What is it about personal transformation that piques everyone’s interest? I’m just as curious as anyone else – is it checking out the before/after photos, or about watching the evolution as they progress? Hopefully it’s something that will inspire and motivate you to undertake a similar challenge!
Whether it’s an important birthday, the start of a new year, or a change in relationship status (Why do break-ups have this tendency to prompt self-reflection?), the desire and ability to improve yourself is an ambitious undertaking. For me, it was when I turned 31 years old, after finishing my general surgery residency: I had decided that it was time to take care of my health by devoting myself to getting into better shape. I skipped my afternoon hot fudge sundaes at McDonalds, and instead joined a gym. I forced myself to wake up at 5am every weekday morning to run three miles on the treadmill prior to going in to work, followed by afternoons working out on the machines, with guidance from the gym staff.
Making the resolution to transform yourself by setting goals like weight loss is the easy part; it’s the commitment that takes effort and determination. As a physician, I can assure you that the benefits are definitely worth it: improving your blood pressure, reducing your risk of developing diabetes, and increased energy. What’s even more rewarding is the change you’ll notice in your self-confidence. Your clothes fit better, and you have more options available on how you dress yourself. You smile more often, and you walk more comfortably in your own skin. And people notice!
What about yourself would you change? Is this the year for you to lose weight? Eat healthier? Focus on fitness? Quit smoking? Here are a few tips that will help you achieve your goals:
- Set realistic goals to help you meet your expectations. Have mental targets that will allow you to incrementally get closer and closer to your defined endpoint. Nobody expects you to win a marathon when you first start running!
- Make sure that your goals are sustainable. It’s an incredible achievement to meet your target; now you just have to maintain your commitment to your personal transformation during the next phase.
- Having outside support from family and friends can help reinforce your determination during moments of weakness and validate your efforts. Plus, you’ll receive positive feedback and affirmation, which is always welcome. However, keep in mind that the strongest motivating force toward change has to come from within yourself!
- Ask for help, if you need it! There are many options for guidance and support, whether you find it online on instructional websites, group fitness activities like boot camps or spin classes, and professionals such personal trainers and nutritionists (not to mention your plastic surgeon, haha!) that are readily available to offer assistance!
- Don’t be afraid to fail! You can always try again if you are initially unsuccessful in achieving your transformation. Persistence is the key, and you need to be committed to overcoming whatever obstacles may be in your way.
Everybody has their own story about transformation, and being optimistic and appreciative of your personal efforts can help others find their own confidence. I once asked a personal trainer what it would take for me to have his build, and he suggested a body transplant! His comment actually made me laugh, as he reminded me that goals are unique and personal, and must be individualized. When I started running, I never thought I would be able to complete a marathon…however, I was able to check it off my bucket list, eventually!