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The 12 slam dunks of spring

You let things go a bit during this awful winter. Now’s the time to get back on track.


SO, what, you didn't lose those 20 pounds, you made it to the gym only twice this month and you're still struggling with the portions. Does that sound familiar? If so, ditch the negativity and focus on what you did accomplish and vow to slam dunk those resolutions this spring. Don't sweat it, nearly everyone threw in the towel on those New Year's resolutions this year.

The good news: Spring is here, and with spring comes renewal. Spring offers us yet another chance to slam dunk it, baby.

So, without regret, let's move on to new opportunities to grow and improve our lives.

You can do it. Yes, you can, just like that little engine. Yeah, you can build the body and the life you always wanted. Just plant the seeds of success in your mind, germinate your desires and watch your dreams blossom into success.

But, first things first - there's no more excuses. Spring into fitness with these 12 steps:

1. Revolt Against Mediocrity - Most people fail to realize their health and fitness goals for the same reason they fail in other areas in their life - mediocrity. Don't settle for it. Take charge of your life with firm resolve. Set lofty, yet attainable, health and fitness goals, and then raise the bar progressively as you master each task. For example, if you've been walking for 30 minutes then progress to 45 minutes, or increase the intensity by walking faster or jogging.

2. Hip Hip Hooray! - Celebrate your wins and forget about regrets. Take pleasure in all the victories you've won, big and small. Progress in fitness and health is like a dance: you take two steps forward and one step back. Give yourself a star and a round of applause for each goal you reach. Don't get derailed if you don't lose two pounds every week or you miss a workout. Just get back on the horse. Progress happens in small increments and progress is the reward to those committed to the process. Make progress the goal - not perfection.

3. Embraceable You - This year get to know somebody truly extraordinary: You! Get clear on who, what and where you are, discover your values and live your dreams.

4. Hop, Skip, Jump - Use it or lose it. The body is designed for movement. A sedentary lifestyle is the enemy. The only way to hurt your body (and mind, too) is not to use it. All your muscles, bones, tendons, etc., need daily exercise.

5. Don't Major in the Minors - Many people spend far too much energy fighting over inconsequential things. Negative emotions like anger, resentment, jealousy, depression and physical/psychological stress can cause cortisol levels to soar. Cortisol can stimulate weight gain and increase belly fat. Increased belly fat is linked to all preventable diseases, like heart disease, some cancer, diabetes and stroke.

6. Laugh More - There's empirical and anecdotal evidence that laughter may be the best medicine after all. Did you know that laughter boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, acts as a natural painkiller and releases endorphins?

7. Play More - We all need to make time for play in our lives. "Without play - without the child that still lives in all of us - we will always be incomplete. And not only physically, but creatively, intellectually, and spiritually as well," according to Dr. George Sheehan, author of Running & Being.

8. Love More - What's love got to do with it? Everything. "Love and intimacy are the root of what makes us sick and what makes us well, what causes sadness and what brings happiness, what makes us suffer and what leads to healing," Dean Ornish writes in his book Love & Survival: the Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy. According to Ornish, "Our survival depends on the healing power of love, intimacy and relationships."

9. Give More - Who knew? Helping others is actually good for your health. Volunteering can improve your health, according to Allan Luks, author of The Healing Power of Doing Good. Luks says volunteers experience a "helper's high" and a stronger immune system, too.

10. Be More - Make your bucket list of 100 things you really want to achieve. Live this year like it's your last. How would you live differently if you knew you had only one year left to live? Your health is your wealth, right? Isn't life our most precious gift?

11. Count Your Blessings - Maintain an attitude of gratitude and spend time every day reflecting on the good stuff in your life. Take it a step further by keeping a gratitude journal.

12. Pamper Yourself - Once a week, treat yourself to a luxurious bubble bath, ask your sweetie for a foot massage or just take a load off by enjoying a relaxing cup of herbal tea. Hmmm, hmmm good.