Make a goal, but don't make that goal unreal. Don't look at a photo of a professional athlete or a buff movie star and think, "I want to look like that!" First, those people aren't real. Second, they get paid to be fit. They make loads of money, have lots of free time and hire the best trainers. You are poor and have next to no free time. If you are lucky, you get an hour in the gym a couple of times a week. Be realistic about it.
Don't look around the gym, either. Don't look at the pretty young buff girl or the super-muscled guy. They have been at it for a long, long time. They live this workout crap.
Don't be embarrassed that you are bigger than other people at the gym. The gym is for people who want to get thinner the same way the church is for sinners. Every church has its group of nasty little self-righteous ninnies who say, "Why is she in church? This is no place for the likes of her." But just as there would be no need for religion if everyone were perfect, so there would be no need for the gym if everyone was in shape.
This isn't "The Biggest Loser." You don't get to go to a resort and be under the eye of an expensive personal trainer. You will have to invoke your own inner Jillian. Furthermore, the only person who can vote you out of the gym is your nasty little inner ninny. Don't let lazy you win.
It took longer than a month to get out of shape. It is going to take you longer than a month to get skinny.
Oh, and it hurts. It hurts a lot at the beginning. Those platitudey shirts that say "Pain is just weakness leaving the body" are wrong. Pain is just pain, and it hurts.
I would love it, and have proposed the idea with no success, if the Y would give out January Person T-shirts to everybody who joins at the start of the new year. I think if new folks wore those shirts they would be met not with derision or shame, but with encouragement and enthusiasm by the old vets in the gym.
We would say, "Glad you are here. You have to commit to the long haul. I'll answer any questions."
Of course, we vets would also say, "Don't take my parking spot, and make sure you sign up for the machines," but that's just because we are ninnies.
Copyright 2012 by Bil Lepp. Lepp, of Charleston, is a full-time professional storyteller and the author of four books and nine audio collections. He may be contacted through his website www.leppstorytelling.com.