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The SparkPeople Blog

The Secrets of Success: Make A Plan

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/9/2010 6:00 AM   :  80 comments   :  31,511 Views

Life is what happens when you're making other plans, as they say. Whether your life follows a straight and narrow path or one that meanders, there will be bumps, detours, and traffic jams along the way. That doesn't mean that you should stop--and you can't turn back. The same goes for weight loss. For it to last and become a part of your life forever, it isn't always easy--but it can be done. That's what we've learned from our most successful members, whose weight-loss successes are detailed in The Spark. We're sharing 15 of those 27 Secrets of Success here on the dailySpark.

Secret #9: Make a plan.

Of those who met their goals, a full 74 percent planned their meals and workouts in advance, and over 78 percent of 100-pound losers did! And, when compared to those who had not met their goals or were “stuck,” successful members planned their workouts more than twice as often.

I'm addicted to my BlackBerry, but I still have a paper planner. There's something very satisfying about crossing something off a list. From doctor appointments to dinner dates, SparkPeople meetings to yoga classes, I write it down and type it in. I also schedule my workouts, especially if my days are busy. That way, I see that that time is already booked--for an activity that is as important if not more than my work or home obligations. Tomorrow is Wednesday, and I know I've got a short abs workout with co-workers at 2:30 and yoga from 6-7:30. Any other plans that arise have to be worked around those commitments, and I don't have to worry about when I'll find time to exercise.

Make exercise and healthy eating a priority--without letting it take over your life.

Habits of Fit People: Mark Your Calendar

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Trade Secrets from the SparkPeople Coaches

Lose Twice the Weight by Tracking Your Food

Know someone who would like to learn more about the Secrets of Success? Spread the Spark by clicking the green "Share" button below.


Making a plan is just one of the15 secrets we're spilling. Find the rest here (a new one is posted every day). For all 27 secrets, read The Spark.


How do you plan to be successful? What kind of healthy living plan have you implemented?


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Comments

  • 80
    Yes ! I love to make lists and crossing things off as you do them is very gratifying ----It just makes sense that it would work with larger goals like a weight loss program, too. - 3/24/2010   12:19:38 PM
  • 79
    I plan to be successful by sticking to my program even when the scale refuses to budge (went through that this past month).

    For healthy living, I watch what I eat, I try to plan healthy meals for my family, I make it a priority to exercise everyday. I am lucky that I get to go walking for 30 min 2 to 3 x's a week. Also, we have a zumba class every wednesday. I also do little exercises every day and try to use our wii every night. Also, when our family is not out and about and the weather is good, we go for a family walk. Even though my life is hectic with my job and grad school and family, I am determined to keep forging ahead with my journey of weightloss and becoming healthy.

    How do you plan to be successful? What kind of healthy living plan have you implemented? - 3/24/2010   7:09:35 AM
  • 78
    "I'm addicted to my Blackberry..." When I read that I thought of how too many folks are so time structured, so tight with list making that they forget to enjoy life. Every moment of every second, of every day is planned. Creates a stress unto itself. Planning is positive, being addicted to planning is another issue. I remember doing a schedule for a 12yr old who was dealing with burnout. Every second from the moment she woke to the moment she went to sleep was scheduled. There was no time to simply enjoy life. I say, plan and allow breathing room, don't get all caught up in that list and turn off that Blackberry (not me, I don't even own a cell phone), get caught up in life and enjoy the ride instead of having to schedule in time to just smell the roses. - 3/23/2010   2:04:38 PM
  • 77
    I agree wholehearteldy! - 3/14/2010   2:45:15 PM
  • 76
    I recently read a phrase that helps me go through my day. "Is this going to help me reach my goal?" - 3/14/2010   11:21:33 AM
  • TLGRNT
    75
    I totally agree, the best way to take charge of your life and reach your goals is to develop a plan and stick to it. - 3/14/2010   10:13:22 AM
  • 74
    I love planning ahead for my various workouts during the week. In fact, I have graduated to daily workouts every day of the week now. From basketball games to aerobic classes to hiking a mountain to strength training, I love the variety and the every day momentum I am getting from an every day fitness activity. My problem is now putting that focus on monitoring my food intake better. I am consuming way too many calories. All in time, I will conquer this area of my life, also. - 3/13/2010   8:51:49 PM
  • K_RENEE
    73
    I really need to start making more plans, as far as planning my day goes. I plan my day at work pretty well, but I don't plan my time outside of work very well, much to my own detriment. - 3/11/2010   9:21:53 PM
  • 72
    I agree planning is absolutely a must! I'm slowly getting it together with my changes to a healthier life style. This week I changed to including higher fiber meals and more routine meals so it is easier more me. I don't have to think about it and my husband who prepares my meals has an easier time knowing what I want. Yes...win...win! I will continue this planning and incorporate something else next week. I love SP and I feel healthier each day! - 3/11/2010   3:36:35 PM
  • ANTIONETTEG
    71
    I plan to be successful by using a planner for all aspects of my life I have started tracking my food, fitness, and finances and it has been helpful. - 3/11/2010   1:57:08 PM
  • 70
    I have always tried to just keep my lists in my head, but that doesn't seem to work so well anymore. I will have to start writing things down as my husband has always done, and he gets things done! - 3/11/2010   12:00:40 PM
  • 69
    the only thing I can plan is to track my food and exercise. To "plan" to reach a goal of weight loss has been and is a sure fire way for me to fail. If I don't reach the weight goal then I give up and then hate myself for that so for now I plan my food and I plan my exercise. It may not be giving me the results I am wanting, but I do feel good about those accomplishments. - 3/11/2010   10:22:53 AM
  • JESAK327
    68
    I am the queen of planning. The hardest part is completing all of the plans. Best laid plans and all... - 3/10/2010   9:54:37 PM
  • 67
    I plan as well, I have my Gold's gym schedule with the classes
    and days i take those certain amount of classes monday through Friday
    I also have the spark book to look back for a reference and I have a meal plan
    i log into myapex.com and look what meal i am supposed to have that day for breakfast snacks lunch and dinner.
    It works - 3/10/2010   2:47:48 PM
  • JUDIQUE57
    66
    yes, the list.it does feel good to cross off things you have done. its over, make a new list of things you've been putting off and before you know it, they too are done. lots of time then for JUST YOU. good feeling. - 3/10/2010   11:43:34 AM
  • LAPORTE2006
    65
    I try to plan ahead and make a grocery list but it is hard when you get paid once a month. Hubby is on disability. We have to be careful because we are both diabetic. When I go to the store a lot of times I have to buy what is on sale and that messes up my menu and list. - 3/10/2010   10:06:35 AM
  • 64
    I try and plan out my dinners a week ahead. I also do a lot of crockpot meals and make lots of extras for future meals. I am also trying very hard to avoid gluten. As for exercise I do what I can when I can. - 3/10/2010   9:58:06 AM
  • 63
    Planning is very important especially making a menu so you know just what is going in your mouth and how much you can have. It helps you stay focused and you are not searching for ingredience to make meals at the last minute. - 3/10/2010   9:53:08 AM
  • 62
    I am learning to do this... one thing at a time!! - 3/10/2010   8:19:56 AM
  • 61
    Yes! Plan, plan, plan!! - 3/10/2010   6:37:40 AM
  • 60
    Plans are definitely the key, but you can't be too rigid to change plans when something unexpected happens. You also cannot beat yourself up if you go off your plan for a day. Regroup and continue. - 3/10/2010   6:17:00 AM
  • 59
    I go to the Y every day. I meet someone at 11:00 am. The Y is nearly empty at that time. I don't have to wait on the machines.
    I plan most all of my meals. If I am not going to be home I take my snacks and any other food I will need. It is less costly and I get my nutrition, not junk food. I also carry my water. I use a 20 oz sport bottle. Everyone knows me by my water bottle. (lol) - 3/10/2010   5:50:24 AM
  • 58
    Apparently there's even been research that shows that crossing something off of a to-do list lowers your blood pressure -- talk about an added health benefit!! - 3/10/2010   5:31:33 AM
  • 57
    Planning is good for meals. It saves the temptation of fattening foods. I don't do well planning exercise do to fibromyalgia. - 3/10/2010   5:17:51 AM
  • DALY416
    56
    I make a plan but how do I sticvk to it? I have a plan to exercise, how often to eat, to do homework, to rest, but its hard. I work third shift and during the day its easier to sleep than get up and exercise. - 3/10/2010   1:31:45 AM
  • 55
    This is so true! I find if I don't PLAN to cook, I don't cook. Then I don't have enough food ready and I eat too little or I eat crappy junk food! (I mean, I make very poor choices!) ;-} - 3/10/2010   1:09:01 AM
  • 54
    I eat the same breakfast almost every morning: oatmeal, dried blueberries, walnuts, ground flax seed, little protein powder, cinnamon and a little brown sugar.
    I pack a lunch every morning. Then thaw something out for dinner (fish, chicken, etc.) The fridge is packed with fruits and veggies. The pantry is loaded with brown rice, whole wheat pasta, beans etc.
    When I leave for work, I know what's for lunch, snack and dinner. This part is not hard for me. - 3/10/2010   12:39:08 AM
  • 53
    i just read that phrase "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" earlier this evening and now i've seen it a couple more times . . . apparently someone wants me to take note of that phrase and perhaps apply it to my life . . . - 3/10/2010   12:18:29 AM
  • GOTHICDRAGONFLY
    52
    I just recently started making a daily plan every night for the next day, i cant wait to see how it works out! - 3/9/2010   10:52:32 PM
  • 51
    If you fail to plan.....you plan to fail. - 3/9/2010   10:46:19 PM
  • MAMATREE1
    50
    Booking the exercise time is essential! Keeping track of the foods I eat is helpful too, but I've been doing that for years as I'm a type 1 diabetic for 40 years and count carbs. - 3/9/2010   9:58:41 PM
  • 49
    I plan ahead all my foods and exercising, now that I have reached my goal weight it is even more important to stay focus on maintaining and staying healthy. - 3/9/2010   9:49:33 PM
  • 48
    I suppose planning beats not planning, but I can't tell you how many times life has intervened these last few months, while I was making other plans....

    I'm a working professional mother, and sometimes I get it on both ends: at home and at work. - 3/9/2010   9:15:56 PM
  • 47
    I have to exercise every day to be successful./ - 3/9/2010   7:55:09 PM
  • 46
    I plan my meals in two ways. First I will cook ahead..then freeze the right portion sizes so I have no excuses not to each right and then the nite before I set up my 3 main meals for the next day and use the snacks as fillins. This really helps tracking you sodium intake. - 3/9/2010   7:35:03 PM
  • 45
    I just started planning my meals thanks to a Sparksfriends encouragement. It is working! I love this blog! Thanks for sharing these tips. - 3/9/2010   6:49:34 PM
  • 44
    Planning workouts w/ a toddler at home{with a home gym} can be tricky but it can be done! Planning my menus is getting a little easier due to the easy, delicious sparkrecipes!! - 3/9/2010   6:08:47 PM
  • 43
    I usually plan my exercise for first thing in the morning, sometimes life happens and i have to plan it for later in the day. My family know that i won't do anything until i have exercised so they plan around it.

    I plan my food ahead and make sure i am stock up on fruits and veggies. I also keep low calorie snacks around so i am not tempted to eat junk food. - 3/9/2010   6:06:20 PM
  • JMARSH80
    42
    I stock the fridge with veggies, fruit, and whole grain. My freezer is only for meat and frozen veggies, and it's usually only chicken, fish, or turkey. - 3/9/2010   5:28:49 PM
  • JONIBP
    41
    I try to plan meals for the week and go grocery shopping for the meals. Planning my workouts is easy since the gym my husband and I joined, is on the way home. No reason not to stop on the way home! After I work out every evening, I re-pack my gym bag with my workout clothes so I am ready for the next day. That's a plan!
    - 3/9/2010   4:41:58 PM
  • 40
    I have seen better results when I plan out the week. Bringing my lunch also eliminates a lot of temptation. I really need to get better at this though. - 3/9/2010   4:36:23 PM
  • 39
    Planning does work and for one like me who loves to write it's so much easier and helpful doing things this way. - 3/9/2010   3:57:57 PM
  • KINGCROWN59
    38
    sometimes i don't always have access to the foods on my meal plan but i always keep up with what i eat and make sure not to over do it. it's been going ok so far but i just started...wish me luck - 3/9/2010   3:27:22 PM
  • 37
    Packing my lunches the night before has been a huge factor in my weight loss journey. Not only does it help me keep the calories down, it's a great way to keep the budget under control, too. - 3/9/2010   2:47:42 PM
  • 36
    I also love making lists--but even more- crossing off what I've done--such a sense of satisfaction. - 3/9/2010   2:09:17 PM
  • 35
    You are right on the ball. Planning really works. Good info. Thanks for raising it up. - 3/9/2010   1:21:40 PM
  • 34
    I'm fanatical about Dr.s and school appt. I can see that I need to prioritize myself as well as my family. - 3/9/2010   1:13:54 PM
  • 33
    The numbers are leaning towards planning ahead. Got my attention. - 3/9/2010   1:11:15 PM
  • 32
    I love this article. I have proven to myself several times that when I do not plan then I do not succeed. - 3/9/2010   1:03:33 PM
  • 31
    If you fail to plan you plan to fail.

    Good reminder! - 3/9/2010   12:49:59 PM

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