09/03/2013 04:47 pm ET Updated Nov 03, 2013

Getting Back on Track After a Break

"If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it, even if I did not have the ability in the beginning." -- Mahatma Gandhi

The hardest part of going to the gym is pulling into the parking lot. Going to the gym is a sentence fragment people like to toss around. "I'm going to the gym right now" sounds so much better than "I'm going to get my dog's nails clipped," and appreciably better than "I'm going to the post office." Going to the gym is easy to say. Getting to the gym is harder. But once you park your car, grab your gym bag and lock up, your mind will catch up with your sneakers and stop making excuses or trying to avoid the workout.

It's natural to feel some resistance, but if you can chose to do it anyway, then you will be in the driver's seat of your life. Your body is the one thing that is almost always within your control. By focusing on getting the car parked at the gym, you take charge of a measurable element of your physical nature and therefore are less dependent on other things in life mostly outside your control.

I gave up coffee a month ago and have been substituting it with green tea, but still, when I walk into a Starbucks, I always really, really want the biggest cappuccino on the menu. Lifestyle coaches call this emotional discomfort. But I just choose to feel this edginess and carry on anyway. I order the green tea, sigh and the moment passes.

I expect this discomfort to ease over time as well, just like the routine of gym-going can become less of a debate the more you get there. You may still be aware of emotional resistance, but you keep walking, you sigh, you get in the car and get to the parking lot.

The key point to remember is that you won't see improvement if you wait for the discomfort to disappear before you act. Action itself is what dissipates the resistance.

Start viewing your exercise regime as a part of your non-debatable routine, like combing your hair. The no-brainer stuff like brushing your teeth does not have to be rethought or reconsidered every time it's time to do it. You just need to get the toothbrush and take action -- no thought required.

Exercise gives you the blueprint for improving your inner game. Improving your inner game trickles outward and improves how you walk in the world. This is especially critical if your life is not quite going according to the blueprint. Once your body -- which is the one concrete feedback tool that you walk this earth in -- feels better, your life will be better, even though at first it may be on an imperceptible level.

It's never too late to start. A scientist once said, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Why not start by reinventing yourself? The path to reinvention is one footstep in front of the other.

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