1. List the changes you wish to make and prioritize them. Focus on the top one or two first. As you achieve a goal, move down the list.
2. Don’t make your goals overwhelming. Break up a big goal into smaller goals that are realistic and achievable. It is great to plan to lose 100 pounds, or run a marathon, or accomplish some other lofty goal. Instead, try to lose 1-2 pounds in the next week or get out to run or walk five days a week, building up time and distance slowly. Do this and a year from now you can look back and marvel on how far you have come.
3. Set goals that are specific and defined. The idea behind any goal is to know when you have achieved it. Example: instead of saying I’m going to get healthier, say I resolve to exercise 30 minutes a day. The better defined the goal, the more you will be able to pursue it.
4. Have a deadline for each goal. Having a specific date in mind helps. For me, knowing that I have a 5K, 10K, or some other distance to run on a particular date allows me to plan my preparation accordingly. Deadlines are not written in stone; you can adjust them if necessary.
5. Have fun. Reward yourself as you achieve milestones along the way. If it is tedious, boring, or a drudgery, you won’t do it.
6. Start now. Putting things off until some vague future “perfect” time is just another way to fail. Do something every day that will move you toward your goals.
7. Find like-minded others to join you, encourage you, and hold you accountable. Sometimes it does take a village to be successful.
8. Start by getting a checkup and an OK from your doctor before starting an exercise program or radically different diet.
Dramatic changes occur when you consistently build on many, small cumulative changes over time. Get to it!