Motivation Action Plan: How To Get Motivated Up Of Resolutions That Don’t Work?

Click here to see the saving idea of plus one penny a day.
It’s almost New Year’s Day, the traditional time for creating resolutions you want to achieve for the incoming year. Have you made New Year Resolutions before? Did you keep them? How long did they last? What goals did you set? If you didn’t achieve them, did you consider what happened and how you could change that?

OK Enough Questions

You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you always kept all the resolutions you made! So if there are things you want to do (goals to achieve) work you want to do, and targets you want to reach, how do you do it and still keep going, day after day, after week?

How The Sun Does It

In the northern hemisphere at December 29th, the sun has just completed the longest night of the year (and of course, the shortest day). It’s the opposite way around in the southern hemisphere. They have just had their longest day (shortest night). In the northern hemisphere, the days are now very gradually getting longer. When I say gradually, I MEAN gradually. Looking at a local table of sunrise and sunsets (ask Google), the 23rd of December had a day that was 5 seconds longer than the previous (shortest) day. Just 5 seconds. Did you notice that? Me neither. By 29th of December, the day was a whole 2 minutes and 30 seconds or so longer than the shortest day. I didn’t notice that amount of extra time either. Yet, by early February, the evenings will have lengthened by about an hour and the mornings will be lighter earlier as well. Those few seconds each day add up gradually, but inevitably, to a huge 9 hour difference in the amount of daylight EVERY day, 6 months later, by the time of the summer solstice. The actual amount of extra daylight varies by how far north or south of the equator you are, of course. But who would think that a few unnoticeable seconds every day could make such an enormous difference inside 6 months?

Tiny Steps Every Day

It takes just a tiny step every day to reach the biggest goal eventually.
Save Plus One Penny A Day

Saving $600+ For Next Christmas

I read a great idea today about saving for next Christmas, that follows exactly the sun’s gradual change from winter solstice to summer. Get a jar, add a cent on 1st January. On 2nd of January, add 2 cents, on 3rd January add 3 cents. Keep adding one more cent a day, each day to your jar. By the end of 3 months, you will be adding about 90 cents a day to the jar and will already have reached $22 in savings. Once you reach 99 cents, then add a dollar a day to your jar, plus the cents. These are tiny amounts at first but they add up over the year. Even by the start of December, you will be adding only about $3.30 a day to your jar, perhaps the cost of a cup of coffee in work. But by Christmas, you will have over $600 in that jar.

What Is A Goal

A goal is something you want to achieve in the future and that you are willing to work towards getting. While a dream is not a goal, often a dream is something that starts you off on the work that is needed to achieve it. At that point, where you start doing the necessary work, the dream becomes a goal.

Goals To Set For 2020

Your goals depend on what you want to achieve. Maybe you want to :

  • Lose Weight
  • Pass an exam
  • Declutter your mind or your home
  • Change jobs
  • Become Self Employed
  • Write A Novel
  • Improve your health
  • Get fit or fitter
  • Improve your IT skills
  • Improve your game of golf or soccer or other sport
  • Learn to dance
  • Learn to draw or paint or improve your artistic skills
  • Learn circus skills
  • Earn more money
  • Make the team in your chosen sport

There could be any number of goals you might want to achieve. There is an argument that you should choose one goal to concentrate on and if you want to pass an exam or make the team, that may take most of your energy for a time. There is also an argument that you could set smaller goals in a number of areas and enjoy reaching several goals. For instance, if you want to improve your drawing, you could draw a  single doodle each day (like in Inktober) and this would allow you time to achieve other goals as well. Goals

Any goal you choose to work towards should be set out as a smart goal – it should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound.

A specific goal says what you will do, specifically, so rather than “lose weight”, you pick an actual amount of weight to lose, say 10 pounds, or 20 pounds.

A measurable goal can be measured. So it might be to lose 2 inches from your waist measurement.

Achievable means that it can actually be achieved. No point in setting a goal to lose 20 pounds weight in a week, if you have only 20 pounds you need to lose anyway. There may be little point in setting a goal to run 1 mile if you suffer from injured knees, for instance.

Realistic means that you will make sure you have the time and ability to dedicate to your goal. If you are already working a 40 hour week and spending another 20 hours on your commute, plus more time looking after a house and children, then finding 10 hours a week for additional study may not be a realistic possibility.

Timebound means setting a time limit on when your desired goal will be achieved. This could be 6 months or a specific date, eg for an event you want to attend.

A SMART goal for losing weight might be, “To lose 20 pounds and 2 inches from my waist in 3 months.”

A SMART goal for improving your writing or drawing might be, “To write 1000 words / draw one doodle, each day for the next 30 days, using the spare hour I have after dinner each evening.

A SMART goal for improving your fitness might be, “To be able to lift X pounds weight 10 times in one session by (date)”, or “To enter and complete a 5k run by the end of (date)”

Outcome Goals

Outcome goals are end results, such as losing 30 pounds in weight, getting a novel published, getting your painting hung in a public gallery, making the team or setting up your own business. These are more difficult goals because you don’t always have control over whether you will achieve them. You may improve your fitness greatly but might still not be picked for the team. You may want to start your business but can’t get a loan from the bank.

Process Goals

Process goals are what you do to try and achieve your end result. So, if you want to lose weight, you may set yourself a diet allowance of 1500 calories a day or decide to cut out all soda and candy or set out a walking schedule of one hour a day. If you want to start your own business, you may set yourself goals of creating stock to sell, finding premises, setting up a mailing list.

You are more likely to be able to control achievement of process goals more easily.

Fun With Process Goals

During 2019, one person I know decided they would achieve 20 goals in several different areas (20 for 2020). They liked writing, drawing, losing weight and getting fit and wanted to improve themselves in all those areas. So they chose their process goals to help with that. One of these goals was to write 20 articles and publish them. She chose several different sites on which to publish, some of which pay money if people read and interact with the articles. She ended up creating a new website on which to publish certain of her articles. Another goal was to walk a set number of miles in the year. This goal had to be abandoned because of an old injury, so she chose another one that still contributed to her fitness goal. If you want to achieve several goals, then choosing process goals that contribute to one or more outcome goals is a fun and motivating way to achieve this, even if the outcome goal is a worthy one instead of fun. While she did not achieve her target 20 in all of her 20 categories, she felt she was more productive than she had been the previous year. As they say for those taking up the “couch to 5K” program, which can be downloaded as a podcast (at least in the UK, it can) “no matter how slowly you run, you are still lapping the couch potato”.


To get and keep motivation, you need a clear method, setting out your action plan for achieving your goal. You will need one or more outcome goals (e.g. lose 20 pounds weight, make the team, complete a novel, pass an exam) and the process goals for getting there (choose a diet plan, cut out soda and candy, make a healthy lunch each day, attend training sessions, choose to take up the couch to 5k program, work out at the gym 3 times a week, write an outline, write character studies, write for 1 hour a day, etc). The process goals could be a step by step plan for achieving the outcome. For instance, if your outcome goal is to make more sales calls or to keep up to date with  your laundry, you may not be terribly excited by that, even though you know it is vital for your well-being or for your job. That means you may not always have the motivation to keep doing it after the first flush of enthusiasm has worn off. If you use process goals and keep a motivation chart, seeing the points mount up can provide good motivation to keep going. By the way, if you want to take up the “Couch To 5K challenge”, there is a great guide available on this.

Process goals for making sales calls could include:

  • look up the number to call and write it on a list;
  • write down the name of the person you are calling;
  • write a brief note on WHY you are calling
  • write a brief note on the benefits of what you are selling
  • write a reminder to ask for a purchase to be made.
  • dial the number

Write down each of these process goals on a motivation chart and make a check mark each time you complete one. Give yourself a bonus mark when you complete all the steps and make a sales call to someone.

Process goals for keeping your laundry up to date might be:

  • Put washable dirty clothes in laundry basket. Do not add dry clean only clothes;
  • When laundry basket is full, put a load in the washing machine (purists might mention here about sorting laundry into different piles, I just get it done);
  • Add the washing powder to the drawer;
  • Select the program;
  • once laundry is finished, hang it on the line or put it in the tumble dryer;
  • Once dry, remove laundry from tumble dryer or bring in from line;
  • Check laundry is dry, if not, return to dryer or hang on airer;
  • Fold laundry and put in airing cupboard.
  • Clean out lint and empty water from tumble dryer;

Write down each of these laundry process goals on a motivation chart and make a check mark each time you complete one. Give yourself a bonus mark when you complete all the steps to have a clean dry set of folded laundry.

For some goals, finding a buddy to workout with you can be very motivating, especially if it involves getting up early in the morning for a jog, perhaps. Buddies keep each other motivated and it’s always someone to talk to while you workout.

For Writers

There are various writing habit calendars available for writers. You can find a 2020 writers’ calendar here.

Time To Get Motivated

2020 is now. Set your goals or aims and work out your action plan to move towards your goals. Remember you have more control over process goals and you can create motivation charts or get motivation calendars to keep you on track.

The Best Habit Of All

The Best Habit Of All

What if I told you there was a habit you could develop that could

  • improve your health;
  • help you lose weight;
  • make it less likely that you have an accident, a heart attack or a stroke;
  • improve your productivity;
  • increase your concentration;
  • improve your mental health; and,
  • possibly reduce the risk of you suffering from depression?

Wouldn’t you want to know what it was? And no, it does not need separate habits to achieve all this. They are all by-products of the single, one and only same habit that you can develop for free. There’s no catch, no membership fee, no place you have to go.

So What Is This Wonder Habit?

If you haven’t guessed already, this amazing habit is “getting a good night’s sleep, all night, every night”.

“What?” I hear you shout, “You’re trying to tell me that getting enough sleep could help me lose weight, make a heart attack less likely and perhaps reduce my risk of depression? I don’t believe you. That’s too easy! How could getting enough sleep do all that? Don’t you know I NEED to stay up late to get my work finished?”

Did YOU know that most adults in the Western world are sleep deprived? And that sleep deprivation has been shown to contribute DIRECTLY to ill health, low productivity and accidents?

“So What?” I hear you say. Or perhaps you’re saying that you

  • need to relax in the evening after a hard day’s work;
  • want to go out and party;
  • need some “me” time;
  • it’s the only time you have to play your sport / practise your hobby?

Those Are Just Excuses!

All of those are just habits and we use them as excuses to stay up late. I know an 11 year-old who hates going to bed because she is frightened of missing something interesting. Even as adults, we allow our inner child to whine and keep us up late in case something new and interesting comes along! It’s often the same reason we keep our cell phones on, in case a friend wants us to come over and party! It is said that we are creatures of habit, more than we are creatures of change (A J Darkholme). Whether we have good habits or bad, whatever we say or do is often the product of those habits that have made a groove in our minds, through years of repetition. And our lives at this very moment, are probably a mirror image of our daily habits, whether those include being a gym bunny or a couch potato, a reader or TV watcher, a healthy eater or a junk food addict. No matter what habits we have, our lives will show them, one way or another, in our health, our skin, our posture, even in our clumsiness or the number of accidents we have at work or driving.

Habits Are Powerful Forces For Good Or Ill.

A habit is something we do regularly, maybe every day, maybe several times a day and it is something we do not need to think about, it’s automatic. Our habits become second nature, hard wired into us. If you exercise your muscles over and over, they get bigger and stronger and exactly the same is true for the connections in your brain – including those connected to habits. If you practise an action regularly, you build a stronger connection in your brain, making it easier to repeat that action until it becomes an automatic habit.

Our habits are so ingrained as part of our being, that changing poor habits for better ones may not be an easy task. But developing a good habit is something that will benefit us for the rest of our lives. What habits do we already have? Check out your own habits, developed from childhood and through adulthood, like brushing your teeth before bed, or checking your reflection before going out through the door. There will be many of them. Some may be annual, like the habits developed around the holidays you celebrate, others will be daily habits, like changing out of work clothes as soon as you get home. Some may even be bad or undesirable habits, ones you might like to stop, such as nail biting.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. (Will Durant, paraphrasing Aristotle). That means we can develop a habit of excellence by building up all the small habits that contribute to the larger pursuit of excellence.

Good Sleeping Habits

The recommended amount of sleep nightly for an adult is about 8 hours. It can vary between 7 and 9 hours and the quality of sleep is important too.

The amount and quality of sleep you get can depend on several things, including of course,

  • the time you go to bed and get up;
  • whether you wake during the night;
  • how long it takes to go to sleep and get back to sleep if you wake;
  • whether you have sleep apnea;
  • your partner’s behavior or snoring;
  • room temperature, amount of light and noise in your environment;
  • what you ate and drank especially just before bed,
  • medications,
  • what you did during the evening; and,
  • exercise.

How To Get Better Sleep

What you do during the day and the evening before bedtime will affect the amount and quality of your sleep. If you want to get better sleep, there are some fairly minor tweaks you can make that can help.

Get To Sleep

  • Decide on the time you want to go to bed and get up, for example, 11pm to 7am and stick to that, even at the weekend. This is a habit that can be learned and which will become automatic.
  • Turn off all electronic media 30 minutes before going to bed.
  • Develop a relaxing bedtime ritual for instance, try to stay in an area with less bright lighting and perhaps do something soothing or relaxing, even clearing away the dishes!


Click Here!


Sleep Well

  • Turn off your phone. Some phones can make noises when searching for texts and this can disturb your sleep, even if you don’t think you hear it. It also removes the temptation to “just check” your texts or play a game;
  • Get some exercise during the day. Vigorous exercise is best but not during the evening; that might stimulate you into staying awake;
  • Make sure your environment is comfortable (no light, comfy bed and pillows, not too hot) and free from noise, including a snoring sleep partner;
  • If you are not sleeping well, you may have a degree of sleep apnea. If you think your sleep is being disturbed by this, check with your medical adviser.

Stay Asleep

  • Avoid daytime naps. If you HAVE to have a sleep during the day, then make it a power nap (less than 20 minutes);
  • Avoid caffeine in the evening. This includes tea, coffee, cola and chocolate. Some people may need to avoid caffeine from even earlier in the day.
  • Avoid alcohol, heavy meals and a lot of liquid. Get your liquid intake in during the day.

Get Back To Sleep

  • If you need to wake during the night, say for a bathroom break or to deal with a restless child, try to develop a routine or ritual to get back to sleep, for instance a relaxation exercise or a continuing story you tell yourself.

It’s Not Working

  • If you are finding it hard to develop the habit of sleeping well, then try the following:
    • keep a sleep diary. Check all the items above and write down your evening routines, whether you slept during the day and what you ate and drank;
    • keep a journal of your sleeping habits. Create a tick sheet of what you need to do to sleep well and check off whether you did this;
    • For some people, white noise (like that produced by a vacuum cleaner) may be helpful;
    • Relaxation sounds like pouring rain, waves at the ocean or a cat purring can help and can be played, (even on an MP3 player if these would disturb your partner);
    • Relaxation exercises and spoken relaxation scripts can be downloaded from the internet, some free, some paid for.

Good Sleep Habits

A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.


Research shows that lack of sufficient, good quality sleep can have a negative effect on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function. For both adults and children, it can also cause weight gain and an increased risk of serious illnesses, like diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better and be healthier.

Why Can’t I Stick To A Diet?

Can’t Do It Any More!

Do you find that you get 2 weeks into a diet and suddenly, you no longer want to do it? Maybe it’s only 2 days or even 2 hours? Don’t laugh, I have been there. You decide you need to go on a diet, because everyone tells you that you are putting on weight, especially those close family members, like your mom or sis or really close friends. You agree, “yeah, I know” and start starving yourself or stuffing yourself with lettuce until a couple of hours later, you need a fill of chocolate ice cream or a bar of chocolate or a candy bar of some kind and you gulp it down secretly, guiltily hiding the wrappers behind the wardrobe until you can stuff them in the bin. Or maybe you take extra time at the shops and buy a giant size bar of candy to eat while window shopping, so you can drop the wrappers in the garbage bin at the fast food outlet?

It’s Because You Have Been TOLD You Have To Do It

Think about it. Was it the same when you had to do homework as a kid? You were just psyching yourself up to get it done, when someone, mum or dad, or nosy neighbor told you had “better get on with it” and whoosh …. instead of psyching yourself up to do it, you instantly rebelled and determined NOT to do it just because someone told you that you had to! It didn’t matter to them that you would have done it eventually. They felt you SHOULD do it NOW and of course, you decided that no one was going to tell you what to do and when. It’s a no-win situation.

You’re Older Now?

Of course, you’re older now and that doesn’t apply any more – or does it? Think about it. How recently did you decide NOT to do something because someone else tried to push you into it or into getting something done when you weren’t ready? Have you been called stubborn? I saw a t-shirt a few weeks ago. It was being worn by a worker at her retirement party in work. It said, “Don’t wanta, don’t havta, I’m retired – do it yourself!” So even seniors can feel that they are being pushed into doing things they don’t want to or that they are being pushed into doing things sooner than they would choose. This includes diets and eating “healthily”.

How To Overcome Others’ Pressure?

You have to want to do it for yourself and for your own reasons, NOT because someone told you that you needed to lose weight. What story or explanation would help you decide to stick to a healthy diet and lose weight? For my grandmother, it was mobility. In her 60s she had to start using two walking sticks to get around (there were no zimmer frames in those days). Once she started dieting, she was able to throw away the sticks and walk normally again, a big benefit for someone with no car. For me, it was the feeling of my heart bumping in bed at night because it felt as if it didn’t have enough space in  my chest and with one diabetic grandmother and one diabetic sister, that was enough to determine me to lose weight.

Don’t Tell Others

There are arguments on both sides here. Telling others can make you feel accountable and keep you on the straight and narrow when you don’t feel like it. For me, I prefer to make my own choices and not have others try to second guess me or try to push me faster than I might like.

Write It In Your Journal

You can keep yourself accountable by writing everything down in your journal. I keep  motivation charts with exercise o calories consumed and body measurements. It helps me keep track of progress.

You CAN Stick To Your Diet

When it’s YOUR choice about what and when you will do something. Try reading or finding other information on health problems caused by overweight or obesity, especially ones that particularly relate to YOU, perhaps on mobility, or diabetes or arthritis or stroke or heart problems. Once you find your own reason for doing something, it will be easier and won’t feel like you are being pushed into dong something you don’t want.

Overcome Denial

I’m In Denial – Now What?

This was told to me by someone I knew some years ago:

Agnes’s Story

“I know others have told me to lose weight. Even my doctor has told me to lose weight. I thought he said ‘wait, wait’ and I asked, ‘wait for what?’

‘No,’ he said, ‘The problem is W E I G H T! You need to lose weight, not wait for something to happen. Although if you do wait, it’s likely to be diabetes or a heart attack!’

So I have acknowledged that I need to lose weight, well … at least I heard my doctor say that and some of my friends too, but it’s too hard. I’ve tried before and failed. I was hungry all the time. I even went to exercise classes but nothing worked, I didn’t lose a single ounce. Now what?”

Agnes was in denial.

Overcoming Denial

The virtuous spiral can be exited at any point if you choose and denying there is a problem is a choice. You may not think it much of a choice but nevertheless, you have chosen to leave. You may argue that “nothing worked before, so it won’t work now”, or “it’s too hard”, but those, and other phrases are just your body whining because it doesn’t want to have to leave its comfort zone.

Comfort Zone – What Comfort Zone?

Your comfort zone is where you do what you have always done. It’s where very little changes, where you eat the kinds of things you have always eaten, where you refuse to learn anything new because “it won’t make any difference” and where you hover between the fire and the ice, so you’re not too hot and not too cold, even though you may not be truly comfortable there, at least you’re not frozen or burnt. It also includes searching out those “sweet treats” or “allowable sins”, so you can keep your sweet tooth in the comfort to which it has become accustomed.

But NOTHING CHANGES there, unless something is forced upon you. That something may be slowly progressive, like joint pain, creaking knees and increasing breathlessness. They may be brushed off as “Just getting old” but the something could also be a dramatic event like a heart attack or a stroke or a diagnosis of diabetes.

That is what you are choosing when you deny that change needs to be made. Your choice to do nothing does not guarantee that things will stay the same, though they may. Your choice to do nothing ALSO contains the possibility of something dramatic happening to you through your inaction.

What Next?

Agnes decided to take up a new exercise. She got herself a bike and used it for doing her shopping and travelling back and forth to her part time, local job. She lost her weight, by deciding to find something DIFFERENT to do that would give her more exercise and help her lose weight and of course by USING it. The best exercise or road bike in the world won’t help if it doesn’t get used.


The next stop on the virtuous spiral is to “Question”. You can use this to get yourself out of denial. Ask yourself WHY people (especially your doctor) might be telling you to lose weight. It’s definitely a topic few friends will bring up unless they are very close and concerned about your health. Most spouses won’t mention it either unless they are deliberately trying to upset you or get at you. Ask yourself whether your friends or partner might be deliberately trying to make you unhappy or whether they have your true interests at heart. If you think they are trying to help, then ask WHY they want you to lose weight.

Why Do I Need To Lose Weight?

Only you can answer this. Some of your answers might be:

  • I don’t have the energy to do my daily jobs, work or housework
  • I am finding it difficult to climb stairs or get breathless if I move far
  • My knees or hips or both hurt because of the extra weight being carried
  • My clothes don’t fit any more and I find it hard to get new ones that fit me
  • My doctor has told me I have high blood pressure, or I am prediabetic
  • My doctor or health adviser has said I need to lose weight
  • I can’t bend down or reach to do up my clothes at the back
  • A close relative has diabetes or has suffered a major illness because of overweight
  • I don’t like to have my photograph taken and I wince when I see ones taken without me knowing

So Now What?

If you have provided yourself with some questions, now you need to get the information to answer these, so you have taken yourself on round the virtuous spiral to the next step – get information.

Motivation For Weight Loss Motivation To Lose Weight?

Do you want to lose weight? Or have your friends, your partner or your doctor told you that you could do with dropping a few pounds? What is your reaction? Do you pat your muffin tops or your belly and agree, then forget about it? Do you starve yourself for a couple of hours, or perhaps a couple of days, then gorge yourself, because you’re starving? Maybe you get a diet cookbook and find the meals are nothing like what you’re used to and give up in despair?

How To Develop Motivation

Developing motivation is a virtuous spiral (you know, the opposite of that “downward spiral” we all get into sometimes when we have dropped off the bandwagon and decide there’s no point in continuing because it’s just too hard).

It’s a spiral because you move in a circle to take your first baby step and then continue round that circle but at a higher level. Each turn of the circle is a small step, as small as you want, but it’s in the right direction.

First ACKNOWLEDGE The Problem

Did you pat your belly or muffin tops (or some other overweight or jiggly bit) or look in the mirror and agree with the speaker, or say to yourself, “I need to lose some weight”? What happened then? Did you forget about it? Maybe you sighed and said, “I’ve tried but it’s no use”, or perhaps you starved for a couple of hours, then reached for the ice cream tub? Maybe you said, “Everyone puts on a bit of weight as they get older”, or perhaps “A bit of extra weight won’t hurt”? This is called DENIAL. If you deny you have a problem, or even agree that you have a problem but do not intend doing anything about it, then you are denying there is any problem at all. At this point, you have removed yourself from the virtuous spiral and won’t be able to continue on around it.

What Does “Acknowledge” Mean?

In this case, it doesn’t just mean “Agree”. It is possible to verbally agree with your reflection or with someone else that you could do with losing a few pounds (or more) but mentally not accept the position. If at that point you forget all about it or do not recognize the situation as being serious then you are either in denial (I hear what you said, I don’t accept it but I am not going to argue) or you have recognized the problem and chosen not to do something about it (I admit that there is problem but I won’t tackle it). That is of course, your choice. If you acknowledge there is a problem but having thought about it, decided to do nothing, then you CHOSE that course of action. I have done that in the past too.



Acknowledge = Accept = Agree = Admit

Provided you acknowledge that you have a problem, either one you have recognized yourself or one that someone else has pointed out, then the next small step is to QUESTION.


You may find it difficult to agree with your eyes or with your friend, even though you have acknowledged that there MAY be a problem. With weight loss, as with so many other changes we feel we need to make (or others WANT us to make) there can be a reluctance to actually engage with the problem. We feel there is a barrier of some kind maybe protecting us from making changes. This can be so. Very often, our body or our mind does not want to accept that there is a problem because if we truly accept there is a problem, then that means we have to change. Change can be scary even if it is to protect our health because it means moving out of our comfort zone. Sometimes the only thing scarier than accepting we need to change is getting a life or health fright, like having a heart attack, a stroke or diabetes. Getting an event like that can provoke life changes because the event was so frightening that no change is as bad as that event was, but without a scare like that, our body or our mind may put up a barrier that we cannot see and that we find it hard to cross or push through, that stops us making changes and keeps us in that comfort zone, where nothing changes, so nothing gets done!

What Type Of Questions?

The sorts of questions you could ask yourself (and write down your answers, so you can look back on them) could be: Do I really need to lose weight? How do I know? Why did they say that? Who mentioned it? My doctor, a friend or relative, myself? Did I see a photograph of myself that horrified me?

Is there a particular reason I have put on weight recently? What? Have I always been heavy? Am I under stress at the minute? Is something happening in my life that means I am turning to food for comfort? Am I eating because I am bored? Is my mouth bored and just wants something to chew? Am I on medication that makes me get bigger?

What effect will excess weight have on my  health? Have I been told I am in danger of a heart attack, a stroke, going blind, getting diabetes? Are there any other problems I have been told I might get because of excess weight?

Am I having any problems with my health at present? Am I finding it hard or harder to move? Are my joints suffering from carrying extra weight? Am I puffing or panting when exercising, when I didn’t used to? Are my clothes getting too tight? Do I have to wriggle on the bed to pull up those trousers I used to fit into easily?

What am I actually eating? Junk food, too much sugar or sweet stuff?

There is a free downloadable workbook available if you want something in which to write down your answers to keep.


Now you have asked yourself questions and maybe provided some answers or thoughts on these, you need to go and find the INFORMATION you need. What you NEED will depend on your answers to the QUESTIONS in step 2. For instance, if you are not sure whether you need to lose weight, check out your BMI and see what the official guidelines are. You need to be cautious with this if you are a bodybuilder or athlete because you may appear to be overweight using the BMI guidelines when you are not. But for every other adult, the BMI is a good guide to whether you need to lose weight (or even gain it!).

If you don’t know what the health effects of excess weight are, then check these out on line. Google is your friend here. For instance, there is a video from WebMD on the effects of extra weight or there are a number of informational pages from NIH. Basically, excess weight can lead to increased blood pressure (hypertension) diabetes, which can lead to possible blindness, amputation of limbs and many other problems.

If you are not sure whether your diet includes a lot of junk food, then you could check this page on WebMD for information.

Fourth – PLAN

Now that you have acknowledged that you have a problem, questioned yourself about this and gained information that will help you decide what you need to do, it’s time to PLAN WHAT to do. You may find that the information you gathered has frightened you or at least made you very much aware that you may have a problem that needs dealing with NOW rather than later. This can be helpful in planning what to do, as long as you plan a sensible and healthy way of dealing with it, rather than jumping immediately into an unsustainable crash starvation diet, which you just as quickly crash out of!

What Sort Of Plans?

If the information gathered shows that you are carrying excess weight and you decide you want to get rid of it, then you need to plan HOW to do this. You may have been on diets previously and found them difficult to stick to. You may have concerns about feeling hungry or tired. You may not know what sort of diet would suit you and your lifestyle or you may have health problems that mean you need to be careful when changing your diet. These are all the sorts of areas you need to cover in your QUESTIONS and INFORMATION sections and now PLAN to cover as many of these as possible. Your plan may include getting more information, perhaps on a particular diet, or on the kinds of food that would suit you best. Your plan might include speaking to your medical adviser, especially if you have other health concerns. It might include getting started on a particular diet and getting in any special items you need for it. It could be planning to buy a set of food scales or a set of bathroom scales or even a diet cook book for your preferred diet.

But what ever plans you make, the next step is to take ACTION

Fifth – ACTION

There is no point getting a lot of information and planning down to the last detail if you do not TAKE ACTION.

What sort of action? It can be as small a step as you feel comfortable with. You might actually purchase those bathroom scales or food scales. You might start eating more healthily, cutting out soda, candy and cookies, or taking a large glass of hot water and lemon first thing in the morning. You might go to your library and borrow books on nutrition or a particular diet plan or you might join a slimming group. Whatever you have planned to do, TAKE THAT ACTION.

What Then?


Now it’s back to “Rinse and Repeat. Remember, this is a virtuous spiral and you have come full circle, back to the top and “ACKNOWLEDGE”, so you need to keep going round it, improving as you move through each level. What do you acknowledge this time? You may want to consider whether you bought your books or scales or diet plan or joined a slimming group. or started on your diet. What did you DO with what you learnt and planned? How did your ACTION pan out? Then move on again to QUESTION: did you find out anything particularly worrying? Do you need to take medical advice? Do you need more information? Do you need to try something different? Get more INFORMATION and PLAN your next step, then again, TAKE ACTION.

Follow these steps round this spiral, improve your information, give yourself feedback, plan your campaign and take action on the next step, motivating yourself to lose weight.


Why Do I Need A Bullet Journal?

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journalIn a world that is becoming increasingly digital and going really fast, it is becoming ever harder to keep track of your life.

“WHAT?” I hear you say! “I have a diary and a calendar on my phone, together with a time management system, a list of my favourite groceries on the local supermarket site, a reminder set up for things like feeding the dog and picking up the laundry and an emergency system set up for child care / elder care / pet care / watering the garden if I can’t be there. I also have a set of sticky notes on my computer screen to keep track of those important one off items. What more do I need?”

But is all of that together? Is it in one place, where you can easily access it and see EVERYTHING in one place?

Maybe digital isn’t always the best, unless you have something very complex (and expensive) created especially for you and even then it might not suit you or be flexible enough to cope with changes.

The Bullet Journal is described as a type of analog system: that is, it is NOT digital. It’s a journal that YOU design for YOU. It can track your past, organize your present and then plan well for your personal future. The system allows you to keep records on everything that is important to you in your life. You can use your journal for the purpose of an idea catcher, task manager, sketchbook journal and so much more. You can be as scientific or artistic, logical, minimalist, or whimsical doodler as you wish, with different styles for different things at different times.

Take a look at a bullet journal being created.

What You Will Need To Get Started On Your Own Bullet Journal

Your Mindset

The first aspect you will need to consider is why you are motivated to start a Bullet Journal. The majority of those who use a Bullet Journal do so because the system is flexible and allows them to operate the journal the way they like to work and because they see a system that will help them achieve what they most want.

It is for this reason that you should think about how you would like this system to work in your life before you begin. You also need to think about how you will access your journal. I keep mine at home on my desk but I am there a lot of the time, so I use a large A4 size journal. You may be out and about a lot, at work, taking photographs, travelling, or just out chatting, in which case you may prefer something smaller, that you can pop in a pocket or a bag. It needs to be something that will work for YOU and YOUR lifestyle, needs and wants. Below are some tips to get you started.


To be honest, just about any pen or notebook will suffice. My preference is for plain paper but if you would like to start with a journal that is already set-up with an Index and the page numbers, a good choice would be the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook, in whichever size suits you best. This notebook features an archival quality that allows you to keep what you have entered into the notebook safe and the writing doesn’t usually show through onto the other side (but you can use a page near the back to check all your pens, to see). The pages have a grid of dots on them, so you can draw straight lines, both horizontally and vertically if that is important to you but there is also plenty of space without feeling constrained by ready-printed lines.

The only other tool you need is a pen (or even a pencil). Many people like to use gel pens or colored pencils, some even use water color paints! But to start out, you only need a pen. You may also like to get some washi tape which is an attractive self adhesive product that you can use to decorate your pages or stick things in with.

How to Start

One good way to view a Bullet Journal is to think of it as a framework that you can move around and change to suit you, to help you organize your present and plan for your future, as well as motivate you to add or remove habits you want to change and helping you create a vision of things you want to do. For instance, you might want to lose weight, get more exercise, plan a holiday, or a bathroom remodel, learn a language, plan for a mountain climbing expedition, design a new gizmo or improve your intuition. The framework uses modules and these modules are the methods that help you organize the different areas of your life, as well as keep your ideas for your next novel, scientific project, personal achievements or great painting. One of the advantages to a Bullet Journal will be that you can mix and match modules that will suit your needs; and design or get ideas for keeping up your motivation. The four main modules suggested for beginners include your Index, Your Future Log, Your Monthly Log and Your Daily Log.

The Index

Dedicate the first 3 to 4 pages of your journal to your Index. As you begin to use the journal add topics into your Collections with the page number in your Index. In this way you can easily find and reference any topic.

The Future Log

This particular Collection can be used to store your items that are scheduled for a year or months in advance, or perhaps things you would like to tackle one day. The Future Log can be set up by graphing pages according to the number of months you need. For example 2 equally-spaced lines that run in a horizontal line across two facing pages can be used to create a 6 month calendar.

The Monthly Log

This log assists you in organizing one month at a time. To set up this log use two facing pages. The left hand side page will be called the Calendar page while the Right will be your Task page. Use the left hand side to number all the days in the month and the right hand side to schedule your tasks and events for those days.

The Daily Log

This log is for day-to-day use. The top of a page can feature a date. Throughout the day log Tasks, Events or Notes as they arise. Try not to set up Daily Logs too far into the future, but rather create them as the day progresses.

This gives you a start on creating your own bullet journal. I hope you enjoy setting it up and using it.

5 Ways To Free Yourself From Food Addiction


Food Addiction

Addiction to certain substances has long been recognized but now food addiction, including sugar addiction, is being seen as a serious problem too. It is thought that the reward centers of the brain are activated when we eat something we perceive as a reward or a comfort in the same way an addictive drug activates that part of the brain.

The kinds of foods we are usually addicted to are high fat and high sugar foods which are bad news for weight and health.


Signs that you are addicted to food:

  • Being overweight
  • Eating in secret or covering up what you eat
  • Seeing foods as good or bad
  • Feeling guilt or shame over your eating habits
  • Focusing on food all the time
  • Feeling as though you can’t control your eating


If you recognize two or more of these behaviors in yourself you are likely addicted to food!

So how can we treat this addiction?

  1. Traditional recovery programs for alcohol and substance abuse recovery

These advocate completely giving up the addictive substance. Everything in moderation does not work for this kind of problem! Truthfully figure out which foods are ‘trigger’ foods for you, then you need to remove them completely. This means not buying them, not even having them in the house – not even for anyone else, and also avoiding places you would traditionally consume the foods (like fast food restaurants).

  1. Learn how to eat ‘mindfully’.

This means focusing on what you are eating and how it makes you feel. That might mean not eating in front of the TV, at a desk while working, or while wandering around town. Take time to sit down and enjoy your food.

  1. Replace your trigger foods with alternatives that you enjoy.

blueberriesraspberryToo often we are too strict. If you try to replace your chocolate bar with a bowl of lettuce you will likely fail. But if you love strawberries or dried apricots or exotic fruits like mango these will still satisfy you. Make small changes first. Take time to learn about healthy eating – not dieting but consuming foods for optimal health. You could follow bloggers or subscribe to a magazine. The more you know, the easier it is to make those changes.

  1. Learn coping strategies.almonds

This could include learning to go for a walk when you feel stressed or anxious, or phoning a friend to talk about your bad day instead of reaching for the chocolate. Reading a book, going to an exercise class, taking up meditation – find what works for you.


  1. Seek professional help.

It may turn out that your addiction is so deeply ingrained that you need more help. Doctors can refer you to certain therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy, or you could get a book out of the library. Not everyone can afford private therapy but it is a possibility for some. And some people try hypnosis. You can find a hypnotist near you or try some of the programs you can find on line.