Finding New Skill Building A Challenge? You Are Not Alone.

Printed with permission from the Cooper Institute.

Learning new skills always sounds good until I jump in and determine it is never as easy as I would like.  Last month I decided to try yoga after seeing yet another fabulous body on a magazine cover all thanks to a proper workout. Pilates. Yoga. It seemed everyone was involved but me.  So into my first yoga class I went and grabbed a mat like everyone else. We started with a warm-up and I was so pleased to be right there with everyone else.  And that is where my ease stopped.  There were names I had never heard – downward dog, upward dog, cow pose, cat stretch – and moves I had never imagined.  I toppled and teetered but I finished the class.  While returning my mat a very nice lady mentioned that next time I might want to use a yoga mat instead of a Pilates mat.  Not only was my body not skilled, I didn’t even know the right equipment!  But I went back to the next class, and the next.  Soon another new person showed up to class and I was no longer the new one (and yes, I did share with her as she picked up the Pilates mat that there were differences).

I’m pleased to report that after one month, yoga seems to be an activity I like and look forward to.  My clothes are fitting a little better and I feel more toned.  A magazine cover will never be in my future but I look better and feel better.  One struggle I am trying to work out now is the correct calorie balance.  Attempting to get more physical activity in my day seems to be working. Now I am trying hard to find the right balance with “calories in” and “calories out”. Long term behavior change is a process of learning and applying new skills.  The steps are simple but making them work for your life (and breaking old habits) is the hard part. It takes time and willingness, but Today I Will is here to help.
As you join in to move more and eat better, here are a few easy tips that can help you get the most out of Today I Will.

  • Take one skill at a time.  Losing weight is made up of many skills – healthy eating, physical activity, self-monitoring, goal setting, etc. All are included at but focus on applying each new skill to your personal goals and daily life until they become habit.  Then take on the next skill.  I feel good about my commitment to yoga and am ready to learn how to better balance my calories now.
  • Practice, practice, practice.  Learning to change old habits into new, more helpful behaviors will help with losing weight. It takes practice for new skills to become habits, but before long the healthy choice will become your regular choice.  I even went out in a rain storm to yoga class last week because my favorite teacher was scheduled and I knew I would feel great afterwards.  So what if it was raining!
  • Be an active participant on  Throughout the process, you will do activities to apply the Today I Will skills and information to your daily life.  This is one of the most important ways to make the program just for you.  It’s also important that you track your progress so that you know where you started, what you’ve achieved and what you need to do to reach your goals.

I hope you feel as good about starting your journey as I do!  If you are not quite ready for structured exercise, click here to a Get Moving Bingo card you can keep on your refrigerator or desktop.  You’ll find great activities that will help you get up and go.  Let me know how you are doing and I’ll do the same.

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