These keys will enable you to become motivated and focused, as well as condition yourself to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. Notice that I did not say "ways to diet". These are ways to realising a healthy lifestyle.

The first key to keep in mind is making sure you have a daily plan. If you have your daily plan written down with all of the details of your day, including the snacks you will carry with you and your meals for the day, you will be much more inclined to avoid the unhealthy foods and actions that may throw you off track.

If you can plan the activities, the errands and all the tasks you will be doing each day - from the time you get up until the time you go to bed - you will be keeping yourself busy accomplishing what’s on your daily planner, rather than spending time worrying about your weight or other things that may reduce productivity.

This can be one of the most powerful steps to living a healthy lifestyle because you’ll be constantly looking at what you want to get done, instead of what you didn’t do in the past.

The second key is to have written goals. These may be the dreams you have, the things you want to do in life that you may have forgotten about. Many people have resigned to just living the same monotonous daily routine.

Start by writing down your goals; no matter how outrageous they may seem, write them down. You need goals and dreams that could take you a lifetime to accomplish. Make sure they are meaningful so that when you read them and ponder their reality, you feel the motivation to get there. When you can get to that point, you have created significant goals and dreams for yourself.

The third key is to be sure your daily plan includes at least one action that moves you closer to your long-term goals. If you don’t add to your current activities you will comtuine to stay as you are.

It’s time to broaden your horizons by moving outside of your current comfort zone and doing something new, something different. By the end of the week, you should feel that you have moved a little closer to your dreams.

It may not seem like much in the beginning, but if you just focus on doing a little each day, then in only one year, you will feel more and more compelled to see your dreams become a reality. So be sure you are writing down and doing at least one task each day toward that reality.

The fourth key Don’t look back at where you’ve been, only where you want to go! This complements having a daily plan. There’s no time to look back at any tragedies, mishaps or unhappy times. There’s only time to create new memories, new experiences and happy times. With your plan, you are creating those things and not leaving yourself time to ponder the "what ifs" of the past.

Instead of asking, "How can I improve my job? How can I be a better spouse? How can I reach my goals? How can I achieve world peace?" just ask yourself, "How can I?" Look at what contributions you can make for yourself and for others, today and tomorrow. In this way, you will keep looking ahead. Remember, no matter how tarnished your past, your future is spotless.

The fifth key is to leave excuses behind. There are many reasons we have for not having what we want in life. It’s not hard to find someone who can talk about the tough times, how rough things are or how difficult the boss is, but guess what? Everyone has hurdles to overcome.

These hurdles can be the excuses that hold you back or the obstacle that you have to overcome to become stronger and more prepared for the next one. This goes along with leaving the past behind you, where it will always stay. Excuses are nothing more than seeing the difficulty ahead, instead of seeing beyond it to where you would rather be. The hurdle has to be there for you to gain a sense of fulfillment, for having overcome it to reach your goal.

The sixth key to a healthy lifestyle is to take full responsibility. When it comes down to it, ultimately, you are the only one who can make things happen for you. That means you are the one who has to make the plan; you are the one who needs to perform the exercises each day; and you are the one who will overcome the hurdles to reach your goals.

Many people will be a cheerleader or a coach, to try and steer you in the right direction and cheer you on, but it is your game. If you’re not playing the game, you may just be in the stands watching others as they try to achieve their goals. If you find yourself always looking to others who have what you want, you may be living in the stands. Start taking responsibility by taking action toward achieving those things you want.

The seventh key is to be aware of people or things that can divert your focus from your goals. Does this mean ignore others and the help they may need? Certainly not, but realise that very often someone may approach you or want you to do something that is not really in the best interest of your health and your goals.

Sometimes when we say no, we are really just saying yes to "sticking to" what’s good and healthy. You not only will be empowering yourself to make the right decision, but also letting others know that your focus on living a healthy lifestyle is in their best interest, too, and maybe it will rub off on them.

Say no to the so-called "water-cooler" conversations at work that don’t provide any productive outcome, just harm to those participating. Say no to the box of doughnuts that seem to show up at work in the morning, for what seems to be harmless socialising and eating with co-workers. Ask yourself if it’s taking your attention away from building a healthy lifestyle or making a contribution to such lifestyle.

Be like the race horses with blinkers on that can only see ahead and choose only to see what’s healthy - healthy for you, for your family or for your company. It may seem like you are alienating yourself, and you are, from what’s not healthy. It’s not easy taking the high road, but you’ll be much happier in the long run.

Key number eight: Decide where you would like to be 20 years from now. Are you doing what you are doing now, only older? Can you see from the goals and dreams you have written that you are carving out a new person who has had many new experiences?

If you can visualise what your life will be in 20 years - where you will live, the places you will have visited, the people you have come to know, the knowledge that you have gained, the positive changes that you have made for yourself and others - you will really begin to see the potential that the years ahead can bring.

Now, I’m not suggesting that everything will be exactly as you may envision, but it will give you a sense of what you truly are capable of and what you can look forward to. Both things will motivate you to keep moving in the right direction.

Key number nine: Surround yourself with other positive people. It’s great to belong to a support group for weight loss as long as you’re not around the people who only want to talk about how hard it is. You want positive energy on your side, and the more you have, and the more positive energy you give, the stronger you will be.

You see, being around someone who shares the same desire to live healthy does not increase the amount of good twofold; it increases it tenfold. You will feed off of each other’s similar goals and desires and share things that have helped each of you. My husband used to compete in triathlons - where they swim a few hundred yards, then ride their bikes several miles, then run a few miles. Some people actually find this pleasurable.

I asked him how he managed to complete such an event. His response was, "If it wasn’t for all those other people pushing to get to the finish line, I may not have." If we are around people who push to reach their long-term goals, then we are more apt to reach ours. Find those people and stick with them.

The 10th key is to learn to love exercise and all physical activities. There are so many forms of exercise and physical activity and so many ways to enjoy them that you should not have any reason not to do so.

How many different places are there to enjoy taking a walk? The park, a museum, downtown, window-shopping, in your neighbourhood and many more. How about the different types of exercise besides walking? There’s riding a bike, playing tennis, football, lifting weights, jogging, kickboxing, aerobics, yoga, jazzercising, dancing, gardening, cutting the grass and painting the fence.

If you have trouble exercising, try riding a stationary bike if you can. It’s the easiest piece of equipment that you can use. Try different activities and exercises and find what you can really enjoy. Remember, these are the things that you want to be doing for the rest of your life.

Finally, the BONUS key to a healthy and fit lifestyle - Don’t ever stop believing that you are capable of more than what and who you are now! Your potential is limitless. With this attitude, you will constantly be able to improve upon your health in some way. If your mind can perceive it, and you can truly believe it in your heart, then you can achieve whatever you set out to accomplish.