Miscellaneous, Persevere, Take Action

The Periodic Table of TOPS: P is for Planning

I never set out by design to be obese. It just happened. I remember being fine right up to the point when external forces tried to define who I was and what I could do.

It’s fair to say I subscribed to the belief there are always some things seemingly beyond my control. With this in mind, being overweight and not being aware how it would impact me was never part of my plan, assuming I had one. I wallowed in the bliss of ignorance. I accepted my lot in life and was never aware of how much better things could really be. 

P is for Planning

Again, it was not until I felt ridiculed or was told I was lazy and would not amount to much, did I feel a course correction was necessary. To continue on in the dark was not a good plan. I needed to look for the right light to follow.

In nature, the element Phosphorus (P) makes natural light by its slow combustion in air. In the Periodic Table of TOPS, P must symbolize Planning. This is the light I needed to follow.

I now know to achieve a goal, a series of steps must be strung together. I also need to be “smart” about defining my goal. Unfortunately, due to my element of Individuality (I), the only plan available is the one only I can create. If I was going to have success in controlling my fate, it would only happen if I had Support (S) of my actions.

My original goal was just to lose weight. After all, that was what was visible. If I was successful, I would prove the external forces wrong. However, I should have put more thought into my goal. As Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”  
And “someplace” is where I ended up. I almost failed.

My focus was too narrow. Just losing weight did not solve everything. Despite shedding 30% of my total weight and maintaining a 20% loss, I was still not seen in the best planning light. 

What the world did not realize is that my Planning (P) had been very successful. Only I knew how much more I could do and how much more I enjoyed life. I feel great and never realized that is what my goal needed to be.

If I had continued to only listen to the external forces, I would have given up on my plan. Positive internal satisfaction will surpass external negative pressures. 

Only you can write up your plan. Given the Opportunities (O) found in TOPS, you can plan your way, increase your physical activity, determine how you’ll eat sensibly, and devise a course of action to create a Support (S) circle to follow you on your path to a healthier life.

Warren Buffett said, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” When I read this quote, I felt this is what Mrs. Manz, the founder of TOPS did many years ago– she put her Planning (P) skills to great use and planted the elements we needed, so we could enjoy the protection of a healthier life. 

There are many elements to be found in the Periodic Table of TOPS and next time, I will introduce the element B for Behavior. You may start with any one of the elements, however, it will take Planning (P) to put them all together.


This is part 7 of the multipart series, “The Periodic Table of TOPS.” In my next blog, we’ll explore the element B.


2 thoughts on “The Periodic Table of TOPS: P is for Planning

  1. Our Chapter is working through the TOPS Periodic table at our meetings. This table is super interesting and educational. Thank you.
    I have just realized lately that the word Obese is coming up more and more. In the last issue of TOPS magazine “Obesity Crises” is mentioned and in this P Planning you mention Obese. I am just wondering if this is not too harsh a word. I am thinking that some Members might be offended with the use of this word and I find myself trying to avoid using Obese when preparing programs for our Chapter. Looking for some guidance.

  2. So clearly explained and well said. “Positive internal satisfaction will surpass external negative pressures”….AMEN!

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