What Does It Take To Make a Change?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

You want to lose weight, stop smoking , start an exercise program or make another positive lifestyle change. But you keep putting it off.... because you're not motivated right now.

Motivation is an important part of making a lasting lifestyle change. You can't buy motivation at the grocery store, but you can create it. Think of it as two part process. First, increase your internal motivation, your personal drive to succeed. Second, boost your external motivation by using outside support and inspiration.

Helpincrease your motivation:

Examine how you think about the change. Do you believe that "exercise" means a pain- filled 60 minutes at gym? Challenge those beliefs. For example, remind your self any physical activity in beneficial whether it's a neighborhood walk, an hour gardening, an afternoon of gold or a night dancing.

Focus on the positive. Make a list of all the possible positive outcomes of making the change. For example, instead of focusing on your weight, notice if your clothes fit better, you fell more energetic or your doctor says you've reduced your risk of diabetes. If you stop smoking, remind your self that your children will no longer be exposed to second hand smoke, you'll save money and you'll reduce your risk numerous health problems.

Make it personal. Choose an approach that works for your personality. For example, if you hate to jog but love to dance, create an exercise plan that includes dance classes or aerobic dance DVDs. If counting calories doesn't appeal to you, focus on choosing appropriate foods and portion sizes.

Set realistic goals. As the Chinese proverbs say" the journey of a thousand miles begins with one steps". Pick one achievable action that takes you towards your goal. If you want to lose weight, maybe you can begin skeeping the cookie at break time today. If you aren't ready to quit smoking, perhaps you could stop smoking in your car. Review recommit to your goals daily or weekly.

Step up your external motivation:

Develop a support system. Yes, you are responsible for changing. But as with any important project, don't you want a strong team working with you? So , enlist support: a co-worker, friend, significant other or health care provider. Having others to encourage you can help you stay inspired.

Reward yourself with something that matters to you each time you reach your goal. It might be anything from having a pedicure after a good week's workout to buying yourself a new golfs clubs after you've stopped a smoking for a month.

One final point. You'll probably have days when your best in tensions go out the window. Don't feel guilty or blame your self if that happens. Recognized it as part of making a change, and use the strategies above to return to your desired healthy behaviors.


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