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Six Steps That Can Change Your Life

Stage 4: Action

Now it's time to "just do it."

Strategy: Put Your Plan in Motion

  • Make your environment conducive to exercise. Leave notes reminding yourself to work out, for instance, and have your clothes ready ahead of time.
  • Reward yourself for sticking to your plan.
  • Think long-term. You're forming a lifelong habit here. No need to fret about a missed day; you have the next 50 years to make it up.

Stage 5: Maintenance

You've been exercising regularly for six months, and you've realized you can do it.

Strategy: Work Out the Kinks

  • Create a mental image of yourself exercising and think of it often. This "exercise identity" will help the habit stick.
  • Learn from your mistakes, and figure out how to avoid them next time.
  • Watch for the benefits to happen -- less huffing and puffing, more energy -- and relish them.

Stage 6: Termination

You've done it! You've terminated your sedentary habits and replaced them with healthy ones. It's the end of the inactive you.

Strategy: Pat yourself on the back!

Christie Aschwanden is a freelance science writer in Nederland, Colo. Her work has appeared in Health, Modern Drug Discovery, and other publications.

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