I hear it all the time, “I’d really like to lose this weight.” Or, “I want to get in better shape.” Sure, the decibel level of all this goes up in January but the lament continues year ‘round. Day after day, month after month …so many people. Maybe even you too.

Absolutely, the impulse is great. It is an important first step. But, most people never follow through. Or, they start like gangbusters then fizzle out after a few weeks, or even days. Why is it so hard to stay the course when there’s everything to gain?  Read on for my 5 steps to health, fitness and feeling your best …and stay there.

Man Measuring Waist
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty

1. Write down your goals.

Be realistic and prioritize what you want to achieve. Do you want to lose weight? How much? Is it building strength that matters most to you or are you looking to have more energy? Decide what’s most important and put it on paper.

2. Break your overall goal into smaller ones that you can stick to and achieve.

An example is, ‘I’m going to drink more water every day this week.’ How much is enough? A good rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces every day. Aim to drink it all during the daytime so it doesn’t interrupt your sleep. Be sure to pat yourself on the back as you tackle the small goals.

3. Add to your list of achievable, smaller goals.

Got the water thing down? Add this: ‘Every day I’m going to walk for 30 minutes as if I’m late for a meeting.’ Once walking is part of your routine, add another small, achievable goal. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. People tend to set themselves up for failure before they really even get going by trying to do too much right from the start.

4. Remind yourself why you’re doing this. Continuously.

Journaling and surrounding yourself with supportive notes in your cabinets, at your desk, etc., will keep your “why” top of mind.

5. Get out the pom poms.

You must be your biggest cheerleader! Talk to yourself in a positive, uplifting way. “You can do it!” “You are doing it!” Banish those self-sabotaging thoughts: “I’ll never lose this weight” or “This is going to take so long.” They will have you headed to the snack aisle faster than you can say Dorito.


You may think January is the perfect time to hit the reset button. The truth is, there is rarely a perfect time to embark on a health and wellness journey. There will always be an event, house guests, vacations, excess stressors and a host of other distractions.  Don’t wait. The change you want—to your weight, strength, energy or attitude, won’t happen without some change to the behaviors that got you into the shape you’re currently in.

I like to say, “Anything worth doing should be hard.” You have to want better for yourself every day. If commitment to change feels hard, you’ll know you’re succeeding. The more you do it the more it becomes your routine. It builds upon itself as you stay the course …and grows even stronger as those around you notice the changes in your physique. Notice how they start inquiring about your new found health. As you inspire them with your story, you’ll reinforce your own resolve.

There’s so much technology today to help you get started and stick with it. Maybe you’re a self-starter, a gym membership or health and fitness app is all you need. Perhaps you need the support and accountability a nutritionist or health coach can provide. Do some research and what’s best for you.

My virtual door is always open if you want to discuss your health concerns and goals. You can schedule a complimentary call with me through my website at www.lindamstephens.com.

In good health, Linda