Becoming your own cheerleader – it’s the best way of keeping motivated I can think of.

I have noticed over the years that one of the reasons people quit when they’ve undertaken a challenge is that there is no one nearby to root them on. People by nature tend to give up when things are hard, uncomfortable, or part of a lengthy process that might take a lot of time. But if you are not going it alone – if you have a companion by your side, someone who encourages you and reminds you that you are in fact able to do more than you think – this will provide the impetus to keep you striving over the long haul.

What does it mean to be your own cheerleader? I can give you an example from just this week. You see, my husband is a fan of long walks, but I tend to crab and complain when he tries to convince me to participate. I whine about the footgear, the heat or humidity. I argue about the length of time I’m standing on my feet. Sometimes I even remind him about the surgery I had on my left foot thirteen years ago that forces me to confront scar tissue with every step I take.

Jump for joy – it’s a new day!

There’s a large part of me that wants to madly love these walks so that I can share them with my husband. On the other hand, it’s hard to let go and find them fun when I’m so easily distracted by discomfort. This is a quality that doesn’t really advance me in my own eyes. There has to come a time when I can rise above minor irritations, celebrate the fact that I can stand on my own two feet, jump for joy that I have an eager and willing partner, get off my big tush and start moving. A sedentary life is not a healthy one and although I consider myself a well-rounded human being, I do have a tendency toward laziness. The armchair philosopher characterizes me to a T.

Well, as it happens, two days ago, my husband initiated an adventure that necessitated an extraordinary amount of walking down in Tel Aviv. I decided from the get-go that I was going to encourage myself to master this afternoon promenade with grace, elegance and maturity. In order to do that, I needed to wear a hat to keep the sun off, don my walking sandals, get rid of my heavy pocketbook and stick with a simple little bag. More than anything, I needed to be prepared to enjoy this rather than suffer it.

It’s not enough just to overcome by the skin of your teeth one of your more negative patterns. It would not be enough to just agree to go on the walk and keep my mouth shut. No. I was quite involved before and during the walk with the language of encouragement and positive thinking – in other words, baton twirling. I kept telling myself: You can do this… and you can enjoy it. And dammit, I did. Boy oh boy did I feel like a success.

We had a wonderful time together. I surprised myself as much as my husband. In fact, when we got to the car, he asked me if something was wrong.

I said, “Why would something be wrong?”

He said, “Well, you didn’t complain even once! Are you feeling okay?” He’s a joker. But I really, really felt loved and appreciated. It was worth rooting myself on in creating a sizable change in my behavioral repertoire. I went from a couch potato mashed with milk and butter to a wonderful companion who cheered herself on, did not give in to the lazy parts but rather celebrated change and growth.

I highly recommend doing things like this as often as you can. It will help you come to understand that you can actually change and enjoy it.

I’m a champion of personal renovation. I believe in my heart we can all benefit from some sprucing up, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Now, if this is what I’m selling to people, it has to be what I’m buying. I have to exemplify in real ways these ideas that I promote. They can’t just be theoretical and apply only to YOU and not me.