People who undergo surgery for weight loss are often tempted to simply let the surgery do the work for weight loss without making an effort to adapt new healthier diet and fitness habits. But the surgical bariatric patients who wish to achieve weight loss and maintain a healthy weight for years to come will use the surgery as an opportunity to form new habits creating a new healthier way of life. Using checklists to set goals, make a plan, and promote accountability is a key way for weight loss surgery patients to make the most of their surgical opportunity to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight long-term. Here are three benefits checklists provide:
Map a Plan. We have all been heard saying things like, “I need to lose some weight” or “I need to plan my meals and eat better” or “I really should start exercising.” And we know that saying these things seldom puts in motion the actions to accomplish results. The use of checklists can change words to results because they give us a place in which to map a plan. A good checklist will provide an opportunity to set a goal and then outline the steps required to achieve that goal. Just like a well-planned road trip a good check list maps the route for the journey to ensure the destination is reached.
Establish Accountability. We may not like to admit it as adults, but the simple fact is we perform better when we are held accountable. That includes being personally and possibly privately accountable to our self when pursing goals that are important to us. A good checklist holds us accountable with milestones and deadlines. Saying “I’d like to sign-up for a 5K race,” doesn’t hold the punch that writing down on a checklist, “Participate in benefit 5K three weeks from today” does. Seeing the goal written down keeps it present in our thoughts and actions. And the best part is that little check box in which we can put a great big X when the goal is accomplished. Accountability with checklists can be a private action, or it may be shared by like-minded people. People with shared goals may wish to share their checklists adding another layer of accountability that is both motivating and empowering.
Tactile Action. The literal act of holding a checklist, filling-in the blanks, and marking boxes is physically rewarding. But more importantly the act of writing a checklist, marking progress and accomplishing tasks or goals with a it gives us a pause to consider our goals and assess our progress. Effective time management strategies call for small blocks of time set aside to focus exclusively on making checklists, marking progress and noting accomplishment. For effective weight loss and weight management time should be dedicated each day to make and review checklists all the while keeping an eye on our big goals and the route we will take to achieve them.
Checklists can be as simple or as complicated you make them. When the goal is as important as long-term health and weight management the investment of time and thought in a well executed checklist nets great benefits.