Living Fit: Get ready for summer

Sharon McGoff
April 10, 2013
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mcgoffOur winter was harsh and everlasting. We experienced snow and ice, an overabundance of clouds and below normal temperatures. As a result, many of us were sedentary, gained weight, alienated ourselves from the outside social world of friends, allowed our January good intentions of daily exercise to be smothered by frost, and sought comfort in the world of pasta, bread and sweets during our times of stress and winter blues. To make matters worse, the cold and dreary spring weather and snowstorms have lulled us into thinking summer will never arrive. Don’t be fooled by Mother Nature! Before you can say “sunscreen,” the heat of summer will be upon us, along with our wish that we were in better shape, physically and mentally, to enjoy it.

Close your eyes and think about this: It is summer and you are wearing shorts or a swimsuit with confidence. You are enjoying a game of tennis or round of golf with energy and without subsequent injury, or you are happily planting flowers without rushing to the E.R. because your back gave out. Wake up! Unfortunately, many of us don’t think about a plan to get ready for summer fun (remember those New Year’s resolutions?) because our hectic lifestyles prevent us from setting summer goals and putting them into play. The good news? It is not too late! Dare to take the summer challenge.

I know what you’re thinking – the task of getting in shape is all too daunting, and I don’t have time to do it because there are too many areas in my wellness plan that need focus. I hear you! So, together, let’s set a plan for taking small steps NOW to make big progress by June 1. Ready, set, go!

Step one: Right now, spend 5 to 10 minutes thinking about your current state of wellness/health and writing down where it can realistically be on June 1 (seven weeks from now). Consider each of these areas:

Weight: (i.e. lose 10 pounds)

Fitness: (i.e. walk 15 miles a week)

Nutrition: (i.e. eat four vegetables a day, four fruits a day and two desserts a week)

Organization: (i.e. clean up my office)

Socialization: (i.e. get together with eight friends I haven’t seen all winter)

Step two: Break down these goals into miniature goals that you can easily accomplish each week.

Weight: (i.e. lose 1 pound this week)

Fitness: (i.e. walk a total of 3 miles this week: 1 mile on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday)

Nutrition: (i.e. eat two vegetables and two fruits each weekday this week)

Organization: (i.e. clean out the top, right hand drawer of my desk)

Socialization: (i.e. call Terry to meet for coffee on Wednesday morning)

Step three: Change the mini goals each week by increasing your ability.

Weight: (i.e. lose another .5 pound this week)

Fitness: (i.e. walk a total of 5 miles this week, adding 1 mile on each weekend day)

Nutrition: (i.e eat 3 vegetables and 3 fruits each weekday this week and limit desserts to 3)

Organization: (i.e. clean up the pile of files under my desk)

Socialization: (i.e. send an email to law school classmate to have dinner Friday)

Step four: Sit back and enjoy better health and a fun summer!

By setting and gradually increasing the mini goals each week, you will be motivated to continue progressing toward the ultimate June 1 goals, which will no longer seem insurmountable. For example, today, thinking about losing 10 pounds by June 1 with leftover Easter candy at the house and the bottomless bowl of M & M’s at the office might seem impossible. But, if you set a mini goal to lose 1 to 2 pounds each week of the seven-week period, you will easily be 10 pounds lighter by June 1.

Or maybe you have longed for a clean and organized office, but the thought of this “job” is enough to paralyze your limbs and numb your mind. So, take it one drawer at a time each week. By June 1, your organized office will be the envy of your peers and you will be more efficient because you will know exactly where everything is located!

Fitness goals are difficult for many to set and maintain. As you sit there reading this article, the thought of exercising five days a week is simply not within reason. But, if you set a mini goal of walking for 15 minutes on three days this week and increased it gradually by a few more minutes each week, by June 1 you might be walking 3 miles, four days a week.

Nutritionally, thinking about eating the recommended daily five fruits and five vegetables makes you want to run to Dairy Queen for a consoling ice cream sundae. But, if your mini goal is to eat three fruits and two vegetables, three days this week, and you gradually add more fruits and vegetables each week, you will be very close to the recommended goal in seven weeks.

What about socializing? After the December holidays, we tend to hole up in our abodes, not to be seen until mid-May when the race track opens. This brings on additional winter blues and depression, because we, as a society, really do enjoy laughter and socializing. Yet, it’s hard to get the social ball rolling. So, set a mini goal this week to have coffee with one of your gregarious friends. Next week, choose a different person you’ve not seen for a long time and share stories of the good old days.

We in the legal community thrive on challenges. So here it is, just for you. I double dog dare you to take the summer challenge. And, knowing how you enjoy challenging others, I invite you to challenge your co-workers, peers, family and friends. I look forward to hearing the inspiring stories of how you took this double dog dare and met the challenge to be ready this summer. Let the games begin!•


Sharon McGoff is a graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, a certified personal trainer and health fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine, and a certified life and wellness coach with WellCoaches, Inc. She welcomes your questions or comments at The opinions expressed are those of the author.


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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.