Put one foot in front of the other! Five steps to get you moving today

I met a lot of people a few weeks ago as I stood at my booth at a local health fair.   Some said they felt great, healthy and well, and happy to be alive. Fabulous to hear that!  But a lot of them slipped by my booth giving it the side eye!  A good majority came by and said, “I’ve been trying to start a walking program” or “I used to go to an exercise class but things got hectic and I stopped” or “I know I would feel better if I exercised” or “I am really stressed and have no time.” What is going on here?

Well, for many of us, exercise is an afterthought. We know the benefits, including reduced stress, improved heart health, lower cholesterol, reduced risk for diabetes, cancer and other diseases, increased energy, feeling great, and looking great in that dress in the back of the closet.   But somewhere along the line, our lives get in the way, and exercise becomes something we think about doing or “try” to do, but don’t actually get done.  The answer is simple, just take the first step, literally.  To get going on a new habit, you need 21 days, just three weeks of consistent effort.  It may sound hard right now, but it all starts with that first step and anyone can take that first step!  As a song from one of my favorite animated movies notes, “put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking cross the floor.”  It may sound silly but there are lessons to be learned from children’s songs.  See the full lyrics below — they make a lot of sense!

Here are five simple steps to get you moving!

1)      Commit to yourself and tell someone else — This is basic accountability, and it works!  You won’t want to let yourself down, but oftentimes, it will be even harder to let someone else down. At the health fair, I asked folks to tell me what they were going to do for their health and fitness that week. I asked them to be specific, how, where, when, etc.   To take it from the “try” stage to the “doing” stage you need to be specific.  You aren’t just trying to fit it in, you are planning for it.  So put it on your calendar as you would any appointment, and let someone else know.

2)      Get your sneakers out! – Once you have committed to yourself and someone else, put your plan in place.  If you are going to take a walk first thing in the morning around the neighborhood, lay your clothes and shoes out the night before, set your alarm and program your coffee maker. Make sure nothing gets in the way of your plan.  You know the old adage, “fail to plan and you plan to fail.”

3)      Tell yourself you are only doing 15 minutes – Start with baby steps.  Make your action so simple that you have no reason not to do it.  Anyone can fit in a 15 minutes of walking or calisthenics in the living room.  You probably spend at least 15 minutes every day on things that don’t matter.

4)      Do it again tomorrow — Success breeds success! You probably feel good about having gotten your first day of walking or calisthenics in. This is the beginning of the new you! Now the same tactics you used to take that first step need to be repeated — over and over.

5)      Enlist support —  You are starting something new and it will be a challenge to make that change a permanent one.   Getting support from family, friends or social networks will help you succeed.   If you need your husband to take care of the kids while you work out, ask.  If you need some cheerleading and commiseration, there are many online communities that can support you in reaching your goals.  One really good one is www.sparkpeople.com , where you will find a virtual group for just about any health and fitness goal you have.

So why not start today?  Just 15 minutes can get you moving towards a healthier life!

 

Put one foot in front of the other (song lyrics)

 

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

You never will get where you’re going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule be the exception
A good way to start is to stand

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If I want to change the reflection
I see in the mirror each morn
You mean that it’s just my election
To vote for a chance to be reborn

(from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, 1970, Lyrics by Jules Bass)