Find A Motive and Exercise.
Story: Chloe Hung
Speaker and philosopher Jim Rohn said, “It’s too bad we can’t hire someone else to do our push-ups.”
Exercise has always been a do-it-yourself venture. No other person or machine can do it for you. That’s why it’s important to find personal motivating factors to exercise, lose weight, and stay with it.
Though this sounds easy, it’s not so easy to maintain. Here are a few ideas for everyone, especially the 35 percent of morbidly obese Americans, who have a hard time beginning.
Mindset and language must be conquered. If you think and say, “It’s going to be so hard,” guess what? It’s will be. If you think and say, “I have to eat and exercise…aghhh,” you are defeated before you begin. One of my mentors always said, “You only have to until you want to. Then you don’t have to anymore.”
What will it take for you to eat right and exercise? Don’t be swayed by the simplicity of this concept: In one sentence say why you want to be healthy. Move beyond the obvious. Writing “I want to be healthy so I can be healthy” is not inspiring.
Writing one of the following is more apt to get you started and keep you going:
- I am attending my child’s wedding.
- I want to play with and watch my grandchildren grow up.
- I want to find my ideal mate and enjoy my life with him or her.
Here is an insider tip to know if you’re on the right path: when you are writing your “why,” if a tear comes to your eye, you are halfway there. If your “why” does not evoke an emotional response, you probably won’t start or keep going. Keep writing until you are moved, or you’ll never move off the couch.
In the past 50 to 75 years, physical activity became the exception rather than the rule. We drive instead of walking. It’s easier to flick a switch and let machines do the hauling, lifting, pushing, and pulling.
There are ways to release many pounds. Notice I used the word “release” rather than “lose.” Human nature dictates if we “lose” something, we want to find it again. Ever notice the large gains after weeks or months of hard work?
Here are a few ideas to get begin and keep moving:
1. Have a specific goal
A simple statement like “I want to lose some weight” is indefinite. It’s important to be precise with goals: “I am releasing 50 pounds by Sept. 1” is more powerful than “I’m going to lose a bunch of weight by the fall.”
Every day, envision yourself at the exact size you’ll be at your desired weight. Put a picture on your fridge of the end result: the slimmer you hugging your child or grandchild.
2. Develop a strategy
Strength of will does not work alone. To release weight and stay with it, there must be exercise and diet, and not just one or the other.
Motivate yourself by giving away clothes that are too big. This means you only have your smaller, “sexier” clothes and must make a choice to continue exercising or not wear clothes at all. Which do you prefer?
3. Little wins equal big losses
Take actions that suit your lifestyle. Implement moves that benefit you, specific moves only you can do. Running a marathon may not be for you but walking once around your block can start an avalanche of change. The idea is setting positive, attainable goals, not just shying away from being chubby.
4. Find an accountability and monitoring partner
Find someone willing to note your progress and development while you help them. You’ll be inspired to keep doing what you started. Having somebody to listen to and share your achievements is a better way to move forward than achieving goals alone.
Also, having an extra hand and heart to support you and cheer for you when things fall a bit short is inspiring to stay on track. Someone who believes in you is one of the best motivations to keep you going for more.
5. Commit to a sensible yet vigorous timeline
What are you achieving this year? Match your objectives to your calendar and let go of the desire to see instantaneous results. Fifty pounds in a year is about 4 pounds a month or 1 pound a week. That is doable.
Staying motivated means hard work, which is contrary to what most people want. Make small changes in lifestyle that have dramatic and long-lasting effects on your future.
What’s your first step? When will you take it? What’s your next step? When will you take it? Start now and, hopefully, you’ll keep going because you want to, not because you have to. It is never too late to be fit and healthy.
Lao Tzu has a famous quote: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Let’s own that quote for ourselves:
The journey of my ideal health begins with…
one trip around my city block—today.
saying “no” to one chocolate bar—now.
making a change in my portion sizes—now.
making a change in my carb intake—now.
About the writer:
Chloe Hung is an international actuarial consultant and the author of “Strength in Numbers: An In-Depth Look at Actuarial Science for Math Enthusiasts.”