Does the idea of PLANNING AHEAD📓 make you a little uncomfortable? Ditto for me, my friends! I used to think I wasn’t good at it, and you know what happened then? I managed to make that prediction come true every time😔.
If this sounds like you, then today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast is absolutely the bee’s knees🐝🦵! We’re talking about creating calmness, pleasure, and good vibes🌈, even when we’re doing something we don’t think we’re capable of. You’ve got this – with PLANNING AHEAD or anything else – and I’ll show you how🙌. Let’s GO!
NOTE: Pahla B’s Book Club pick for March is “Hormonal” by Eleanor Morgan. First-time Chirp Audiobooks users can get $5 off any purchase by using the code PAHLA5. Find this book, Follow the Book Club and see other books we’ve read here: http://chirpbooks.com/pahla
(Even previous Chirp users can snag this title at a steep discount for a limited time!)
Canadian friends: this book is available on Chirp in Canada too!
REGISTER for this month’s LIVE Book Club event on TUESDAY, March 22 at 1:00 pm PDT, here: https://bit.ly/MARBookClubReg
Have friends who want to learn the benefits of PLANNING AHEAD? SHARE the podcast! 💛
PLANNING Ahead (FULL TRANSCRIPT)
You’re listening to the Fitness Matters Podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 227, “Planning Ahead.”
Welcome to the Fitness Matters Podcast where every week we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. I’m Pahla B, YouTuber, certified life and weight loss coach, soon to be author, and your best middle aged fitness friend. Are you ready to talk about the fitness mindset that matters to you? Me too. Let’s go.
Did you love how cheerful I sounded for that one? Planning ahead. Because I actually really like to plan ahead? No. I actually really don’t. But, hey, let’s plan ahead a little bit about this month’s book club in partnership with Chirp audiobooks. You guys, Pahla B’s Fitness and Wellness Over 50. Actually, it’s just Wellness Over 50. I’m so used to saying Pahla B Fitness together. Pahla B’s Wellness Over 50 Book Club is reading “Hormonal” by Eleanor Morgan.
I am super excited to actually talk with you about this book. We have a live book club meeting on Tuesday, March 22nd, at 1:00 PM Pacific Time. It’s a different day, different time, same format. We’re just going to get together and chat. I mean, it’s not really a study group. It’s definitely an informal chat.
I’m looking forward to mostly just hearing what you think about meeting on a Tuesday in the middle of the day and kind of getting some feedback on that. I’m experimenting with a couple of different days, a couple of different times. Personally, I felt like Sunday morning was a little bit difficult for me personally. So I’m experimenting with different days at different times. You guys, I’m excited about reading this book, and it is on a steep discount right now through Chirp audiobooks, which is what they do. They offer you really fantastic books at great prices with no monthly subscription fee, which is awesome.
In the description box or show notes below, depending on where you’re watching or listening, there’s a link to go to chirpbooks.com/pahla, P-A-H-L-A, where you can find this month’s pick, last month’s pick, and the last couple of books we’ve read. Also, if you are a brand new Chirp user in the US or Canada, you can get $5 off your first purchase with the code PAHLA5. Again, it’s P-A-H-L-A and the number five. In fact, here, let me give you the blanket statement of anytime I reference anything, not just our book club, I’m probably going to talk about other episodes of the podcast. I’ll definitely do that while we’re talking today.
So anytime you want to see that, it’s just in the show notes or the description box. You can also come and find all of that information on my website, which is just www.pahlabfitness.com, which is why I’m so used to saying Pahla B with the word fitness right after it. Because that’s me. You guys, let’s talk about planning ahead [singing the last part of that sentence].
I’m singing because I’m really uncomfortable with this topic. You guys, I do not care for planning ahead except for the fact that I totally love it now. Let’s just take a little trip down memory lane here. I historically have thought of myself as a person who is not good at planning ahead. As soon as you think you are not good at something, let me tell you, you’re not going to do it. This is a really easy use of the two-step tool where you find a thought and decide if it’s helpful.
I’m not good at . . . and you could just fill in the blank, whatever you want to put at the end of that sentence. That thought is not helpful. And you know why we know that? Because when you say that thought, I’m not good at . . . . How do you feel? For me, when I think I’m not good at something, I just feel – like defeated is the word that comes up for me really quickly. What I was going to say is I feel like giving up and that’s actually just another thought.
So the actual emotion that is connected with it is something around the neighborhood of defeat. And when you feel defeated, my friends, you don’t try. That’s what happens. That’s how you know that this is an unhelpful thought because of the feeling that it generates. And that feeling is not likely to drive actions that get you where you want to go.
So first of all, just be really careful of telling yourself “I’m not good at” no matter how you finish that sentence and learn from my mistake here. For years and years and years, I told myself I’m not good at planning ahead. So how did I become a person who – actually, I think I’m fantastic at planning ahead. I think I’m good at it. I enjoy it. And it’s something in my wheelhouse in general.
Do I plan ahead all the time? Absolutely not. There are times still when I allow myself to not plan ahead and recognize that the reason I’m not planning ahead is because . . . That’s still not pervasive thought, but I’m going to call it a semi-pervasive thought that I’m not good at planning ahead.
When I allow myself to plan ahead, I’m actually fantastic at it. I used to, and I feel like I’ve talked about this before, but I used to . . . bear with me. Let me finish that sentence. I feel like I’ve talked about this before, so bear with me if this is a story you’ve heard before. It’s still relevant, so I’m going to tell it again even if you’ve heard it. I’m going to be my dad here who tells the same stories over and over. He’s got four stories that I’ve heard a million times. But he just trots them out and there you go. That’s what happens.
So here I am doing the exact same thing where I’m just trotting out one of my four stories about me and planning ahead. I used to, back when I very first started on YouTube . . . And honestly, gosh, I’m going to say that this “not planning ahead thing” carried me through the first like three or possibly even four years of being on YouTube. And I had the results to show for it, which is to say that I had very slow growth. I did not have fantastic quality of videos or titles or thumbnails.
As I turned on the camera, I was thinking to myself, “Gee, what do I want to call this workout?” Now to be fair, I had planned ahead. I had actually planned the workout, but generally speaking, I planned the workout the day of, while I was already in my clothes, getting ready. And then I would find a moment during the workout in which I was doing something, and I would grab that as a screenshot and then pop some text over it (or not) and call it a thumbnail.
It was, let’s just call it, half-ass. Let’s just do that and get it over with because it was not planned at all. And the reason I didn’t plan is because I had this thought: “I’m not good at planning ahead.” And then I followed the advice of a person that actually is still my YouTube coach to this day. It’s a person called Tim Schmoyer. I don’t know if this is relevant to you at all, but there’s a person called Tim Schmoyer. He has a channel called Video Creators, and he talks about how to be a video creator.
He would talk all the time about planning ahead for your thumbnails, planning ahead for your titles, knowing what was coming in the pipeline, having a plan for what kind of content you’re creating and when and why. I used to listen to this and just feel nothing but overwhelmed. “I can’t plan ahead” was the thought that I would think while I was listening to that. Not just “I’m not good at,” but “I can’t.”
You guys, just really quickly here, let’s go through the two-step tool. “I can’t.” It doesn’t matter how you finish that sentence. What does that feel like to you? For me, in that particular instance, because I was thinking “I can’t do all that,” the thought of “there’s a lot to do” was creating the feeling of overwhelm, but even the “I can’t” created for me a feeling of powerlessness.
So that combination, because I was having lots of thoughts of powerlessness and overwhelm, you know what I didn’t do? I did not plan ahead. You can, even just now, generate that feeling for yourself of overwhelm. You know how that feels. I have so much on my to-do list today that I sat down on the couch and read a book. You know what that feels like. When you feel overwhelmed, you do nothing.
Overwhelm is definitely a feeling that most of us would like to avoid and we avoid that generally speaking by doing nothing, or sometimes I would simply do something else. I have so much on my to-do list about writing my book that I’m going to go find something to clean in the house.
That is a true story, my friends. Actually, what I’m trying to work through – not right now because I’m recording a podcast – but I have several tasks on my writing-the-book list today. And I’m working through my thoughts about them before I try and work through the to-do list. Okay. We’ve gotten far afield. Let’s talk about planning ahead because here’s the thing about planning ahead.
Planning ahead is the thing that will help you get your goal. All those years that Tim Schmoyer was telling me, “You got to plan ahead so that you can have YouTube success,” it was true. I’m telling you the more you plan ahead, the better weight loss success you will have. The better success you will have at anything. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what your goal is. You being able to plan ahead even a little bit is the secret sauce to success.
And here’s why. Your brain is always, and boy do I mean this, ALWAYS seeking pleasure and trying to avoid pain. Therefore, the thing in the moment that feels like more fun, more tasty, more happy, more easy, more pleasurable – your brain is always going to choose that. And that’s why planning ahead feels hard. Planning ahead feels like work. Not planning ahead feels like play. Therefore, your brain is going to try really hard to choose not planning ahead. Unless you have somehow created for yourself a situation in which planning ahead feels pleasurable.
Lots of you do this naturally. So, so many of you. And I hear this all the time and I’m always like, “Look at this, this philosophy in practice where you have created a feeling of pleasure for yourself from some thought. Something probably as simple as I love planning. Planning is fun. I’m good at planning.” All of those very pleasurable thoughts. Just listen to them for a second. “I’m good at planning ahead.” “I’m good at anything” creates a feeling of pleasure for you.
It creates a feeling of confidence or calm. You can tell that’s a helpful thought because of the feeling that it creates for you. So some of you, like I said, have done this naturally. Some of you maybe early on had some talent or knack for planning ahead, or maybe just made it fun by using fun colored pens or having a notebook that you particularly enjoy writing in or some other ritual that created pleasure for you from the familiarity of it, from the actual textures or the sights, the smells, the whatever.
Some kind of pleasure was created early on, in which case you have always associated planning ahead with pleasure. For those of you who already love to plan ahead . . . I mean, first of all, just thank you for clicking on this episode because you might have been like, “This isn’t hard for me at all. I wonder what Pahla has to say about it.” And I’m here telling you, “Planning ahead is so hard. Your brain is going to try to avoid it.” And you’re like, “No. No, I totally got this.” I love that.
My friends, you and I can learn from people like that. And really it isn’t an “us versus them” sort of thing because I have really had to work to create a feeling of pleasure in planning ahead. And here’s what I did. For those of you who do not already have the pleasurable aspect of planning ahead, here’s what I did to create that. I found that the thought of planning ahead is a gift to my future self. Every time I think I have to plan ahead, I simply conjure up the visual of how amazing it’s going to feel in the future when I have already made a plan.
I know what it feels like because I’m doing it. Next week on Monday, I’m going to have a filming day. I already know that. It’s already on my calendar because I planned ahead for it. And I already know how pleasurable it’s going to feel if I have already created the workout. I’ve already created the title. I’ve already created the thumbnail.
I’ve already created a lot of the things that go into it. And right now it’s getting closer to Monday, and right now I’ve already decided that I’m going to be filming on Monday. Right now I’m creating that workout ahead of time. This is going to make Monday feel so easy. It’s a gift that I give to my future self, and I can conjure that feeling of pleasure right now because I already know what it feels like.
I’ve already done that thing where I’ve planned ahead for myself. And then in the moment I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I already have the workout planned. This is so awesome.” I can tap into that feeling through my imagination right now which helps the planning right now feel pleasurable even though I can also conjure up a memory of how planning ahead feels difficult.
I say this with love. Your brain is always going to be at war about whether or not planning ahead is pleasurable or painful. It’s up to you to choose wisely. It’s up to you really, honestly, to choose wisely based on some prior knowledge and some imagination of what it might feel like in the future. Just like I was talking about – about how you already know how painful it is to not have a plan in place.
I’m sure you can come up with a situation in which you were floundering, kind of scrambling around trying to figure out what to do because you didn’t have a plan in place. So you already know that not planning can feel painful. However, I will tell you that trying to make yourself do something right now because of future pain is not usually . . . Well, sometimes it’s workable. Sometimes it’s not.
There’s actually quite a bit of debate as to whether or not future pleasure or future pain is more motivating. And it really depends on the pleasure or the pain. For me, scrambling around, not having something planned out, there’s a part of my brain that’s always like, “Yeah, I’ll probably still figure it out.” That future pain isn’t very compelling to me because I know I have been in many, many, many situations in which I did not have a plan. I still figured it out. I still kind of pulled something out of thin air and made something happen.
So that’s not very painful to me. There’s not the risk of really huge danger or huge problems. There’s not a lot of pain to be had in a situation in which I did not plan ahead. So recognize that. Picture yourself like this: “What happens if I don’t know what I’m going to have for dinner? Well, I’ll probably just eat out.” The most painful part about that might just be that I beat myself up later, that I tell myself that wasn’t a good choice.
That’s not a lot of pain. The pleasure of knowing what you’re going to have for dinner and then making that happen and executing on that and having the calories already counted for you, maybe already in your app. Honestly, that’s maybe not a huge pleasure either.
This is worth noting. What is going to feel like the most pleasure or the most pain if there’s very little pain associated with it and also very little pleasure associated with it? You’re probably going to opt very automatically for the pleasure right now of not planning ahead. Recognize that, my friend. Your brain is always seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Knowing where your pain point is, knowing where your pleasure point is, is the point of planning ahead.
That’s really our entire discussion today. Here are my practical steps for you. Step one: decide what’s pleasurable and decide what’s painful and recognize that. Planning ahead honestly comes down to knowing what feels pleasurable for you and what feels painful for you. Isn’t that interesting? This is why I even brought this up today. Sometimes I just really like to talk about stuff because the knowing of it is so interesting.
And then trying to apply it to your life is like . . . It’s almost like an intellectual puzzle right now. While we are thinking about it, it gives you the chance to, I mean, maybe you saw this coming, to journal about what you think about planning ahead. What do you think it will feel like to have your day planned? What do you think it will feel like to sit down right now and plan your day?
This is the thing that most of us come up against. When somebody tells us, “Oh, planning ahead is the thing that’s going to help you the most.” It might not. It might not help you if your thoughts all run in the neighborhood of, “I’m not good at planning ahead. I’m terrible at planning ahead. I like to be spontaneous. I always figure it out, and it always works out.”
Planning ahead might not be the secret sauce that changes everything for you if you are actually fantastic at figuring out what works in the moment. This is something else to consider. Just because you think you’re good at figuring out something in the moment, doesn’t actually mean that you’ve figured it out in a way that works. You’ve figured out that you can order out or go to a restaurant or pick up fast food in order to eat something for dinner. You’ve solved that one problem. But if that solution doesn’t actually meet your calories for the day or you are not managing your mind about how you are talking to yourself after the fact, then maybe that didn’t actually meet your needs.
All of these factors are worthy of consideration under the lens of “When am I seeking pleasure and when am I avoiding pain?” Knowing what is pleasurable for you, knowing where you feel confident and good about what you’re doing versus where you feel a lack of confidence or bad about what you’re doing, that’s where you’ll find the thing that works for you.
Actually, what you’ll very likely find – and this is why we manage our minds, you guys – what you’ll very likely find is all the things that are not working for you. And I say this with so much love. This is the point of journaling – to find what’s not working, to find the thoughts that are painful, to find the thoughts that are creating feelings that aren’t getting you where you want to go.
You will very likely not hit upon something that feels amazing. Unfortunately, that’s not usually what we find when we’re journaling. I know that most of you would like to. This is actually a really good point about journaling in general. You all want to find something amazing that feels great in your journal. That’s not really what we journal for.
We actually journal to find all the crap that’s running around in our heads that’s stopping us from doing things. That is why I suggest that you find your thoughts and decide if they’re helpful. This is because most of them aren’t helpful. Most of them are holding you back. Most of them are getting you the results that you already have that you don’t like and want to change. That’s why journaling feels hard. Speaking of pleasure versus pain. That’s why journaling feels difficult because you know going into it that you’re going to find junky thoughts that feel terrible.
It doesn’t feel like pleasure unless you associate finding unhelpful thoughts with being able to move forward at a faster pace towards the things you want, which is the result that you will get from the skill of journaling. Repeated journaling is . . . Honestly, it’s very much like cleaning your house. Yeah, you could just let the dust be there, but also when you clear away the dust, you’ll have that nice, clean house briefly.
Finding your junkie thoughts will help you clear out the junkie thoughts briefly until more of them pop up. That is, at least briefly, very pleasurable. Even though the writing down of the thoughts conjures up the lousy feelings and can feel in the moment very not pleasurable. The act of having done it is very pleasurable. It feels amazing in fact. It’s why I encourage you to do it so often because cleaning out your junk feels good.
Okay. Boy, did we get far afield on this one today. Do you have some sense of what we’re doing, and where we’re going, and why? Here are my thoughts. Planning ahead: good for you unless you already know ahead of time that you can figure something out in the moment that what you are going to figure out in the moment is actually going to move you towards where you want to go, and you have a lot of confidence in that.
That, my friends, is a plan. If you already know that in the moment you’re going to make an amazing decision and you’re going to feel great about it, and it’s going to meet your targets, and it’s going to get you where you want to go, that’s actually planning ahead. Even if you don’t have a plan, you are planning to succeed and it’s the same thing.
That’s what planning ahead will get for you if you want to have the actual nuts and bolts and pieces in place ahead of time. It is guaranteeing that in the moment you are going to feel amazing. Either way you do it, it totally works. So take a moment to examine which way is the way that you are going to feel good and get your goal. Because both of them work, and both of them are a plan.
And recognizing what you are telling yourself about planning or lack of planning is the point of the podcast. And the way you find out what you are planning or not planning – or how you feel about how you are planning or not planning – is by writing it down. Ask yourself the question, “How do I feel about planning ahead? What do I think about planning ahead?” And examine those thoughts. Examine those feelings. If they are not helpful, if they don’t feel good, they are not getting you where you want to go.
All right. That was fun, right? It was fun in one of those twisty, turny, peel-back-another-layer-
of-the-onion kind of ways, which is pleasurable for me. I hope listening to this podcast is pleasurable for you, my friends. Have a wonderful week. I will talk to you again soon. And open up the show notes, the description box. I didn’t actually talk about other episodes today, but we’ll talk about the book club in the show notes, you guys. Thank you for listening. I’ll talk to you again next week.
If you are getting a lot out of the Fitness Matters Podcast and you’re ready to take it to the next level, you are going to love the Get Your Goal coaching and accountability group. We take all the theory and knowledge here on the podcast and actually apply it in real life on your real weight loss and fitness goals. It’s hands on, it’s fun, and it works. Find out more at www.pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal, and let’s get your goal.