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Improvement starts when you do



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November 14, 2012 - About a year ago, I started sharing my thoughts with you, Orion, here in this column and I have to say it's been a blast. The responses I get are often insightful and usually flattering (which contrary to popular belief does get you places.)

But I wanted to take a moment and go back to the first column I wrote, and interestingly the one which I received the most feedback - the story of my journey to quit smoking. It's now been a year and half and cravings come every once in a while, but the strength at which they hit are no more than early morning musings about how you want to buy a boat. I have not let one cigarette touch my lips since the summer of 2011 and to all the smokers out there - it really is worth the initial pain. I cannot tell you how much better I feel and how much my life and finances have improved.

But I decided that I'm not stopping there in my quest to better health. In these times of economic strife and political discord, a topic often on my peers' tongues is what to do when the revolution comes. While it is often said in jest, it made me think what practical skills I had. I don't know how to hunt, I don't know how to survive in the wild, I don't know how to track anything and I'm out of shape.

Well darn it, I can do something about the last one. So I am.

I enrolled in an exercise class that focuses on building core muscles. These aren't the glamour muscles that one sees on movie stars or to an extreme amount on those weird gas station fitness magazines. These are muscles that you actually use in day to day situations and that can be honed to improve physical performance. After about three months of it, I can honestly say my confidence is up, I'm more alert and I feel great. Maybe not the best I've ever felt (26 is about the time when certain body parts start to stop giving a darn in my opinion) but I feel a sight better than I did even a year ago.

I guess what I'm trying to convey is that sometimes being happy is just about being active and trying to improve yourself. The biggest step is easy, but monolithically hard, especially when you work 40 + hours in the week. You want to go home, relax, watch a show, play a game, read a book and listen to music, but to get started you need to devote some of that time to physical effort. It can be very disheartening, especially since results are slow to come.

But fitting in that routine is key. I'm not wealthy and being a journalist can be a very stressful job full of deadlines, loud, angry voices and spontaneous assignments. I have bills the same as anyone else and I get nailed by the cops and car repairs. But I'm happier than I think I've ever been.

Find the problems in your life Orion. Figure out which ones you can do something about and be realistic in both senses of the word. Don't be intimidated or over confident, pick the easiest problem and get started.

Get started. I cannot stress that enough.

As a closer, I would love to hear your success stories Orion. Inspiring tales are all too few anymore and we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page.

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Donald Turner
The Oxford Leader
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