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How do I begin changing myself?

Katherine Lee
Social Work
If you are asking yourself this question, then you’ve already started the process! It involves recognizing and admitting that you need to change yourself (whatever that is). Then you will need to seek professional help to assist you with the process. You need to stay committed and motivated for this process since it can be long and difficult. However, there is a “light at the end of the tunnel,” so don’t give up! You need to learn to notice and acknowledge the process and the small changes.
Darren Treasure, PhD
Sports Medicine

Is change really worth it?

In the face of the perceived and often very real barriers to becoming physically active, it is inevitable that people will begin to question the benefits of change.  Indeed, research has clearly shown that perception of a high benefit/barrier ratio is very important in the behavioral change process. Specifically, anyone who is trying to become physically active needs to know that it is worth it. 

So, is it? What does the research tell us? Without reservation, research has shown that physical activity is beneficial for many health outcomes including coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, various forms of cancers, immune function, cognitive ability, and psychological well-being. We know that physically active people live longer than physically inactive people AND, most importantly, report a higher quality of life as they age. 

To successfully change our behavior we need to not only reduce the barriers to exercise but also remind ourselves of the multiple health and other benefits that becoming physically active. So, when the going gets tough and you really do not want to continue, remember the benefits of being physically active both in terms of your physical and mental health. 
Lisa Oz
Health Education

Do anything differently. It doesn't matter what it is; simply find something you do on a regular basis and alter it slightly. For example, maybe you always go to the last stall in the ladies' room. So, today, use the first stall instead. Or, let's say you always brush your teeth before you shower. Now, try showering first. The point is merely to be aware of where you behave habitually and mix it up.

Intensify the exercise and change something about how you identify yourself - on the outside. So, if you always wear your hair parted on the left, switch to the right, or be super daring and get bangs. Perhaps you're the type of person who wears sweats all day long. If so, dress up for the carpool - makeup, jewelry, heels, the works. If you like to jog to music of the eighties, borrow your teenager's iPod and run with "T.I." or "50 Cent."

Ramp it up further. Try something totally uncharacteristic - something you would never, ever, ever do under any normal circumstance. There is something so freeing about being unpredictable. Find something that you think defines you and break it. If you are Jewish, attend Saturday morning service at a local mosque. If you are Christian, have a Friday night Shabbat dinner. One bit of advice when choosing something different: always strive to generate love, compassion, and awareness. Don't go from being an animal rights activist to hanging out at a slaughterhouse. The point of this exercise is to become more aware, more conscious, and more alive. Don't cheapen your experience or debase yourself. So, pick something new that will expand your capabilities and deepen your understanding of the beauty in life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.