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How To Plan For The Unplannable

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How To Always Follow Through

❝Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference:
Now my socks are wet.❞

~ with apologies to Robert Frost

The thing is, much like a different Robert wrote, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”, and when we have a plan and the unexpected occurs, we often find ourselves in a position of “well then, now what?”

This goes for New Year’s Resolutions that lasted until around January the 4th, and it goes for “xyz in a month” plans of diet, exercise, or so forth.

We’ve written before on bolstering flagging motivation when all is as expected but we just need an extra boost:

How To Keep On Keeping On… Long Term!

…but what about when the unexpected happens?

First rule: wear a belt and suspenders

Not literally, unless that’s your thing. But you might have heard this phrase from the business world, and it applies to healthful practices too:

If your primary plan fails, you need a second one already in place.

In business, we see this as “business continuity management”. For example, your writer here, I have backups for every important piece of tech I own, Internet connections from two different companies in case one goes down, and if there’s a power cut, I have everything accessible and sync’d on a fully-charged tablet so I can complete my work there if necessary. And yes, I have low-tech coffee-brewing equipment too.

In health, we should be as serious. We all learned back in 2020 that grocery stores and supply chains can fail; how do we eat healthily when all that is on sale is an assortment of random odds and ends? The answer, as we now know because hindsight really is 2020 in this case, is to keep a well-stocked pantry of healthy things with a long shelf life. Also a good stock of whatever supplements we take, and medicines, and water. And maintain them and rotate the stock!

And what of exercise? We must not rely on gyms, we can use and enjoy them sure, but we should have at least one good go-to routine for which we need nothing more than a bit of floorspace at home.

If you’re unsure where to start with that one, we strongly recommend this book that we reviewed recently:

Science of Pilates: Understand the Anatomy and Physiology to Perfect Your Practice – by Tracy Ward

Second rule: troubleshoot up front

With any given intended diet or exercise regime or other endeavor, we must ask ourselves: what could prevent me from doing this? Set a timer for at least 10 minutes, and write down as many things as possible. Then plan for those.

You can read a bit more about some of this here, the below article was written about facing depression and anxiety, but if you can enact your plans when unmotivated and fearful, then you will surely be able to enact them when not, so this information is good anyway:

When You Know What You “Should” Do (But Knowing Isn’t The Problem)

Third rule: don’t err the same way twice

We all screw up sometimes. To err is, indeed, human. So to errantly eat the wrong food, or do so at the wrong time, or miss a day’s exercise session etc, these things happen.

Just, don’t let it happen twice.

Once is an outlier; twice is starting to look like a pattern.

How To Break Out Of Cycles Of Self-Sabotage, And Stop Making The Same Mistakes


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