Let’s talk about prioritising your health using board games analogy since I bet you played one at least once during the lockdown 🙂
Think of puzzles, as set goals. They have a clear beginning, end, rules; each piece has to be included to complete the puzzle.
Scrabble, is more open-ended, in time and steps that are needed in order
to complete it/win.
In fitness at ICON, think of puzzle as upcoming Shred, and Scrabble as starting or continuing your fitness journey.
When you want to start the Shred, you have two guiding principles in your priorities
Easy principle: Which steps make future steps easier? Do those steps first because they reduce the effort of the whole project. The analogy to doing puzzles would be to start putting the edges together first, then fill in the rest. The analogy to food tracking would be to prepare your meals in advance, and create ‘meals’ in MyFitnessPal or another tracker, and put those on the family board in the kitchen. Or booking all of your classes in advance. It would help if you focused first on the parts of your project that simplify future parts.
Motivation Principle: right now, when motivated, work on the most challenging parts of the project that you have sufficient energy, motivation, or focus on tackling. Maybe it’s drinking more water, reducing alcohol, or stopping snacking. That way, life will be easier for future-you, who may have less energy, motivation, or focus left to spare. Be kind to your future self! You’ll be glad you did. Putting off hard parts makes the work as a whole more stressful.
Like a puzzle, all the parts will have to get done at some point. All you’re deciding on is the order in which you complete the project. It makes sense to choose in accordance to reduce total effort and stress (while maximising your results), which is what the two principles above are about.
Now, thinking about your fitness in a more open-ended way is the scrabble way.
How do you prioritise that? Four steps
Set a goal: Figure out what you’re genuinely trying to achieve that is of value to you. For instance, are you training to look better naked, live longer, to reduce stress, to have better relationships, or something else? You can have External goals when you consider how your training can bring best YOU to others that you care about. You can also have Internal goals, which should be framed in terms of what YOU value. Usually, external goals are reasonable to get started, and internal goals (also used as intrinsic motivation) is what keeps you going. As you get deeper into your journey, you will find subgoals, and so on. But always remember the reason why you started. It will be a challenging journey along the way, so make sure your goal is close to your heart!
Brainstorm options for the next steps of your goal. There are many things you could do at any moment to work towards your plan. That’s why we’re here, ready to guide you towards most meaningful options and to try to reduce things that waste your energy without sufficient return. You can also book a personal training session with our Coaches.
Rate each potential option for what to work on by results you think it will give you and how effortful it would be to implement (in terms of time, energy, cost, etc.). The best options to work on are those whose value is highest relative to the effort.
Group these options based on effort and results. This leads to FOUR types of options, as shown in this diagram:
Type 1: Low Hanging Fruit. These are a low effort, high-value actions (upper left of the chart). You should do this first!
This is the things that require the least effort for best results
organising your diary to allow for regular training and food prep
sleep 7-9 hours
eating mostly whole, minimally processed foods
reducing alcohol intake
Type 2 and 3: Quick Wins and Leaps. Whilst searching for more low hanging fruits, it’s good to do a mix of Quick Wins — low value but low effort tasks, such as minor tweaks (swapping sugar with sweetener), and Leaps – high value, but the high effort tasks, such as full-body re-composition or crash dieting.
Quick fixes are useful if you’re starting or not sure what to do, but after a while, they will prevent you from taking your fitness and health to the next level. There is a risk of stagnating here.
If you only do Leaps, you won’t have the feeling of long term progress, this is the yo-yo diet zone, where all you know is how to lose weight quickly and how to gain it again rapidly. No in-between. If you’re experienced, Leaps are great to push you to the next level, but they take a lot of time and energy, so you need to be confident.
Over time your quick fixes will make your journey more comfortable and they always set an excellent base in search for low-hanging fruit.
Type 4: Traps. The 4th type of tasks are Traps – the high effort, low-value ones. Avoid these! They are a waste of time. This is where you can find slimming tea’s, unique body wraps, or secret fat-loss supplements. There will be times where you will feel motivated to work on a Trap for some reason. Don’t!
So, how to prioritise more productively? For Puzzles, remember to:
Decide the order in which you complete the project by minimising effort and stress while maximising the results.
For Scrabble, remember to:
Get crystal clear on the goal you are trying to create with your training, and always keep it in sight.