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!


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.





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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