Pella Chronicle

November 2, 2012

Vote for change

Barry Westerkamp
Pella Anytime Fitness

Pella — It’s election time.  Who are you going to vote for?  They say that this might be the most important election in the history of our country.  Let me tell you this, if we put this much stock in one election and think it will have a huge impact on our lives, we definitely have too high of expectations for our government.

Change doesn’t start at the top.  Change starts with us as individuals.  If we want to see a significant difference in our lives, we have the opportunity to make a change.  Look in the mirror.  Every decision you’ve ever made is staring right back at you.  If you don’t like what you see, get started today and do something about it.

Mac Anderson once said, “People are like sticks of dynamite; the power is on the inside but nothing happens until the fuse gets lit.”

Imagine what could happen if you lit the fuse and you achieved something greater than you could ever imagine.  But so many of us don’t even try.  Some of us try and then give up.  For those that start an exercise program, the statistics show that around 70% will quit within the first 30 days.  We hope for the quick fix.  We expect to see massive amounts of fat magically fall off our body simply by starting to work out.  And when it doesn’t happen the way we want it to, we quit.

We start.  We stop.  We swear we’ll never start again.  Then we gain 15 pounds.

So why do we quit?  Why is it that 70% of people who start exercising give up so soon?  It’s because we are impatient.  It’s because our expectations are too high.  It’s because we don’t know what to do.  It’s because the drive-thru is more convenient.  It’s because working out sucks.  It’s because we get hurt doing something we shouldn’t have been doing.  It’s because we do the bare minimum in fear that we’ll get hurt.  It’s all of the above and then some.

We know all of the benefits of exercise.  We know that it has the potential to change our life for the better.  Yet over 60% of the population is either obese or overweight.  Perhaps that is the statistic our presidential candidates should be throwing around on the campaign trail.  Regular exercise can make a great impact on our health.  Yet so few of us stick with it.  Likewise, a recent study indicated that those patients who were prescribed life-saving medication show only a 55% compliance rate.  So in other words, out of 100 people who will die, only 55 will take the medicine that will save their life on a prescribed basis.  Ouch.

But fear not.  There is hope.  Change can happen.  I see it every day.  I’ve seen people on the verge of giving up shift their mindset and achieve greatness.  I’m convinced we were all created to be awesome, some of us just have to work a lot harder to get there.

So let me lay out a strategy for you to become awesome.  Let’s say you want to lose weight.  Here’s how you’re going to get there without quitting before you reach the end.

1. You have to have a goal.  Thomas Plummer says it like this,  “Goal setting is about becoming an artist.  Your life is a chance to create a beautiful painting as you envision it."  For this example, let’s say our goal is to lose 30 pounds and look amazing.

2. You need to establish your timeframe.  When do you want to reach your goal?  Be realistic.  Thirty pounds won’t just magically disappear.  Let’s give ourselves six months.

3. You need to have a reason why your goal is important to you.  Anyone can make a list of goals.  But why is losing 30 pounds important to you?  Perhaps you are pre-diabetic and need to lose weight.  Perhaps you’re tired of buying new clothes because you keep outgrowing your old ones.  Maybe you just want to look better in your birthday suit.  This is the most important part about having a goal.  Figure out what you truly want and why you want it and it will help keep you motivated all the way through.

4. You need to have a plan.  Most of us develop a plan that is too general.  Eating better and exercising more is not a good plan.  It’s not specific enough.  Doing more cardio is not a good plan.  Counting calories is not a good plan.  Why?  Because eventually you will plateau and then what?  More cardio?  When will I not need more cardio?  You won’t want to count calories the rest of your life either.

5. Start small.  Pick one thing that you think you need to change in order to reach your goal.  Not two.  Not five.  Just one.  For two to three weeks focus on that one thing and own it.  Make it a new habit.  Perhaps your focus is to actually start exercising.  Maybe you choose to cut out Moutain Dew.  Or maybe you want to start your day by eating breakfast instead of waiting to eat until lunch.  Don’t try all three – just one.  Studies show that we have an 85% compliance rate if we pick one thing.  That percentage drops to 35% when we take on two things, and plummets to 17% when we add in another.  Now do you see why it’s so easy for us to give up?  We get so excited to make all of these changes and then after doing them for a few weeks it becomes too overwhelming.  We can’t sustain trying to make 10 changes at once for very long.

6. Use the power of momentum.  Imagine a snow ball at the top of the hill that is the size of your fist.  Once you start rolling it down the hill it builds momentum, becoming bigger and bigger.  You want to take the same approach to your fat loss goals.  Pick one habit and become really good at it.  Then add another.  And another.  And another.  Don’t pile them all on at once.  Let all of the changes build up speed and before long you will be leading a lifestyle that is conducive to fat loss and maintainable long term.  For some people, if they added up the total amount of weight they’ve lost over their lifetime, they’d disappear.  Your goal is not to lose 30 pounds, quit, gain it back, and then start over again.  Create lifestyle changes.  Build momentum.  Keep it off for good.

7. Commit to the process.  You will have good weeks, and you will have bad weeks.  Focus on your life-changing habits and stick to the process.   Don’t let the scale determine whether you won or lost.  Over time the habits you’ve created will bring success.  Don’t lose sight of your end goal and the reason why you started.

This election season we’ve heard a lot about change.  If you are unhappy with your health and fitness then IT IS time for change. Don’t put it off any longer.