Fail to plan, plan to fail

I know, I know. This is a harsh statement and you don’t want to hear it on a Monday.

Particularly if you have started the week, sprinting to school hearing the bell sound as your lungs collapse inside of you. All because you let your son sleep-in for an extra 10 minutes forgetting he has to carry a Lego castle up the hill, complete with knights and a queen for his ‘Castle and Knights” themed topic. You haven’t even had your breakfast yet, but despite your best January intentions you have already had three Bendick’s mint chocolates and a Pepsi Max. And even though you got up at 6.30am this morning, your teacher-fearing offer to be a helper on your daughter’s day trip to the Henley river museum tomorrow means that your week is already shot to pieces.  That to-do list you wrote on Friday afternoon, to make yourself feel better about a shockingly unproductive first week of the year is most certainly not going to be fulfilled in the second week of the year either. So don’t come at me with you sanctimonious planning adage, thank you very much.

The word “fail” is so emotive for me. I’m task orientated, love challenges, a completer-finisher, I thrive on achievement.  Simply ironing all the school shirts on Sunday night, makes me happy.

But I like plans. And the way I see it, is if you don’t have a plan at all you may have avoided failure but you’ve also removed the potential of success.  Even if you don’t succeed in your plan, you might get close or closer than you did the last time you made a plan. That’s a type of success isn’t it?

My plans are not set in stone. I’m many things, but I am not a perfectionist and I am open to success coming in many,  unexpected ways.

So if you want to get some exercise in this week. You want to eat healthy. You want to have the ingredients for tasty meals in your fridge. Then make a plan. You may not stick to it, but it will at least get you going in the right direction.

I plan next week’s food on a Wednesday night. I pick recipes (totally my favourite bit), look at the family calendar, work out when I can do some exercise, who is eating what and when and write it on a printed template I made on Excel. As I am going, I make a list  of food I need and then make an online order for delivery on a Friday night. I love a full fridge for the weekend.

I never stick to all the meals on the days that I’ve written on my plan. I swap, I substitute, I remember we are going out to dinner, so I postpone a meal to the next week’s plan. I cook too much so I have left overs instead of a salmon salad for lunch. I don’t feel like eggs, so I have a smoothie instead. The children eat all the bananas so I have peanut butter on rice cakes for a snack instead.

Essentially my plan fails every week, but actually in terms of knowing what I am cooking each day, having the ingredients in my kitchen for a healthy week of food and being motivated to get some exercise in most days – I’ve been totally successful.

I’m not a clean-living, fat-free, sugar-free, tight as a tiger, all sorted woman by a long shot. But I’ve got a plan and I’m sticking to it. At least 70% of the time.

I’m happy with that.

15 January 2018

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