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#55: Four Action Steps To Success

Sunday, August 23, 2009

There are four action steps on the path to fitness: Wanting to succeed, deciding to succeed, making an effort to succeed, and perseverance in our efforts.

Like an alcoholic or a user of illegal drugs, we must acknowledge that we WANT to change and become healthier and more fit. Without a conscious desire to change our lives, we will roll along in the same self-defeating manner that has plagued us in the past, often for years. Change begins in our minds. We are what we think.

Our lives today and our future lives are shaped by our daily choices. By choosing to alter our lifestyles and ourselves, we will define a new, healthier us. Too many people simply float through life scared of any commitment that would require any real effort.

But once we admit to ourselves that we are not the person we want to be, that we are unhappy with the way we look and the way we feel, that we are not satisfied with our level of, or lack of, fitness, then we must actively DECIDE to take positive steps to change the person we are into the person we desire to be. Deciding to take positive steps forward does not mean a half-hearted attempt at changing. Fitness is a lifestyle we must decide we want to live daily before significant changes will occur.

After we become serious about attaining our new lives, we must MAKE AN EFFORT to succeed and act as if we're serious about our new journey. We must adopt healthier eating habits and incorporate exercise into our daily routines. Remember, as we think, so we are. If there is to be a meaningful change in us, we must alter our thinking to reflect our new way of life.

Because we do not typically feel comfortable with change, we must PERSEVERE in our efforts until our new habits become second nature to us and replace our old, unhealthy routines. We must not give up at the first sign of soreness after a workout. We must not give up if we fail to stick to our healthy eating plan on a particular day. Some psychologists claim it takes many people 16 consecutive successful attempts before a new habit replaces an old one.

If you are reading this, you WANT to succeed. Now you have to DECIDE that you will succeed, then you must MAKE AN EFFORT to succeed, and PERSEVERE in your efforts to change. If we persevere, and never give up, we will soon develop a new set of habits that will carry us forward to a new life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUCCESSHEL 2/22/2010 7:25AM

  Thank you! I needed that! emoticon

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WALNUT5612 2/21/2010 6:18PM

    This is a great motivational blog!!!

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IAMDARLENE 8/23/2009 9:22PM


Thanks for the encouragement Lou! Deciding to succeed seems difficult for me.
I often complicate things therefore it may be as simple as just making a decision to succeed. Even this doesn't seem simple to me. (Oh woe is me! lol)
Thanks again, Darlene

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FITKAT2010 8/23/2009 6:10PM

    The most important point isn't addressed here, perhaps by accident? What stops us from succeeding?

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SPARKLOVE 8/23/2009 5:34PM

    Lou, You are so right, change begins in our minds , but we must take action to bring our dreams into reality and persevere.

I think one of the first steps we need to take to bring about a healthier lifestyle is to gain knowledge about food , and exercise. So we can make informed decisions.

I am re-grouping or re-thinking some of my ideas and reading your blog today was encouraging. Thank You. Joy

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IUHRYTR 8/23/2009 4:44PM

    Thank you all for your support and kind words. I don't believe pastoring is in my future but maybe teaching Sunday school one day or writing classes to children church members. I simply try to discover new topics to write about that may inspire and motivate and encourage. I hope that sometimes that happens. Bless all of you. -- Lou

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YATMAMA 8/23/2009 4:36PM

    I agree. I look forward to your blogs every day. You sure you don't have a call of God upon your life to preach, Lou?

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/23/2009 3:27PM

    I sure look forward to your blogs every day. They inspire me along the way and I am here cheering you on with your goals....

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2STOPW8GAIN 8/23/2009 11:21AM

    I have been enjoying your huddle comments on the Just Do It team. Now, I realize you have emoticon blogs, too! I'm a subscriber now. Keep going emoticon you are an inspiration!

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BEAMISH7 8/23/2009 10:36AM

    Well said, Lou. Thanks for sharing with us.

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#54: A Yard Full of Praise

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A SP member wrote recently of how she gives thanks when she exercises. This afternoon I decided to follow her example while mowing the front lawn.

When I started it was a typical hot and muggy Central FL afternoon. A blah, gray feeling had wrapped itself around me. But as I began mowing, a breeze kicked in and lasted until I was finished. In no particular order here are some of the things I gave thanks for during the half-hour this took me:

* That I am alive and functioning rather well. That I am fairly healthy and can see and hear and taste and feel and that I experience happiness and compassion and sympathy and sometimes sadness.

* For the cool breeze and the smell of freshly cut grass and how nice the yard looked when I was finished.

* For my friend Tom and the lawnmower he bought me last year when mine broke and I couldn't afford to get a new one.

* For my nurse practitioner who gave me a good bill of health after yesterday's annual physical and for the doctors and lab people who assist me throughout the year.

* For my family and friends and their families, that they remain well and safe.

* For our military, firefighters, law enforcement and corrections personnel who risk their lives that we and our country remain free and protected.

* For having a home to live in and a radio and TV to listen to and watch.

* For my pets that I've rescued from a life on the run and for their companionship and playful antics.

* For the flowers and plants in the yard that produce such vivid colors.

* For the orange and grapefruit trees in the back yard that offer up sweet and juicy fruit each year.

* For my neighbors who always seem to be around when I need help with something.

* For the frequent rain we receive that turns the grass a brilliant green and that helps replenish our aquifer.

* For SP counting cutting grass as cardio.

* For all of the SP members who offer encouragement and support every day. Although time does not allow me to always thank everyone individually for their kind words, I am grateful for your caring attitudes. You may never know how your words pulled me out of despair. Thank you all.

As I finished mowing, I realized the blah, gray feeling had disappeared. The endorphins from the exerise kicked in I suppose but most of all I believe I felt happier because I turned my focus off of me and onto other people and things.

Maybe that's something we need to do more often. I realize I do. Have a blessed weekend.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATSDIARY 8/23/2009 2:38PM

    Thank you for your reminder of how lucky we are! Sometimes I forget in the hurry and pressure of everyday life. I wish you a wonderful day!


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YATMAMA 8/22/2009 11:27PM

    That is SO beautiful, Lou. There really is a healing quality about counting our blessings. It's such good medicine. And as you have proven... it's catchy! I will be doing a whole lot more of acknowledging those blessings myself. You and my other SparkFriends are very high on the list of blessings for which I am thankful!!

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2BSALLYB 8/22/2009 10:01PM

    Wow, you are one blessed guy! I agree, we need to count our blessings lots more often than what we do..Thanks for reminding us.


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BEACHDREAMS 8/22/2009 9:09PM

    WAy to go--I'm trying it tomorrow!

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LAURIES_PLACE 8/22/2009 7:04PM

  Hi Lou,

What a wonderful way to spend the time mowing. I cut the grass yesterday (before the hole in the yard found me) and admit I was not thanking the L-rd. I was, though, thinking about how pretty it looked, how much fun my grandkids, Hunter, Jorja, and Jacob would have playing in the yard today, and how bountiful my garden has been this year.

Your trees sound heavenly. I have a fig tree, and today I was watching two birds take turns eating a fig. I don't mind sharing with the birds and the bunnies--I have enough to share and help fill their little bellies. I have two blueberry bushes and a bay laurel, but this is their first season so they are just babies yet--babies that I love watching grow.

It's been hot here, too. Today I actually had two fans out in the yard on the kids to keep the mosquitoes away and to give them a breeze. Now we've had an hours-long storm along with flooding, so though it is still very humid, it is only 73*--the coolest I have seen in months, including nights.

Have a wonderful evening, filled with the peace of the L-rd.


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    Hi! Thank you fpr stopping by my blog with congratulations! I really apreciate it, its truly uplifting to have all the support on here. Thanks again for yours!

I look forward to seeing more of you! Thats cool that spark counts clipping as cardio, I'd be giving thanks for that too! I heard they count playing with your children as a workout too, and I get a workout playing with my little boy without a doubt!

After reading your blog I am considering more places where I can have gratitude in my life! Thanks so much, stay blessed!

Mrs. k

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XNANNY 8/22/2009 5:46PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TEACHINGAGAIN 8/22/2009 5:28PM

    Thanks for this blog! I think I will try and do this when I am walking!

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/22/2009 5:05PM

    I really do try to give thanks when I'm mowing the lawn. I got a 1/4 acre and it's a big yard to me. I thank The Lord for my home but I just don't like the lawn mowing. I am hoping I will be better able to do it now that I lost weight. Last time I did it, it was a lot better. Had someone doing it while I been away and I love that.!

Take care, I care. Nan

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SPARKLOVE 8/22/2009 5:04PM


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FITKAT2010 8/22/2009 4:43PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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#53: A Wise Moment

Friday, August 21, 2009

A fellow SparkPeople member posted this quote today:

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds -- Francis Bacon.

When I read it I was convinced I must have been wise for a short while this afternoon when I stopped at the grocery store. I'm usually more outgoing with people when it's my choice than when I feel forced into gestures of friendship. And so it was today. While I shopped I said hi to several employees and told them what a good job they were doing. It never hurts us to do this and makes people feel appreciated.

Then I turned down an aisle and encountered my wise moment. Another shopper and I began talking about our pets when we saw the cat and dog food in each other's cart. Like me he also had taken in strays when he could not find their owner.

After we chatted for several minutes, we had to get on with our shopping and reluctantly said our goodbyes and nice talking with yous. Then he surprised me as I began to move on. "You know," he said, "not everyone is like we are. Many people wouldn't have bothered with these pets. But you probably saved the lives of five animals by taking them in. Bless you for that. Have a great afternoon." Surprised, I thanked him and then he walked away.

I mentioned how I try to encourage employees by telling them that what they do is appreciated. But here a stranger was telling me the same thing because we both were animal lovers. To be thanked by a stranger in the middle of a grocery store, a man I simply happened to make an effort to say hello to, had me walking on clouds as I left. I suppose for that encounter, as Mr. Bacon said, I created an opportunity, an opportunity to spend time with another person who shares the same compassion toward strays as I do.

As a result, my spirit was uplifted and my heart filled with a sense of camaraderie. I am certain that the positive feeling I now have, and a stranger's kind words, will be recalled every time I look into the eyes of Brownie, Kitty and Little Thang, my three cats, and Baby the Boxer and Thumper the Shepard, the two dogs.

Because they all get along well with each other is, I believe, a testament to their knowledge that they have found a safe harbor where someone cares for them and feeds them and brushes and plays with them.

In turn, today I found a safe harbor where a stranger cared about me and what I have done with these homeless pets. That may have been an isolated wise moment for me at the grocery store, but it is one I will not soon forget.

And now I pass along what was unexpectedly offered to me today: Bless all of you for your support and encouragement. You may never know how much it means. Have a great weekend.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BELLAPOCOMO 8/22/2009 3:53PM

    Most excellent Lou!! As always, you put a smile on my face and warmness in my heart.

I also realized there are helpful people in the world - today, while trying to mail a few packages, a woman was in the post office and was offering advice. I was taken aback - when I lived in Jacksonville, people wouldn't help let alone offer a kind word or two. Here in Brooksville, it's quite different and it puts a smile on my face.

Thanks for making this Saturday a good God blessed day.

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2BSALLYB 8/22/2009 12:39AM

    Ditto, bless you for all your words of encouragement and support. And what a good guy you are, taking in all the little animal orphans...


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YATMAMA 8/21/2009 6:59PM

    I just love that you had this experience. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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SPARKLOVE 8/21/2009 6:47PM


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FITKAT2010 8/21/2009 5:26PM

    This was an incredible gift today. I was looking for something "special" and here it was!

Thank you.

emoticon emoticon

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LAURIES_PLACE 8/21/2009 5:13PM


You ARE a wise man, a compassionate man, and I am glad this gift from a stranger was given to you today. Look at how much you give to all of us...your wonderful blog entries, your guidance as our faithful leader, your encouragement. I like you, Lou. You are on my friends list because I like you.

Have a blessed Sabbath!


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TEDYBEAR2838 8/21/2009 4:45PM

    emoticon you done good!

Keep up the good work. AND keep on Sparking!

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CINDYHOUGHTON 8/21/2009 4:28PM

    I have moments like that as well. Once a couple left story on my windshield at Walmart when they saw my like minded bumper stickers. The story so uplifted me that I sent it several others hoping they would enjoy it as much as I did. We have countless opportunities to impact others lives every day. Some for good some for bad. I hope to tilt the balance on the side of good. Hope tomorrow is just as good for you!

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#52: Point of Reference

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What is your point of reference regarding your journey to fitness?

I read another member's blog this morning where she explained that she was at the weight she had set as a goal for herself. Now, she wants to lose more and realized that she had set a goal that was too easily reached. Her point of reference changed.

An old joke tells of a car race between representatives from California and those from New York. The car from New York finished ahead of the one from California. In the New York newspapers it was reported that New York finished first while California came in dead last. In the California newspapers it was reported that California had finished second while New York came in next to last.

It's all in the point of reference. Both versions are accurate, just framed differently.

I talked via email with another member who had lost three pounds. The way she described her weight loss was to say, "Two more pounds and I will have lost five pounds altogether."

Or take the employee who began working with his company in August. In September, when he was asked how long he had worked for the firm, he answered, "Next August will be one year."

Both of these people are correct. It's their point of reference that's different than that of most people.

The next time you feel as if you are not progressing, try changing your point of view and see if you feel better, perhaps more focused and happier with yourself and your situation. If you have lost 2 pounds but want to lose a total of 10, say to yourself and others, "Eight more pounds and I will have lost 10 pounds altogether."

By looking ahead we will lead our thoughts from what has passed -- the two pounds, for example -- to the future. By changing our point of reference we may see the road of our journey more clearly and with a more positive outlook.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITKAT2010 8/21/2009 5:29PM

    Very true, and very wise.

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YATMAMA 8/20/2009 5:33PM

    Awesome blog. And, Little-H, excellent scripture!

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SPARKLOVE 8/20/2009 2:26PM

    When we can't change a situation , it often does help just to change our perspective. Joy

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3CATSLEP 8/20/2009 9:52AM

    Thank you, Lou! I am once again inspired. Have a great day! emoticon

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JOYATLAST 8/20/2009 9:30AM

    I'm practicing that attitude with my negative memories. By changing the reference point, I'm redefining my future. It's no longer "something bad happened to me". It has become "God lead me and walked with me through a tough thing. In the end, I know God better.

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/20/2009 8:38AM

    What are great idea! I'm sure it will help Lots of folks to change their point of reference. I know it has helped me. It's no longer looking at the large amount of weight to lose, it's one baby, do-able step, at a time.


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JUST4ME927 8/20/2009 8:28AM

    Perspective is powerful. Thank you for reminding me of that!

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LITTLE-H 8/20/2009 7:16AM

    Good encouragement. As I wrote this morning, I started out depressed at not being perfect yesterday, but once I looked at all the successes I had, I feel pretty good and am ready to start fresh again today.

"This I recall to my mind,
Therefore have hope.
The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease.
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness."

~ Lamentations 3:21-23

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DECAROLIFIC 8/20/2009 5:11AM

    Today, every time I feel negative about myself, or down about something I have not accomplished, I will change the point of reference. Thanks for this.

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#51: No More

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

There are two words, among many, I believe we should eliminate from our conversations and our writings -- "only" and "just."

Think about how limiting these two words are. "I only walked for half an hour." "I'm just a bookkeeper."

We need to learn to show more pride in what we do. Consider adding "proud" to your vocabulary instead. "I'm proud that I walked for half an hour." "I'm proud to be a bookkeeper."

Which do you say of your young daughter acting in a play? "She's just the tree." Or, "I'm proud of her. She's the tree."

Or how about your son who made the school's football team. "He's only a backup fullback." Or, "I'm proud of him for making the team as the backup fullback."

Whatever we describe and how we describe it to ourselves and others reflects either our negative or our positive attitude. We want to eliminate as many negatives from our thinking as possible and add in more positives.

"I have just worked here for three months" or "I'm proud to say I've worked here for three months."

"I've only got two children" or "I'm proud to say I have a daughter and a son."

"I've only lost three pounds" or "I'm proud that I've lost three pounds."

I believe we can bring more positive forces into our lives by simply eliminating the use of "only" and "just." It may take some time to become conscious of using these self-limiting words but eventually we can if we remember to use the word "proud" instead.

I'm proud to say I am going to work to delete these words from my thinking. Will you join me?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IAMDARLENE 8/19/2009 9:52PM


This might take a little practice, but I'll begin right now....
I'm proud to say I'm going to do my best to eliminate "just" and "only" from my vocabulary.
Wow, that didn't even hurt! lol love, Darlene

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3CATSLEP 8/19/2009 8:32PM

    I'm proud of you, Lou! emoticon

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YATMAMA 8/19/2009 7:28PM

    True, true!!

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/19/2009 2:06PM

    emoticon Post. A very good lesson in life!


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SUGIRL06 8/19/2009 1:05PM

    What a great post! I don't think you really need to eliminate those words. When you are thinking something negative, you have to reword it to be positive! I use only and just to motivate me. "I only have 5 minutes left to run. I can do it!" vs. "I already ran 20 minutes. I'm too tired for 5 more." You are right, "only" and "just" make things seem trivial, so use them in a way that makes you keep going! "I just have to do 10 more push ups and I'm done weight training today!" Great idea. And what a great way to pay attention to what you are telling yourself!

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BELLAPOCOMO 8/19/2009 12:44PM

    I hadn't thought about this until your blog. I use them to get me doing more - not because I don't count what I do as important, but to keep myself going.

Thanks for the ideas!

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PATSDIARY 8/19/2009 10:44AM

    What a great inspiration this morning! I think that you are right - I find myself saying those words frequently. I am going to work on this, and I will improve! Thanks for your thoughts!

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MAMONTOYA 8/19/2009 8:28AM

    Great blog! It is so true how simple words can really affect what we do, how we think or how we process. I am on board with you. Every amount of effort should be acknowledged and felt. We need to give ourselves more credit than we do. Negative talk can turn into negative behavior and negative outcomes. We DO need to be PROUD as we become healthier, happier and content.

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