objective: get to where it is supposed to be going. Each plane also has a specific goal: get to where it is supposed to be going on time.
While we generally always get to where the plane is supposed to bring us (at least eventually) – quite often (some would say most often) we don’t get there on time.
But we get there – and we get there thanks to Air Traffic Control – and these technicians are experts at expecting the unexpected.
Not only do all those planes have carefully constructed flight plans – those thousands of plans are constantly monitored by Air Traffic Controllers via radar, computers, and radio transmitters. These tools allow them to adjust flight plans when some unexpected variable occurs.
At all times Air Traffic Controllers must maintain a safe distance between planes – not an easy task when things are constantly changing and not “going according to plan”. For instance, the hated “holding pattern” that keeps us in the air ad nauseum is what’s keeping us from crashing into another plane on the ground if our pilot attempted to land without the requisite safe space.
Some of these variables are outside the abilities of human control – such as the weather. Some of these variables are the result of human decisions – such as an airline deciding to hold a plane until they get enough passengers on the plane and delay take-off (we know they aren’t supposed to do this, but we also know they do this all the time.)
That plane we are getting on to take us to a specific destination represents our objective: to attain and sustain a healthy weight. Having that plane get us there on time represents the individual goal (such as sticking to our menu consistently) that results in achieving our objective over time.
All those other planes represent all the situations and circumstances that we juggle in the process of following our plan to attain and sustain a healthy weight.
And that holding pattern? You guessed it, that represents the inevitable “weight loss plateau” where our scale refuses to budge ad nauseum.
But the point is that the plane gets us to our destination. Maybe not on time. Maybe it had to change its flight plan and fly over Idaho instead of Arizona and that took a little longer. Maybe we got stuck in a two hour holding pattern (“I can SEE the airport, if only we could LAND at the airport!”)
Plane crashes, while huge news, are extremely rare and this is thanks to Air Traffic Controllers. On the other hand, either “giving up” on losing weight or “gaining it back” is unfortunately all too common – a 1 out of 5 success rate is the most positive statistic I could find.
We certainly wouldn’t accept 1 out of 5 planes crashing just because something unexpected came up and the Air Controller said “Oh well, that plan didn’t work out. I should have known it wasn’t worth the effort of trying.”
The point is that we must all, in a way, be our own Air Traffic Controller when it comes to achieving our objectives and goals. We must monitor and manage our plan constantly. The tools we use to do this may be different than those of the Controller, but their function is the same. In essence our plan must include the tactic of regular and consistent scanning in order to identify, and make the necessary adjustments.
It may require a detour: “I can’t go to the gym after work due to an unscheduled business meeting. I’ll substitute marching in place while I watch the 7 o’clock news.”
It may require establishing a holding pattern: “OK, so the scale isn’t budging. I’ll make a renewed effort to be more honest when I keep my food journal and put $10 into my new wardrobe fund for every week I keep to my menu.”
Take a minute to scan the rest of your day right now. Do you see any blips on your radar screen? If you do, consider what adjustments you need to make – and make them.