Be a Change-Maker By Being in Charge… of Yourself!

Energy Express

EnergyExpress 0323

October 2023 Issue
Energy Express by Marilynn Preston

Healthy lifestyles don't just happen, the way dust balls do. It's up to you to carpe diem, to let go of old habits so you can dance with new ones—two steps forward, one step back—until the new ones become a juicy and joyful part of your life.

It all begins and ends with you, your readiness, your determination, your support system, your willingness to do something as silly sounding as keeping a journal.

Let me share a user-friendly, three step plan for you to consider when it comes to making a positive change in your own life:


Keep it simple. Pick one goal, something that will spark joy and satisfaction when you reach it. Be specific. Don't just say something like, "I want to get in shape." That's not a goal; it's a prayer. Goals that motivate are SMART goals: specific; measurable; achievable; relevant; and time-bound.

Maybe you want to comfortably walk a 10-mile trail with a 20-pound backpack. Or get certified in scuba diving. Or—I'm cheering for this one because it saves so much money and weight gain—learn to cook simple, tasty meals using real food.

(Your goal is 100 percent your choice; I'm just tossing stuff out here.)

Just remember this No. 1 rule from the Making Change playbook: You can't change because someone else wants you to. You can't stop smoking, start jumping rope, learn to meditate, or "just say no" to chocolate chip cookies because your spouse, your children, or your doctor wants you to. It's a decision you must make for yourself—honestly, fearlessly and authentically

And if you're not really ready to give up cigars, limit sugar and find ways to be physically active 30 minutes a day: Don't beat yourself up. Accept yourself as you are, because it's from that place of kindness and self-confidence that change ultimately can happen.

Setting too high a goal will be counterproductive. Better to be successful at a small, doable goal than fail at something impossible. Translation: Better to train for a 5K and triumph than plan for a marathon and suffer.

Once you decide on your one goal, write it down.


Stop that groaning. Keeping track of your journey by writing stuff down is a time-honored way to help you succeed at making change. We forget. We lose focus. We need reminders of how far we've come.

So write your goal in your journal, and on the next page, write "Week One," with the dates and days included.

Detail the three actions you'll take in the next week to move toward your goal.

Be specific. Write out your action steps.

Here's an example from someone who wants to get back in shape: "I will take a 6 p.m. yoga class at Yoga Source three times a week, on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and strength train with weights at home for 30 minutes on Wednesday mornings from 7:30 to 8 a.m."

You can check back with your action steps weekly or daily, but daily is best.


At the end of every week, review how well you did moving yourself closer to your goal. Be kind. OK, maybe you said you'd do three workouts and you only did two. Or you promised to eat no sweets whatsoever and you found yourself tearing into a forgotten Snickers bar in the bottom of your gym bag. No shame, no blame.

Just take it as it is, focusing not on failures but on what went well. Stay strong and confident. You can do this!



“Change is never painful. Only the resistance to change is painful.”
— Buddha —

Marilynn Preston is the author of Energy Express, America's longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her book All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being is available on Amazon and elsewhere. For more on personal well-being, visit 
© 2023 Energy Express, Ltd.

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