I'm Deborah, survivor of everything from multiple cancer battles to major business setbacks. Join my search for ways to move the mountains, big & small, that block your path to success.

Secret to achieving fitness goals

Young Man Exercising on an Exercise Machine


Own any exercise equipment? If it could talk, what do you imagine it might say?

Three months? What if someone left you in the box for three months? It’s dark in here. The packing peanuts itch.

Dude, I found a great clothing rack on e-bay. Bookmarked it for ya. Check it out.

Really? You’re gonna watch the entire Godfather trilogy while I just sit here? Don’t you think that’s a little … selfish?

You may have had the best intentions when purchasing your Bowflex, treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical trainer, but somehow you failed to form the lasting bond needed to get your money’s worth? What went wrong?

Oh ye of little faith …

Really, that’s the answer: little faith. A Brown University study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that sedentary people who buy home exercise equipment are 73 percent more likely to start working out than those who don’t have equipment … and 12 percent more likely to wind up back on their sofas than their no-equipment counterparts.

The problem seems to be that those who buy the equipment have an unrealistic view of just what that equipment can accomplish. More important than having great tools, the researchers found, is having self-efficacy—the belief that you can achieve your goals. So before investing in more equipment, try investing a little time in your psyche. Ask these questions:

• Am I worth the effort? Your body is your most valuable tangible asset. It houses your spirit, your dreams, your plans, and will help you fulfill—or be the undoing—of every dream you have in life. Are you willing to commit your resources to protecting and preserving your most valuable tangible asset? If so, it doesn’t matter whether you spend money on exercise equipment or just take the time to walk around your neighborhood—you will accomplish your goals. But if you’re not committed to your own well-being, buying exercise equipment won’t magically spark your motivation.

• Am I ready to make the effort? Infomercials for exercise equipment seem to follow the same theme. People are flabby in their before photos, ripped in their after photos, and claim going from one extreme to the other was the easiest, happiest, most carefree time of their lives. To look at the ads, you’d imagine they never broke a sweat. It’s almost as if the mere act of purchasing the machine made them drop 50 pounds by the time it was uncrated. Too bad it doesn’t really work that way. As the quickly passing type at the bottom of the screen explains, the average success story eats a healthy diet, takes workouts seriously, and patiently waits for results. Are you prepared to do the work, no matter how difficult it is?

• Do I believe my efforts can succeed? People have transformed their lives on expensive equipment and with no equipment at all. What all success stories have in common is the genuine belief they can change. Anyone counting on a fad diet or fancy equipment to supply the motivation or do the work will be disappointed. Magic beans and pixie dust are the stuff of fairy tales. To change your life requires positive attitude coupled with sincere effort. If either of those elements is missing, you might as well save your time and money.


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