TODAY THE WORDS are ‘THE FIRST STEP IS THE HARDEST.” As most of us who are parents have had the experience of our children’s first step. Sometimes, even in one of life’s greatest pride moments, their first step can be quite humorous with wobbling, wide eyes, and arms flailing to the sides or in front of them. We ooh and awe but it must be very scary and exciting at the same time for the child. I have never heard anyone say they remember their first step and this may be a good thing for them to forget. Think back now, without the personal involvement and you will probably smile at the thought.
We go through many first steps in our lifetime. In dance, we learn many steps and usually the first dance steps are somewhat awkward and even though most of us learn “the moves” some people don’t ever seem to get their groove on (flashback to our sixties and seventies, dear classmates and friends of mine). We take a different kind of “first” step when we apply for our first job and it is difficult to step with confidence without experience. It is a charitable action for a lot of employers who give us our first positions in life. When we marry, what a huge first step of marriage and speaking from multiple marriages; it doesn’t get easier to take that step. For some, the marriage track runs smoother than others. Others stumble and fall and have to start over. It would be great if we could learn how to step correctly in a marriage or even life itself without falling or stumbling. When we have children, we take a huge step, as we now have the responsibility of teaching and encouraging a little precious being how to step in this difficult world. Huge, huge, steps for them and us to have to take. Life is a long walk with hills and valleys, straight roads and roads with dangerous curves, bumps and dangers and we all have to walk it.
There is an important “First Step” we have to consider is getting our health in check. I want to give us some things to consider and when we take that first step in healthy eating and life style; we can handle the other first steps easier. Do not put this first step off. A few years ago, I thought I was fairly healthy but after a long needed complete physical, I had some work to do. I will have my regular check up next week and I hope to see my hard efforts have paid off. I found an article for us to review as first steps in acquiring a good health check up:
7 ways to jumpstart healthy change in your life
Simple Changes, Big Rewards: A practical, easy guide for healthy, happy living
Get your copy of Simple Changes, Big Rewards: A practical, easy guide for healthy, happy living
All of us probably know some areas where we could boost our health and happiness — perhaps by exercising more, eating healthier, learning stress management techniques, or nipping a bad habit in the bud — but making a change can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be, though. This report will show you how to incorporate simple changes into your life that can reap big rewards.
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The day-to-day choices you make influence whether you maintain vitality as you age or develop life-shortening illnesses and disabling conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. You may understand exactly what you need to do to enjoy a healthier, happier life: carve out time to exercise, perhaps, or find a way to ratchet down stress. There’s just one hitch. You haven’t done it yet.
Often, the biggest hurdle is inertia. It’s true that it isn’t easy to change ingrained habits like driving to nearby locations instead of walking, let’s say, or reaching for a donut instead of an apple. However, gradually working toward change improves your odds of success. Here are some strategies that can help you enact healthy change in your life, no matter what change (or changes) you’d like to make.
Seven steps to shape your personal plan
Shaping your personal plan starts with setting your first goal. Break down choices that feel overwhelming into tiny steps that can help you succeed.
Select a goal. Choose a goal that is the best fit for you. It may not be the first goal you feel you should choose. But you’re much more likely to succeed if you set priorities that are compelling to you and feel attainable at present.
Ask a big question. Do I have a big dream that pairs with my goal? A big dream might be running a marathon or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, wiggling back into a closet full of clothes you love, cutting back on blood pressure medication, or playing games and sports energetically with your children. One word to the wise: if you can’t articulate a big dream, don’t get hung up on this step. You can still succeed in moving toward your goal through these other approaches.
Pick your choice for change. Select a choice that feels like a sure bet. Do you want to eat healthier, stick to exercise, diet more effectively, ease stress? It’s best to concentrate on just one choice at a time. When a certain change fits into your life comfortably, you can then focus on the next change.
Commit yourself. Make a written or verbal promise to yourself and one or two supporters you don’t want to let down: your partner or child, a teacher, doctor, boss, or friends. That will encourage you to slog through tough spots. Be explicit about the change you’ve chosen and why it matters to you. If it’s a step toward a bigger goal, include that, too. I’m making a commitment to my health by planning to take a mindful walk, two days a week. This is my first step to a bigger goal: doing a stress-reducing activity every day (and it helps me meet another goal: getting a half-hour of exercise every day). I want to do this because I sleep better, my mood improves, and I’m more patient with family and friends when I ease the stress in my life.
Scout out easy obstacles. Maybe you’d love to try meditating, but can’t imagine having the time to do it. Or perhaps your hopes for eating healthier run aground if you’re hungry when you walk through the door at night, or your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator aren’t well-stocked with healthy foods.
Brainstorm ways to leap over obstacles. Now think about ways to overcome those roadblocks. Not enough time? I’ll get up 20 minutes early for exercises and fit in a 10-minute walk before lunch. Cupboard bare of healthy choices? I’ll think about five to 10 healthy foods I enjoy and will put them on my grocery list.
Plan a simple reward
. Is there a reward you might enjoy for a job well done? For example, if you hit most or all of your marks on planned activities for one week, you’ll treat yourself to a splurge with money you saved by quitting smoking, a luxurious bath, or just a double helping of trhe iTunes application “Attaboy.” Try to steer clear of food rewards, since this approach can be counterproductive.
Breaking it down
Taking a 10-minute walk as part of a larger plan to exercise, or deciding to drink more water and less soda, certainly seem like easy choices. Even so, breaking them down further can help you succeed.
Here are a few examples of how you can break a goal into smaller bites.
Take a 10-minute walk
Find my comfortable walking shoes or buy a pair.
Choose days and times to walk, and then pencil this in on the calendar.
Think about a route.
Think about possible obstacles and solutions. If it’s raining hard, what’s Plan B? (I’ll do 10 minutes of mixed marching, stair climbing, and jumping rope before dinner.) Maybe I dislike getting my work clothes sweaty. If I’m planning to hop off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way home, what could I do? (I’ll need T-shirts to change into at work. If I bring in five every Monday, I’m covered. I’ll put my walking shoes in my work bag at night.)
Drink more water, less soda
Find my water bottle (or buy one).
Wash out the bottle, fill it up, and put it in the refrigerator at night.
Put a sticky note on the front door, or on my bag, to remind me to take the water bottle with me.
At work, take a break in the morning and one in the afternoon to freshen up my water bottle. This is a good time to notice how much (or little) I’m drinking.
When I get home from work, scrub out my water bottle for the following day and repeat.
Track my budget for a month
Every night, put all receipts and paid bills in an envelope placed in a visible spot.
Choose one: a) buy budget-tracking computer software, such as Quicken or QuickBooks; b) buy a similar application for my phone; c) use a debit card for every purchase; d) tuck a notepad into my purse or pocket to record all purchases.
Follow instructions to load software on computer, or application on phone, if I’ve chosen to use it.
Schedule 30 minutes at the end of the two-week mark to go over expenses with an eye toward identifying low-hanging fruit to trim. Sort expenses into categories first (rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, entertainment, etc.). Consider what categories to trim. Set a goal to reduce or eliminate some of these expenses (for example: cut out 5% of spending across the board or in one category, ride a bike to work rather than paying commuter fees, or make my own coffee rather than buying it).
At the end of the fourth week, review all spending categories and add up the money I’ve saved. Decide on an appropriate reward — maybe spending half the money, spending time in a pleasurable pursuit, or just basking in praise for a job well done.
Originally published: September 2010
What a great article and I have taken notes! How about you? First step and one foot in front of the other and here we go!
Now for the deeper thought….It would seem nice to say, Life is so easy; no problems; no fears; no mistakes; no sickness and no worries. Life is a fantastic adventure but we have to have a fantastic attitude. Take first steps and second steps. If we fall down; we get up and try it again until we get it right.
(C) Copyright 2012-2016 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location and credits.