Monday, August 6, 2012

You Don't Need to Feel Good to Feel Good

You have probably heard the old saying, "It takes money to make money."
It is absolutely true that if you already have some money, you can use it to make more.
However, what do the experts say if you don't have any money to make money with?
They tell you to do something to get the money you need. They recommend taking an extra job, asking for a raise, getting training in a better paying field, changing jobs, and other possible steps. Financial advisor Dave Ramsey, and others, also recommend getting "more money" by decreasing expenditures.
In other words, they tell those who are interested in learning how to have more money to make changes in the way they do things. They tell them to make substantive changes in many different areas of their lives to achieve their financial goals and dreams.
Many who follow this sort of advice get out from under the crushing burden of debt, find new pleasures and joys in life, and some even achieve the status of "millionaire" after years of being deeply in debt.
However, it takes effort, commitment, and often sacrifice for them to reach these new levels of wealth and prosperity. It requires them to make a decision to change from the paradoxically "comfortably uncomfortable" lifestyle that they assumed was "how things are" to a new, uncomfortable (usually temporary) lifestyle which they soon learned was a better, more enjoyable one than what they had previously known.
The same is true for such areas as health and fitness, which are, to my way of thinking, more important kinds of wealth than mere money.
Another old saying you may have heard of is, "If you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've been getting."
As with money, when it comes to things like exercise, an important part of being healthy and fit and feeling good, people feel trapped. They feel they need more energy to exercise, but it's exercise which will give them the energy they need.
Often, people get a burst of "energy" from some motivational kick in the pants. Maybe they have a class reunion or wedding coming up and want to lose weight or look younger. Maybe the event was last week and they were devastated by how they felt, and felt they looked!
However, motivational events such as these seldom result in the permanent lifestyle changes necessary to create a new, improved model of the person who has lived life a certain way for years. It may be enough to get them to knock off a few pounds, but, eventually, life returns to the comfortable patterns which have long produced uncomfortable results.
In changing one's financial health, it is necessary to make uncomfortable choices and find ways to somehow reach beyond current capabilities in order to arrive at new levels of financial fitness. The same is true of personal health and fitness. You MUST reach beyond what you are currently doing, and believe you are ONLY capable of doing, and move physical activity to a new level.
That's the bad news!
The good news is that, no matter how far down the exercise and fitness ladder you find yourself, it is entirely possible to create a personal exercise program which begins to move you along the pathway to levels of health and fitness which you presently can only dream about.
Many people feel they have to "exercise" at the recommended levels outlined in books, and on videos and TV fitness shows, to actually get the health benefits of exercise. As a result, they feel completely overwhelmed. If they do try to work out at those levels, they either fail immediately, or they heartily regret their efforts over the following days. They begin to fear their exercise program and decide, consciously or not, that they would "feel better" feeling the way they did before they began to exercise.
The truth is that your exercise program should always be just above your current capabilities...unless you are in training for the Olympics or for some fitness competition of some kind. In that case, you may have to adopt the "no pain no gain" philosophy and just tough it out. Also, when you have reached certain levels of fitness, you can and should challenge yourself to reach new goals at faster speeds.
This is how you will continue to lose weight, get fit, and become more physically capable of participating in, and enjoying, life. However, if you are a normal person, presently overweight and out of shape, you need to stay within, or near, some sort of "comfort zone" while gradually increasing the demands and expectations you present to your body...and your mind.
In my 40+ years of studying exercise, health, and fitness, again and again I have encountered the stories of people who started lifelong exercise and fitness programs by walking out to the mailbox, by walking in place during TV commercials, or by doing a few simple exercises to firm or tone a specific body part. Over time, these people gradually challenged themselves to greater levels until they eventually became full-fledged exercisers, running marathons or participating in fitness competitions.
Heck, I know of two women in particular who became championship level bodybuilders, posing in bikinis, and lookin' good, in their 70's and 80's. One started in her 50's with exercises to firm up the backs of her arms and was so impressed with the results that she gradually progressed to the entire body. The other, when in her 70's, had a problem with a big bag of cat litter and took the steps which eventually resulted in her winning numerous bodybuilding and fitness awards, traveling worldwide spreading the word about health and fitness for seniors, and appearing on many TV shows.
You don't need to become a professional bodybuilder, however. You don't need a ton of energy at your disposal, either. You only need to do a little more each day than you are doing now, and, as that becomes easier for you, do a little more. Make this a regular part of your life, and, in a shorter period than you can presently imagine, you will be healthier and more physically fit than you can presently believe.
Donovan Baldwin is a 65-year-old amateur bodybuilder, freelance writer, certified optician, and Internet marketer currently living in the Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas area. A University Of West Florida alumnus (1973) with a BA in accounting, he has been a member of Mensa and has been a Program Accountant for the Florida State Department of Education, a Business Manager for a community mental health center, and a multi-county Fiscal Consultant for an educational field office. He has also been a trainer for a major international corporation, and has managed various small businesses, including his own. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, with 21 years of service, he became interested in Internet marketing and developed various online businesses.

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