By Carolyn Hansen

Now, let's start by being honest. Is taking care of yourself something that you REALLY prioritize, or is your health and fitness something you would like to BE a priority, but in reality gets pushed to the side when you're busy?

For so many people, especially women, the true answer is that you are the last person you take care of, after your spouse/partner, children, coworkers and pets, when it should be the other way around! Your overall health and wellbeing -physical, mental and emotional - should always be your number one priority as, without it, nothing else matters.

The good news is, when you take the time to take care of yourself, your whole life improves.


Here are five tips for how you can prioritize your health and fitness.

1. Don't try to change everything at once. Pick one thing and stick to it. It seems like we try to change everything at once - our weight, our relationship, our career, our family and our finances - rather than prioritize. But that approach is completely unrealistic. In fact, sometimes the more we try to do, the less able we are to make any of these changes, and everything suffers.

So the first step is to prioritize. Make a list of everything you want to change and how each item on the list affects the other, and which makes the most sense to start with. Arrange them in order of importance. Now look at the first thing on your list and set a tangible and achievable goal you know you can attain. Keep your list handy and remind yourself each and every day of your commitment. You are now on the pathway to success, taking one small step at a time.

2. Aim to create a positive new habit, not just a result - Focus on the new behavior you want to achieve, not the outcome. Say you want to lose five kilos. The way to obtain this goal is by: Cleaning up your diet and getting very active. That's more effective than just focusing on the scale.

3. When you slip, get back on track quickly - There are times when we make choices that we know are not good for us. We grab that sugary dessert or skip a few days of our workout. One of the hardest things to do is to forgive ourselves and move back into our best behaviors as soon as possible. You don't need to overcompensate to try to undo the damage that was done. This only makes getting back on track harder. Just get back into your healthy routine. Get back to your small changes, back to your positive behaviors and right back to achieving that outcome.

4. Change your thinking - Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your character. Add some positive thinking in this entire process, and the end goal becomes your destiny. If you follow through, you'll find that achieving your goal was one of the easiest things you ever did because you did it through small, achievable steps.

5. Rinse and Repeat - Use this process over and over again to achieve the goals you laid out at the very beginning. Step-by-step, day-by-day, you will live your commitments and see the strength of your true character. The bottom line is, there's no secret sauce, no quick-fix. Commitment to developing good habits over time IS the 'magic bullet'.