There was a period of time where I just didn’t bother to plan my week. It just seemed so overwhelming and no matter what happened, there would always be multiple days where things completely threw my plan for a loop. I would then end up so wrapped up in the fact that I wasn’t perfect that I’d be more or less an emotional mess. Then I read an article about how successful people offer themselves forgiveness. And I took a slightly different approach to planning my week.
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Why planning is important (even if there are “blanks” in the plan)
You wouldn’t go to the grocery store without a list, would you? Well, you might, but then you’ll end up buying all sorts of things you don’t need and quite possibly shouldn’t have purchased because you didn’t have a plan going in.
If you don’t even have a target for the week (or the month), it’s pretty stinkin’ difficult to end up at your grand goal (such as losing 30 pounds – because you don’t do that in a week). And, as I mentioned in my post about Making Good Behavior Feel Less Expensive, rewarding small wins makes that big win so much more achievable. The best way to have those small wins is to make small targets for yourself.
My approach, after beating myself up about not being perfect for several months, is based loosely on the Serenity Prayer. You know, this one:
Intentional Holes in my Plan
After I finally granted myself forgiveness for not being perfect, I took a step back and identified the things that I simply couldn’t know in advance or couldn’t control on a pretty regular basis (and I really like control). They ended up being:
- Weekend evening meals: we frequently end up making plans for Friday, Saturday and even Sunday nights the day before or the day of
- Locations for weekend evening meals: I’m not the only one making the decision on where to eat so the restaurant (or menu if someone hosts a get-together) isn’t up to me
So, what did I do? Well, I decided to control the things I could such as:
- Whether or not I had a weekly plan: it was kinda stupid to just stop planning altogether for the entire week based on “failures” at a total of three meals
- Whether or not I prepared meals in advance: there are pros & cons to each approach, but if I wasn’t even making the decision then how the hell could I expect to be successful? (but let’s be honest, by not making the decision, I really made the decision not to prepare meals in advance which resulted in a higher percentage of “last minute choices” which I’m not so great at)
- How I shopped for the week: what I have available in the house heavily influences how well I eat
What does my general plan look like now?
I approach weekly food planning as follows:
- At a a minimum I actually have a plan
- I try to make that plan on Sundays during the day
- My plan covers Sunday – Sunday (so technically 8 days)
- I intentionally leave Friday, Saturday & Sunday dinner blank
- I generally don’t put breakfast on my plan because I tend to eat the same thing M-F for breakfast (Dannon Oikos Vanilla Greek Yogurt with some Kashi Go Lean Crisp – Toasted Berry Crumble) and then either a Shakeology and/or eggs on the weekend days
- When I actually get to the weekend evening meals, I try to either have quick-easy back-up meals on hand in my freezer or I make good use of my Vital Behaviors
How do you approach meal planning? Where might a little more forgiveness help you be more successful? Please comment & discuss below. I love to hear your ideas!
Wishing you an All+SUM LIFE,