I want everything
I want to lose some weight! I want six pack! I want to quit smoking! That’s probably the most shouting phrases after every new year. Some people say “I want peace in the world” or “I want to feed all the poor children” and that’s amazing, amazing that they want to change something.
The problem is faced when it comes to execution. This is the point where most of the people fail and afterwards blame themselves for being weak. After a while they forget it and that’s the end of the cycle. After couple of months the story repeats – “Summer is comming, I must lose some weight” ant that’s a new beggining of failure. People end up blaming themselves and thinking that ABS, or whatever they set themselves as a goal, is just a dream. They think that they need super power to achieve it.
So what is the difference between a dream and a goal?
Do you know the answer?
I can help you – the answer is a plan. The goal without the plan is just a dream. That’s what you need – the goal and the plan, well of course some patience while achieving it. So the question is how should I plan anything to make it happen? I can suggest one way, it is proved by experience and it is called Agile.
Agile is not a gym name
If you work in IT sector you definitely know what agile is. If you do work and don’t know this, you probably have been living under the rock. In short, agile is the project management methodology focused on motivating individuals, search for improvements and promptly reacting to requirements’ changes. Agile can be cut to different perspectives, but in general it has these phases “Initiate -> Plan -> Execute -> Monitor -> Initiate” and loops them all over again.
Let’s take a global sensitive goal “I want to lose weight” and adapt it in agile way. This is going to be our requirement and let’s go through all the phases.
- Initiate. “I want to lose some weight” – it is not a goal. It is vague. When do you think your requirement will be satisfied? When someone will say “You look skinny” or when your favourite jeans will not fit to you anymore? No. Requirements must be specific and timeboxed. “I want to lose 20kg in 3 months” – that could be the requirement (of course you can do it more specific, but this is more than enough now). You can see that you need to drop almost 7 kg every month. The requirement can sound incredibly, but you adjust it later, that’s the purpose of agile.
- Plan. There are different ways to lose weight: diet, sport, fat removal surgery. Feel free to choose the last one if you can afford it and you like doctors playing with your body. We will choose the sport and diet (Actually, diet is not a scary word which forces you to starve diet is just a food plan). Sport – you can choose whatever you want – football, swimming, cricket, gym, running, badminton, everything is absolutely fine. You need to find out how many hours a week you can do sport and ACTUALLY DO IT! Ask a specialist for if you are new in sport to prepare the program for you. The same with diet, set the limit of calories daily (balanced) andprepare the menu or ask a specialist to do that. Even the internet is full of everything, where you can find diet and sport plans. There is no silver bullet here, everything suits perfectly fine.
- Execute. Yeeeaaah, it is not enough just to plan it, now comes the funniest part to implement what you’ve planned so far. Now you have the goal how many hours/times/excercises to do weekly. Go for it! Regarding to the diet – you have your menu, which shouldn’t force you to starve. Just eat at the right time, the right food. I know, it will not be easy, especially for the first weeks. That’s where you need patience. God bless you!
- Monitor. Agile has sprints(periods of time to achieve some very short term goals), which could be one week long. Suppose, every Saturday morning is the end of the sprint. Agile has events like showcases and retrospectives. The goal of showcase is to demonstrate what you’ve done in last sprint. That means weight yourself, measure up your body, take pictures. Do everything to track your progress(It’s weekly, so please, don’t do this everyday). You’ve just measured yourself, how do you feel? Are you happy with the result? Do you want to take a picture and post it to social media or grab a pint of beer to celebrate your lost kilograms? Maybe the result was not good as expected? Either way we have the Retrospective. This event is to find what were the reasons for success/failure and take actions to improve. Think about the last week/sprint and find out what your good/bad actions were which could affect the result. Target them to topics: “start doing”, “stop doing”, “keep doing”. Write your actions on the stickers around the corresponding topic. For example “stop doing” -> “Go to Jai’s house hungry (because his wife makes amazing cookies)” or “keep doing” -> “have a glass of water before eating”. Stick these on your fridge or another important place in your house as a reminders.
- Initiate. You can see the results and actions of the last sprint. Maybe you noticed that to lose 7kg in a month is slightly too much, even if you had an extremely active sprints. It is completely fine to adjust your goal to reasonable number according to your results. Maybe it’s 3kg now, or 10kg. Whatever you decided, go to the Plan phase. You also have the actions how to improve and… Go for it!
I agree, it is not easy to achieve. It requires a lot of effort and discipline, but in this way you are achieving your goal bit by bit with a constant feedback from yourself, and you can adjust it. Maybe after couple of weeks you realise that instead of dropping weight, you gain some. That case, make it as a new goal and don’t blame yourself anymore. It is just an attitude.
You can adapt agile to the personal life and it is not just for sport. It can be career, bugdet, social life, family planning or whatever.
Because of rapidly changing market and technologies Agile has become a dogma in IT world. Every company, every team implements it in different way and there is no silver bullet here. Every company adapts it in it’s own way. The goal is to react to the changes, monitor progress, motivate individuals and improve by learning lessons. LEARNING LESSONS!
- You can achieve everything if you do in a structured way.
- Be adaptive.
- Always look for improvements.
- LEARN LESSONS!