Getting Started

Getting in shape or becoming stronger or fitter is actually relatively straightforward. The problems arise when we start to over-think the process, and then suddenly it can appear quite daunting. Simply getting started is the hard part for most people.

Today we’ll look at some ways that will make your fitness programme less scary.

Take Responsibility.

One of the most important aspects of starting a new regime is taking responsibility for the results. This can be a little scary for some people but I believe that it can actually be very encouraging.

In most cases a person’s state of health is the direct result of their lifestyle. There are of course obvious cases where people are unfortunate enough to have diseases or disabilities that are nobody’s fault.

However, in a paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, E. Feiring writes that “unhealthy lifestyle contributes significantly to the burden of disease.”

The paper also quotes the World Health Organisation as saying that the obesity epidemic leads to increased risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and several cancers.

More importantly, the WHO also states that obesity cannot be blamed on either environment or genetics alone. And although family medical history and socioeconomic status are important, “increase in caloric intake and decrease in physical activity are primarily responsible for it.”

In other words if you want to increase your chances of being healthy, eat less and move more! And I think it’s very re-assuring that we have total control over how much we eat and move.

Ready, Fire, Aim.

In many cases, people wait for the ideal situation and the perfect plan until they take action. I have been guilty of this way of thinking in the past. And, although I firmly believe in having a well thought-out plan with specific, measurable goals, there is no substitute for taking action.

The “perfect plan” should be a motivation to get moving, not a reason to avoid it. “Ready, Fire, Aim” is a business strategy that can be adapted to your health and fitness goals.

Rather than the traditional “ready, aim, fire” approach of planning everything to the tiniest detail and waiting until circumstances are perfect, you simply take the action that brings you in the general direction, and then fine-tune it based on how you’re doing.

The very act of starting a new project or programme is the most important part. Each small success you achieve will create the momentum and motivation to keep going, and you can alter your target so that your perfect plan becomes a reality.

Develop Good Habits.

A wise man once told me that life is a series of habits.  And the secret of success in any aspect of life was to avoid the bad habits and practice the good ones. Most of us, when we’re honest with ourselves, know exactly what actions make us feel happier and healthier, and also what actions makes us feel wrecked.

Being more energetic and having a better level of health does not require us to turn into full-time athletes living on a diet of cabbage soup and multivitamins.

Doing some form of physical activity that you enjoy for approximately 20-30 minutes per day will raise your energy levels and your mood. Replacing junk, processed “food” with vegetables, proteins, and plenty of clean water will also help you to look and feel much better.

The two habits that are really important to developing good health and a smaller waistline are probably the two most under-rated: sleep and stress management. Increased stress levels combined with reduced quality and quantity of sleep can result in many types of negative physical and mental health outcomes.

Research has shown, and I can vouch for it from personal experience, that setting aside a little time every day to meditate, pray, or even just be quiet can have huge positive effects on your overall health and sense of well-being. The same is true of getting seven to nine hours of unbroken sleep every night. It sounds crazy, but the more you sleep at night, the leaner you’ll be!

If you’re unhappy with your current shape or state of health, then simply take the responsibility to change it for the better, take some action to get the ball rolling. And then practice the good habits that will have you feeling and looking your best.

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