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How to Start – Replace a Proven ‘Feel Good’ Habit

The answer to "how to start into fitness" can be found within what we have already proven to ourselves, over and over again, which is: "What we are doing instead of exercise that brings us happiness?"

As an example,

I've sat for hours at a time on the couch, over several years, watching TV and eating delicious snacks because it entertains me and tastes great. I've proven to myself repeatedly that this feels great to me and this really, really works for me. And, it's easy to do!


So, asking me to exercise is "asking me to do something that I don't know will provide satisfaction, plus it requires effort." You're asking me to replace a proven easy winner, with an unknown item that requires effort.

Look at quitting smoking: hundreds of times a day a smoker will lift the arm to the mouth a get a littlesatisfaction – this is a terribly addicting item given the chemical reaction and physical habit. This is a proven action that generates a proven response, and it's been tested and proven true thousands of times.

Here's an idea: combine this proven "feel good" item with exercise. Why not walk on a treadmill while watching TV? It's OK to do this and it works (see my blog at YOU'RE APPROVED TO WORKOUT WHILE WATCHING TV ).

If you need pure inspiration or proof that exercise works – read Chandell Tytlandsvik's story on this site and follow her blog at Chandell Tytlandsvik. She lost 105 pounds in 1 year and has kept it off. She can provide the proof that exercise works, so you can then use her proof to help you replace a proven feel-good habit you already have with exercise.

If that's not your scenario, people like Kathleen Trotter (see www.kathleentrotter.com) have written step by step how to get going, or what to do, or how to keep going (Kathleen also blogs here at Kathleen Trotter ). She can also be a source of inspiration as it was not and it never is "easy" for her - even though it would appear that it is. I found this to be the most shocking part of reading her writings. Plus, she can help you set the right goals, have a healthy approach, and all those other details.

So, start by combining exercise with something that already is a feel good for you. Or, read/learn some ones' proof/story to help you accept that "exercise feels good/works" and then you can slowly replace your current proven feel-good activity with theirs. And, as you prove to yourself that exercise makes you feel good, it will slowly grow into your lifestyle.

On a side note, I learned after writing this that "using someone else's proof, to enable you to replace your feel-good item with theirs" is what we commonly call 'inspiration.'

One another side note, the worrisome thing about all of this is, when I think about some of the fad diets that only work in the short term (if at all) or some of the fitness equipment marketed as a cure-all – they only serve to destroy people's belief in someone else's 'proof' and make starting fitness harder for them the second time and harder for others just thinking about it. Not to mention they're a waste of money and may destroy the last piece of self-confidence a person had left.

Finally, as Tim Storey says: "Let your test become your testimony and your mess become your message." So, when you get going, let others know so they can grow from you.