A few days ago, I received a message from one of our members saying that she’s doing well but is about to travel. And to quote her, “That’s usually when things fall apart.”
Her question came at the perfect time as I’m about board a plane for Atlanta and in addition to business planning, I’ve spent the last week preparing so that I can maintain my boundaries while I’m away. Here are five (5) strategies that I use to help me stay on track while traveling. To help you remember, they all start with the letter P. Here goes …
Have you prepared for your travels? Do you know what you will be eating? Do you have snacks with you? What will you say when you’re invited out to dinner? How will you prepare your body so you’re not exhausted? When will you fit in your workouts? How will you respond to stressful situations? Have a plan for all of this otherwise, you will get caught off guard and end up making poor choices.
To prepare for my trip, I’ve sought out a gym that offers a 7-day pass; I’ve researched a couple of restaurants that will serve healthy options; I’ve packed some healthy snacks in my carry on bag; I’ve packed a protein shake for lunch at the airport; I’ve got my water-bottle that I will refill once I’m through customs; I’ve let my girlfriend know what my food boundaries are so she and I both understand each other, and I’ve mentally prepared myself to walk through the airports without purchasing any snacks. I’ve also set some non-negotiables (no sugary drinks, maintain intermittent fasting schedule).
Staying healthy will require a lot of preparation, but I promise you, the feeling is worth it. Make a list of how you will need to prepare when you’re traveling and refer to it each time.
Whether traveling for business, pleasure or both, staying healthy while traveling will require that you get crystal clear on what your priorities are and recognize that you will have to make sacrifices if you really want to achieve your goal. Are you willing to opt out of visiting a museum so you can get a good night’s rest? Will you pull over on your road trip to walk for 15 minutes? Can you schedule a later flight? Will you sacrifice some sleep so you can wake up before everyone else and get some exercise in?
Repeat after me, “YOU FIRST!” I know it sounds very anti-Christian to even think that you should put yourself before others, but how much more anti-Christian is it to not be available when others need you because you’re too sick or too tired. Take care of yourself first and you’ll be better equipped to support other’s needs.
Let your accountability partners know you’re going to be away and let them know what your plan is. After so many years of trying on your own, you should know by now that this journey is impossible on tour own. The simple fact that I’m sharing this with several thousand of my closest friends helps me stay accountable. I know it can sound ‘weak’ to think that we need accountability for things like this but, hey, whatever works.
Of course, we can’t forget this one. Have you given your day over to God? Have you asked for His strength to flee from temptations and resist? Don’t wait until you’re sitting on the plan and the stewardess walks by with the peanuts and soft drink, or if you’re driving, to see those yellow ‘Golden Arches’ to begin spiritual warfare over your temptations. By then the battle is already over (and victory went to your opponent.) The time to start praying is days and weeks prior to your travels. Give the entire journey to the Lord and ask Him to cover it.
Traveling is not an excuse to slack off. Yes, conditions are less than ideal, but that’s life. There will never be a convenient time to get and stay healthy. There will never be the perfect day when you’ll have time to prepare perfect meals, have the perfect workout, get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and have a day free of stress … BUT, you can do your best each day by continuing to move towards your goal regardless of how small the steps are or how fast or slow you’re moving. THE GOAL IS IMPERFECT PROGRESS! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. If you ‘slip,’ no biggie, just keep on moving.
Yes, it will take work, but you can maintain your boundaries while traveling. I promise you, you will feel so much better—you will have more energy; you will not experience the guilt and shame associated with breaking your boundaries, and you will feel victorious instead of feeling like you’re at the mercy of your travel schedule.