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It is believed that the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" originated in Wales in the 19th century. Sadly eating apples doesn't guarantee good health but they do have nutritional value and potential health benefits.

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Staying Motivated
How to stay motivated

We all are setting goals for ourselves like getting fit, making it into a team or learning a new skill, but, like lots of people, we may start out doing great, but then lost some of that drive and had trouble getting motivated again. The reality is that refocusing, changing, or making a new start on something, no matter how small, is a big deal. So how do you stay motivated with your goal? It comes down to planning, realistic expectations, and a great attitude.

  1. Start by writing down the major goal. The goal is the ultimate thing you'd like to see happen. For example, "I want to lose 10kg," or "I want to get fit ".  Obviously, some goals take longer and require more work than other goals). Remember that the bigger the goal, the more work it takes to get there!

  2. Make it specific. It's easier to plan for and master a specific goal than a vague one. Let's say your goal is to get fit. That's pretty vague. Make it specific!   As questions such as: Why do you want to do this, by when, how will you do this? This helps you to reach your goal.

  3. Make it realistic. People often abandon their goals because their expectations are unreasonable. Maybe they expect to get a “six-pack” abs in weeks rather than months.  Let's say you want to run a marathon. If you try to run the entire distance of 42 kilometers tomorrow without any training, you're unlikely to succeed. It takes the average person 4 months of training to run that far! But the bigger risk is that you'll get so disappointed that you'll give up your marathon dreams — and running — altogether.  Part of staying motivated is being realistic about what you can achieve within the timeframe you've planned.

  4. Write it down. Put your specific goal in writing. Then write it down again and again! Research shows that writing down a goal is part of the mental process of committing to it. Write your goal down every day to keep you focused and remind you how much you want it.

  5. Break it down. Making any change takes self-discipline. One way to make this easier is to break a big goal into small steps. For example, let's say you want to run a marathon. If it's March and the marathon is in October, that's a realistic timeframe to prepare. Start by planning to run 2 kilometers and work up gradually to the distance you need.  Then set specific daily tasks, like eating five servings of fruit and veggies and running a certain amount per week. Put these on a calendar or planner so you can check them off. Ask a coach to help you set mini-goals for additional and for tasks to improve your performance, such as exercises to build strength and stamina so you'll stay motivated to run farther.  Reaching frequent, smaller goals is something to celebrate. It gives you the confidence, courage, and motivation to keep running — or doing whatever it is you're aiming to do. So reward yourself!

  6. Check in with your goal daily.  It helps to write down your small goals in the same way you wrote down your big goal. That way you can track what you need to do, check off tasks as you complete them, and enjoy knowing that you're moving toward your big goal. Reward yourself with something you promised yourself when you set your goal. But remember – never use food or drinks as a reward!  Start thinking ahead to accomplishing the rest of the goal.  If you're feeling weak on willpower you can look at your list to help you refocus!

  7. Recommit to your goal if you slip up. If you slip up, don't give up. Forgive yourself and make a plan for getting back on track.  Most people slip up when trying to make a change — it's a natural part of the process.  View slip-ups as lessons and reminders of why you're trying to make a change. When you mess up, it's not a fault — it's an opportunity to learn something new about yourself.

  8. Keep the right attitude. Visualize yourself achieving your goal: self-visualization helps you keep what you're trying to accomplish in mind. It helps you believe it's possible. You can also call up your mental picture when willpower and motivation are low.

  9. Share with a friend. Another boost is having supportive people around you. Find a running buddy or someone else with a similar goal so you can support each other. Having a goal buddy can make all the difference in times when you don't feel motivated — like getting up for that early-morning run.

  10. Don't Give Up!   Ending an unhealthy behaviour or creating a new, exciting one is all about taking responsibility. Finding the motivation to do it isn't necessarily easy, but it is always possible. Stay motivated by writing down goals, sticking to the schedule and reminding yourself of what led you to set your goal in the first place.
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