How many people wait until after they have a heart attack or a stroke before they start to eat better, quit smoking, lose weight and exercise? Wouldn't it make more sense to do all those things earlier in life?

People who fail to meet their health and fitness goals often lack the motivation needed to get the job done.

That’s no big deal if your goal is to “drop a couple pounds” or “tone up a little.” But if you have serious health issues caused by obesity, habitual overeating, lack of movement and unhealthy habits, motivation could save your life.

If a doctor were to tell you that if you didn’t lose weight and get in better shape, you would be dead within a month, you would probably find a way to make the necessary changes.

For many people, the possibility of death is very real. Maybe not today or next month. But people who lead unhealthy lives will die well before their time. And the quality of life they have in their remaining time won’t be what it could have been.

How many people wait until after they have a heart attack or a stroke before they start to eat better, quit smoking, lose weight and exercise? Wouldn't it make more sense to do all those things earlier in life and avoid the heart attack or the stroke altogether?

The problem is, we never know exactly when it’s coming. We kid ourselves into thinking we have plenty of time left before a serious health condition occurs. And we put off change by saying things like:

“Smoking this one cigarette won’t kill me today.”

“Drinking too much alcohol won’t kill me tonight.”

“Being lazy and not working out won’t kill me this week.”

But unhealthy people make those bad choices repeatedly, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. They are playing Russian roulette, and it’s just a matter of time before they lose the game.

So, if you are someone who is in dire need of improved health, it’s time to make better choices. You’ve been living life pretending that your actions and inactions don’t have consequences. They do have consequences and they are grim. We all only have so many days here. Your actions are unnecessarily cutting more and more days off that total.

Have a conversation with yourself and convince yourself that you can’t continue that life any longer. Take control. Better choices and a better quality of life don’t happen accidentally. You need to oversee the new you. You are responsible for being where you are now. Only you can be responsible for getting yourself to a better place.

Try living life with a higher purpose. Look beyond the instant gratification. Aspire to higher goals. Each remaining day you have left is a gift. Treat them as such.

The motivation is within you. Find it. Your life depends on it.

Frank Shelton is a certified fitness trainer and director of Premier Health & Wellness. He can be reached at (302) 463-4000 or frank@franksheltonfitness.com.