I have a doctor’s appointment this Friday. Two, back-to-back, actually.

I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, no! Linda’s got some weird illness and we’ll never hear about her ridiculously silly life situations again. I guess I’ll renew my subscription to Mad Magazine.”

Not so fast.

They’re just check-ups.

You know the ones.

The first involves having a part of my body placed between two pieces of cold glass by a technician with equally cold hands who will manipulate said body parts as if she were punching down a loaf of bread dough.

Then the machine will lower, increasing the square footage of this body part to that of New Jersey. I will then hold my breath as the technician stands behind a shield that protects her from the radiation.

I’m left standing in the cold, radioactive room, alone, with nothing but an unfeeling piece of medical equipment for company, and hardly in a position to go anywhere. 

Then we repeat the fun on the other side. That in itself should earn me the right to go home and begin day drinking.

But oh, no.

Then on to appointment number two down the hall.

This next adventure is even more invasive, uncomfortable, and with yet another paper gown that (to borrow a line from Dave Barry) makes you feel more naked than naked.

I won’t go into details on that one, but suffice it to say this should be followed by a shopping spree at the local mall equipped with a credit card loaded with an unlimited balance. 

Here’s the question: Why on earth would a grown adult, with choices and the ability to do what I want, elect to put myself through such torture?

Because I happen to enjoy this thing called life.

In fact, living is required in order for me to do things like make people laugh and help them make positive life changes.

It’s hard to do that if I’m in some other dimension because I wasn’t willing to be poked and prodded and otherwise put in somewhat embarrassing situations for a few uncomfortable minutes. 

Women ask me all the time about how to get motivated. And honestly, living longer seems like a pretty strong reason to take care of yourself. Problem is, it’s an abstract idea that can’t be measured right here right now, so it’s not the huge motivator you’d imagine.

So if I eat this Greek yogurt instead of a box of strawberry Pop Tarts for breakfast, you’re saying I may add five years to my life? But I want the enjoyment of eating this scrumptious pastry now, and I don’t know for sure it will make a huge difference – so why bother?

Okay, so how about the promise of wearing a smaller pant size by next month?

Now we’re getting close to relatable goals.

Sure, we want the smaller pant, too, but if you’re no long living you won’t need pants, will you? Hence, we go back to living longer as the bottom line motivation.

I rest my case, your honor. 

To help you along, I came up with the most common mistakes that derail any type of goal and ways to stick with your plan – tips most people won’t tell you because they want all the Pop Tarts for themselves…

1. Enjoy the journey

When we set goals for ourselves, we tend to focus on the outcome. When you’re at point A, getting to B seems like a straight shot. In reality, it’s anything but. Stuff happens. Things get in the way that can take you away from your goal.

If achieving your goal is the only measure of “success” or “failure,” you’re bound to quit before you reach it.

Instead, start small to ease into your new-and-improved habit. Sometimes referred to as “chunking down” the process involves taking small steps instead of jumping in all at once and wondering why the changes didn’t stick. Enjoy each step. Stop and look at the scenery instead of only fixating on the goal line. A lot can happen before you reach it.

For example, if you want to lose weight, start by cutting out 100 calories. This could be scaling back on a single portion. No biggie, right? You can do this all day long. But you know what? Doing this ONE thing consistently for a year will result in a 10 lb. weight loss by year’s end.

Small, yes, but powerful over time.

2. Do something TODAY

We like to begin with a clean slate, whether it’s January 1, a new home, new job, whatever. Problem is, procrastination is never good. Chances are, you’ll never get around to taking action. Like the treadmill you bought that’s now a very expensive clothesline. Or the Ab Roller sitting in your garage covered with spider webs.

I know, it’s like I can see inside your house. I can’t. Or can I??

Start today by doing five minutes of whatever you’re telling yourself you’ll do when X happens.

Maybe you don’t start an all-out workout program, but go for a walk. Do 10 push-ups and 10 squats. Keep moving for just five minutes. Tell yourself that’s it for today. Chances are you’ll do more than those five minutes, but it’s fine if you don’t.

The idea is to push through the procrastination bubble and burst into you new habits for reals.

3. Create a schedule

In order to get where you’re going you need a schedule. When will you go for walks? Put it in a calendar. What days will you strength train and for how long? Mark it down. Yoga classes? Mark it down in a calendar or planner — or on your bathroom mirror — where you can’t help but see it everyday.

NOW YOU

What’s YOUR motivation to stay in shape? Let me know in the comments section below… and be sure to forward this post to friends who could use these tips to get started.

Other posts you may enjoy:

4 Motivation killers you underestimate (and how to turn them around)

How to create a minimalist workout plan

3 Ways to cope with life’s challenges

Got questions? Email me at linda@lindamelone.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Your Ageless Body Coach,