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Earlier today, British musician Amy Winehouse was found dead in her apartment at the age of 27. It will take time for a coroner’s inquest to tell us how she died. Odds are good that the cause of death will be related to drugs or alcohol use. The next few days will have the media talking about the tragic rise and fall of an incredible talent. So sad, so tragic, and yet so inevitable is the underlying message.

Winehouse’s story of an addict refusing help isn’t unusual. It’s hard to ask for help, and even harder to accept it. On a smaller scale, I see this pattern over and over in people looking to improve their health and fitness. Changing any pattern of behavior is incredibly difficult. It takes 21 days to change a habit. It then takes a lifetime of work to ensure that you don’t drop that habit. Things happen along the way and the tendency to drop back into an old habit is great.

Deep, meaningful change too often happens when you are at the edge of an abyss. You’ve run out of choices. It doesn’t have to be that way. At any point in time you can grab hold of the moment you have NOW and make a positive change. It can be as simple as putting down the glass and asking for help. It’s as simple as walking out the front door and walking around the block.

These aren’t easy things to do. Those first steps seem insurmountable. It’s hard to build them into a series of positive steps forward. Yet with time, effort, and a lot of support you can find your way to health, fitness, or sobriety. It’s all about taking that first step, then repeating it over and over again.

Ask for help. Then be willing to take it, even when you don’ t feel like it.

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