What if a trusted friend were to tell you about an investment where you could not possibly go wrong...what would be your reaction? And what if there was a virtual mountain of credible information that supported the investment claims...wouldn't you be inclined to take advantage of the opportunity and not miss out on the rewards? Although the answer to these questions seems apparent, when it comes to investing in our health and quality of life we often choose to ignore what obviously works. Take for example, exercise...
Physical fitness may be the ultimate investment opportunity. Think of it this way. If you are willing to make the commitment (investment), you will feel and look healthier, have an abundance of energy, be more self-confident, more productive and discover a more joyous and fulfilling life. These are rewards that money cannot buy and the substance of high quality living. And, the investment of exercise becomes even more attractive when you consider that there is absolutely no down-side risk. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. How much better can it get? How many times can you remember ever having a better offer? The honest answer is probably never, and yet many of us fail to act on this extraordinary opportunity. We simply choose to procrastinate or ignore the proven benefits of exercise!
Here are a few reasons that sometimes inhibit our willingness to "step out" and make a change or take a chance:
- Sometimes our vision gets clouded. We lose tract of what is really important. Forget about the less important activities that tend to clutter our daily routine and focus on exactly what needs to be accomplished to reach your goal.
- Looking at the "big" picture can seem overwhelming. And the bigger the task, the more overwhelming it can seem. Break the task apart into smaller pieces. If you want to lose 50 pounds try losing 10 pounds and repeat the process five times! Need to start an exercise program? Begin with short, simple exercises and then slowly expand your routine. Don't exercise too hard when first starting-out or you will become stiff, tired, disillusioned and soon quit.
- Have you ever not wanted to start something for fear of failure? Take the first step, acknowledge the fear and the next step will come easier. Once fears are acknowledged, they usually quiet down.
- Sometimes we start to think that a task is unpleasant or boring. Just like any other activity, this can also be true for exercise. There are days when we just plain lack the enthusiasm and motivation to continue. It's part of human nature. On days like these focus on 'why' you are doing it. Think about all the people you care about and who may need and rely on you. What would happen if you became ill or disabled and was unable to work for a period of time, or worse, if you were out of the picture completely. How would things change? If something happened tomorrow, how would your family or business manage without you? What do you want your life to be like in the future? There are many tasks or chores we do, that we may not like, but are necessary to live a happen and productive life. Focus on the bigger picture.
- Indecision can be defeating, but doing "anything" is better than doing nothing. There are no wrong choices and very few choices that can't be undone or done again. Can't decide on a particular exercise program or routine? Pick a few exercises and start with something simple. If you don't like it, go on to the next exercise.
- When you lack the confidence to start something new, take a deep breath and try to figure out why. Are you hesitating because you really lack the skill or is it just imagined? If it's real, try to find out where to gain the skills you need or find someone with the right skills who can help. In the case of exercise, finding a qualified personal fitness trainer can sometimes do the trick, but be wary...some PFT's are overzealous and tend to start newcomers on programs that are too strenuous.
- Life just seems too busy to find time for some activities. Large, uninterrupted chunks of time are very hard to come by. And if we're honest, when they do come, we'd rather do something totally pleasurable! Exercise has to become part of your routine. It can't be an option. Make it a high priority just the same as your career, and other areas of interest. You will be surprised at how easy exercise becomes when approached this way!
- Have you ever subconsciously (or otherwise) invited distractions so that you have a "good" reason not to get something done? Sometimes it's the simple things like answering the phone or sitting down to watch that "one" TV program, that distract us. When you find yourself doing this, take control of the situation and make a conscious decision to do what you are avoiding.
To reap the benefits of exercise, or any other health related endeavor, you must agree to become a willing participant. This will require due diligence on your part. And remember, as you embark on your mission you are investing in something near and dear to your own heart...your life and a future of healthy living.
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