How to Plan, Do and Review

In our Live Better coaching classes, we regularly ask people to set themselves homework, complete their homework and review how they did.

This is one of the most important parts to controlling our weight and improving lifestyle habits.  Because unless you do something different, you won’t achieve anything different.

So this is all about the Plan, Do, Review method of changing your habits and behaviours.

Plan, Do, Review

Plan it

Here are some top tips to help you Plan how to make next week better than last week:

  • Make it an action.   One of the most common plans (and the most unsuccessful ones) is to tell yourself “I’ll try harder!”  This never works, so don’t make it your homework.  Make it a physical action you actually perform.  For example “I’ll do a workout at least twice this week”, or “I’ll include at least 3 different colours of veg into each meal this week”.  Your plan should be something you physically do, not something you think about, or feel.
  • Make it something you do frequently.  Ideally, make it an action you perform every day.  We get better at things by repeating them often.  The more often you do it, the better you get at it.  If you only perform the action once, there is no way you can get any better.
  • Make sure it is realistic.  Don’t go crazy and say you will run a marathon on Friday, if you have never run more than 30 seconds before.  And don’t say you will give up chocolate/sweets etc if it’s Christmas eve tomorrow.  Your action must be something that you can actually succeed at.

Do it

Thinking about your plan is not enough.  Now you need to actually do it!  

  • Make it a priority.  You are changing behaviours because it is important to you.  So don’t forget about it, leave it to the last minute then do a half arsed job of it.  Make it the top of your priority list and make sure other things work around it.  Do it early and do it well.
  • Remind yourself.  Don’t let a poor memory hold you back.  If you have trouble remembering to do it, set reminders, alarms, post-it notes etc to jog your memory.
  • Track and record it.  Once you have done it, make sure you record that you have done it.  It could be by ticking a box in your notebook, or clicking a button on your phone.  It doesn’t matter how you record it, as long as you do.  Recording it helps you see the habit develop.

Review it

Finally, you need to learn lessons from your experience, whether it was a good or bad one.  Don’t end up repeating mistakes time and again.  Don’t “hope” things will improve, “make” it improve.

  • Write down when, how and why things worked.  Make sure you write it, don’t just think it.  People are far too keen to focus on failures, so make sure you are not blind to your successes.
  • Write down when, how and why things didn’t work.  Be realistic and accept that things don’t always go perfectly.  So write mistakes, cock ups and things that didn’t run smoothly.  These are often the most important ways we can improve.
  • Write down how you would repeat the experience, but with more of the positives and less of the negatives.
  • Write down how you could use lessons learned here, in other situations in the future.  No need to reinvent the wheel every time…

In Conclusion

So that’s it. To give yourself the best chance to change your lifestyle for the better, take one week at a time and make sure you Plan, Do, Review!