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Inspiration Or Desperation

Katherine Mansfield once said “Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only for wallowing in.” When talking about health and fitness, this quote is especially true.

We may not be happy with the way we look, and many of us may not even be sure how we got this way! Where did this extra 40 lbs. come from? At what point did I start to sag? Didn’t I have muscle there once? Who shrunk all my clothes?

All of us have a choice. We can choose to live in regret, never taking action because we feel too sorry for ourselves. On the other hand, we also have the choice to forget about our health and fitness past (or lack of it) and focus on the future.

Regret is a tremendous waste of energy. I have yet to meet anyone who can go back in time and change the past, so what’s the point of churning it over in our mind again and again? Worrying and regretting the past only takes our focus off the one thing we can change: the future!

Once we’re over our regret and ready to focus on the NOW and the FUTURE, the question becomes “Are we willing to finally make a change?”

After all, if we don’t make a change in our health and fitness lifestyle we’re just going to get the same old results. In other words, “If you do what you did you’ll get what you got.”

So, are you ready to change?

Dr. Alan Zimmerman (, in a recent publication, said that there are two primary reasons why people will change a behavior:
1) They hurt So Much That They’re Forced To Change (Desperation).
2) People change when they realize they can change (Inspiration).

Perhaps you hurt so much that you’re willing to make some changes and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Maybe it was a rude comment from someone on the street, or perhaps your favorite clothes don’t fit anymore. Maybe your doctor said some things to you about your health and scared you. When we’re out of shape and unhappy with the way we look and feel, there can be a lot of hurt!

But listen to this, and listen carefully…..the hurt is okay if we use it to make positive changes! The hurt is even good if it prompts us to make the changes we need to make! Remember, we’re not going to wallow in regret anymore! We’re going to accept that hurt and use it to our advantage by making a positive change!

The other reason people change is inspiration. Now doesn’t that automatically sound like more fun? When we fully realize and understand that we do have the power to change ourselves, it’s a very motivating feeling! We fill up with power and energy, and success is suddenly within our reach!

Consider the way Susan Crandell, former editor of ‘More’ magazine puts it. She says, “We all should do something scary at least once a year, because when you pop out the other side, intact and invigorated, the afterglow can carry you through the other parts of your life.” (Source:

So how do you capture the inspiration to change? Tell yourself ‘I CAN’ whenever the old doubt and regret starts to surface. Look at yourself in the mirror – right in the eyes! – and say out loud I CAN!

Do you know why you should do that? Because it’s true! You can make the change and start living a healthier lifestyle! You can start exercising regularly! You can start cutting back on the fatty and high-calorie foods! You can change the way you look and feel!

Sure, you’ll have some setbacks along the way…..but no regrets, remember? Forget about the past and focus on the future!

Obviously, inspiration is much better change trigger than desperation. But either reason to change is better than no change at all.

Forget about the past.
Focus on the future.

Tracie Johanson is the founder of Pick Up The Pace, a 30-minute exercise studio for women, focusing on fitness, health and nutrition for maximum weight loss. Please visit for more information.