Thursday, April 11, 2013

Successful Weight Loss: Lessons From the Space Race

On May 25, 1961 President Kennedy set the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon. Although the Soviets had a head start in their space program, Kennedy's announcement (and the funding that went with it) galvanised the American space program and captured the imagination of the American public.
Many of us make promises to quit smoking or to lose weight, and despite our good intentions, fail to follow through. What lessons can we take from the space race to help us keep our promises? Here are 6 tips to help get you 'get to the moon'.
1. Be Realistic
At the time Kennedy made his promise, the first manned space flight had only just occurred, but his aim of getting to the moon wasn't impossible. Don't set yourself up for failure by fixing an unachievable goal. Becoming a supermodel is impossible for most of us, losing 10 pounds is great. Think big, but make it something you can achieve.
2. Plan Ahead
Kennedy was intimate with the space program before he became president and his announcement involved research and consultation with experts before it was made public. So do your own research; speak to your doctor, a dietician or trainer about what you need to do and how you can achieve your aim. You've got a much better chance of getting there if you know how.
3. Talk About It
The publicity surrounding the American/Russian rivalry for first to the moon was a powerful motivator for both sides. Tell friends and family about your resolve to change yourself for the better. Try recording your promise online and make sure that you share with your friends so that they can help to support and motivate you. (The pain of breaking your promise in public might help to keep you on the straight and narrow too!)
4. Set a timeline
Kennedy gave a specific time: he stated that an American would land on the moon by the end of the decade - 1970. It is vital that you give yourself a timeline; otherwise your resolution will just drift off into the dream of someday... Work with your trainer or health professional to set a date by which you will have achieved your aim. This will also help you break down your task into manageable chunks.
5. Build towards your goal
The American's didn't start by building a rocket for the moon. They began with the Gemini program and then moved onto the Apollo series. Likewise, you need to start with the steps that will take you to your ultimate goal. If your aim is to run a marathon, you'll start by running shorter distances and building your strength and endurance. Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and small accomplishments will help keep you motivated. Instead of focusing on losing 10 pounds, say, focus on losing that first 3.
6. Don't Beat Yourself Up
In 1967, the first Apollo mission crew were killed in a cabin fire. Instead of shutting down the whole program, the Americans stepped back and re-assessed, resulting in a much more rigorous testing and safety. Obsessing over the occasional slip won't help you achieve your goal. Forgive yourself and see if you can figure out what triggered your relapse. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be able to avoid future slip ups.
Broadcast on live TV to a world-wide audience, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. He described the event as "one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Make your own giant leap by promising to improve your health.
Kirstin Crothers is a mum and stationery retailer. She's worked as everything from Ski Instructor to Conference Manager and is currently concentrating her efforts on building her Phoenix Trading business in Australia, UK and USA
I record my promises on It's a great way for your friends to view your promises and support you along the way.

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