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Summer of Success: Set One Goal and Make It Happen

By Marilynn Preston

Healthy lifestyles don’t just happen, the way dust balls do, for instance. It’s up to you to carpe diem, to let go of old habits so you can dance with new ones — two steps forward, one step back — until the new ones become a juicy and joyful part of your life.

Like starting your day with 10 minutes of stretching, not because your back doctor told you to but because it feels so good to wake up your hamstrings and hips, coil and uncoil your sacrum and get the energy flowing throughout your body.

And what ever happened to your New Year’s resolution to eat smarter, whatever that means? What it means in practice is to cut new paths through your supermarket, scooting past acres of processed foods loaded with toxic ingredients and instead choosing real food, the kind sold in farmers markets. These fruits and veggies taste great and really do nurture your body and brain.

Summer is around the corner, a seasonal shift that helps you turn the corner when it comes to making a positive change in your life. It can be done! No matter your age, hairstyle or level of income.

But it begins and ends with you, your determination, your support system, your resiliency and your willingness to do something as silly-sounding as keeping a journal.

Here, then, is a user-friendly three-step plan guaranteed to help make this your summer of change:

STEP 1: DECIDE ON ONE THING. Let’s keep this simple. Pick one goal for this summer, one new healthy lifestyle habit you know in your gut will bring you joy and satisfaction. Maybe you want to learn to play tennis. Or read Homer in the original Greek. Or — this is the one I’m cheering for because it saves so much money and weight gain — learn to cook. You pick; I’m just tossing stuff out here.

And know this most profound teaching: You don’t change because someone else — your kid, your spouse, your best friend — wants you to. It’s a decision you must make for yourself, honestly, fearlessly. And if you’re not really ready to change — to quit smoking, to give up your morning diet cola — don’t beat yourself up. Accept yourself as you are, because it’s from that place of kindness and self-confidence that change, ultimately, will happen.

Setting too high a goal will slow you down, so pick something easy for the summer. Better to be successful at a small goal than fail at something impossible. Translation: Better to train for a 10K and triumph than plan for a marathon and suffer.

Also, be very specific. Don’t just tell yourself something vague along the lines of “I want to get in shape this summer.” Detail it in your mind. “I want to strength train three times a week, working in a balanced way on my upper and lower body.”

Once you decide on your one summer goal, write it down.

STEP TWO: KEEP A JOURNAL. Stop that groaning. Keeping track of your journey is a huge help when it comes to being successful. (I’m a certified wellness coach. I know this stuff.)

Write your goal in your journal. On a new page, write “Week One.” At the start of every week for the next 12 weeks, write down two or three things you’ll do to move you toward your goal. Be specific. Plan them into your day.

Here’s an example: “On Monday morning, I will do a 60-minute yoga class and bike for 60 minutes on Wednesday and Friday and walk for at least one hour Saturday or Sunday.”

STEP 3: REVIEW AND REJOICE. At the end of every week, review how well you did on your goals. Be kind. OK, maybe you said you’d do three workouts but only did two. Or you promised to eat no sweets whatsoever but found yourself tearing into enjoying a forgotten Snickers bar in the bottom of your gym bag. No shame, no blame. Just take it as it is, focusing not on failures but on what went well. Reward your successes. Stay strong and confident.

And every week, begin again.

ENERGY EXPRESS-O! MAY I SUMMER-IZE?

“Do not worry, my sweet one. You have it within you to get yourself where you need to be.” – Karen Salmansohn


Marilynn Preston is the author of “Energy Express,” America’s longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new Amazon best-seller, “All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being,” is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at creators.com/books/all-is-well to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit www.MarilynnPreston.com.

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