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It's time to challenge yourself!

It's very easy to get stuck in a rut and then things just become monotonous, life feels like it's lost it's sparkle and all of a sudden you just feel like 'why bother'?

It’s time you challenged yourself to take action NOW. Take 5 minutes to list the excuses that you commonly use when watching TV seems like a better idea than going for a walk. Add to the list the excuses you have used for not eating as healthy as well as you’d liked to recently.

Now include the excuses you might have for a small weight gain or being out of puff when you run up the stairs. Be original, though. We’ve heard some crackers over the years – and the best one yet has to be, “I had a Christmas job in a mince pie factory and inhaled a lot of icing sugar.” This is closely followed by, “I was abducted by aliens and force-fed cream cakes.”

When you have made the list, recognise these stalling tactics, so next time you find yourself saying one of them you can jolt yourself into a more positive and healthier response.

Fear nothing, embrace everything

Taking control of situations in your life is far easier than dealing with the possible consequences of putting them off. Think about how good you feel after activity. Remember when you didn’t want to go for that walk or workout, but then you really enjoyed it and afterwards felt energised and healthier?

That change to oil spray rather than a ladle, which you put off for months, was so easy that, with hindsight, you think: “I wish I’d done it sooner.”

Often, it is this fear of the consequences that makes us hesitate. Be positive, embrace change. Take control. The more changes you make now, the fewer there are to worry about in the future.

Know the reasons why

You are more likely to be motivated to give up that morning bar of chocolate or do more exercise if you know the benefits of the task ahead, so write these down.

Write things downs

Take time to write down the reasons why you want to be healthier, happier and fitter, keep it with you and read it when motivation is slipping. Post it notes on the fridge are a brilliant tactic, or even on the inside of your wardrobe door - don't knock it until you've tried it :)

Monitor your food and activity

How you manage your time can be the key. Keeping a track of what you eat, drink and how much you exercise can really help you to plan carefully and realistically. Plan your meals for a few days ahead and, when you go shopping, look for new foods to add interest and variety to your diet. This will not only keep you on the right track, it's much better for your body to have variety - no one food provides everything we need.

No more excuses

Constantly putting off what needs to be done can also have a negative effect on your self-esteem. Not implementing planned healthy changes to your lifestyle can sometimes give rise to feelings of failure. This may be the start of a vicious circle similar to the one associated with weight-loss.

And finally…

As well as planning your exercise and your menus, plan some objectives or short-term goals and the rewards you will have when you achieve them – eg put aside £1 every time you achieve one of your goals and treat yourself to something special at the end of the month. Rewarding yourself gives a strong positive motivation to carry on!

There will always be ups and downs in life, and sometimes things don't happen as quickly or in the way we would like, but you CAN achieve your goals, just smile and take a step forward. Going backwards is not an option!

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