When you’re working on a big project at the office, chances are you have a team of people coordinating their time and talent to produce something awesome — whether it’s a game-changer app being developed at a start-up or a new clothing item being manufactured in a factory.
Behind every great product or service there is generally a scope of work, which sets the expectations / parameters for said project, and a project plan — which ensures things continue to run smoothly — on time and on budget. (Different industries may use different terms — I work in marketing and advertising, so I’m using our terms, but the bottom line is that most of the world’s awesome creations take time, diligence and steadfast determination from each and every member of the team to see through to completion — no matter what you call the path or methodology to get there.
And while having a great team leader helps — shepherding the team along — ultimately, each person on the team contributes to the overall success or failure of the project.
Weight loss is my current “project.” The scope of work I’m aiming to complete is a 20 lb weight loss goal (for which I’m already 4.4 pounds into it) by November 18, 2016 (our 10 year wedding anniversary). And the project plan I’m following to get there is Weight Watchers. I have a team of supporters — family and friends — but no one can do the work for me. I have to be my own leader … and that means:
- Planning to succeed. They say if you fail to plan, you’ll fail to succeed; planning and success very much go hand in hand. With respect to weight loss, for me, this includes grocery shopping for good eats, keeping healthy snacks on hand (plus reasonable treats), meal planning, carving out the time to exercise, sleeping enough, and writing how I’m feeling along the way.
- Recognizing hurdles and finding creative, live-able solutions to overcome them. Every single day at work I am tempted by candy everywhere I look. We have a snack cabinet full of incredible goodies. And we have an old-fashioned soda bar with a freezer stocked with six local ice cream flavors that rotates out every two weeks. (The ice cream honestly never tempts me–but it’s there!). It’s a sugar-lover’s dream. On the flip side, we always have fresh fruit out and nuts available, too. So I’ve thrown it back to 2004 when I first joined WW. I’ve brought breakfast and lunch, and armed myself with healthy treats at my desk so I won’t be tempted by treats I just don’t need but grabbed simply because they were “there.” I also have some “emergency chocolate” on hand, in case I am feeling the urge. A planned indulgence
- Be flexible and willing to shift gears. You know you need to plan to succeed, but you also know what they say happens to the best laid plans … we have to be flexible. If a project you were working on was running over its estimated timeline, you wouldn’t put the kibosh on the project– No. You’d reassess, allocate new resources, and somehow find a way to deliver the product/service to your client in a timely fashion — or come up with a different solution that satisfies everyone. There is no throwing in the towel when big investments are at stake. Likewise, there is no throwing in the towel here if your friends suggest a different restaurant than you were planning on, or if you end up on the road for 6 hours vs 3 and absolutely need to eat something and it ends up being not the best choice. Life happens; you do the best you can.
- Be kind to yourself. Some weeks I’ll do everything right and still not lose; weight loss isn’t always an exact science. But being angry or frustrated at myself those weeks I don’t lose (or gain – it happens!) isn’t going to solve the problem. Instead, we need to remember to be kind to ourselves; to dust off our shoulders and move on.
I have my work cut out for me — but am feeling hopeful.
Plan to succeed; it’s like 75% of the journey!