Anyone can become fitter, healthier and enjoy better mobility if they do two things. Just two. Set a goal and Make a plan. And you don’t even need to have the plan ready before you start! In fact, it’s more helpful if you don’t. Here’s why.

Setting The Goal

You can’t hit a target if you don’t have something to aim at, right?

You need a goal. You need something to aim at. And the goal that you set as your target has to be measurable. You can not have something iffy like, “I want to be fitter.” “I’d like to lose some weight.” Or “I’d like to be more toned.”

If these things have been your goals in the past. I’m guessing they failed or did not last. The goal itself was doomed before you got started. Any goal you set MUST be measurable.

Then, when working to achieve your goal data is your friend. “I want to be healthy.” Has no meaning. It can’t be actioned.

“I want to run 5kms.” “I want to hang from a bar for 1min.” “I want to be 15kgs lighter.” “I want to wear my favourite jeans to Christmas dinner.”

These goals are immediately actionable and measurable over time.

When your goals are specific then you ave something to do. Immediately. For example, go out and hang. How long did you hang for? Write it down. Go for a run. How far did you run? Write it down. What is your waist circumference and what is the circumference of your jeans?

Write it down. Actionable. Measurable.

Which leads nicely into the second thing you must be able to do.

Make A Plan

Failing to plan is planning to fail!

This quote sounds cliche but it’s very true.

Planning sounds hard, which is why most people don’t plan. Especially if the thing you are trying to plan for and achieve is outside of your knowledge range. Then the very idea of making a plan to achieve a thing you have no idea about might feel like something you can’t even start.

So many people stop here. At the planning phase. And for very good reasons.

For example, I don’t know how to make a car. So how the heck would I make a plan to build one? Where would I start? What would my plan contain?

Fortunately, achieving a fitness goal is not nearly as hard as building a car. But even so, my theory on planning would work on that goal too!

If you don’t know how to make a plan to achieve your goal or if planning sounds daunting then here’s my tip: don’t make one.

Don’t write a plan, just write down what you do along the way in pursuit of your goal and let the plan write itself.

Here’s how it works.

I call this method of making a plan with out making a plan Action Planning. The methodology behind the approach comes from a research method call Action Research. You don’t need to have the plan set up in advance, but you do need to be a diligent tracker of data. That is the key.

The good thing is you can do it along the way. Your plan writes itself! Time saver. GAME CHANGER!

When you’ve set your goal, make a start (any start) towards achieving your goal and track the data. As much data and as much detail as you can handle. The more the better. The importance of your data will become crystal clear in a matter of weeks. Maybe even in a matter of days.

So here’s an example of an Action-Planning Loop:

  1. Set a goal: I want to do 5 chin-ups.
  2. Make a start: go and try a Chin Up. How did you fare?
  3. Write it down: Date of my effort is … The Number of reps were …
  4. Look around:

This is when you search for information. From everywhere. Like Google for example. To help overcome your impasse.

Google Search: “How to do a chin up?” BOOM. Your head will explode. YouTube. OMG. YouTube is awesome. Your brain explodes again. Ask a friend, “Hey, can you chin up? Know any one who can?” Is there an online course? Might you benefit from a course?

  1. Evaluate what you find: look at all of the new information you have gathered in your research make a call (a decision) about what your next step is:

“Maybe I can find a low bar, so my feet can be on the ground and I can help myself Chin-Up using my legs?”

“Maybe I can start with my chin at bar height and lower myself slowly. Do a Chin Up in reverse. A Chin Down!”

“Maybe I can use a tension-strap to help me complete a Chin-Up.”

“Maybe I should just hang first and see if I can better my time.”

And we’re back to the beginning:

  1. Set a goal: Hang for one minute in pursuit of being able to do 5 Chin-Ups.

Your involvement in tracking your data, reflecting on your efforts and the experience of success, failure and seeking information to help you overcome the hurdles you encounter becomes intoxicating.

You become involved in your effort. I mean REALLY involved. And that is the point. It’s the journey and not the destination that is most relevant. Getting to where you want to be is the goal. Connecting with the details that help you get to where you want to be ensures you will get there.

If you can experience this moment; the moment when your mind, your body and your sole becomes involved and invested in your successes and your failures. If you can reach that moment then you will achieve your goal. Of that I have no doubt.

The Power Of Data

Last example. Let’s say you make a decision and set a goal:

I WILL NOT GAIN ANY MORE WEIGHT.

Very good measurable goal. You weigh yourself and track what you do for one week (walk, ride, sit on the couch) and how and what you eat for one week. At the end of the week did you gain or lose weight?

You know the answer.

So what did you do? Did you walk three times a week for 30mins? Did you eat less or eat better? Did you not snack? Did you miss breakfast?

If whatever you did, and you lost weight, worked. DO IT AGAIN!

You now have a PLAN. You made it yourself! It works for you and that is the only person that matters right now.

This week I was supposed to write about my whole body movement training regime but I have a 600-800 word limit and I’ve blown it. Another time.

As an update. My MovNat training is going very well. We’re now getting ready (as a family) to go for a year long Gap Year. WILD! There is a lot to share in the months ahead.

Till next week.

Damien Norris is the founder and senior whole-body movement and lifestyle coach at The Wilding Project (LINK), Perth Western Australia.

Recently featured in TEDxPerth (LINK), Damien teaches children, young people, adults and seniors how to move and live a full life!

Olympic Fun & Fitness and The Wilding Project like Rewilding is dedicated to a movement rich life. Programs like Gymnastics, GymFIT, FootyEDGE, Parkour, Workplace Athletes, ActiveAgers and more all follow a simple philosophy, “Learn to move well and then never stop.”

Damien Norris