A Healthy Body and Mind in 2011: Your Plan of Attack

Yesterday’s project: strategic reflection on the year past. Today’s agenda: action plan. It’s where the rubber meets the road, folks. Call it a New Year’s resolution if you will, but this isn’t about some half-assed gesture toward a nebulous pipe dream. I’m talking about crystal clear objectives and an explicit progress plan. Define what you want for your health this year. Outline how you’re going to achieve it, and then get moving! Are you ready to tackle 2011 head-on? Get out your pens, ladies and gentlemen. Today we’re charting the course ahead!

Are you honing an already solid Primal routine? Are you a beginner looking for the pivotal nudge? Are you an evolving Primal type looking to deepen or expand your commitment? Wherever you are in your Primal journey, this is my question for you: what is your vision for the next step? What unfinished business do you have? What terrain will you traverse next? What vision of enhanced well-being beckons you?

Now it’s time to design that vision – with specific steps and actionable items. As promised, here’s the follow-up to yesterday’s PDF. I want you to enjoy more than a vision for this year: I want you to feel the full yield of success. Nail down what you want. Do you want to kick grains to the curb once and for all? Do you want to establish a strength training or sprint routine? Choose 1, 2, or 3 specific goals for your health this year and write them out.

Now define the daily, weekly, and quarterly efforts that will get you there. What will take the place of grains in your diet (e.g. new Primal breakfast favorites?)? What will your sprint exercises consist of each week? Set up a strength training schedule for the week. Verbalizing your goals and breaking down the steps to achieve them will be a powerful beginning to your year’s health agenda.

Afraid of biting off more than you can chew? This is a reasonable consideration. It pays to be realistic about what level of change you’re willing to accept in your life right now. My advice is to focus on the next few months and what you’re genuinely willing to take on in the short-term. You might be surprised, however, how much ambition a little success inspires as you plan out the rest of your year.

Nonetheless, don’t be afraid to go big and bold if you’re up for a take-no-prisoners, truly transformative challenge. I invite you to take inspiration from the incredible success stories I’ve posted recently. (A hearty thanks again to these folks for sharing their experiences!)

Finally, I’ll do my part to check in with all of you along the way. In addition to my regular Primal tips, recipes, and workout routines, I’ll offer up quarterly reviews with accompanying PDFs and other tools to help you track your progress and make the most of MDA’s copious resources.

Are you on board? Are you excited and energized? Are you gunning to get started? Good readers, have at it! Now it’s time to act. Get out there and make it happen! Please share your goals, and I encourage you to use the forum as your personal Primal journal. Let it be a space for you to share your vision, your daily feats, and the ups and downs along the way. The support I know you’ll get from other community members will be invaluable for your journey.

I’ll look forward to reading your plans – and ambitious visions for 2011. May it be a prosperous and life-changing year for everyone!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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44 thoughts on “A Healthy Body and Mind in 2011: Your Plan of Attack”

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  1. I started my primal journey in October. Now the plan for the new year is to take steps each month to become more primal. So by 2012 I will be completely primal!

  2. Thanks for this, Mark. I’ve decided this morning to reach all primal essential movements, as described in PBF (Primal Blueprint Fitness), by the end of 2011. Today I’ll create a little sheet to help me split this journey into 12 months. This way I’ll know if I get behind or stay on the track.

    Mark, would it be a good idea to add a new section in the forum — apart from the existing journals — so that we can publish our progress?

    I wish a healthy 2011 to all existing and future Groks.

  3. One of the aspects of going primal that really struck me was about how we typically wake up.

    I used to force myself up at 5:30am to complete a workout before anyone woke up.

    So in addition to tweaking my dietary changes and workouts, I want to focus more on how to achieve a lifestyle more in tune with my natural rhythms.

    Happy 2011!

  4. Thank you mark,

    Started PB last month, made it through the holidays without cheats! Working on PB essentials, tough as hell! Cant wait to master them all!

  5. Thank you Mark for the “starting point” you’ve provided. I already had it in my mind to start my primal life at the beginning of this new year and my first order of business was to trash all the holiday goodies that were lingering. Slightly painful because I was raised to never waste food, but I just had to remind myself that that stuff wasn’t really food.

  6. Like JLM, my (only) new year’s resolution for 2011 is to get to level 4 on all of the primal essential movements this year!

  7. Man, 2010 was a hell of a year in global health & fitness. Overall though, it’s my perception that awareness was raised a lot. I’m excited to see if the many hard won lessons of last year are improved upon this year.

    As for us, we’re going after a complete mind & body wellness program for 2011. We’ll continue to live primal, but are going to push the boundaries of what that means, by expanding into wellness for the mind, body, and spirit. This has been a long time coming, and we could not have been prepared to embark without MDA and this community.

    Grok on in 2011, tribe mates!

  8. I feel like I’ve finally got my Primal eating dialed in. My goals this year revolve around the rest of the PB laws. My specific goal is to incorporate bodyweight exercises into each day. I started over a week ago so it’s already working for me. I do pushups on the kitchen counter while food cooks, etc. Splitting up the moves through the day makes it a constant thing and very easy to work into my routine. I really want to get a good deal closer to my goal weight/size this year, and I know I can do it with Primal. Last year was my year for regaining my health (reversed diabetes, got off all meds, etc) and I’m seeing this year as a continuation of that, but also my lifestyle year. Getting all the laws to work and working for the laws. 😀

  9. Now that the holidays and baby-delivering are over, I’m starting the non-exercise part of Primal Leap today.

    We already were on a good mostly-primal track foodwise but now it’s Serious Business!

  10. I am looking forward to 2011 and putting on some muscle. I am going to really measure progress and see what works and what doesn’t (including some paleo principles).

  11. I just started on my primal journey today and this is my first post. I’ve been reading this blog and wanting to start for a while but haven’t been able to until now for a variety of reasons. I’m so excited to finally get going on my new lifestyle. I also just got Vibram Fivefingers and have been wearing them everywhere because they are so much more comfortable than Tennis Shoes. I can’t wait to try sprinting in them. My new years resolutions are:
    1. Get back to my ideal weight (not sure what that is but I think I would need to loose 20-25 pounds).
    2. Reach at least level 3 (hopefully level 4) of the Five Essential Movements
    3. Start a backyard organic vegetable garden

    Happy New Year Everyone!

  12. I’m stoked for 2011! I have been primal for two months now and seeing some great results! I started today with a fast, then a 4 and a half mile hike through the park with my dog around three pm. I came home and tried out my homemade macebell for the first time, and that thing is tough! My first meal of the day will be the Boston Butt I have cooking in the oven right now, hopefully sometime around 10 pm. In the meantime, I’m going to look over last year and set some quarterly goals for 2011. I like the idea of reaching level 4 on all the basic movements. Lets do it!

  13. I’m excited for 2011, as well! One of my goals is to exercise more outdoors, and to be more disciplined with my lunches at work…

  14. I’m going to try out crossfit and adult gymnastics to go alongside my current workout – sprinting, yoga and belly dance.

    I’m also interested in the ‘persistence hunting’ style workouts, but I just watched a programme about the bushmen of the kalahari, modern hunter-gatherers, which showed the hunters spending hours running to catch their prey. Is this how humans evolved?

    Seems to contradict the low level cardio/sprint programme. Any ideas?

    Thanks 😉

  15. I went primal in August and was loving it. December rolled around and I the sugar temptations were too much for me and my sadly I added sugar back into my diet. In my head I justified it as “it’s the holiday’s”.

    Today is day 1 for me and I am back on it and will be 100% primal once again. My goal is to stay 100% primal all year (even December) and then never go back.

    I am a personal trainer and can’t get my clients 100% on the primal fitness plan, but I do base all my training around functional movements and they don’t even realize they are more primal than traditional. For me personally I train myself 100% primal. Just need to ditch distance running forever. I have my last 1/2 marathon this month and I will then retire from distance events.

    Here is to a healthier, happier new year. Good luck everyone with your goals!

  16. Thanks for the post Mark! I shared it with some friends and relatives who expressed interest in becoming more fit in 2011.

  17. I went Primal at the end of November. I am happy to say that I made it through December, relatively unscathed. I had moments where I was not 100% Primal, but all in all, I stuck with the plan, did not lose weight, but did not gain either. I have gotten my husband to go Primal as well. My plan for 2012 is to continue the PB, get my kids on the PB, and figure out how to work out properly. I love road cycling, love to be outside, and would rather be active than doing anything. I have a marathon to run in June for my sister, who has lymphoma. My younger sister, my brother and our spouses are raising money for Team in Training so we can run for her. This will be my last marathon. I know marathon’s are not PB, but it is for a great cause, and its for my sis.

    1. Oops….I meant my plan for 2011. I am already on 2012. I don’t think that’s PB either…..

  18. I’m committing to doing some real meal planning for the first two months of the year — rather than the haphazard (and often failure-inducing) non-method I’ve been using so far. Tracking my progress and plan on my new Primal blog (linked on my name below).

  19. For me, I am tightening down on alcohol. It’s part of my 80/20 that I can’t seem to keep in check. I do enjoy a glass or two of red wine with friends, but when I do, it seems to be a slippery slope leading directly to something made of potatoes or wheat. Even, gasp, sugar, depending on what is around. Then, days of cravings and hunger. I am wondering if anyone else out there is musing the consequences of alcohol, at this traditional time of the hangover?

    1. I so understand. I too find this a challenge at times. My current plans after the holiday is to go no sugar/alcohol for 30 days starting tomorrow Jan 4th. I have already given up wheat and dairy and am fine with that. I have done it before and found that being clean for that time makes me feel better and then if I want a glass of something red it ends with that. Good luck!

  20. Mark,

    You know how in real estate they say the most important things are “location, location, location”? To me, achieving your higher quality life is all about “lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle.” It’s not about making changes to achieve a “goal” per se. The change *IS* the goal. For the good health and energy to remain, the lifestyle that got you there must also remain. Here’s to everyone achieving their PB, health and fitness goals in 2011!

  21. I have my goals set for the year and am currently working on my plans of attack. Ironic, but since I’ve moved from the city of brotherly love to the first state, I have actually been less in tune with nature. Fairmount park was the best!

  22. I still have to cut out cocoa; the caffeine is still causing me problems with my BSL.
    I also still have to incorporate the sprints. I was unable to get outside during 2010 to do these, so I need to get a training stand for my bike.

      1. I think it might be more of a personal problem for me. Apparently some people are far more sensitive to caffeine than others. I recently had a blood test done to find out why I was still so fatigued after 8 months of primal diet and I still had a high BSL. The doctor said that the high BSL is causing the fatigue because the majority of my results were almost perfect. I was then reading Nourishing Traditions last night and discovered that cocoa contains Theo-bromine which is like sugar in its effect on the body. I thought I was doing well by having hot raw organic cocoa with coconut cream as a replacement for the more dangerous drinks but apparently not in my case. Theo-bromine and caffeine stimulate the adrenal glands to release an adrenaline-like substance, which in turn causes the liver to release sugar into the blood stream. It looks that I will have to limit my cocoa consumption 🙁
        It’s also not good for my adrenal glands.

        1. The funny thing about the doctor’s visit was that he was trying to tell me that I still eat too much sugar, fruit and grains. I told him that I had not been eating either of those for 8 months. It had me completely baffled as to why my doctor thought I was still eating sugar and why my BSL was still high.

    1. What is a BSL? I am wondering if I am ingesting too much caffeine. I drink about 2 to 3 cups of french roast coffee a day. I have been primal since Nov 30th, have not dropped weight, but I have only about 5 lbs to lose. It is very difficult to lose those last 5 lbs. But I would love to get it off, and I am a little frustrated. Maybe it’s the caffeine I am drinking?

      1. Is BSL your blood sugar level? My glucose tests have all been within normal range. What is your fasting blood sugar? Yesterday I was very fatiqued, but I probably worked out too hard. I ran 4 miles on the treadmill, a nice easy pace, but than I went to Tai Kwon Do. I put 100% effort into that class. They had us run around the room, and I did full on sprints with my instructor, because it felt so good to run barefoot. I was exhausted the rest of the day. I am use to pushing myself physically, so I am wondering why I was so tired. I have seriously cut back on my workouts since going primal, because I am a chronic cardio’r. I can’t figure my body out.

        1. Hi Michelle
          Yes, BSL is blood sugar level. Mine is also within the “normal range” but what my doctor told me is that these ranges are not accurate. Most doctors will just tell you that if you are in the normal range you are fine. But apparently, with BSL, if you are at the upper extreme of the normal range that this is still higher than it should be and that most people my doctor has seen like this fatigue very easily. He said that optimal is actually the lower end of the ‘normal’.

  23. Thanks Mark!

    I went Primal on Nov 1st and as of Dec 31st dropped 24 lbs! Without ever being hungry! Primal is THE way to go.

  24. Lovely post, I am very organised person myself so I agree with the author that planning everything helps us with sticking to our goals and lets us not to lose long term focus. I love your action plan.