Have you ever created a goal for yourself to simply “make a plan” when you are trying to improve or maintain your lifestyle? If you haven’t, I encourage you to give it a shot. Here are a few reasons why:
- It frees up our time
- It can save us money
- It can reduce stress around the topic
Let me give you a real-life example of how not properly planning can make all of these things go haywire.
Before I go further into this story, you must know that I am fully aware that I am a coffee addict. I am aware that it is something that I could change, but it’s not something I’m ready to at this point in time. Not until my children stop waking me up frequently during the night, at least.
A couple weeks ago I allowed my work and life schedule get a little too full. My time set aside for meal planning got pushed aside to accommodate something else.
I usually take the time to plan out everything my family intends to consume for the week which in turn helps me save time, money and stress.
However, when it came down to grocery shopping for the week, I went in without a plan and without a shopping list. I managed to pull together meals and snacks for every day. Except I forgot one thing, my coffee! Here was the trickle down effect:
- Because of that and my thought that I NEED coffee to get through my day took away about 25 minutes of my free time or time away from something else.
- It cost me about eleven dollars more than I would usually spend per week on coffee.
- It added extra stress with me worrying about how I would get caffeine to have enough energy to keep up with my day.
- Finally it caused me two bad headaches because on two occasions I chose to get a diet soda (which is a known headache trigger for me) when I didn’t have time to go out and run through a drive-thru for coffee.
Now, I’m not going to be hard on myself and get all bent out of shape. It was just one week of not following my plan.
However, what if I never planned and something like that happened every week? In a year that could be about 22 hours wasted, 572 extra dollars spent, 365 days of un-needed stress, and 104 headaches. All of which could have been avoided by making a plan and sticking to it.
Here are two ways I (usually) plan out my lifestyle every week:
Plan out everything you intend to consume throughout the week and make a grocery list based off of your plan.
Plan each day out in a detailed fashion with as much or as little "flexibility" as your work and life will allow. Account for everything you want to get done in your day including meals, workouts, self-care, family time, travel time... everything. I even go as far a adding a check mark to certain tasks that I have accomplished, specifically new behaviors that I want to adopt as new habits.
I'll warn you, this isn't going to magically become easy overnight.
There will always be new things to consider and barriers to account for. However, with consistency, each day and week will get easier and more efficient, allowing you to spend your brain's energy in places you want to.