An expat in Vietnam, Singapore or China gets the opportunity for two new beginnings each year — the western New Year and Tet or the Chinese New Year. However, year after year the vast majority of people who attempt self-directed health and fitness programmes fail.

The difference between those who make it and those who don’t is won or lost before they even step in to the gym or kitchen. This article is Part One of Positive Beginnings, where I’m going to outline essential components and practices that make the real differences in body transformation. Mental preparation when striving for positive life change is the most overlooked aspect, yet the most important.


1) Be Positive


Are you aware that 90% of our thoughts are negative? If we can change the way we think it has an immense impact on everything in our lives. Affirmations and visualisations are the best methods of doing this — I know it sounds airy-fairy but it really does work!


Say positive statements every morning when you get up and every night before you go to bed and as many times as you can incorporate it throughout the day. You need to say these out loud and repeat them at least five times each.


1) I love my body


2) I believe in what I’m doing — every action counts


3) Every day I get closer to my ideal weight.


4) I am enjoying the process of being healthy


5) I love the foods that make me lose weight


6) I remember how it feels to be fit and slimmer… I will get there


7) I am a good person and deserve good things


2) Set Definable Goals


When most people set goals they simply imagine the outcomes. They give little thought to the actual steps — or actions — required to achieve the overall outcome.


To truly strive and reach your ‘outcome goals’ you must also set clear ‘action goals’. The outcome is the end result and the actions are the bite-sized, achievable chunks you must perform to create the path to the end product. The aim is to not focus on the desired outcome, instead only think of the outcome when deciding upon the actions needed to achieve your desired goal. Then put the “blinkers on” and focus only on the actions that will lead you to be successful.


3) BE-Prepared


Once you’ve outlined your goals you need to create lists. In our professional lives we employ daily checklists, tasks sheets, weekly rosters, monthly reports and so on to ensure business efficiency and success, but in our personal lives we seem to forget these fantastic systems. These plans are crucial to obtaining your health and fitness goals. Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail! Along with these plans you need to prepare your friends, colleagues, family and environment to aid you in achieving success.


4) BE-Visual


The use of mental imagery or creative visualization is a great tool for helping you achieve any goal. By visualizing, you induce your subconscious mind to help support your ambitions and accept the change, as it happens. Mental imagery can help you to have greater focus, it can inspire you, and it can help build self-confidence. With all of this it becomes easier for you to achieve your desired outcome.


We are more likely to believe in and to move forward towards our goals if we can actually see them as possible and have them at the forefront of our minds.
A couple of simple ways to apply imagery and visualization to aid your body transformation and health and fitness goals:


— Find a favourite picture of someone that inspires you and pin it up at eye level on the fridge and bathroom mirror. This could be anyone from Mahatma Gandhi, Bruce Lee, Hilary Clinton or the model in a fitness magazine, or you in a healthier and fitter time — whoever creates a positive response from seeing their image


— Each evening visualise yourself in the new clothes that you will wear, the new activities that you will do and how good that will make you feel.


Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763 or at his website or through Star Fitness (

Phil Kelly

Phil is an avid sportsman and loves most things fitness. With the final realisation that he would not be an All Black, he turned his full focus to studying the human body in regard to improving movement and posture, developing strength, function and performance, as well as scrutinising the conventional wisdom of nutrition for fat loss and performance. He loves challenging the 'norm' and is dedicated to the prosperity and health of his clients and the community. He has a mission to educate and empower people to "be all they can be" by providing accurate, research proven and industry leading information. 


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