How to Be a PRO: 4 Strategies for Being Proactive and Staying on Your Game

If you cozied up on the couch and enjoyed any awards shows this Winter, I bet you dreamed of what it would be like to have an arsenal of people at your disposal to achieve the bombshell looks of your favorite celebrities. Your life would be so much easier if you had a personal chef cooking your meals, a chauffeur shuttling you between obligations, and a full-time trainer tracking your every move, right? (And let’s not forget the stylist dressing you in Stella McCartney and Cartier jewels and the arm candy opening doors for you!)

For most of us, the celebrity lifestyle just ain’t gonna happen. Fortunately, there are plenty of downsides to the celebrity lifestyle to remind us that it’s OK to be living a normal life, free of paparazzi, box office and record sales measures, and those snarky Fashion Police! However, because you can’t afford to hire an assistant, a personal chef, a chauffeur, and a full-time trainer, it’s up to you to make good decisions to keep moving toward your fitness goals.

We’ve all found ourselves raiding the pantry looking for that sweet or salty fix at the end of a hard day. Though that seems like the best way of coping after having a confrontation with your boss or a marathon homework session with your kid who’s struggling with math, it’s not an ideal outlet for your exhaustion, frustration, and stress.

To be well, it’s up to you to learn how to be proactive rather than reactive to these difficult situations.

Do you need some help with this? Here are examples of four stressful situations and how you can change your behavior from reactive to proactive.


Situation 1: You left work at 4:27 p.m. and need to pick up your kids, feed your family, and get your son to karate by 6:00 p.m. You’re stressing about the time it will take to make dinner and consider pulling into the McDonald’s drive through or stopping at Wawa for hoagies.


You know wolfing down a cheeseburger and fries or an Italian hoagie is not in your best interest. Rather than be reactive to your crunched schedule, try to get a little better at planning ahead. Here are three better choices you could make in this situation:

  1. Make a list of five “no brainer” meals that you can have in a pinch. Post the meals to your refrigerator or put them in your iPhone or Day Planner. It’s OK to eat out in this situation, but educate yourself on clean (or cleaner) choices. Look at the Panera or Chipotle menu before you head the burgers and fries route. Peruse the offerings at Wawa before settling on your favorite, high-fat, high-carb, high-cal hoagie.
  2. Prepare a double batch of your Sunday dinner so that you can have leftovers to heat on a busy day.
  3. Stop at the grocery store and grab a rotisserie chicken and a bag of baby spinach. The spinach takes five minutes to sauté, so you’ll have dinner on the table in no time.

Situation 2: You’re raiding a chocolate box after you had a blowout with your husband. Time to finish it off while watching a Real Housewives marathon.


Sure, at the moment, biting into a chocolate covered salted caramel (or seven) seems like the best option. But try to be a little more proactive! Burn off that anger with some cardio or stretching or my favorite anger management exercise – medicine ball slams. While you sweat it out, you can still watch Real Housewives (that Nene, though…).

Situation 3: Your to-do list is a mile long and you are stressed to the max. You have to get to Target for about 80 items (which will turn into 180 by the time you get to the check out line). You’re volunteering at the school’s book fair. You are refining a presentation to deliver to clients mid-week. And your smartphone is on the fritz! Just forget boot camp—it’s just one more thing on the list! Might as well eat a king-size candy bar on your stress-filled drive to the office.


Take 15 minutes for yourself and do a high-intensity workout like a WOW or a quickie. Everyone around you is sucking your energy, and finishing your 100-item to-do list is going to take time to complete. If 15 minutes seems impossible, try an activity break.

Situation 4: Why bother with exercise at all? Between a busy work season and kid commitments, “you” time is something you can picture in six months . . . maybe. Forget five workouts a week! Why bother with exercise anyway?!


Plan ahead for your busy times and do what Tim Ferriss calls the minimal effective dose for your workouts. So if you can only workout for 15 minutes twice a week and get to a class just once a week, that’s what you’re going to do. Plan your workouts like you do meetings, and add them to the calendar. Decide on your workouts ahead of time, so you’re not left trying to decide what to do when your calendar app dings. Try a WOW or a circuit workout.


With these proactive strategies, you can ensure that you keep in mind healthy habits and goals when negative situations arise. While you aren’t heading to Hollywood, you are heading toward a healthier you!