It's time to stop breaking the promises you make to yourself to eat right, exercise and develop healthier habits. For the next three months, from 05 September 2011 to 05 December 2011, MISSION: INCREDIBLE focuses on getting healthier one day at a time. There is only one rule: do a little more today than you did yesterday to keep your promise of taking better physical care of yourself. Follow that one rule - EVERYDAY - and the changes you see in three months will be incredible.

We're all at very different exercise levels and we all have different weight targets, but it's always nice to know you've got company on the journey. We'll focus on three goals as part of our daily check-in: G1 - diet (the good, the bad and the ugly); G2 - exercise (your physical exercise for that day); and, G3 - healthy habits (things we adopt or learn along the way that help). Join us and leave your comments below!

Day 8

It’s easy to be pumped up and motivated at the beginning of this kind of challenge. You go out and buy new workout clothes, new cross trainers and get the MP3 player filled up with hyped tunes. The first day goes well. The second day is ok. But by the third day you’re inhaling a Big Mac meal and wondering, “What the hell was I thinking! I’m not ready for this!” I’ve been there – a lot.

It can be tough to stay motivated, but there are things you can do to keep yourself going. My friend Wendy T. uses a great positive thinking tip: “Setting short-term weight loss goals is effective and keeps you from getting discouraged when results are slow to come. My goals are in 10 pound increments. Losing 2 pounds a week looks great for a 10 pound goal, whereas a 20 pound goal makes 2 pounds seem like nothing and can be discouraging. Remember we didn't gain the weight overnight and it takes time to effectively drop weight to keep it off.” Great point, Wendy T.!

My friend Amy D. sent me an S.O.S. this morning: “I fell off the wagon and got rolled over.” This is probably an exaggeration because Amy D. has been working on making small changes for quite a while. I told her it’s normal to have setbacks, but that’s what a group like Mission: Incredible is all about.

We’re here to give each other support on those days (or weeks, eeek!) when we’re not at our best. Every day is a chance for a fresh start. Amy D. has a great attitude, so I know she’ll be back to her old self in no time.

And if that positive, feel-good stuff doesn’t help, let me scare you into reality. Arthur Agatston, MD, author of The South Beach Diet and The South Beach Wake-Up Call , says in the October 2011 edition of Prevention magazine, “America is fatter and sicker than ever. We compensate by taking pills and going on fad diets. But the fact is that our fast-food, sedentary lifestyle is trumping the advances in medical science that have been responsible for at least four decades of decreasing death rates from heart disease.”

My generation, those of us between thirty and forty-five years of age, may be the first generation to have a shorter life span than our parents. That’s unacceptable. We can and must do better.

So here's my check-in:

G1: I wasn’t hungry this morning, but made myself eat about a half cup of Fiber One cereal and a few baby carrots; ate chicken, rice and vegetables for lunch; chicken and cantaloupe for dinner; water throughout the day.

G2: Walked four miles in City Park today and noticed that I shaved about a minute per mile off my time. That’s encouraging! My dream is to be able to take my painful knees on a one-mile run by the end of this challenge. I might need some marshmallow shoes to make that happen, but I’m going to keep working on it.

Nicole couldn't manage her daily long walks without her Reebook trainers. (Nicole Moliere/Nicole Moliere)

Tomorrow we talk to a few folks on the track at New Orleans City Park and ask what motivates them to get active.

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