Day 54--WOOP Example #2

Welcome to Day 54!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

WOOP Example #2

Introduction

Here’s our next scenario.

This snag point is about how you want to run three miles twice a week, but you’re only doing it once a week. 

Let’s figure out this snag point together. You can download your own worksheet here.

Snag Point Scenario 2--WOOP

WOO

First we’ll do the WOO part of the WOOP.

W--wish--I want to run three miles on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

O--outcome--This outcome would allow me get in shape for the 5Ks that I enjoy doing with my husband.

O--obstacle--But, I only ran on Tuesday this week. I felt mad at myself.

Root Cause

Now we’re going to find out the Root cause or why this snag happened in the first place.

Now write down the obstacle again: I only ran one time this week.

Why? Because I was tired when I came home from work. 

Why? Because it had been a long day, and I didn’t feel motivated enough to go. 

So if I look back at the 13 snags I find that the Root Cause is Lack of Motivation or Willpower.

P is for Plan

Now we’re onto the P of WOOP.  P is for plan so you can find out “What could I do differently in the future so I don’t get snagged?”

To come up with your plan, you need to use  the reflective questions.

These questions will help you figure out what solution will help you to actually fix the snag point. 

The first question is about Attitude. 

(What was my underlying thoughts or attitude that led to this scenario? What would be a more helpful attitude or thought to have? )

I was thinking that I have to feel motivated to work out. But, motivation or willpower is not a reliable way to get myself to do something over the long term. Also, it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. I don’t have to run three miles. I could go on a small walk with my dog every evening instead.

The next question is about your Preferences.

(Am I trying to do something that works with my preferences?  If the behavior isn’t aligned with my preferences, how can I better align it with my likes or dislikes?)

This is not aligned with my preferences. I prefer to jog in the morning rather than in the evening when I get home. I could change my running to the weekends when I have more time. 

The next question is about your Physiology. 

(Am I trying to do something that works with my body--metabolism, energy levels, hormones, or chronic diseases?  If the behavior isn’t aligned with how my body works, how can I better align it with my physiology? )

This is not aligned with my body. I was wanting to run three miles after work. That isn’t a realistic amount for me. I’m still building my mileage up. Maybe a two mile run is more appropriate. 

Also, If I think about it, after work is a low energy time for me. Instead, I might go on a 20 minute walk after dinner.  This would help to bring down my blood sugar, and if I invite my husband, we could talk and connect as well. 

The next reflective question is about your Lifestyle. 

(Am I trying to do something that works with my lifestyle--job, family, schedule, responsibilities, or hobbies? If the behavior isn’t aligned with my lifestyle, how can I better align it to make sense for my life?)

This is aligned with my lifestyle. I do have time in the evenings to run, but not the energy to do it.  I do have time to run on weekend mornings instead. Maybe that’s a more sensible option for my lifestyle. 

The next question is about changing your Environment. 

(Is there a way to change my environment--Make the healthy choice the lazy choice, and the unhealthy choice harder?)

One way I could change the environment, so that I run right after work, is I could change into my running clothes before I leave work.  That way, I stop at the running trail on my way home and don’t get trapped at home. 

The final question is about your Systems. 

(Do I need to add something to my system-- a plan, a habit, a rule, a strategy, a skill, or a mantra?)  

I need a better workout schedule that works with my preferences and physiology, so I need to figure this out. I need to have a system for this. 

I will make a new habit-- I will run two miles first thing every Saturday and Sunday before breakfast.

I will make an Instant Habit--If dinner is done, then I will take the dog for a walk. 

Summary

Now we’ll  just review by writing up a summary that takes into account the important things you uncovered from the planning questions.

When I get home from work, I feel unmotivated to go on a three mile run. In the past, I just try and willpower myself through it, which only works ½ the time.  

Willpower or motivation is not an effective strategy to make myself do something consistently.  

I prefer running in the mornings when it’s cool. 

I have more energy to run in the mornings. I have enough energy to go on a walk after dinner, but not to run.

I have time to run in the mornings on weekends. I have time to walk in the evenings.  Plus, it would be a good way to get the dog exercise and connect with my husband.

I could change my clothes at work to make running after work easier.  But, I think I will run on the weekends instead. 

I will add two new habits to my system.  I will walk after dinner every night. I will run two miles on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Snag Tips

Gets Easier

I’m not going to pretend that the WOOPing process is easy. It takes practice. It takes brain power. But, it is super effective, and it will get easier with time. 

Pick One Snag

If you discover five different snag points in one week, it would be overwhelming to act on all five of them at once. Pick the one that would make the biggest impact, and then just work on one. 

Over time you’ll notice that you have less and less snag points.  Eventually, they’ll peeter out.

Use it for All Your Goals

The other amazingly cool thing about this process is it can be used for any goal in life you have.  Use it for your business goals. Use it for family goals. Because this is brain science, this process can be transferred to anything you’re working on. 

Work on It Together

Let’s work through your first snag point together at our next appointment.

Make sure that at the beginning of the appointment you tell me that you’d like to work through a snag point together. 

Share

In the future, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and let me know what you’ve discovered or when you get stuck. Sometimes it’s hard “to see the forest for the trees” in your own head. That’s why having a coach is so beneficial--I’m not you!  

But more than that, I have worked with hundreds of clients. That means not only do I understand the research on this stuff, I also have experience seeing what happens in real life with real people. 

I can’t wait to see all the progress you make when you put the snag point process into play.  

Mission Freedom!

 
 
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Day 53--WOOP Example #1

Welcome to Day 53!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

WOOP Example #1

Introduction

I know you want to see how this works, so let’s get to it.

Let’s run through some example scenarios of WOOPing.  

By WOOPing you contrast your dreams with the realities of what snags are in the way of making those dreams come to life.

And, then by asking the reflection questions, you’ll develop a realistic plan to get rid of those snags and reach your goals. You can download your own worksheet here.

Snag Point Scenario 1--WOOP 

WOO

First we’ll do the WOO part of the WOOP.

W--wish--I want to eat ice cream only on Saturday night for my Dessert Day.

O--outcome--This outcome would allow me to enjoy my dessert and still reach my health and weight loss goals. 

O--obstacle--But, I ate ice cream three nights last week. I felt really disappointed.

Root Cause

Now we’re going to find out the Root cause or why this snag happened in the first place.

Now write down the obstacle again:

I ate ice cream three nights last week.

Why? Because I was sitting on the couch after dinner and I wanted something sweet.  

Why? Because my husband was out of town and I felt lonely. 

So, if I look back at the 13 snags I find that the Root Cause is Emotional Eating.

Plan

Now we’re onto the P of WOOP.

P is for plan so you can find out “What could I do differently in the future so I don’t get snagged?”

To come up with your plan, you need to use  the reflective questions next.

These questions will help you figure out what solution will help you to actually fix the snag point. 

The first question is about Attitude. 

(What was my underlying thoughts or attitude that led to this scenario? What would be a more helpful attitude or thought to have?)

I could recognize that when my husband is out of town, I’ll feel lonely. Food doesn’t solve the problem of loneliness. Connection does.

The next question is about your Preferences. 

(Am I trying to do something that works with my preferences?  If the behavior isn’t aligned with my preferences, how can I better align it with my likes or dislikes?)

This is aligned with my preferences. I like to have dessert day once a week when my husband is there. 

The next question is about your Physiology. 

(Am I trying to do something that works with my body--metabolism, energy levels, hormones, or chronic diseases?  If the behavior isn’t aligned with how my body works, how can I better align it with my physiology? )

This is aligned with my physiology. I’m working with my body because if I eat dessert more than once a week, I don’t lose weight and it isn’t good for me. 

The next reflective question is about your Lifestyle.

(Am I trying to do something that works with my lifestyle--job, family, schedule, responsibilities, or hobbies?  If the behavior isn’t aligned with my lifestyle, how can I better align it to make sense for my life?)

This is aligned with my lifestyle. I like celebrating dessert day on the weekends with my husband, and he’s always home from traveling by Saturday night. 

The next question is about your Environment. 

(Is there a way to change my environment--Make the healthy choice the lazy choice, and the unhealthy choice harder?)

I could change the environment, so that I only buy or make single serving treats when it’s dessert day.  I could go upstairs after dinner, so I’m not around food. 

The final question is about your Systems. 

(Do I need to add something to my system-- a plan, a habit, a rule, a strategy, a skill, or a mantra?)  

My husband travels twice a month, so I need to figure this out.  I need to have a system for this. I will make a rule-- If my husband is out of town, I will go upstairs to my bedroom after dinner.  I will make an Instant Habit--If I feel lonely, I will Facetime him.

SUMMARY

Now we’ll  just review by writing up a summary that takes into account the important things you uncovered from the planning questions…

When my husband is out of town, I feel lonely at night. 

In the past I have turned to ice cream when I feel lonely.  I recognize that food doesn’t solve loneliness, connection does.

I enjoy my Dessert Day Rule of eating dessert on Saturday nights with my husband.

If I eat sweets more often than that, I don’t lose weight and my cravings spiral out of control.

Eating dessert once a week on Saturday nights with my hubby works with my lifestyle.

I will only buy or make enough sweets on Dessert Day for just that day.  Otherwise, we won’t keep sweets in the house.

I will make a rule that if my husband is out of town, I will go upstairs to my bedroom after dinner (instead of being near the kitchen).

I will also make an instant habit, that if I feel lonely, I will Facetime him and talk. 

Schedule Your New Habits

After you’re done figuring out your plan, make sure that you schedule your new habits either in the coaching app or in your phone or schedule.  You want to make sure that you actually get around to taking care of that snag point. 

Join me back tomorrow and we’ll go through one more example of a snag point tomorrow--one that doesn’t have anything to do with ice cream!

Mission Freedom!

 
 
 

Day 52--Time for a WOOP Plan

Welcome to Day 52!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

Time For a WOOP Plan

Introduction

Once you’ve got the root cause, then you can work on your plan.

Time to Plan

Just like there are different ways to not get  snagged on a hike (like going on a different trail or cutting off the branch), there are different ways to deal with snags on your journey. 

To figure out possible plans/ solutions, you’ll run your snag point scenario through the reflective questions trying to figure out…

“What could I do differently in the future so I don’t get snagged?”

Reflective Questions

attitude 

(What was my underlying thoughts or attitude that led to this scenario? What would be a more helpful attitude or thought to have?)

preferences 

(Am I trying to do something that works with my preferences?  If the behavior isn’t aligned with my preferences, how can I better align it with my likes or dislikes?)

Physiology 

(Am I trying to do something that works with my body--my metabolism, energy levels, hormones, or chronic diseases?  If the behavior isn’t aligned with how my body works, how can I better align it with my physiology?)

Lifestyle 

(Am I trying to do something that works with my lifestyle--job, family, schedule, responsibilities, or hobbies?  If the behavior isn’t aligned with my lifestyle, how can I better align it to make sense for my life?)

Environment 

(Is there a way to change my environment--Make the healthy choice the lazy choice, and the unhealthy choice harder?)

System 

(Do I need to add something to my system-- a plan, a habit, a rule, a strategy, a skill, or a mantra? Do I need to make the habit smaller and work my way into it?)  

Review

Ok, so now you’ve seen the question process that helps you identify an appropriate plan.  Let’s review how it all works.

Every time you run into a snag point, you log it in your Healthie app (as a selfie). Then, you forget about it until your weekly review.

When it’s the weekend and you’re working on your weekly review, you work through the WOOP  process with the questions on the worksheet to come up with a solution for your snag.  

REMEMBER--Snags + Reflection= Progress

Remember--snags + reflection = progress.  

Without a dedicated time to writing and getting this stuff out of your head, it’s just going to stay there in the subconscious part of your brain. 

The Assistant doesn’t care about evolving and getting better.  She just wants to be safe.  

The Boss is the one who wants to make progress, get better at snags, and finally reach your goals. But, she can’t do it if there’s no way for her to access this information from your Assistant. The WOOP process allows her to do that. 

With the snag point logging on a daily basis and the weekly WOOP process, you have a very powerful way to get better and better over time. 

I know this is a lot to cover, so let’s meet back tomorrow and we’ll work through some examples together.


Mission Freedom!

 

Assignment

Now’s the time to run a recent snag point through the WOOP Your Snag Points Worksheet to come up with a plan to get rid of that snag!

Download WOOP Your Snag Points Worksheet

 
 

Day 51--WOOP Time

Welcome to Day 51!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:


WOOp Time

Introduction

It’s WOOP time! 

We’re going to get rid of that snag point for good!

Weekly Review Time

Before you do any meal planning or any other parts of the Weekly Review, tackle the Snag points first. You want to be fresh and have your thinking cap on when you start the WOOP  process.

To do the WOOP process, I want you think back to that analogy about hiking. 

You were hiking along and you were caught by a thorny apple bush. (I did google it and there are crabapple trees/ bushes that have thorns. I love it when my analogies work out.)  

You took a photo of the bush and logged it.  

Now it’s weekly review time, so you’re coming back to that snag point and figuring out what to do about it. Let’s get our WOOP on!

WOOP Worksheet

Go ahead and use the WOOP worksheet to get rid of that snag.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Write down your WISH--What was your WISH? If everything went perfectly, what would have happened?

  2. Write down your hoped for OUTCOME--What OUTCOME would’ve happened if you  got your OUTCOME? What would be the benefit?

  3. Write down what OBSTACLE you had-- What was the scenario or mistake that happened keeping you from your wish? And, as part of this step, you’ll diagnose the obstacle.

  4. Finally, write down your PLAN--What will you do to get rid of that snag point once and for all? 

WOO—Step 1-3

Today we’ll work on steps 1-3--WOO--wish, outcome, and obstacle.  Tomorrow we’ll work on step 4--the plan.

The first three steps are really straight-forward.  Let me show you with our 3 days of ice cream scenario. 


Scenario 1

  1. WISH--What was your WISH? If everything went perfectly, what would have happened? I want to eat ice cream only on Saturday night for my Dessert Day. 

  2. OUTCOME--What OUTCOME would’ve happened if you  got your OUTCOME? What would be the benefit? This outcome would allow me to enjoy my dessert and still reach my health and weight loss goals. 

  3. Write down what OBSTACLE you had-- What was the scenario or mistake that happened keeping you from your wish? But, I ate ice cream three nights last week. I felt really disappointed.

Now we’re onto step 4--figuring out the root cause. 

Root Cause

Before we figure out the solution, we need to figure out what caused it. 

Just like different kinds of diseases respond to different treatments, different snag points respond better to different solutions. So, we’re going to figure out the diagnosis or the root cause before we figure out what to do about it.    

Kinds of Snags

So, what kinds of snags or root causes are there? 

A while back, I polled my clients and followers and asked them what types of things kept them from reaching their health and weight loss goals. The health and weight loss obstacles that they came up with are the most common snags points that you’ll run into:

  1. Cravings

  2. Stress (eating)

  3. Lack of Support from friends and family

  4. Lack of Motivation or Willpower

  5. Too many Celebrations

  6. Free Food temptations

  7. Work Obligations

  8. Emotional Eating

  9. All or Nothing thinking

  10. Fear of Missing out (on good food)

  11. Lack of Time/ Lack of Plan

  12. Hunger

  13. Hormones 

Look back at your snag point and see if you can identify which of the thirteen it is just by reading them.

Diagnose the Root Cause with why?

If the diagnosis isn’t obvious, then you can use the 5 Why process that we learned the first week of the program.  

State what happened and then ask yourself “Why?. Once you’ve answered that question, then ask yourself “Why?” again and again until you can drill down to which one of the 13 kinds of snags it is. 

You may only have to ask yourself “Why?” 1 or 2 times to get to the root cause, so don’t feel like you have to ask yourself “Why?” 5 times. 

Example of Root Cause

To see how to do this, let’s return to the scenario of eating ice cream on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights when you wanted to eat it only once that week.

Scenario 1

  1. WISH--I want to eat ice cream only on Saturday night for my Dessert Day.

  2. OUTCOME--This outcome would allow me to enjoy my dessert and still reach my health and weight loss goals. 

  3. OBSTACLE--But, I ate ice cream three nights last week. 

Why? Because I was sitting on the couch after dinner and I wanted something sweet.  Why? Because my husband was out of town and I felt lonely.

--Root Cause-Emotional Eating

Scenario 2--

  1. WISH--I want to eat ice cream only on Saturday night for my Dessert Day.

  2. OUTCOME--This outcome would allow me to enjoy my dessert and still reach my health and weight loss goals. 

  3. OBSTACLE--But, I ate ice cream three nights last week. 

Why? Because I was sitting on the couch after dinner and I wanted something sweet. Why? Because my husband and kids were eating it and I wanted some too. Why? Because I was afraid that they would eat it all before I had a chance to have some on Saturday. 

--Root Cause-Fear of Missing Out

Scenario 3--

  1. WISH--I want to eat ice cream only on Saturday night for my Dessert Day.

  2. OUTCOME--This outcome would allow me to enjoy my dessert and still reach my health and weight loss goals. 

  3. OBSTACLE--But, I ate ice cream three nights last week.

Why? Because I was sitting on the couch after dinner and I wanted something sweet. Why? Because I haven’t decided on what my Dessert Day Rule will be, so I let myself eat it every night.

--Root Cause-Lack of Plan


Here we have the same scenario--eating ice cream three nights in a row.

But, each time there was a different root cause.

And, each treatment option is different depending on the root cause.

See you back tomorrow for P-Plan. 

Mission Freedom!

Day 50--Snag Points

Welcome to Day 50!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

Snag Points

Introduction

Emergency Procedures

I want you to think back on that space journey that you’ve been on.  

The Jumpstart Program is like learning how to fly a spaceship. You’ve already learned the basics of navigation like how to make habits, rules, and strategies. Last week you learned how to make your weekly and daily plans. You’re cruising now. 

Soon, you’ll be ready to chart your own course and make your way to the Freedom Galaxy.  

But, before you head off, you need to learn your emergency procedures in case something goes wrong.  

Because something always goes wrong.  

Emergency Procedures on Auto-pilot 

My husband was a helicopter pilot in the Army and was in flight school when we first got married. It turns out that in flight school you don’t just learn to fly and take off.  No, ¼ of the time you learn to fly and the remainder of the time is learning what to do if something goes wrong. 

The Army wants pilots to have their emergency procedures on automatic. So, when they need them, they don’t have to use the slower Boss part of their brain. The pilots needed to have all those emergency procedures in the habit, subconscious Assistant part of the brain. 

So, they learned the procedures and then practiced, practiced, and practiced until they were automatic. 

I want the same thing for you. I want you to know how to fly, but also how to land safely when something goes wrong.

This week we’ll train your brain for the emergency procedures when something goes wrong, so you won’t crash and burn.  

Snag Points

Let’s say you're going on a hike. As your walking on the hiking path, thorny bushes seem to reach out and grab you. You get cuts and scratches from the thorns. It can be painful. Sometimes you even get caught and feel stuck. 

The same thing can happen on your health and weight loss path.  Sometimes you get snagged.

This is what I call a Snag Point. 

What is a Snag Point?

A snag point is when something unexpected reaches out, slows you down, causes pain and/ or stops you from continuing on your path. 

For instance, a snag point would be when you eat ice cream after dinner on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights-- when you wanted to eat only one dessert a week on Saturday night.

Another snag point might be that you’re staying up too late watching TV, so you don’t get your workout in the next morning.

Another snag point might be that you’re feeling frustrated and you want to give up because you haven’t seen as much weight loss as you wanted. 

You get the picture. Basically, a snag point is anything that you didn’t want to happen that  causes you to feel pain, not make as much progress as you’d like, or makes you feel stuck. 

The Power of Pain

Pain + reflection= progress. 

When you get snagged, it hurts. But, pain is an important signal that there is something to be learned. And if you reflect on that pain, you will almost always learn something important.  

The moment your snagged and in pain is the time to record the snag and what the pain is like.

But, it's a bad time to reflect and come up with a solution.  When you’re in pain, it’s hard to see things clearly. So, don’t diagnose it right away. 

Instead, when a snag happens, you’ll just record what happened and the emotions you’re feeling (anger, disappointment, frustration) and then come back during your weekly review to look closer at the snag.  

During the weekly review, you’ll notice if there's a pattern with that snag.  Was it a “one-off” snag? If it only happened once and it isn’t likely to happen again, you may not want to spend the time analyzing it. 

Is it something that you should work on because it’s happening a lot and will probably happen again?  Then, it's definitely a snag point worth focusing on.


Snags are Puzzles to Be Solved

It helps to think of snags more like puzzles rather than mistakes. The puzzle is “What would I do differently in the future so I don’t get snagged?”

Snags are important because this is where growth comes from. If we keep solving the puzzles, than we get better and we grow. Growth actually comes because there was something painful to fix.

I know it’s hard to make this shift, but snags aren’t something to be ashamed of. It’s just something to be curious about and to have compassion for yourself.  

No one’s perfect.

Snag points are going to happen. 

You just want to acknowledge the snag.  And, then realize that snag points are signposts to what you need to work on next. 

So, you’ll just retrain your brain to deal with your snag points and then keep on cruising towards your goal.

What to Do about Snags?

WOOP It!

Gabrielle Oettingen a researcher on success created a process called “WOOP” to help make dreams a reality. By using the acronym WOOP, it puts into place a scientifically based process to Be a Scientist


Basically, it helps you to reach your goal by defining the outcome. And, then it gets you fired up to make it a reality when you see the obstacle in the way and create a plan for it. 

Here’s the short version:

W is for Wish

O is for Outcome (or the benefits you’d like to get from the wish, your “Why”)

O is for Obstacles

P is for Plan

WOOP Explained

We’ll start with Wish.  What is the goal that you were trying to achieve?  That’s your wish.

Now think of the Outcome or benefit that you’d get if the wish occurred.  You can tie this into your “Big Why.”

What Obstacles did you face? This is the snag point or scenario that happened and kept you from achieving your goal. 

Then, we’ll diagnose the root cause of the obstacle.  Why did it happen?

Then, once you’ve identified the obstacle, you can create your Plan.  


But you don’t have to do it all at once.

First, you’re just going to capture the Snag point by logging it. 

How to Capture the Snag point

Log It

So when something happens that you didn’t want to happen, you’ll log it like this:

  1. Open the Healthie app. You’ll go to the + (log feature) and choose Selfie. (Sorry, but there isn’t a Snag option on the app).  Because it’s a selfie, you’ll have to take a picture.  

  2. Take a picture of your surroundings or whatever is throwing you off.  If there isn’t really anything to take a picture of that makes sense, you can take a picture of your hand with a thumbs down.  

  3. Write down what happened.

  4. Then describe how you feel (frustrated, disappointed, sad, confused, angry, etc).  

Then, move on with your life until your weekly review on the weekend.

It might look something like this.  


Picture of an empty bowl.

I ate ice cream tonight when I wanted to wait until Saturday night. I’m feeling frustrated with myself.

That’s it.

Trim Snag Points off with WOOP

After the snag passes and it’s weekly review time, it’s time to reflect and make the connection of “What went  wrong?” and come up with a solution. It’s time to WOOP it.


You’ll use the WOOP outline along with some guided reflection questions during your weekly review to work through the Snag point. The WOOP process will help you to trim that snag point, so that thorny branch doesn’t grab you in the future. 


We’ll learn all about how to WOOP tomorrow.

Sounds interesting, right?


Mission Freedom!

Day 47--Plan for Happiness

Welcome to Day 47!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

Introduction

Before I became a Mom, I had this fantasy of myself as a future, energetic and fun Mom.  I’d make pillow forts, and crafts, and stuff with my kids. I just knew I was going to be the Fun Mom.  

Guess what? 

I’m not.  


In fact, I’d be all work and no play if it wasn’t for my husband’s Family Fun Calendar.  

That’s right. My husband has a calendar to plan out fun things. Whenever he hears about fun concerts or movies coming out, he puts them on the calendar. And, since my husband is an upholder, we do what’s on the calendar!  


When he started the fun calendar, several years back, I thought it was a silly idea. 

But, he told me that after the hard times we had gone through with my daughter’s heart surgeries and my mother-in-law dying from pancreatic cancer, he wanted to recapture some of the fun times we used to have and make the most of our time together.  


How could I argue with that?

So, we tried it. And, you know what? 

It worked. 

It turned out that planning and making time for playing, having fun, and connecting meant that we always had great things to look forward to. We were making great memories and being happy together.

Plan Play and Connection

And you know what else?  Research backs my husband up. If you want to be happy, connect with loved ones, and have fun, you should plan it into your schedule.

An article from Scientific American magazine explains that trying to be happier doesn’t work, but planning activities you enjoy does. 


Here’s a passage from the article,

”Studies have shown that trying to feel happier in any given moment backfires and can actually make people feel worse. ...So how can you gain the many rewards of happiness—which include better health and stronger relationships—without forcing it? 

Recent findings suggest rather than striving to boost happiness in the moment, a more effective route is to maximize your odds by...plan(ning) your time around activities you think you will enjoy.”

Prioritizing Positivity

In other words, schedule fun and play into your calendar, and you’ll be happier. Researchers even came up with a cool sounding name for this--Prioritizing positivity.  

They found that people who had scheduled “positivity” into their weekly and daily calendars were more resilient, happier, and have better relationships.  

To figure out how to do that, let’s go back to the Scientific American article,

“Reflect on the activities that bring you contentment or joy and make time for these events in your daily life... For some people, this could mean regularly setting aside time for gardening and cooking; for others, it could mean making time to connect with good friends.” 

Write a Sparkly, Happy Script

We’re all so busy that if we don’t plan fun, connection, and happiness, when’s it going to happen?  

Remember that Hollywood blockbuster I asked you about. You want to make sure that your script is not dull.  You want fun, laughs, love, and sparkle.

And, those won’t happen unless you write them into your script.

Play and Connection Habits

I recommend adding some family time, spouse time, and “me” time into your weekly schedule. And of course the easiest way to do this is to make some habits around each one of them.

Personally, I aim for one spouse date and one family activity every weekend for fun and play. 

For a daily family connection habit, we eat together as a family. For daily spouse connection time, I go on a 30-minute walk with my husband and dog in the morning.  And for daily “Me” time, I read before bed.

You may already be doing some of these activities or habits, but identifying them as happy connection and play time will help you to enjoy it even more. 

Unexpected Benefits

One added (but unexpected) benefit to adding fun and connection to your schedule is that it also helps you toget healthy and lose weight. 

If you have more sparkle and fun in your life, you don’t have to rely on food for all the joy in your life. 

If you’re doing things regularly that make you happy and deepen relationships, your stress levels will decrease and your health will improve. 

What a great way to conclude our week on planning!  Planning for more happiness. I love it and so will you!

If you have any questions about planning or how to break up this process into smaller pieces, be sure to ask me about it.

Assignment

Ok, so here’s your assignment. I know this sounds crazy, but I want you to go back over your weekly calendar.

Plan and add some habits and activities to your schedule for play and connection. 

Don’t skip over this assignment.

This is likely the lesson that will have the biggest impact on your future happiness. 

Mission Freedom!

Day 46--Planning for Real Life

Welcome to Day 46!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

Introduction

Now we’re onto real-life—how to make your daily and weekly plan.

Yesterday we did steps 1-5 of the Ultimate Health and Weight Loss Planning Process.

  1. Write Down Your Why

  2. Write Down Your Ideal Daily Habits

  3. Schedule Your Ideal Daily Habits

  4. Schedule Weekly Recurring Appointments in the Ideal Weekly Template

  5. Add Your Habits on Each Week Day in the Ideal Weekly Template

Now we’re on step 6 of the Ultimate planning process.  

Plan Your Real Life Week

6. Fill Out Your REal Life Weekly Plan

At each weekly review planning session, fill out your Weekly Planning sheet for the upcoming week.  You may have already started planning in your meals and exercises on your weekly sheet, but now you’re going to assign each item to a time slot. 

Plan Your Real Life Day

7. Plan out each Day the night Before with a REal Life Daily Plan

Plan out each new day the night before on the Daily Planning Sheet. The Daily Planning Sheet is the one where you write in the date (the title is not on it). You’ll use this every day unless you have a planner  your prefer. This is what I call Plan C. 

Make a Daily Planning Habit

Building a habit around doing this every afternoon before leaving work or every evening before you go to bed is critical to your success and reducing stress levels.

The Assistant needs to know that you have everything covered before she allows you to relax (like when you go home from work or when you go to bed).  She’ll keep reminding you about stuff you need to do unless you’ve written it done and she knows you have a plan to get it done. 

When will you plan your day? 

Decide now and put an alarm into your phone until it becomes a habit. 

Planning Your Day

Here’s the steps to filling out your daily planning sheet.

  1. Write down what you’ll do to work on all your habits. 

  2. Then look back at your weekly template and write in those recurring appointments or meetings.

  3. Then, add the appointments for that day .

  4. Add your top three priorities of the day (paying special attention to priority #1.  That’s supposed to help you get closer to your big WHY).

  5. Add any other to-do’s for the day.

Have an Amazing Day

8. Go crush your Day. 

Be a Scientist

9. Review Your Day

Do the Day’s Review in the evening before you fill out the next day’s plan. 

Remember to review your day like a scientist.  You’re not judging—just getting data. And remember, that bad days always give good data.

The Day’s Review will help you to see what went well, have gratitude, and what did not go well that day, so each day gets better and better.  


So, if you’re up for it, go ahead and do your real-life plan for tomorrow and notice how it’s so much easier to reach your goals when you have a script.

Mission Freedom!

 

Assignment

Using the PDF forms I provided or your own scheduler, plan out your real life week and real life day.

At the end of the day, go back and fill out the Day’s Review.

Then, fill out a plan for a real life day for tomorrow.

Download the Ultimate Health and Weight Loss Planning Process Forms

(These are the same forms from yesterday.)

Day 45-Ultimate Health and Weight Loss Planning Process

Welcome to Day 45!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

The Ultimate Health and Weight Loss Planning Process

Introduction

I teach a scheduling process that I adapted from Brian Johnson’s Masterpiece Days. I call it the Ultimate Health and Weight Loss Planning Process. 

Plan A—The Ultimate, Ideal Day

Kind of like how you use meal templates when planning your meals, you need a template of what the Ultimate Health and Weight Loss Day would look like for you. This is a day with all of your weight loss and healthy habits scheduled in.

I wanted to call it the Perfect Day, but no day will actually be perfect. Every day seems to throw out a new curveball.

The Ultimate Day is like your PLAN A if all things in life were perfect. Your actual day will not be perfect, but this is where you pretend it is.  

plan-your-ultimate-day ver2.png

You might only fill out this worksheet once. 

But, don’t worry if you need to add some habits later. You can always change it.

Also as a mom of school-age kids, I find that I have to do this schedule template twice a year--at the beginning of the school year and the beginning of the summer. 

Don’t hesitate to re-work this template any time your schedule shifts a bunch.

Plan B—The Ultimate, Ideal Week

Now we let’s talk about making PLAN B.

You’re going to use a weekly calendar template to write down all your recurring responsibilities like staff meetings, church, kids’ dance classes, workout classes, etc.  This will help you to know how to change your Ultimate Day habits a bit each day depending on that day’s responsibilities. This is what I call PLAN B. 

This worksheet may also be filled out just once.  

You may want to consider having your spouse fill out one as well. My husband and I each fill out one of these each school year, so we can coordinate our schedules. This way he can plan out his evening workouts, and we can split and conquer kid duties.

This ultimate weekly template takes into consideration all those changes you need to make on a day-to-day basis. So PLAN B is what I would consider the plan for a perfect Monday or a perfect Saturday.  

plan-your-ultimate-week ver2.png

But again, there are no perfect days (or very few at any rate).  So, let's go onto PLAN C.

Plan C—A Real-Life Week and Day

What's PLAN C?  

It's your actual plan or your schedule for the week and for the day. This is where you start planning for real life. 

You’ll want to fill out a weekly plan during your weekly review.

And then, fill out a daily plan each night (before each day). This is Plan C.

plan-your-every day ver2.png

This weekly schedule is where you take into account things like doctor's appointments, networking events, and school meetings. You’re trying to create your day as close to PLAN B as you can, but you'll have to be flexible and do your best. 

Remember that one of the 15 shifts is to Plan Ahead. An awesome week starts the week before (with a plan). An awesome day starts the night before. So, plan each day the night before.

Permission-Based Scheduling

Experts call this method of planning--Permission-Based Scheduling. Basically, that official sounding name means that you give yourself permission to be flexible and change your schedule depending on your wants and needs for the day.  

You aren’t a robot. You’re human. You get to be flexible and change your schedule.

It might take me some time on the front end to do this process, but it’s so worth it! 

Secret to Success is Planning

This is the secret to healthy habit success. This process allows you to keep from having to make tough willpower decisions day-after-day.

If I have a template for what my Ultimate Day looks like, then I actually get to the gym.  If I have a daily plan, then I know when it’s a crockpot or pressure cooker night. That way my kids won’t have to eat dinner in their pajamas. 

Ultimate Day Woksheet Image.png

The Ultimate Day template makes it way more likely that you'll reach your goal targets.

Obviously, you don’t have to use my templates. I just made these for myself and my clients to work RHH. And of course, you always have a choice as to whether you do anything I teach. So planning is one of those things.

In fact, one study showed that only 1/3 of people had scheduled out their days. But, scheduling and planning will allow you to be master of your day, your week, and your life.

You don’t want your health and weight loss habits to be at the mercy of your crazy schedule. You want to take control and meet your weight loss and health goals despite the challenges. 

In the words of the epic film Boss Baby (yes,it’s a family favorite around here),

“YOU RULE THE DAY, OR THE DAY RULES YOU.” 

MAKING AN ULTIMATE DAY TEMPLATE

Alright, let’s do this.  Today we’ll work through making your templates for the Plan A and Plan B (your perfect day and week.) 

Tomorrow we’ll make your first real week and day plan.

I have PDFs for all of these pages, but you’re welcome to use your own planner or digital scheduler if you’d prefer.  Go ahead and click on the PDFs now.

Start with the My Ultimate Day page. 

Now here are the steps to filling out your Ultimate Day template.

1. Write down your Why

Write down your Why. Your “Why” is what you feel you are on this earth to do. Basically, this is the reason you get up every morning and why it’s important to you that you have your health and weight loss habits on automatic. 

My Why is two-fold: 1) Help my family to learn to be happy, kind, and reach their potential and 2) Help women understand their brains, and then train them to do what they want them to do automatically, so they can have vibrant lives and teach their kids to do the same. 

Then I add why my health is important to achieving my mission: My healthy habits are essential for me to have the energy and positivity I need to accomplish these goals. 


2. Write Down Your ideal Daily Habits

Write down all the habits that you are trying to include in your Ultimate Day template. I consider your health and weight loss habits fundamentals. I categorize them as Eat, Move and Recover (Sleep and Stress Reduction). If they’re out of balance, then the rest of your day will be too. 

I also include two other types of habits- Grow and Connect. Growth can be personal or career goals. They both count. 

Connect can be ways that you want to connect with others such as your spouse, family, friends, or other associates.  

There’s also an Other category because you just never know when you may need it. I usually use that for play. More about that in a couple of days.

3. Schedule Your Ideal daily Habits

Schedule your habits into the My Ultimate Day worksheet. Remember that as you schedule your healthy habits most of them will probably end up in your AM/ PM--mornings and evenings. This when you tend to have the most control of your day. 

Making an Ultimate Week Template

Now we’ll fill out the Ultimate Week Template. Take out the My Ultimate Week template page next.

4. Schedule Recurring Weekly Appointments

This is where you make a note of scheduled recurring appointments like soccer practices, church meetings, workout classes, and date nights. Then, compare each day of the week with the Ultimate Day template. 


5. Add Your Habits on Each Week Day

Figure out your version of the Ultimate Day for each day of the week. This is your Plan B of how to have an Ultimate Day on a Thursday when your child has 2 Dance classes and your husband has a college class. 


**This concludes the steps that you’ll have to do just one time. I say that with an asterix because remember that if your schedule changes dramatically (think summer vacation or new school year), you may want to redo these. 

Tomorrow we’ll learn how to take those Ultimate templates and use them to make your real life weekly and daily schedules. 

Mission Freedom!

 

Assignment

Make a Daily and Weekly Planning Template that you can pull from to schedule all your habits in for an ideal day and an ideal week.

Download Your Ultimate Planning Worksheets Here

Day 44--Ten Essentials to Planning

Welcome to Day 44!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:



Ten Essentials to Planning

Introduction

Brian Johnson’s workshop on creating Masterpiece Days has been my inspiration for teaching planning. 

Brian gives us 10 things to keep in mind during the planning process:

  1. Today is the day to do it.

  2. Make a Perfect Day template and then a real life plan.

  3. Keep your WHY in focus.

  4. Make progress and do your #1 thing each day.

  5. Fundamentals (eating, moving, and recovery-sleep/ stress management) make everything else better.

  6. Be in control of your Kryptonite.

  7. You have the most control of your AM and PM routines.

  8. To get more done at work, use Deep Work blocks. 

  9. To have a happier, more meaningful life, schedule play and connection/love habits.

  10. Get better over time.

Let’s talk about each of them really briefly.

Essentials to Planning

Today is the Day to Do It

Today is the day to do it. The Assistant part of your brain will always want to put off change until tomorrow, until Monday, or until a less stressful time.  But, unless we create a sense of urgency, nothing will get done.  

One of my favorite ways to build urgency and to make sure that things get done is to use a mind tool called Jeopardy.

It’s simple. 

All you do is hum the Jeopardy TV show theme to remind yourself that your life is short and time is ticking away.  “No time like the present.”  

It’s a way to remind your Assistant to stop procrastinating, and that you won’t listen to her when she tells you to put off your goals one more day.  You don’t have time for that.

The clock is ticking!

Make a Perfect Day Template and a Real-Life Plan

Make a Perfect Day Template and then a real-life plan.  Kind of like how you used plate templates when planning your meals, you want to have a template of what your Ultimate Health and Weight Loss Day would look like. This is an ideal day with all of your weight loss and healthy habits scheduled in.

I wanted to call it the Perfect Day, but no day will actually be perfect. We have real lives with stuff like dentists appointments, work travel, networking events, and kids’ soccer practices.  Every day seems to throw out a new curveball. But, this is what your ideal day would be if none of that stuff happened.

Then, you take that ideal day and rub it up against reality.  You throw into your schedule all the dentist appointments, meetings, soccer practices, and then plan around them.  You do your best to get all those perfect day habits into your day--keeping in mind all of your real-life time constraints.  

You may not get your ideal day very often, but you’ll be a heck of a lot closer than you would be otherwise.



Keep Your Why In Focus

Keep your WHY in focus.  Just like you take time each morning to remind yourself of your Why, you’re going to remind yourself of your WHY every evening when you make tomorrow’s plan.  

What's your deepest purpose, your biggest goal you're going toward right now?

That’s your target, so you’ll write it down each day.



Make Progress and Do Your #1 Thing

Make progress and do your #1 thing. Your Big WHY is going to take some time.  So you need to make consistent progress toward that WHY each day. 

To do this, think of one thing you’re going to do today to get closer to that WHY target. That's the your #1 priority and the most important thing you do each and every day.

Fundamentals Make Everything Better

Fundamentals (eating, moving, and recovery) make everything else better.

You know I’m 100% behind this one!  

Getting stuff done takes energy and health and that’s why your eating, moving, and sleeping/ recovery from stress (EMR) habits are so important.  They’re the currency to pay for all the energy you need to reach all of your other wildly important goals. Your fundamentals allow you to do all the other stuff in life. 

The other thing to know about your fundamentals is that they all affect each other.

It’s hard to eat well, exercise, or recover from stress if you don’t get enough sleep. 

It’s hard to exercise, sleep, or eat well, if you don’t recover from stress. And, so-on and so-forth.

So, that’s why I’m here to help you get your health and weight loss fundamentals down pat.  

Control Your Kryptonite

Be in control of your Kryptonite. We all have kryptonite--those things that we find distracting or addicting and get us off course. 

Don’t be ashamed. Nobody’s perfect.

Just be a scientist and be truthful with yourself.  

Then, change your environment or make a rule. 

I recently made a rule that I don’t start a new Netflix TV show on weekdays. That’s full on kryptonite for me. Be honest with yourself and get better.

Control Your AM/ PM Routines

You have the most control of your AM and PM routines. You have the most control over the beginning and ending of your day--AM/ PM. The middle of the day is more unpredictable and subject to appointments and other people’s schedules.

So, if you want to add new habits to your day, you’ll be most successful if you add those habits as part of your AM/PM routines. 

For instance, I just recently added a 30-minute walk with my husband and dog and a 10-minute meditation habit to my AM routine.  To my PM routine, I also added a 10-minute before bed yoga habit.  

Those things would never have happened if I tried to do them at noon.  But adding them to my AM/PM routines mean that I’ve got some great new habits.



Use Deep Work Blocks

To get more done at work, use Deep Work blocks. This is more of an FYI.  Although I’m not a life coach, sometimes I act like one.  

This is one of those life coaching/ planning tips from Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work. 

Newport says that in our distracting society, we have to be intentional about planning blocks of time—Deep Work— where you're undistracted, creative, and get things done.

These time blocks work best when they’re 90 minutes or less.  After 90 minutes, of deep work, your brain needs a break.


Make Play and Connection Habits and Plans

To have a happier, more meaningful life, schedule play and connection/love habits.  Day 5 of this week’s lessons is all about this. 

Research shows that we can’t will ourselves to be happier. But, we can schedule play and connection with loved ones—and that makes us happier.  

I suggest making these “appointments” into daily and weekly habits to make sure you connect and have fun each week.

Life is short.  Don’t put off all the good stuff until a later date.  Enjoy your family and friends now. (Plus, research shows that having fun and connecting with your loved ones has a HUGE positive impact on your health.) 

Don’t ignore this one!


Get Better by Being a Scientist

Get better over time. You knew I was going to say this one, right? 

Be a scientist.

You won’t get your schedule or plan perfect, but with practice, you can get better and better at it.

Be sure to experiment, get data, and then tweak the plan to get better week-after-week and day-after-day.  

The rest of the week’s lessons will put all these elements together. See you then!

Mission Freedom!

Day 43--Writing Your Script

Welcome to Day 43!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

Writing Your Script

Introduction

If you were to write a Hollywood blockbuster, what would your steps be?

First, you’d make an outline and decide how you want the story to end.

Then, you’d jump in and start filming.  

Oh, wait. I forgot about the script!

What if that’s how filmmakers made movies? They just grabbed their favorite stars, told them a story, and then told the stars to wing it.  

“What do you need a script for? You know how the story is supposed to go. Now do it.” 

How do you think that film would turn out?  

Pretty sure it would be a box office bomb.

The stars might get the point across with improvisation, but it wouldn’t be very smooth, they’d forget stuff, and there’d be a lot of do-overs.

Writing Your Script with a Plan

And, that’s what it’s like if you don’t do a weekly and daily plan for your health and weight loss habits and goals.

It’s like a movie without a script.

It won’t go as smoothly and there’d be a lot of mess-ups and do-overs. 

Just getting by on habits, rules, and strategies is possible, but think how much better it would be if there was a script or plan for your days and weeks.  

A schedule or plan allows your days to unfold smoothly and polished. And, you’ll get to your goals faster and in a more enjoyable way.

So, this week we’ll learn why planning works and how to do it.

Planning and Your Brain

Meanwhile back in the Assistant Retraining Program…

The Boss part of your brain is in charge of plans.  She decides what she wants for the future and lays a plan to get there. But, she’s only in charge when you think about the future.  

When it comes to who’s in charge in the present, it’s usually the Assistant. And, that’s where most of your problems stem from when trying to reaching your goals.  

Researchers have done experiments where they told people to make a shopping list for what they’d buy in a week versus what they’d buy for now. And it wasn’t pretty.  

The shopping cart a week from now was filled with fruits and veggies whereas today’s shopping cart was full of chips and snacks. 

Get the Boss in Charge with a Schedule

The Assistant is in charge of the present. And, we all know what she’s like.  She wants pleasure, to avoid pain, and to be lazy.  

But, there’s a way to hack that power structure and get the boss in charge of the present--Get the Boss to make a plan and then teach the Assistant to follow it.

This will help you to avoid a significant amount of willpower problems.

Schedule Happiness

When people have down time, they tend to do what is easiest (like scrolling through social media or watching TV) rather than what actually makes them happiest.

The Assistant will go to default downtime habits (which are often social media, scrolling on your phone, or watching TV) when you’ve got freetime.

But, by scheduling play and connection, you can make sure that when downtime rolls around you do what matters (even the fun stuff).

Stress Less with a Plan

In addition, planning (by writing down) what you have to do tomorrow helps you to relax and stress less. 

The Assistant is continually scanning the environment to make sure that you are taking care of all threats. That includes stuff that you’re concerned about and you’re afraid you may forget. 

She’ll remind you like 5 times in a night about something (like rescheduling a doctor’s appointment). This is called a rehearsal loop which causes you to worry and keep remembering it.  

When you write down your thoughts and make a plan for tomorrow, this switches off that rehearsal loop (and you can forget about calling your doctor until a time when her office is actually open). 

Planning and scheduling is an essential piece to retraining your brain.  

Planning Benefits

Planning allows you to 

  1. See potential problems and plan around them, so you always reach your goals. 

  2. Keeps you from having to make decisions when your energy is low and temptations are high. 

  3. Fit your schedule to work with your energy levels and natural circadian rhythm patterns (early bird or night owl).  

  4. Set-up and prepare beforehand (like meal prep) to help make the healthy choice the lazy choice.

  5. Get better over time--be a scientist and do more of what works and come up with a plan for what doesn’t.

  6. Schedule connection and fun activities that are important for a happier life.

  7. Worry less and decrease your stress because you have a plan.

How Planning Works 

Reverse Engineer your Goals

Planning is basically reverse engineering, which is when you identify your end goals and then work backward to see what you need to do each day, week, month, and year to get there.

So, planning helps you to reach your goals by helping you figure out what habits, rules, and strategies you need and how to actually fit them into your day and week. With a plan, you stop being a victim of your circumstances and gain control of your schedule.

Teaches the Assistant to Do What the Boss Says

However, the most important thing that planning allows you to do is to teach the Assistant to do what the Boss says.  

When it comes down to it, if I don’t make a plan for exercise it won’t happen. And, after a long day working, I don’t want to decide what to make for dinner.  And after a stressful day, I really shouldn’t decide if its dessert day (because it will always be dessert day).  

I want to offload those willpower issues and decisions to the Boss instead of my Assistant by planning ahead.  I want to decide something in my weekly planning session and then follow through.  

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the 10 things to keep in mind when making a plan.


Mission Freedom!

Day 40--Make a Rule As a Last Resort

Welcome to Day 40!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:


Make a Rule as a Last Resort

Introduction

One of the most important, but overlooked, aspects of long term health and weight loss success is your environment. It can make success easy or hard. People who win at health and weight loss “stack the deck” by hacking their environments first--so that the healthy choice is the lazy choice.

3 Steps to Change Your Environment

Once you’ve discovered those bad behavior triggers by taking pictures there’s a three step process to change your environment:

  1. Change what you can change

  2. Avoid what you can avoid.

  3. Make a rule for what you can’t avoid.

Make a Rule for What You Can’t Avoid

If you can clean up your environment, then you may never need a rule or have to use willpower.  It makes things so much easier!  

But, not all environmental cues are within your power.

So, yesterday we talked about how to avoid the cues that we can’t change. 

Now we’re going to talk about how to neutralize the environmental cues that we can’t change or avoid. And we do that by making a rule.  

Remember in the past lessons where we talked about making rules--both bright line rules and jump through hoops rules.

Making a rule for what you can’t avoid is the solution when you don’t have control of the cue and you can’t avoid the cue. A rule shuts down the Assistant’s excuses for giving into temptation so that unavoidable cues no longer affect you. 

Example Rules

For instance, If you can’t avoid the work vending machine, you can make a rule to never buy food out of a vending machine.

If you can’t avoid the single serving cake stacked up next to the supermarket checkout lines, you can make a rule to only buy foods off of your shopping list.

If you don’t want to get rid of all social media apps, you can make a rule that “I only check my social media for fifteen minutes after I do my workout.”

If you can’t take another route home from work so you don’t see fast food restaurants, you can make a rule to always have an emergency frozen meal in your freezer. (Or, you don’t buy fast food). 

If you can’t get your coworkers to stop bringing treats to work, you can make a rule to eat only foods you bring to work, not your co-workers unwanted treats.

If you can’t get your husband or kids to get onboard with no chips in the house, then make a rule that Snacks go to the back of the cupboard.

If you can’t get yourself to stop eating those chips, make a rule that you only buy snacks for the kids that you’re comfortable eating (or ones that you hate). 

The Assignment

1. Look back at your photos from the other day—the ones that helped you to see your environmental cues.  

For cues that you can’t avoid, how can you make a rule to neutralize their powers?  

What rules can you think of to shut down temptations for cue you can’t avoid or change?


2.Pick one or two options (that you came up with or use some of mine) and make a rule around them.

Be sure to let me know what your plan is and I’lll help you get started.

Mission Freedom!

Download the EC Make a Rule Guide:

 
 

Want More?

If you’re interested in more information on this topic, you can check out the books that I mentioned in lesson 36.

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life

How We Eat with our Eyes and Think with our Stomach: The Hidden Influences that Shape your Eating Habits

Also, I came across an amazing review article on how the (Assistant) subconscious is affected by the environment when it comes to eating.  You can check out the abstract and click on the link if you want to know more. 


Obesity and the built environment: changes in environmental cues cause energy imbalances

International Journal of Obesity volume32, pagesS137–S142 (2008) | Download Citation

Abstract

The past 30 years have seen dramatic changes in the food and physical activity environments, both of which contribute to the changes in human behavior that could explain obesity. This paper reviews documented changes in the food environment, changes in the physical activity environment and the mechanisms through which people respond to these environments, often without conscious awareness or control. The most important environmental changes have been increases in food accessibility, food salience and decreases in the cost of food. The increases in food marketing and advertising create food cues that artificially stimulate people to feel hungry. The existence of a metabolic pathway that allows excess energy to be stored as fat suggests that people were designed to overeat. Many internal mechanisms favor neurophysiologic responses to food cues that result in overconsumption. External cues, such as food abundance, food variety and food novelty, cause people to override internal signals of satiety. Other factors, such as conditioning and priming, tie food to other desirable outcomes, and thus increase the frequency that hunger is stimulated by environmental cues. People's natural response to the environmental cues are colored by framing, and judgments are flawed and biased depending on how information is presented. People lack insight into how the food environment affects them, and subsequently are unable to change the factors that are responsible for excessive energy consumption. Understanding the causal pathway for overconsumption will be necessary to interrupt the mechanisms that lead to obesity.

Day 39--Avoid What You Can Avoid

Welcome to Day 39!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

avoid what you can avoid

Introduction

One of the most important, but overlooked, aspects of long term health and weight loss success is your environment. It can make success easy or hard. People who win at health and weight loss “stack the deck” by hacking their environments first--so that the healthy choice is the lazy choice.

3 Steps to Change Your Environment

Once you’ve discovered those bad behavior triggers by taking pictures there’s a three step process to change your environment:

  1. Change what you can change

  2. Avoid what you can avoid.

  3. Make a rule for what you can’t avoid.

Avoid What You Can Avoid

If you can clean up your environment, then you may never need a rule or have to use willpower.  It makes things so much easier!  

But, sometimes you don’t have control of your environment, so  you’ll want to avoid what you can avoid. 

Willpower and the Environment

Think about grabbing some M&Ms out of the candy jar on your co-workers desk.  

Were you thinking, I need some M&Ms. If you did, would you go to the store and buy some?  

Chances are you didn’t even think about it at all. Your Assistant was walking by the candy jar. She grabbed a handful of candy and you ate them before you were even consciously aware of what happened. If it’s not a conscious decision, you can’t use willpower because willpower is the Boss’ job (the conscious part of your brain).

And, that’s why it’s important not to rely on willpower all the time. 

Willpower is the domain of the Boss. But if your environment is set up for you to easily overeat , then you may eat, and never even access willpower because the Boss wasn’t involved in the situation.  

When You Don’t Have Control

Yesterday, we worked on changing your environment so the good choices are easy and the bad choices are hard. But, sometimes you don’t have control of your environment.  

You don’t have control of whether your coworker puts candy on her desk.

You don’t have control of all the junk food that the supermarket stocks.

You don’t have control of city planning and where all the fast food restaurants are.

You don’t have control of Facebook’s algorithms that make social media addicting. 

But, that doesn’t mean you’re powerless.

Avoid the Cues

With a little thought you can avoid some of the cues that get you to eat unhealthy and stay on the couch.  

My favorites strategies of Avoiding what you can avoid include:

  • Avoid walking by the M&M dish at work. 

  • Shop only the perimeter of the grocery store where the perishable, healthy foods are.

  • Take an alternative route home from work that keeps you from going by tempting fast food restaurants.

  • Ask co-workers to keep treats in the work fridge instead of on the counter in the break room. 

  • Take a route to the office bathroom that doesn’t take you by the vending machines.

  • Uninstall social media apps and Netflix off your phone, so you’d have to use your desktop instead.


The Assignment

1. Look back at your photos from the other day—the ones that helped you to see your environmental cues.  

For cues that you don’t have control over, how can you avoid them instead?  

What options can you think of to avoid what you can’t change?

2.Pick one or two options (that you came up with or use some of mine) and start doing them.

Be sure to let Treva know what your plan is for assistance getting started and some accountability.

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about the third step to a winning environment--Make a Rule for What You Can’t Avoid.

Mission Freedom!

Download the Avoid Guide:

 
 

Day 38--Change What you can change

Welcome to Day 38!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:



Change What You can change

Introduction

One of the most important, but overlooked, aspects of long term health and weight loss success is your environment. It can make success easy or hard. People who win at health and weight loss “stack the deck” by hacking their environments first--so that the healthy choice is the lazy choice.

3 Steps to Change Your Environment

Once you’ve discovered those bad behavior triggers by taking pictures there’s a three step process to change your environment:

  1. Change what you can change

  2. Avoid what you can avoid.

  3. Make a rule for what you can’t avoid.

1.Change What You can Change

This is all about putting good choices in your environment and getting rid of bad choices.

We’ll talk about this more later in the lesson, but some of my favorites include:

  • Moving tempting snack foods to the back of cupboards.

  • Have a fruit bowl on the counter

  • Making a vegetable tray and put it in the front of the fridge

  • Make a large salad to last most of the week

  • Having a few back-up emergency meals in the freezer (to avoid fast food)



2. Avoid what you can avoid

This is all about making all the bad choices invisible. 

My favorites include:

  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where the perishable, healthy foods are

  • Take an alternative route to work that keeps you from going by tempting fast food restaurants

  • Ask co-workers to keep treats in the work fridge instead of on the counter

  • Take a route to the bathroom that doesn’t take you by vending machines

  • Uninstall social media apps and netflix off your phone so you’d have to use your desktop instead



3. Make a rule for what you can’t avoid

This is all about shutting down the Assistant’s excuses. Even if you can’t take these cues out of your environment, they’ve been neutralized with a rule.

Here are some rules that you could make:

  • I never buy food out of a vending machine.

  • I only buy foods off of my shopping list.

  • I only check my social media for fifteen minutes after I do my workout.

  • I always have an emergency frozen meal in my freezer (I don’t buy fast food). 

  • I eat only foods I bring to work, not food my co-workers leave out for others.

  • Snacks for my kids go to the back of the cupboard.

  • I only buy snacks for my kids that I hate. 

I only buy snacks for my kids that I’m comfortable eating. 


Change What You Can Change

Let’s start with “change what you can change” step. 

Remember that in sports, playing a good defense will only keep you from losing, not winning.  To win, you need a good offense as well.

You need to change your environment, so the healthy choice is the lazy choice and the unhealthy choice is hard.


The Magic Vegetable Tray

For instance, one of my clients (let’s call her April) told me, "Making a weekly vegetable tray has changed my life." That's a strong statement for just a plate of vegetables. But, sometimes it's the smallest habits that can make all the difference in your willpower and weight loss. 

When April began prepping a large vegetable tray each weekend, this one habit started a chain reaction of goodness. The veggie tray allowed her to add vegetables quickly to her brown bag lunches. And, she was able to quickly throw together salads at dinner with already prepped vegetables.  

With vegetables always available, April was able to use the RHH meal template, fill half her plate with veggies, eat the veggies first, feel more satisfied, eat less carbs, eat more fiber, and lose weight. Her energy increased, her health improved, and she felt better than she had in years--all from making a vegetable tray! 

I know it sounds dramatic, but remember, April is the one who said the vegetable tray changed her life. This small hack (a great offense) started a chain reaction of foundational healthy habits for her. 


Lazy is Your Friend

The key to successful long term health and weight loss is using the least amount of willpower possible. Scott Adams (the creator of the Dilbert cartoon) agrees, "The trick to eating right is to keep willpower out of the equation for your diet.  Laziness can make you choose healthy foods if you are clever enough to make those foods the most convenient in your house."

So let's be clever like Adams and make the healthy choice the lazy choice.  


The Assignment

Look back at your photos from yesterday. 

For cues that you can change, how can you change them so the healthy choice is the lazy choice, and the unhealthy choice is just hard to do?


Brainstorm

Now, brainstorm some ideas.

Here are some of my favorites.

The three simplest healthy eating cues that encourage eating right

  • Make a vegetable tray every weekend.

  • Keep a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter.

  • Make a large green salad to last several days .

Other healthy, but lazy choices that my clients have made include:

Breakfast

For breakfast--have these options made or easily accessible 

Greek yogurt, yogurt parfaits, protein shakes, low sugar steel-cut oatmeal cups, frozen egg frittatas, bags with frozen smoothie add-ins, and hard-boiled eggs 

Lunch

For lunch--have these options made or easily accessible 

Dinner leftovers, salads, or boxed soup ready to eat. Bring lunch with you to work, have a veggie tray to grab from, pre-prep salads in mason jars, add roasted veggies and cooked chicken to salads, use tuna pouches, salmon cans, or sardines for quick protein options. 

Snack

For lazy snack options, have nuts, protein shakes, protein bars, a vegetable tray, cheese sticks, and hard-boiled eggs on hand.  Place  a fruit bowl on the counter.

Dinner

For dinner, start a crockpot before you leave for work, use a meal planning service like E-meals, or prep large amounts of protein and vegetables on the weekend to make fast, throw together meals. Make sure to always have a back-up emergency meal or two in the freezer. 


Pick one or two of these options and start doing them. 

Be sure to let Treva know what your plan is for assistance getting started or some accountability.

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about the second step to a winning environment--Avoid What You Can Avoid.

Mission Freedom!

Download the Change Guide:

 
 

Day 37--Hack Your Environment and Be a Sleuth

Welcome to Day 37!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

Part 1— Hack Your Environment

AND

Part 2— Be a Sleuth

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:


Part 1—Hack Your Environment

Introduction

One of the most important, but overlooked, aspects of long term health and weight loss success is your environment. It can make success easy or hard. People who win at health and weight loss “stack the deck” by hacking their environments first--so that the healthy choice is the lazy choice.

The Easy Choice is Usually Unhealthy

With fast food restaurants on almost every corner, it seems like the unhealthy choice is always the easiest.  Unhealthy snack foods don't go bad and they last forever in the cupboard. In fact, a teacher at George Stevens University took a twinkie out of its wrapper, 40 years ago, and it's still on his shelf.  It's easy to keep these never-go-bad options around.

But, the easy choice doesn't have to be the unhealthy choice. With a little planning, your fridge, freezer, cupboards, and office can help you make the best choice for your weight and health.

The Assistant Brain is Lazy

Your Assistant is kind of like a teenager.

My teenagers have lots of energy if they're motivated--like a friend calls them and says let's go out. But, if I ask them to do the dishes, they're sooo tired.

The subconscious part of the brain, the Assistant, is the same way. She has lots of energy to get stuff done if she wants to, but she's basically lazy. She'd rather lay on the couch.

This is important to remember when it comes to getting healthy and losing weight. You can trick the Assistant to make the healthy choice by using her laziness against her. Make eating healthy the easiest, most convenient choice. 

Use that Laziness to Your Advantage

Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip Dilbert, talks about this concept in his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. 

"I've learned to use my own laziness in a positive way. I'll always eat what is most convenient during the day, and if the only easy options are healthy, laziness takes me in the best direction. Laziness can be a powerful tool."

If you have prepped healthy food ready to eat, and you have to make a special trip to the store for junky foods, healthy will usually win. No willpower required. You’ll take advantage of your basic laziness.  

Blinded

When I go away on vacation, I always leave my house really clean.  

Why?  

Because I see my house with fresh eyes when I’ve been away for a week or two. I notice how lovely it really is. I enjoy that fresh perspective.  Day-to-day I just stop noticing it.  

I get fixated on how I need to replace my barstools, or how the baseboards are getting dirty, or how the carpet needs to be cleaned. But, fresh eyes helps me to see what I’ve been blind to.  

The same thing happens with all the temptations in your environment.  You just don’t notice them anymore (well the Assistant part of your brain does, but not the Boss).

Jim Was blind

For example, I had a client --let’s call him Jim. When I asked Jim what he wanted to work on in our coaching session, he said, “Treva, help me. I’m doing well except for one thing--I can’t stop eating Little Debbie’s snack cakes.”

“Ok, let’s talk about this. Where are the Little Debbie’s snack cakes?” I asked.

“Um, on my kitchen counter,”  he sheepishly admitted.

Once Jim said it out loud, he felt a little ridiculous. It was obvious to him then.

Blind—Like the Rest of Us

To you and I it seems so basic, but he’d become blind to the fact that he walked by those snacks hundreds of times a day.  And, every time he did, his Assistant took note.

Jim and I talked about moving his children’s snacks to the back of an out-of-the-way cupboard or not buying them at all. He decided he was going to move them to an out-of-the-way cabinet. 

A couple of weeks later, Jim reported that this simple move had fixed the problem.

Jim was trying to resist those Little Debbie’s cakes every time he walked through the kitchen--basically using up all his precious stores of willpower on those treats. But, there was a much simpler and less “costly” solution—just hiding the box.

The Problem with Food and Willpower

The problem with food is you don’t just use willpower once and then you’re done.  

When you walk by a box of Little Debbie’s 5, 10, 20, 50 times a day, you keep using willpower every time you walk by--not to eat it. And if you resist it 49 times, but give in once, well, the caloric damage has been done.  

And research shows that the more times you have resisted it, the more you will eat when you finally break down. 

Assistant Notices Everything

And just because you aren’t consciously thinking about those little Debbie Treats, doesn’t mean that your Assistant isn’t. 

She’s always scanning the environment to keep you safe and alive.  And high calorie treats grab her attention. High calorie foods keep you from starving to death, so she takes note when she sees them on the kitchen counter. 

Most of us are like Jim. We don’t “see” that the temptation in front of us could easily be neutralized. 

To gain back the upper hand, we need to make unhealthy choices invisible and inaccessible and the healthy choices super-convenient, attractive, eye-catching, and accessible. 

In other words, the more you think of something and see it, the more you’ll eat. 

And, he more hassle it is to eat, the less you’ll eat. 

What About Rules?

Did Jim need a rule to stop eating Little Debbie’s?  Maybe, but he was able to stop eating them without a rule. 

Just by moving them (or even better if he’d stop buying them for his kids), the treats became a non-issue. 

You don’t have to make a rule if you don’t really need one.  

But, in order to change the cues from negative to positive, we’ll have to start noticing those invisible cues again.  The Boss needs to see them so she can change them.

Stay tuned for the next section when I teach you to see the “invisible” again.



Part 2—Be a Sleuth

Introduction 

How do you start noticing again all those environmental cues that have become invisible? 

The Boss and Cues

To turn the Boss’ attention to the cues that are influencing the Assistant you’ll need to start being more conscious of those cues. 

Become Aware of Cues

The first step is to be aware of what the most common cues are that tempt you to overeat and be lazy.

Cues to eat

  • Donuts in the office breakroom

  • Cereal or other foods on the kitchen counter

  • Fast food restaurants

  • Baking shows

  • Candy in the gas station

  • Food ads on the gas pumps

  • Supermarket flyers

  • Billboards

  • Magazine ads

  • TV commercials

  • Youtube ads

  • Vending machines

Cues to be lazy

  • Smart phone

  • Internet

  • Netflix

  • Social Media


Now how does the Boss start noticing those cues again?

Take Pictures

To notice those cues again, you’ll need to turn what’s become invisible, visible again. 

An easy way to do that is to start taking pictures of your surroundings. Photos gives new perspective.  

All of us have heard of people who decided to get healthy and lose weight after seeing themselves in a photo. They may have looked in the mirror several times a day, but they hadn’t noticed their weight gain--until they saw a snapshot. 

A photo allows you to gain a third person perspective and start noticing your surroundings once again. 

So, be a sleuth for the day.

The Assignment

Stop to take pictures of the environments that you’re in today, so you can see the cues again.

Then, in the following days we’ll talk about how to change what you found.

Key environments to focus on when you take pictures:

In the Kitchen

  • Your fridge 

  • Your freezer

  • Your cupboards

  • Your counters

Your office

  • Your cubicle/ or office

  • The break room

  • Where you eat lunch

Your commute

  • How many billboards with unhealthy food are there?

  • How many fast food places do you see?

The grocery store

  • Notice the foods at the checkout

  • Samplers

  • Foods on specialRestaurants you frequent

  • Pictures in the menu

  • Placement of items in the menu

  • Pictures of food around the restaurant

Your Media

  • Ads on your phone

  • Ads on your computer

  • Ads in print like magazines, flyers, and newspapers

  • Ads on websites

  • Ads in email

SNAG Points

Pay close attention to the places that you are having to use willpower for or where you keep hitting snags.

Like if you keep getting fast food on the way home from work or eating chips when watching TV.  Were you cued by all the fast food places on your route?  

Were you cued for chips by food ads on TV?

Review the Pics

Now go back and look at the pictures and play a game of I spy.  

Do you see triggers that could cause you to eat unhealthy?  

Or to not exercise?  

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the three steps to setting up your environment for the win!

Mission Freedom!

Download the Be a Sleuth Guide:

 
 


Day 36--Why Your Environmental Cues Matter So Much: An Overview

Welcome to Day 36!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

ENVIRONMENTAL CUES: An Overview

Introduction

One of the most important, but overlooked, aspects of long term health and weight loss success is your environment. It can make success easy or hard. People who win at health and weight loss “stack the deck” by hacking their environments first--so that the healthy choice is the lazy choice.

Unfortunately, people underestimate their environment’s importance because it’s hard to see its role. It’s mostly in the Assistant’s subconscious realm. 

Cues Matter

But, Marketers sure know the importance of advertising and subconscious cues. It’s why there are small ads all over blogs or websites. You don’t even have to look at the ads directly for your Assistant to be influenced by them. 

It’s why there’s an uproar about advertising on children’s TV programming. One study found that elementary-school-aged children that watched a cartoon show that had food commercials ate 45% more snacks than kids who watched a cartoon without food advertising--irregardless of how hungry the kids were before the show.

Another study showed the same result in adults who watched TV with food commercials vs. TV with non-food commercials.  The adults who saw the food commercials ate more food--healthy and unhealthy--than did adults who watched TV without food ads. 

Research About Cues

Scientists have been setting up  fascinating research to explore how people are affected by their Assistant’s reactions to cues.

One experiment flashed images of people smiling or frowning in front of people. It was so fast that the Boss part of their brain didn’t register these images. 

Then people were asked to taste an energy drink and rate it. 

 The people who were exposed to the frowny face drank less and rated the drink lower. The people who “saw” the smiling person rated the energy drink tastier and drank more. These people had no idea that the millisecond exposure to a frowning or smiling face had affected their choice. (subliminal visual cue)

One study showed that people order more food at restaurants when their waitstaff is overweight. (normalcy cue)

Another showed that when administrative assistants were given chocolate kisses as an appreciation gift, they ate 71% more if the dish was clear versus opaque.  Over a year, that could have added up to an additional 5 pounds of weight gain. (Visual cue)

Another study showed that if the ice cream freezer lid was open in a cafeteria, 30% people bought an ice cream. If it was closed, only 14% bought an ice cream.  (convenience matters)

Research shows that you can be influenced to eat by the tempo of the background music, by the smell in the air, by the color of wall paint, by the wording on a menu, what others around you order, the appearance of the waitstaff, how close you are to treats, distractions, information overload, stress etc. 

Cues Play a Bigger Role than Rational Choice

Now here’s the scary part. More often than not, all those factors play a more important role in your decision making than rational choice.

Your Assistant is fast. She can make evaluations, judgments, and decisions instantaneously. But, your Boss isn’t aware that the Assistant had any part in those decisions.

Boss Makes up Explanations

When your Assistant makes you do something, your Boss will come up with a rational explanation for it--even though it isn’t true. So, the Boss part of your brain pretends that she, the Boss, made those decisions on purpose.  

If you asked people if they bought the ice cream because the freezer door was open, 100% of them would say no. They were just “hungry for ice cream.”  

You would never say you bought more food because your waiter was overweight. But, the Assistant saw that cue and oriented you toward eating more unhealthy food. 


Why Do Cues Make You Eat More?

So why do environmental cues make you hungry and eat more? 

It turns out that just thinking of food makes you hungry. You actually salivate when you hear, see, or smell something related to food. 

Even though you haven’t eaten anything, your pancreas releases insulin, which in turn drops your blood sugar. Making you hungry. 

Also, those same food related cues cause dopamine to be released in your brain. Dopamine causes cravings and then motivates you to do something about it. And, all of this is in the Assistant’s subconscious realm. 

So, images and reminders of food in your environment cause a desire to eat as well as physical feelings of hunger (low blood sugar). 

Because food is available everywhere, and food advertising is everywhere nowadays, people are feeling artificially hungrier and overeating more. Making it harder for people to keep the pounds off. 

But, don’t despair. Once the Assistant is stimulated to want food, you can still stop her from eating. And it turns out that if you’re aware that the reminder to eat is artificial, it’s easier to stop. 

Get Better With Practice

As you work on your Assistant’s retraining program, you’ll get better and better at seeing how your environment affects your subconscious.  You may even catch your Assistant falling prey to your environmental cues.  

Busted!

For instance, the other day I was making dinner. It had been about six hours between meals, so I was really hungry. 

All of a sudden, I had an urge to go get a handful of cashews out of the cupboard. I was chopping some vegetables, went and put the veggies on the stove, and came back to my cutting board. And, then I caught the Assistant red-handed.  

On the counter next to the cutting board was a flyer from my local grocery store for the latest weekly deals. In the corner there was a picture of cashews.  It was a very subtle thing.  

But, the Assistant who is scanning the neighborhood is always on the lookout, and she sees stuff that the Boss doesn’t. And, she influences the Boss to do stuff without her even knowing it.  

If I hadn’t caught her red-handed, I may have gotten a handful of nuts and not even have thought twice about it.  In the whole scheme of things, a handful of nuts isn’t going to make or break the scale-- and overall nuts are a healthy choice. 

But, the thing was, it wasn’t a choice. The Boss part of my brain wasn’t deciding, “I’m hungry. I should have a snack. Cashews in the cupboard would be good.”  

No, this was a fleeting idea on the edge of my consciousness that I almost acted on without any conscious thought.  Happening once or twice it’s not a big thing, but several times a day, every day that’s our health ruined and and an extra 20 pounds. 

It was fascinating (and a bit scary) to catch my Assistant trying to get me to eat because of a small graphic in a supermarket flyer that I wasn’t even looking at. 


Hack the Environment to Control Your Assistant

Fortunately, you don’t have to be aware of all your cues at all times to be master over them. You can use simple hacks to help change your environment and influence your eating for good. 

There are whole books are written on how your subconscious is influenced to eat and hacks to out smart the Assistant.  Brian Wansink has two books that I strongly recommend--Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think And Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life.  I also love How We Eat with our Eyes and Think with our Stomach: The Hidden Influences that Shape your Eating Habits by Melanie Muhl and Diana Von Kopp.

The idea of these books are that we will eat mindlessly (aka the Assistant) whether we want to or not. That’s because the Assistant is going to be influenced by a ton of things in your environment.  Like the name of a food, how expensive it is, how much you are served, how heavy the plate is, what color the plate is, what the first person in your group orders, and how big the serving spoons are, etc.  

For a cheatsheet of dozens of hacks that you can use, check out the download at the end of the post.

Play Offense and Defense

Your first line of defense and offense to getting healthy and losing weight should be cleaning up your environment, so that your Assistant is less likely to hear the siren song of tempting foods. 

The way to have a good defense is to get rid of all the things that will trip you up--clean out the cupboards, take another route home away from fast food, only buy foods on your shopping list, skip TV commercials with your DVR, etc.

But then you’ll also want to have a great offense--make the good choices easier (or make the healthy choice the lazy choice) like having a vegetable tray in the fridge, a fruit bowl on the counter, or emergency back up meals in the freezer. 

The best you can hope for in a Basketball game that’s all defense is a tie 0-0. But, put some good offense in there, as well as defense, and you’re going to win every time. Same in the battle for health and weight management.

So tomorrow, we’re going to talk about How to Change the Environment, so that you make more good choices and less bad ones.

Mission Freedom!

Download the Cheatsheet Here:

 
 

Day 33--Your Owner's Manual

Welcome to Day 33!


THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:


Your Owner’s Manual

All along this program we have been figuring out what works for you—what works with your body, your life, your preferences.

That is important information. In fact, it's essential.

If you don't figure that out, then you're not going to be successful in the long term when it comes to getting healthy, losing weight, and keeping it off.

Need Reminders

Unfortunately, sometimes we forget the lessons that we've learned.

So, I've created a place for you to start capturing that information.

That Assistant of yours, if you don't remind her what's important, she’s going to forget (or “forget” on purpose because remember she likes pleasure, she wants avoid pain, and she wants to be lazy.)

We need to keep things in front of her to remind her—those things that you’ve been formulating the last several weeks when we've talked about rules and strategies.

Your Owner’s Manual

And, so I've created a place for you to capture that. This is appropriately called your Owner's Manual.

Because we're all different, we're all going to have different ways that we keep ourselves on track. You're going to be able to capture that here in your owners manual.

Your Personal Meal Plan

There's going to be a place for you to put your meals. Like what kind of healthy plates you have—those plate ratios that work for you. So there will be breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Your Rules

There's going to be places for you to put specific rules that you've developed. Those rules may be “I only eat at meal times or snacks (so you don’t have BLTs in between. So, you'll be able to list your rules.

Your Strategies

There will also be a place for your specific strategies. So, you can write down the strategies that pretty much everyone has like weekend strategies, holiday strategies, and vacation strategies, there will be a place for you to capture that.

Then, you’ll also have your own specific ones that are just for you. Such as a strategy for when you travel for work. Or, maybe you have a strategy when your husband's out of town. Maybe you have a strategy that's just specific for soccer season. Whatever it is, you're going to have a place to capture that so you don't have to relearn the same lessons over and over again.

Learn the Lessons from the Past

Remember, I've told you that bad days give you good data.

Well, let's stop relearning those same lessons over and over again. And learn them for good the first time. We’ll come up with strategies and then remember what those strategies are.

For instance, it probably took me three or four thanksgivings to finally realize, “Hey, I should make a half the recipe of Pumpkin cheesecake.” That way I won’t continue eating leftover pumpkin cheesecake (a radioactive food of mine) for days and days and gain 3-4 pounds just from Pumpkin cheesecake.

So, now I have smaller springform pans. I make smaller cheesecakes.

Unfortunately, I had to learn that lesson over and over again. Because Thanksgiving comes just once a year, I’d forget and then gain several pounds each year (and then have to take them off again).

But, now you’ll have a place to capture that important info.

So you're going to learn a lesson once, then you’ll capture it in your owner's manual. This will help stop you from having to re-learn those lessons over and over again.

Fill it Out Over Time

Below you'll find your Owner's Manual.

This isn't something that you have to fill out all at once. In fact, you won't be able to fill it all out at once. It will take some time.

And the next few weeks I'm going to talk about the roadmap or what I call the Star Map to Mission Freedom—how you can finally be free when it comes to your health, weight, and habits. And, there's a roadmap there.

The owner's manual will help you as you go along that Star Map to capture that information. So you have a dedicated place to learn from it.

The Assignment

Print off the pages or fill out the PDF on your computer.

Start working on what you already know.

Then as time goes on, fill in new things that you figure out.

Over time, you'll fill in all of the pieces.

Let me know if you need any help.

I'm so excited about this owners manual for you. It's going to help you make progress. like you won't believe.

Mission Freedom!

Click to Download or Edit Here:

 
 

Day 32--Making a Big Holiday Strategy

Welcome to Day 32!

Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas! The holidays just don’t seem the same without all your favorite treats. Your used to indulging every time you turn around. How can you still enjoy the holidays?

Well, it turns out that Cook serves one special treat on each holiday, and it was enough. Umh, that was surprising.


INTRODUCTION

Holiday Strategy

To avoid gaining weight at the holidays, you need to craft a holiday strategy. This personalized holiday strategy needs to take into account your life, your traditions, your preferences, and your body. 

Some holidays may be pretty easy to navigate--such as Memorial Day, but Thanksgiving and Christmas may present special weight challenges.

No matter what country you live in or what holidays you celebrate, the tips below can help you be strategic about your BIG Holiday indulgences.


Major Weight Gain

There are three things that cause the majority of weight gain around the Holidays--treats people give you, parties, and treats that are only available/ you make at this time of year.

We need to plan ahead and come up with a strategy for each.

Treats People Give You

It seems like every night someone is ringing the doorbell to drop off another plate of cookies or a tray of fudge. The Assistant loves all the treats people bring because she can easily play the guilt card. She pleads with you, "Your neighbor made these sugar cookies just for you (and 50 of her closest friends and acquaintances)!" And you usually give in.

It's a lot easier to throw away extra dessert that you yourself made (still not easy, but easier). But, throw away free food that someone else made for you? It just feels wrong.

So what can you do about it?

You worked hard to take off the pounds, and you don't won't to gain weight because of guilt associated with unsolicited treats.

There are two strategies that work well. The first is pre-emptive. Tell your friends/ neighbors that you are excited to get their Christmas cards, but could they help your healthy habits by just bringing a card not treats. This can be said in person or even on a Facebook post. Also, if you bring something by to neighbors first that isn't treat related, you can tell your neighbors/ friends that you're just wanting cards not treats this year.

Not everyone will get the message, so what to do about the rebel treat bringers?

Put their treats on ice for a later party or indulgence. Putting the treats in the freezer turns down cravings and the immediate urge to eat the treats.

At my house, we freeze all the Christmas cookies/ candy and bring them out to share with friends at our Annual Gingerbread House Making Party.

Another idea is to save them for Christmas Day. But odds are, time and freezing turns down their appeal and the guilt involved with them.

Parties

How many holiday parties will you be going to this year?

If it was just one party, you probably wouldn't have to worry. But with multiple parties per week, you definitely need a strategy.

My favorite strategy for parties is based on the strategy of becoming a food snob. Cultivating a liking for high-quality foods.  You don't want eat foods that "are beneath you." Bring out your inner food critic.

First, If it's a potluck, always bring your own food that you would love to eat, but work with your weight loss goals. Don’t leave the majority of your dinner up to other people.

Then, once you're at the party, examine the buffet table. Walk up and down it critiquing the food before you load up your plate.

Rate each food on a scale from 1-10. Fill up only one plate of food with foods that rate a 9 or above. Bring your own foods that you consider a 9 or 10 just in case.

You'll be surprised when you rate foods how most of them don't make your "high standards."

Special Holiday Treats

Your Assistant part of your brain is an economist. If there is something that is only available for a limited time only, then it becomes more valuable and more desirable.

She is going to pull out all the stops trying to talk the Boss into eating them. She'll say stuff like, "What if you miss your chance to eat these truffles?" Or she'll say, "This is a special part of Christmas each year. You don't want to ruin your kids' Christmas by not making these cookies."

She knows what to say to talk the Boss into limited-time only Christmas treats. This would be fine if there was only one "special" food. But, she thinks every treat at Christmas time is special.

Again, we need to bring out our inner food snobs. Ask yourself if it's worth it first. "What is good enough and worth the indulgence (and possible weight gain)?" Then, decide if it is worth it, when will you indulge in it.

The Assistant would love it if you indulged every time you pass Cadbury mini eggs in the supermarket, convenience store, or gas station (my personal favorite). But, let's be strategic about it and indulge on purpose.

Make those special treats something to savor either at a party, Dessert Day, or on the big day itself.

Then, if you're cravings start ramping up, you can use a technique called Episodic Future Thinking (EFT).

Basically, you think about how you will enjoy that treat when you indulge on purpose in the future. Research shows that EFT--imagining enjoying the treat in the future helps you to wait to enjoy it..

It turns down the intensity of the craving, so you can wait for later to savor and indulge on purpose. Try imagining enjoying the food on Christmas Day or Dessert Day and watch how your need for immediate gratification decreases.

Dealing with Holiday Temptations

There are three parts of dealing with all the temptations of the holidays: Minimizing Temptations, Dealing with Free Food, and Splurging on Purpose. 

  1. Minimize Temptations--The sub-conscious Assistant part of the brain is very sensitive to environmental cues, so wait to buy or make treats until the last minute, store them in out-of-the-way, hard to get to places, and then aim for no leftovers.

  2. Dealing with Free Food--Free Food is a special temptation to your brain because it's a good value. The problem is that free food is everywhere during the holidays. Watch the video to find out how to deal with the almost irresistible nature of free food.

  3. Splurge on Purpose--Prioritize which items of the holiday feast are important to you and which aren’t. Enjoy the splurge, and then aim to not have any leftovers.

Most weight gain comes from the leftovers, temptations, and free food on the days and weeks leading up to and after the holidays, so remember that the mantra "The Holiday is just a Day--not a season."

To get through the minefield of temptations, you'll have to do a bit of thinking about what obstacles you'll face and come up with strategies for them. 

Remember to keep weighing daily and reading your Big Why to keep you on course. There's a time to indulge--just make sure it's on purpose and not every day.

Thanksgiving Help

You can use this blog post article to help you come up with a plan for Thanksgiving. Knowing and implementing these strategies can help you enjoy the holiday without lingering scale regret.

 

THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

Big Holiday Strategy

The holidays are upon us, and we've been working hard to lose weight. We don't want to backslide.

So, today we're going to talk about the three things that make it hard to lose weight or not gain weight during the holidays.


Treats People Give You

The first one that we're going to talk about—is treats people give you. It seems like every other night, every night, several times a night, people are ringing the doorbell and delivering treats.

It's nice for them to bring treats, but it's not so nice for the scale.

And your brain— the Assistant has a hard time with treats. It's because of something called the Optimal Foraging Theory (OFT).

According to the OFT, the Assistant is an economist. She loves a good value. She loves free food because you don't have to have any work to get it.

And especially if there are strings attached, like someone made this especially for you, then she has a lot of leverage there with the boss saying, “You've got to eat this. This is a special treat.“

There's guilt there, and it looks good.

So, what can we do about it?

The first thing is have a rule around treats. So, decide what you're going to do. If someone brings you something, only have a bite. If it's your favorite, don't have any.

Some people what they like to do is put it in the freezer. So for some reason, when you put it in the freezer and putting it on ice, turns down the temptation.

One of the things that we do is we put it in the freezer and we keep it until a s a special day. So maybe the 24th we can have whatever we want, we save it. Until then that cools down the guilt.

You still get to have it, but by then just doesn't seem quite as tasty. So, decide what your rule is going to be around special treats. 

Parties

The other thing that makes Christmas difficult when it comes to weight loss is parties.

It seems like every other night there's some kind of special occasion and everyone brings a bunch of traits and it can be a lot to keep the weight off the scale. So again, have a party rule—something that you keep to to deal with parties.

One of my favorites is to go along the buffet line and rate everything. “That looks like a five. Oh, that's not my favorite. I'm going to say 3. Oh, that's maybe a 7. That looks pretty good.”

Rate everything before you take it. Take one plate and then only take the things that are a nine or above and can fit on one plate.

Again, come up with your own strategy. But that's one of my favorites. It's not worth it, if it's below a nine.

So, only the best stuff.


Seasonal Treats

The last thing that makes the holidays hard is the special treats that you can only have that time of year.

Again, the assistant in your brain, she's an economist. If something doesn't come around very often, then it's desirable. We want it more.

If it's a special treat you only make at the holidays, the Assistant's going to be rooting for you to eat that.

So again, we need to have some kind of special rule and know she's going to be pushing us.

“Oh my gosh, candy canes are only around this time a year.”

“Oh, remember you only make cookies like that this time a year. You better eat them.”


Episodic Future Thinking

There's a special technique that you can use when it comes to special treats. This is called episodic future thinking or EFT. It's a way to calm down the cravings. 

Sometimes the Assistant can ramp those cravings up so that it feels like they are irresistible. You have to have those treats! But, EFT cools down those cravings.

Now what you do here, is you think about all the great things you're going to have on Christmas when you indulge on purpose or on your next Dessert Day. Think about how you could put off those favorite treats are the ones that are reserved for Christmas until that special day—Desert Day or Christmas.

Then you start imagining how they good they will be. Then this episodic future thinking turns down the cravings so that you can indulge and enjoy them in the future.

Go ahead and try it next time you walk by special candy in the grocery store. See what happens. It actually works.

The Assignment

So go ahead and write down what your rules are and what your strategies are going to be.

Remember these three things surrounding Holidays. Remember, there's the treats people give you, there's all those parties, and then there are the seasonal treats.

Come up with rules for each of them and a Holiday Season strategy and watch how you can keep the increase in your weight at bay and you can actually lose weight. This Christmas is going to be great.

Mission Freedom!

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Day 31--The Four Tendencies

Welcome to Day 31!

Some of your fellow space travelers just don’t seem to get it. One of them left the oxygen seal open yesterday after coming in from their outside chores. It could’ve meant disaster for you all. Luckily, the alarms started blaring and you were able to lock the door.

When you confronted Angela about it, she got all huffy . She told you she wasn’t taking orders from you. What a jerk! But, of course, when she heard from the Commander, she was all apologetic and “I’ll never do it again.”

Why can’t everyone be cool just like you?


INTRODUCTION

I'm always on the lookout for ways that make it easier to reach weight loss goals and to make new habits. When I came across the Four Tendency Framework by Gretchen Rubin, it changed how I felt about my personal goals forever.

The Four Tendency Framework is a way to look at a small piece of your personality--the part that has to do with how you react to inner and outer expectations or goals. 

Help You Reach Your Goals & Understand Others

How you answer the question, "How do you handle inner and outer expectations?" will determine which category you fit into in the Four Tendency Framework.

The four different categories are--upholder, questioner, obliger, and rebel. 

For an explanation of each type, to find out which one you are, and to find out the one timely question to quickly find out your type, check out today's video and accompanying Cheat Sheet.

When I created this program, I tried to keep all groups in mind at all times.

Upholders, I tried to not overwhelm you with too many habits and things to do at once. 

Questioners, I tried to give you the justification, data, and research for everything I talk about so you could take these outer expectations and make them inner expectations for yourself.

Rebels, I tried to give you enough flexibility that you could make your own rules and goals for this and the next phase of the RHH program—no one telling you what to do! 

And Obligers, this whole program is for you! I'm an obliger, so I feel your pain. We want so much to meet our goals--lose weight and start exercising, but we need the outer accountability to do it. That's why we have Weekly Reviews and coaching sessions to keep us accountable. 

Some of you obligers might find the meal logging really helpful long term.  Obligers can do anything, we just need to build the right accountability into our lives.

Don't wish you were a tendency that you aren't (I'm talking to you, obligers)!  

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Understanding what tendency we are can help us to set up our habits, rules, and strategies so they work for us.

The Four Tendencies is not only for weight loss and goal-setting.

Understanding the Four Tendencies helps me to have a better relationship with my Upholder husband. 

Take the quiz and have your loved ones take the quiz. See if it helps you to understand and appreciate each other better.



 

THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

The Four Tendencies


One of the biggest things that I focus on here (at RHH) is how to ”get yourself to do what you want to do.” That seems to be the big question when it comes to weight loss. I mean, if we could all just do what we'd want to do, we would have lost weight a long time ago. So, we work on our brains and figure out how to get them to do what we want to do.

Well, one of the things that has given me a lot of insight as a coach and also into myself is understanding a concept that is taught by Gretchen Reuben. She's a best selling author. She wrote a called The Four Tendencies. Now the four tendencies has given me a lot of insight. It's helped me to figure out what I want to do, and how to do it, and how to help other people as well. 

Now in this book there's a quiz that goes along with it. It helps you to understand one small little piece of your personality. It's not a “finding your personality” test that’s going to tell you everything about yourself.

One Little Question

Instead, it just answers one little question and that question is is “how do you react to internal motivation and external motivation?” Basically, “how do you get yourself to do what you need to do” or “what you want to do?”

External & Internal Motivation

External motivation would be like what your boss says you need to do, what your family says. you need to do, or what society says you need to do.

Internal motivation would be internal goals or things that you want to do (personally).

The Four Tendencies

And, Gretchen breaks down people into what she calls four tendencies.

Upholder

The first tendency is called an upholder. So ,an upholder can meet internal and external motivations or goals. These people they will do, if they set a goal, they will do it. If someone else tells them to do something, they will do it. They are going to follow through.

Questioner

The next group is called questioners. So, questioners can do things if it makes sense internally— if they're internally motivated. But externally motivation doesn't necessarily get them to do something. It has to make sense to them. They're going to ask themselves questions, “Does that make sense?” “Is the research there?” “Is there going to be some kind of penalty if I don't do that? “Those are the things that go through questioners’ minds. So they're internally motivated, not externally motivated.

Obligers

The next group is called obligers. So obligers might have internal goals, but it doesn't get them to follow through. They need to have some external motivation, some external accountability. So, if there someone's counting on them to do it.

They might get frustrated because they never quite seem to do what they want to do for themselves, but they can always do what other people want or need from them.

Rebel

The last group is called rebels. So, you can guess what a rebel is like. They don't care if there's an external motivation or an internal motivation. They need to be free. They're only going to do it if they want to do it. You can't tell them what to do.

Size of the Groups

Now it's interesting because these groups are not all even. Obligers and questioners are by far the two biggest groups. Upholders are a small slice of the pie. Same thing with rebels.

Now what's important to know is which group you are. Because if you understand which group you are, then you can work with that tendency of yours to get things done, to follow through, and to find ways to work with yourself, so you can to figure it out. 

The Assignment

There is a quiz online. I'm going to put the link here.

But, there's also one question you can ask yourself to find out what you are. If you don’t want to be bothered with the quiz, and it’s “How do I feel about New Year's resolutions?”

So it's not, “do I do them?” It's “how do I feel about them?”

So an upholder will say, “Yes, I love them. I do them. They're great. “ They're all about New Year's resolutions.

An obliger will say, “I like the idea of them, but I just can't get myself to follow through. I've given up on them.”

A questioner will say, “Well, I like the idea of making goals and following through, but January 1st is such an arbitrary date. I just do them whenever I feel like I need a new goal.”

And then the rebels, they'll say, “Why would I chain myself to a resolution? I just want to do whatever I want to do. “

So figure out which kind of tendency you have. I also think it's helpful to figure out what your spouse is as well. I had no idea my husband was an upholder until he took the test. It's really helped me to understand and forgive him for some of his personality strengths now that I know he's an upholder.

And by the way, I'm an obliger, so that's why I give myself deadlines—I’ll be done by this date . Because as an obliger, I absolutely need external accountability.

Cheat Sheet

Now below there's going to be a cheat sheet that's going to talk a little bit about each personality type and what you need to do to trick your Assistant habit part of your brain to follow through. And, each tendency is going to have a different trick that will help.

So see if this can help you understand what you need from a health and weight loss group or what you need in general for you to get yourself to do what you want to do.

Mission Freedom!

Click to Download Here:

Four Tendency Cheat Sheet

Day 30--How To Make a Strategy

Welcome to Day 30!

So, you thought having a strategy for taking it easy on the weekend was going to be a total bummer.

But, guess what? It worked.

You feel refreshed. It was just the right amount of rewards, relaxation, and recharge. Maybe your commander knows what she’s doing after all .

Okay, back to work!


INTRODUCTION

Steps to Make a Strategy

There are several steps to create a strategy. If you've been working on weight loss for a while, you may realize that you have created strategies already--you just didn't realize it.

Don't just keep the strategy in your head. Writing your strategy down helps you to flesh out the strategy as well as make sure both the Boss and Assistant are aware of it.

Difference between Rules and Strategies

First thing to do is to decide if you need a rule or a strategy. Many of my clients become confused about the differences between rules and strategies. 

Rules are more simple than strategies. A rule is a boundary to keep the Assistant in line. Rules are helpful if you're trying to NOT do one thing (like stop eating dessert every day). 

A strategy is more complex. A strategy combines habits, rules, and setting up the environment to make sure you're moving towards your goals when something out of the ordinary occurs (like vacation or a holiday).

If you aren't sure whether you need a strategy or a rule, try a rule first and see if you can get the willpower challenge figured out (or ask your coach.) If not, then it's time to solve this reoccurring challenge with a strategy. 


Identify Your Goal

Identify your goal before you make a strategy. This will help you to know how strict or lenient to make your rules and habits for your strategy.

If you're making a Weekend Strategy and your goal is to lose weight as fast as possible, your strategy will differ from someone whose strategy is to enjoy the weekend and relax the rules a bit.


Identify Your Obstacles

Make a list of all the obstacles or willpower challenges around this scenario. This list will help you make sure you're thorough. You need to know what you're up against. 

If you are working on a Eat Well at Work Strategy you may write down obstacles like your co-workers' candy jars, treats in the fridge at corporate headquarters, candy bars in the vending machine that you walk by when heading to the bathroom, co-workers wanting to splurge at lunch time, and donuts at work on Fridays. 

Try to be as thorough as possible. 

You may forget some obstacles. Don't worry they will show up later naturally and you can add them to your strategy later.


What Daily Habits Can You Keep?

You want to keep as many good habits that you do on a day-to-day basis in your strategy. 

If you are working on a Vacation Strategy, you might decide that you will eat how you typically eat at home--eggs for breakfast (from the hotel buffet), eat a salad for lunch, and then eat according to the plate (when you eat out at a restaurant for dinner). 

Set Up Environment

If you're making a strategy, it's a lot easier to keep to the rules if you minimize temptation by cleaning up your environment. So if you're making a Weekend strategy, and you want to make a habit to eat fruit as a snack, then make sure you buy lots of tempting fruit and store it on the counter.  This makes the good habits easier. 

Then make the bad habits harder. Don't keep chips or other tempting treats in the house. 

Make Rules & Habits

You're strategy may needs some rules to keep you from making bad choices. Make Bright Line rules and Jump Through Hoops rules (JTH) rules to deal with the Assistant's tendencies to make excuses or loopholes. 

Look back at what obstacles you mentioned above and then make rules that make sense for you. 

If you're making a Weekend strategy, you may need a rule around desserts, a rule around Date night, and a habit for working out.

Some examples of habits and rules for the weekend strategy would be a Bright Line Rule around desserts-- I eat one dessert and savor it on the weekend. 

Habit around Workouts--I walk my dog on Saturday mornings. 

A Jump Through Hoops Rule for Date Night--I can order whatever I want if I eat a salad for lunch and eat a salad before dinner, and I take 1/2 of it home for later.


Strategy Summary

For today's assignment, I'd like you to start thinking about a Weekend Strategy or other strategies you might need. You’ll finish working on this with your coach this week.

Take all the elements and write it up into a cohesive Strategy Summary. This will help keep your Assistant from getting confused and making more loopholes. 

For instance, a Vacation Strategy might look like this:

My goal is to lose 1 pound during my seven day vacation. To do that,

  • I will eat according to how I eat at home--

    • Breakfast--eggs (from the hotel buffet)

    • Lunch--salad

    • Dinner--eat according to the plate (from restaurant choices)

    • One reasonable sized dessert during the week.

  • I will walk daily for at least 1/2 hour in the morning. 

  • I will sleep as long as I want on vacation (at least 7-8 hours). 

  • I will bring a water bottle with me everywhere I go.

  • I will make sure that the only snacks available in the hotel room are snack packages of nuts. 

In the future, you will be getting a worksheet to make an Owner's Manual and write down all of your strategies and rules in one place.


 

THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:


How to Make a Strategy

So, how do you make a strategy?

What is Your Goal?

Well, the first thing you want to do is think about what your goal is. So if we're talking about Dessert day, the goal might be I want to lose weight, but I still want to indulge every once in a while on special occasions or once a week or whatever your particular goal is.


What Are Your Obstacles?

Then, you have to think about what your temptations or obstacles are.

Maybe,you have an obstacle that there's a vending machine in your workplace, or maybe it's the donuts that your coworkers bring every Friday. Or, maybe it's just the fact that you want to buy treats every time you go to the grocery store.

The temptations and obstacles are going to be personal to you. Makes sure that you make a thorough list and realize what things are standing in your way of you meeting that goal.


Making a Strategy

So, how do you meet your strategy goal?

There are three things that you need to keep track of or do in order to do that.


Keep Your Daily Habits

The first one is you want to keep as many of your good habits as you can. So if you're doing a holiday strategy, you might want to keep as many good habits—as many plate habits as you can. Exercise like normal and maybe you add dessert day to any holiday.

If we're talking about a Dessert Day strategy, you want to make sure that you eat your normal healthy plate on that day—the real healthy habit plate template. So, keep as many good habits as you can.


Minimize Temptation

The second thing you want to do is to minimize temptation. So, if you're making a Dessert Day strategy, you may want to stay out of the break room on Friday mornings when you know your coworkers going to bring donuts. Another thing you might want to do is come up with some rules that will help you to keep that Dessert Day strategy. You might have a bright line rule, I only eat dessert on Friday nights, or I only eat something that's homemade. I don't make eat desserts that come out of a box. Whatever it is that makes sense for you, minimize temptation so you're not using willpower and you can keep that Assistant on track.


Indulge on Purpose

The third thing that you want to do is you want to indulge on purpose if it makes sense for that strategy. So, if you have a strategy for coffee, let's say that your, you need something around caffeine, To indulge on purpose might be I have one eight ounce coffee every morning. Dessert Day might be I have one dessert every weekend. Again, what makes sense for you and helps keep you moving towards your goals. Everyone's idea of indulging might be different.

You want to figure out what it means for you. You don't want the Assistant to rebel. You don't want to make her think that you're never going to have dessert again or you're not going to be able to enjoy your holidays or your vacation. You want to give her enough indulgence, so she's happy, but you can still move towards your goals. So figure out what that is for you.


Your Assignment

Use The worksheet below to start thinking about this, and we’ll finish it together.

I'll help you if you get stuck anywhere.

See you back tomorrow.

Mission Freedom!

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Day 29--All About Strategies

Welcome to Day 29!

It’s your first weekend at the Moon Training Center, and you’re ready to let your hair down. Well, only figuratively speaking—without gravity it floats in front of your eyes constantly.

You realize that your idea of a good time is not the same as your Mission Commanders. Ugh. Why do you even need to have meetings about relaxing? Oh well, I guess it will be worth it in the end.


INTRODUCTION

What is a Strategy?

A strategy is a set of rules, habits, and guidelines you use to keep moving towards your goals. Strategies are used to develop a plan when you have a reoccurring challenge that differs from your normal day-to-day plan. Some strategies my clients make are Weekend Strategy or Work Travel Strategy.

Strategies are made to help your Assistant know exactly what to do when she is confronted by obstacles, so she doesn’t resort to loopholes. Part of your strategy may also include setting up your environment to minimize temptation as well.

If a situation occurs once and is not likely to occur again, you won't need a formalized strategy. You might just come up with a strategy for that particular day. 

For instance, if your son is on a club swim team and travels once a month to 2-day meets, you should probably develop a formalized, written strategy for how you will keep to your health and weight loss habits and rules while traveling. 

If your daughter has made the gymnastics state finals one time, you could just wing it and come up with a strategy for that day. It doesn't need to be formalized (but you might want to create one in your head just in case).


Common Strategies

Some strategies seem to be universal—most people need these. Then other strategies are going to be unique to you (i.e. traveling for work, going to relatives’ house, etc.)

Common Strategies that Most People Make:

  • Holidays

  • Weekends

  • Vacations

Unique Strategies that People Might Make:

  • Traveling for Work

  • Going Out with Friends

  • Date Night

  • Work Luncheons/ Meetings

  • Kid Being in the Hospital for weeks (one I have)

  • Kids Traveling for Sports

  • I'm Sick Strategy

When You Should Make a Strategy

Can you Identify some common strategies or personalized strategies that you might want to make? 

You don't have to know all the strategies you'll need right now. You'll figure them out as you go through the program. 

When you notice a reoccurring challenge, then create a strategy that might be helpful to deal with it.

 

THE LESSON

YOU CAN WATCH IT HERE:

OR YOU CAN READ IT HERE:

Which Strategies

Well, which strategies do you need to make?

Well, that's going to be a personal thing. What I like to do is have people think— Where are they struggling?

First of all, we like to get all of our habits in a row.

So, we've learned about the plate and how to do that. Then we look at where we're having problems. Is it on weekends, holidays, vacation?

Are we needing a strategy when it comes to exercise, maybe beverages, alcohol, coffee, soda—on vacations, holidays, weekends?

You can make a special rule for beverages or desserts in your strategies.

So, those are some of the ones that pretty much everybody has. What about ones that are unique to you?

personalized Strategies

So, there's a million different reasons you might need an individual strategy, but again it's going to go back to where you find yourself trying to rely on willpower or when you are trying to indulge on purpose.

So, some people have one when they go out of town. They need a going out of town strategy for work.

Other people have one maybe for when they're going out to bars with their friends.

Other people have strategies for things like going to relative's house

Or maybe even something so simple as, the weather has changed. Now it's wintertime and you can't do exercise like you used to.

So, there's lots of different reasons you may need an individual strategy.

So think right now about when you would like to indulge on purpose, whenever things are going to be different than your usual day-to-day regular habits.

And, we're going to list think of those things where you might need a strategy.

Below is a worksheet that will help you to do that. (Disregard the worksheet. I will include it later in the week. Look to the introduction of this lesson for this info.) There'll be all the common ones that people have, a few of the personalized ones that my clients have had, and then come up with some ideas of what strategies you might need. See you back tomorrow.

Mission Freedom!