Five steps to a new and improved you
If you’ve tried to begin any kind of health or fitness program in the past and were unsuccessful in maintaining it, don’t blame a lack of motivation. If you’re like most Americans, you will be motivated to start a fitness program at least 13 times in your lifetime.
Americans are more overweight than ever, and lifestyle related diseases, like Type II diabetes and heart disease, are at an all time high. It’s obvious we need to do something about our health. Here are the five steps that I have found to be the most successful when starting down the road to a lifetime of fitness and health.
Visualize success for yourself. Imagine what you will look like, how you will feel, or what you will be able to do once you’ve achieved your goals. It’s easier to hit a target you can see! Taping up motivational words, affirmations and pictures around your home or office can help, too. Any time you take thinking about your success is time well spent.
Set realistic goals
We all want to lose 20 pounds yesterday, but it just isn’t going to happen. Trust me! Losing 12 pounds in 12 weeks is more realistic. Make your goals specific and attainable. For example: “I will lose 12 pounds in six weeks;” “I will walk my first 5k in five weeks.” Include some general health goals, too, like, “I want to lower my cholesterol” or “I want to increase my strength and energy.”
Make a plan
Would you start a business or remodel your home without a plan? You shouldn’t start a fitness program without one either. You may lose a little weight or make it to the gym for three weeks straight, but, without a written plan, that could be as far as you get. Write down your goals and how you want to achieve them. There’s something magical about putting it in writing. If you find this difficult, a fitness professional can help you figure out a safe, effective and realistic plan that will help you achieve your goals.
If the first time you step on the treadmill, you stay on it for 45 minutes, you’re more likely to get sciatica than a firm tush. For example, if walking is part of your program, begin with 10 minutes a day and add 4-6 minutes each week until you’re up to 30 to 45 minutes each session.
Make the time
You need to make the commitment to schedule time for yourself. Block out time on your calendar and keep the appointment! We are taught at a very young age to put the needs of others before our own. We go to work, raise our kids, volunteer, help out at the school — everything for everyone else. Now it’s time to take care of you. It’s time to be a little selfish. Put yourself first.
And, always remember… you’re worth it.