The value of a flexible plan

The value of a flexible plan: be prepared for change, www.marianamcdougall.com

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When you’re embarking on a major lifestyle change, it’s important to have a plan. Without one, you run the risk of haphazardly making small changes that certainly help, but don’t take you to your desired results in an efficient manner.

Whether you use project management principles to get you there, or whether you just have a piece of paper glued to your fridge stating your next steps, one of the most important things you can do to achieve your goals and dreams is to ensure your plans are well-designed, but also flexible. Because sometimes, life likes to play jokes on you. You need to be prepared for that.

The best way to be prepared for random changes that might backtrack your plans is to identify your priorities. Knowing what they are will help you face unexpected changes with grace and a willingness to keep pushing forward when the time is right. A plan is important, but developing a plan without first identifying your priorities could do more harm than good.

 

Know your priorities

 

In the beginning of this year, I identified my themes and my priorities for 2016. Doing this ensured that when life threw a curve-ball at me this past week, I was able to remind myself of my priorities and concentrate on what’s important. My overall plan might have been backtracked a bit, but my overall priorities didn’t suffer.

Remember the Lifestyle Overhaul I was embarking on, and how it was going to start with exercise?

Yeah… sometimes life likes to play jokes on you. Some kind of really nasty virus has been making its way through my household… since last Sunday. If you think it’s tough being sick, try being sick while taking care of three sick kiddos at the same time. I’ve been down for the count for about a week, and just staying awake enough to take care of the little ones was a challenge, let alone have enough energy for exercise. So I didn’t.

 

The value of a flexible plan: be prepared for change, www.marianamcdougall.com

 

I reminded myself that my #1 theme/priority this year is family, and when we are all sick, taking care of us is more important than meeting a change timeline.

That’s why having a flexible plan is important. I’ve always been a fairly structured person, and I like to have a plan—perhaps my seven years in the military has something to do with that. Whereas I do like a plan, I am also flexible with those plans, because that’s how life works. Being too inflexible with your planning can leave you frustrated and doesn’t help you accomplish your goals in the long run.

I was all set for an early to rise spree of getting up at 4:45 a.m. each morning to get my workout in, say some prayers, and do some stretching all before getting started on my days with the kids. With three young kiddos, getting up early is about the only way to still get “me” time. I don’t mind at all, since I’ve been a morning person since I was a little kid.

But, as much as I was totally ready to get started this week, life decided to play a joke on me, and I got pretty sick, as did everyone else around here. The result? Not only did I fall behind on my lifestyle overhaul timeline, I also missed my writing day, and missed out on a great event I was planning on attending in Toronto. Having said all that, I probably got more sleep this week than I’ve had in a while.

Anyway, I’m not saying all this to show you that I have an excuse for not having started. I’m telling you all this to let you know that having a flexible plan is important, as is having a flexible timeline. I don’t regret not having started this week, and I am glad I kept my priorities straight. Taking care of the sick kiddos and getting enough sleep was more important than starting a new exercise program at this point in time.

Having said that, I’m still going to give you what I promised – a new exercise routine each week. The first few will be totally bodyweight ones, so you can go from ultra beginner to ultra active with no gym and no equipment. Stay tuned for your next workout.

From Ultra Beginner to Ultra Active with No Gym and No Equipment

Workout #2

The Plank

Warm Up: 5 minutes Animal Flow Warm up OR the following warm up exercises that can be found in the Core Performance book:

  • Hip Cross Overs
  • Inverted Hamstring
  • Hand Walk
  • Lateral Lunges
  • Drop Lunges
  • Backward Lunge with Twist

Workout (do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions, with no rest between exercises. Rest 1 minute between sets. Do this as a straight set – go down the list doing 1 set of each exercise, rest for 1 minute, then go back to the top of the list and do i again, for a total of 3 sets):

  1. Squats
  2. Push ups from knees
  3. Hip Bridge with feet on stability ball
  4. Prone Swimming (lie face down on the floor. Lift your chest off the floor slightly and pretend you’re swimming, but move just your arms while trying to keep your hips glued to the ground).
  5. Crouching Beast leg shoot backs (in crouching beast position – get on all fours with knees off the floor, then tuck your knees under your chest), shoot your legs out and land on your toes, while trying to keep your hips as low as possible)
  6. Superman from knees
  7. Plank from knees
  8. Side plank from knees

Check out this post for pictures and instructions!

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