What’s your excuse? Why don’t you take better care of your health?

My experience has been that some people just do it and make up their minds to lose weight and exercise while others can’t. I don’t think it’s a lack of willpower. It’s just that some people either fail to see the importance of getting healthy or they feel that life has conspired against them.

In fact, it’s not that the people who’ve succeeded have more time or fewer problems. It’s just that they’ve chosen to make good health a priority in their life. They’ve discovered ways of adjusting their schedules and lives in order to exercise and eat right.

Shift your Mind-Set

There are plenty of days when I don’t feel like putting in time on the treadmill or working out. But when I experience these thoughts, I immediately say “STOP” or “LET IT GO!” Then, I think about how I’ll feel after exercising. I’ll think about something a little different I could do that day to add variety to the workout, like putting on an old CD, say, Elton John or U2, which helps to shift my mind-set. Then, I go into the ritual of putting on my shoes and workout clothes. Often, this is enough to stop the chatter in my mind. Instead of listening to “Oh, I’m tired, I don’t feel like doing this,” I shift to “I’m going to feel so great after this workout.” “I wonder if the weather will be nice tomorrow so we can go for a long hike.” Or, “I wonder what I can do with the kids this weekend?” Once you set your body in motion you’ve won more than half the battle.

Review All Your Reasons

What also helps is to review all your reasons for wanting and needing to work out in the first place. When people come to me personally for weight-loss help, I insist that they set some goals. For example if a person say “I need to lose 50 pounds.” “Why?” I ask. Usually a woman’s first answer is, “Well, I want to look better.”

Two types of Goals

There are two types of goals one is surface goals and the other one is inner-personal goals. The first is usually about wishes, the other about priorities. Surface goals tend to stand isolated from the bigger picture of life, so they’re not as powerful when it comes to keeping you motivated. The woman who answers, “I want to look better” won’t be as motivated – and therefore stands a lesser chance of success.

On the other hand, the inner personal goals reflect real priorities. If you can get to the reasons behind wanting to look better, then there is a much greater chance of success. For instance, “Okay, I admit it. Every day when my kids come home I snap at them, because I’m so tired and short-tempered. My husband and I don’t make love anymore because I don’t feel good about myself. I look in the mirror every day and don’t like the way my eyes look; they’re saggy and make me look older than I am. I don’t seem to have the confidence I used to have.”

These words often carry the weight of a commandment. Your goal now isn’t just thinner thighs or flatter abs. It’s improving your entire life, and the way you feel about yourself.

If you really want something, and your reasons for it are strong enough, they will motivate you to make it a priority. They will be stronger than your inertia or your laziness.