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Research shows that you will be more successful and motivated in your weight-loss goals if you lay out a detailed plan on how you intend to approach your upcoming Challenge. Here are some ways you can start planning ahead.

Assess your baseline

Not only is a physical baseline, like your blood pressure and waist circumference, important to assess, your motivation level should be assessed as well. Be honest with yourself. On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that you can successfully complete this 12-week program? On that same scale of 1-10, how motivated are you to overcome any obstacles and race to the finish line? If you are below a 5 on either one, that’s ok! Sticking with the program will help to build confidence and motivation over time.

Be positive

Focus on positive solutions, not avoidance tactics. Instead of saying “I will never use the vending machine during my Challenge,” be open to the fact that there might be a day or two when you will need to rely on it. Instead, identify healthier alternatives in advance that you can pick, for example, trail mix or pretzels instead of a bag of chips or candy bar. Better yet, stock your desk drawers with non-perishable snacks you can eat in a pinch: EAS® AdvantEDGE shakes, dried fruit, almonds, etc.

Get your gear

Before you start planning your meals or workouts, make sure you have everything you need for both. Do you have an insulated lunch bag or cooler and microwave-safe containers to carry and cook your food? Do you have a water bottle and clothes and shoes for workouts and a bag in which to carry your gear?

Cook and shop in advance

Make sure your pantry is stocked with the staples you need to cook and prepare your meals. Click here for a sample shopping list to get you started. Choose a planning and shopping day each week so you have everything you need to prepare each meal. Most people like to do their shopping on Sunday so that they are ready for the week.

Get a grip on your workouts

Sit down and review the BODY FOR LIFE workouts and exercises so that you have a basic understanding of what you will be doing before you even hit the gym. Review other BODY FOR LIFE workouts here and in the Champions Body-for-LIFE book so you will be confident and have a basic understanding of the exercises before you even hit the gym.

Do your homework

If you haven’t already, start exploring the BFL.com website or reading the Champions Body-for-LIFE book. This is your guide for the Challenge. Be sure to check out Chapter 4, which has some excellent advice on planning for a successful Challenge.