Forward from hereToday you start fresh and leave the past behind. Yes, you may have quit during your previous attempts to be healthy. That doesn’t matter now. What matters is what you do today, tomorrow and next week. The following tips will help you make a strong start and make this time different. “Do not be afraid of the space between your dream and your present reality.” This is where patience and courage comes in. What is your dream or your goal? Do you want to lose 20 pounds? Do you want to run a mile? Do you want to eat a diet that energizes you? Maybe you want to exercise for 6 days a week. Do not let the distance you have to cover cause you to give up before you even begin. Recognize that this will take some time. Every single fit person you know started somewhere short of where they are now. How did they get to their present condition? By taking it one day at a time, celebrating every victory and getting up when they fall down. You can do the same. “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” -Alan Lakein Have you ever heard of the tyranny of the urgent? It means that if you don’t have a plan, the matter that seems to be the most urgent at the time will get attention, at the exclusion of the others. Without a plan, your own health will always take a backseat to what seems the most important at the moment—and that could be as simple as a television show that you want to watch! Having a plan will keep less important things from creeping in and sabotaging your health. Count on it: if you do not plan for fitness and health, it simply will not happen. This time, make a plan. Before you even start your new healthy lifestyle, decide: When and how you will get your exercise (bootcamp? running in the mornings? treadmill at the gym after work?) What foods you will eat and how you will ensure that you have access to those foods (do you have a small cooler that you can take along with you? What will your breakfasts consist of? How much caffeine will you allow yourself?) How you will arrange your schedule so that you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night (do you need to get the kids in bed sooner or prepare your lunches on the weekends to save time in the morning? Without a strategy, you set yourself up for failure. Plan on succeeding! Take some time right now to jot down some ideas to overcome the obstacles that you know will arise. Be prepared for them, and you will breeze through them. No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it. -H.E. Luccock It is no secret that the biggest predictor of whether a person succeeds in their fitness and weight loss efforts is whether or not he has accountability. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: getting fit is not easy. If it were, we would not have our current epidemic of obesity. If it were easy, more people would be doing it! In order to make sure you succeed this time, get some support. That support could come from a few friends who are making a new beginning with you, a personal trainer or a boot camp instructor. The people in your support system will be genuinely interested in how you are doing. They will encourage you when you lose your motivation. They will cheer when you get up early to exercise. They will talk you out of eating those brownies. They will expect you to tell them how you are doing. And they will not let you fade out of the program: they will come after you if you start slacking. Are you ready for your New Beginning? It is within reach.