By Jordan Rubin
Get ready to kick in the New Year with a New You! A fresh start can kick-up your motivation and ensure that this time, you will make exercise a permanent part of your life. Many of us make New Years resolutions but following through with these resolutions is the hard part. Even the best intentions often go by the wayside after crowded gyms, cold weather and other obligations weigh down our eagerness. And then, once you’ve stopped exercising for a few weeks, it becomes difficult to start up because if you can’t get to the gym 3-4 days a week, why bother?
Here at Garden of Life, we are challenging you to start the New Year with a New Perspective on fitness. There are 2 parts to this new perspective, 1) Finding your own personal Motivating Factors and 2) Creating a Plan for change.
First, let’s start with where you are now. It’s important to accept complete responsibility for your current state of health. Don’t blame others, or blame genetics. Once you accept that you are in charge of yourself, you will become empowered. Being in charge means that you can direct your fate. You are putting aside any limitations and determining what state of physical health you want to be in. Now, let’s figure out what motivates you. If you know why you are motivated you can determine how to reach your goals. Many individuals are motivated by weight or body shape. However, this might not be you. Maybe you don’t care about being a size 6 or having a 34 inch waist. By all means, aesthetics are not the foremost reason health professionals encourage people to get out there and get moving. We encourage activity because life will be more enjoyable, functional and there are number of diseases that can be prevented, in part, by physical activity. On Christmas day my 50-something year old aunt approached me and told me that she has osteoporosis. She is now walking 1.5 miles a day and working out with weights 4-5 times a week for an hour a day. This was like music to my ears. Not only did she take the initiative to get tested since she knew her mother had osteoporosis, but she also immediately started exercising to help prevent the potentially debilitating effects from this disease. I am so proud of her. Many people would rely on osteoporosis medication to help prevent further bone loss, but my aunt is motivated to take further measures to ensure her years ahead will be both healthy and functional. Now, what motivates you?
After you’ve taken charge of your health and found your motivating factors, the next step is to create a clear mental picture of what you want to change. If your motivation is to carry your own groceries or pick up your 20-lb grandchild, picture yourself doing these things. If you aim to prevent disease or slow it’s progression, how will this change your life? Do you want to favorably change your cholesterol levels so you can get off medication (exercise helps raise our good cholesterol, HDL)? Whatever your motivation may be, picture yourself in 1 year (or whatever your timeline may be), having achieved this goal. What do you look like? How do you feel? How has your life changed? Motivational speaker Brian Tracy indicates that many people don’t get to where they want to be because they don’t believe they can get there. This is why envisioning yourself in the future, having met your goals is so important. You must be able to see and believe you can make changes in order to actually make them. Tracy also says that “you become what you think about most of the time.” So if you dwell on the fact that you are overweight and in poor physical health, you will continue to be overweight and in poor physical health. However, if you can see yourself in the future, fit, healthy and happy, you are likely to become fit, healthy and happy.
Now, after figuring out what your goals are and firmly believing you can achieve them, determine the steps you must take to make your goals a reality. And, resolve to take those steps. Write them down and review them often. There is a quote that sums things up nicely “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it.” Don’t let this happen to you. Choose to be fit and healthy. Choose to make a change, take charge of your health, remind yourself of why you are exercising and get out there and do it!
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