Wanting to change isn’t the issue. Knowing where to begin, that’s the big deal. Your healthier life is possible. A few thoughts on how to get in gear:
Share your desire to change with another human being.
Chances are the idea of making positive changes in your health has been living in your head for quite a while. But exclusively private thoughts rarely produce positive change. However, when the invisible idea makes the trek from your brain, to your mouth, to the hearer’s ears, the side effect of such a journey can be tremendously motivating to the speaker.
You’re now on the hook for change. And you’ve told someone publicly what used to be private. That can be a really good thing. A little intimidating? Yes. But good? Most definitely.
Tell that person about your measurable, achievable goal.
That person who now knows you want to change, should also hear what specifically you’d like to do. In other words, tell the person about a goal that you want to achieve by a certain time. Make your goal measurable (so you can know if you’re making progress forward toward the goal) and achievable. There will certainly be time for bucket-list, dream goals, but this starting point, isn’t the time for those. Make the stated goal small enough that it’s achievable, but large enough that it’s something you’ll have to really work toward.
Act upon your desire to change. In other words, do something.
As an overweight adult with high blood pressure eight years ago, my stated goal was to run a half-marathon. As the words of the goal first exited my mouth, the words still in my head screamed, “Are you completely out-of-your-mind??!!” The answer to that question depended on when I planned to achieve that goal. If it was the next day, yes, I’d be crazy in the extreme. But my goal was to complete the long distance race by my next birthday…10 months away.
So the next step for me was, well, taking a step. And then another one. And then another one. It began with intentionally setting aside time to walk, then a few weeks later, beginning to run (first 1/10 of a mile), then a couple of months later, running a few miles at a time.
But it all began with doing something. Who cares if your something is less than someone else’s? They’re not you, and you’re competing with no one except yourself. Just do something. Then repeat that something. And repeat it again. And again. And again.
Recruit an accountability partner who’s already doing what you’re doing.
Of all the recommendations, this one is at the top. Find someone you can trust, who’s good at follow-through, who’s already doing what you’re doing, and ask them to come alongside you and hold you accountable.
When it’s time to exercise, they’ll be there to cheer you on or kick you in gear. They’ll learn your tendencies, your idiosyncrasies, and what motivates you, and will be vital in keeping you on track.
Motivation is meant to happen in community. Plus, it’s just more fun to have the company of others who are going after it too, and who can appreciate your quest for better health and a healthy life.
Shared success. Two words that are meant to go together.
Don’t skip this step. Find that person. Increase the audience size of your life.
Talk to yourself. And make sure you repeat the word “perspective” over and over again.
What we say to ourselves we tend to believe. Say that last sentence to yourself right now.
With making your desire and goal public, the help of others, and a lot of hard work, you’re going to make it. You really are. But it’s not going to be overnight. It’s going to take some time to see the results. But you will see them.
So tell yourself, “It’s going to be worth it.” “This is just part of a long-term solution.” “A long time from today, I’m going to be glad I pushed through this, now.”
Perspective is key. Commit yourself for a long-term new life, not just a short-term quick fix.
If you’ve been taking weight loss pills, throw them away. If you’ve tried the shakes, fill-in-the-blank diets, and newest fad-of-the-month, ignore them all. Permanently.
This is the start of something brand-new. A new healthy life. Your new healthy life. And with your commitment, hard work, accountability, and a good perspective, you’re going to get there. Tell yourself that.
This is just the beginning of something, or someone, great.
In 2008, Todd Gaddy lived a very sedentary life, weighed close to 180 pounds, and was told by doctors he needed to begin taking high blood pressure medication.
After a cross-country move and turning 38, he began exercising by running 1/10 of a mile on a treadmill while watching “Deadliest Catch.” Running was something he had tried, in fits and starts, before, but this time it stuck.
He’s now 45, weighs 150, and has completed 13 full marathons. It never gets easy, he still has ups and downs, but is never going back.