This past weekend, while exercising with my running group, I began to wonder just why all these people were out here running 13 miles…much of it uphill. What was it that motivated us to be doing this crazy thing? One thing is for certain: the reason differed from one person to the next. For me, running feels great. It's all about reaching a goal, feeling the camaraderie, and working toward a common end. Granted, we are all unique, but let's explore the concept of motivation, and some strategies that can lead us toward the person we want to be."Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard I am well aware that the recommendations I make to friends, family, patients, and readers are often unwelcome: eat better, exercise more, stop smoking, etc. Let's face it: change is hard! We are creatures of habit. Habits are familiar friends; they give us stability, security, peace, and confidence. It's human nature to take the easy path, but easy is not always best in the long run. As I tell my children, life is not a sprint...it's a marathon. So let's develop a strategy for the long term. What one aspect of your life do you wish to change? What path will you take to get there? Choose something that is important to you and not to someone else. Once you choose a path and start down that new road, ask yourself how well the strategy is working. Are you happier, healthier, more satisfied with life? Do you see this path leading to the success of your specific goal? If the answer is yes, continue onward. It is important to check in with yourself periodically and reassess. If you don't see results, use that as the motivation to make a new change and try a new strategy. "I'm not telling you it is going to be easy - I'm telling you it's going to be worth it." - Art Williams Success is more likely when a change in your life is actually fun. By joining a running group, for example, I've developed new friends who share a common goal and bond. If working out alone in your home or neighborhood is not fun for you, try a running or walking group, a gym, or calling a friend to join you. If your goal is to change your diet, find a healthy-cooking class. Buy new cookbooks and invite friends or family to your home as an excuse to try out new recipes. Turn it into an ongoing activity that not only gets you to your goal, but also enriches your life with new friends, activities and adventures. Change is not easy, but is more likely to stick around when it is enjoyable and enriching. "Do not wait; the time will never be just right. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along." - Napoleon Hill Try asking yourself: •Have you found that genuine desire to change? Only when it comes from within will you be successful. •Which aspect of your life do you wish to tackle first? •Do you have a plan that is fun, sustainable, and gets you to your goal? Once you've gotten moving, reassess your strategy. If it's not working, keep moving; change that plan. Engage your friends, family, religious organization, and community to help you achieve your goals. As always, I wish for you good health and best of luck with your new health endeavors. Dr. Alan Frischer is former chief of staff and current chief of medicine at Downey Regional Medical Center. Write to him in care of this newspaper at 8301 E. Florence Ave., Suite 100, Downey, CA 90240.
********** Published: September 25, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 23