One of the most frequently stated goals at the beginning of the year is, "I'm going to get in better shape and start eating healthier" - aka "diet and exercise."

But, the gap between good intentions and concrete results can seem enormous, especially when it comes to taking care of ourselves.

In working with people, I come across some common erroneous beliefs. I call them erroneous, because they do not work well.

People get stuck in their paradigms without realizing that their thinking is what is creating and perpetuating the problem.

Here are 3 common erroneous beliefs and suggested ways to shift into better thinking.

Erroneous belief #1:

"I don't want to be selfish. Everything and everyone else is more important than me."

Ahem...excuse me? That sounds really noble and selfless,'s not. It's actually the opposite. How can you be of any use to the people and things that you say are important if you're run down, depleted, and on the verge of burn out?

When life is out of balance and you put your own well-being on the back burner, it is often accompanied by things like stress eating, weight gain, blowing out knees, exhaustion.

Your energy and focus are then shifted to putting out fires. Where's the attention now?

Ironically, it's on you, not others.

The shift:

You must take care of yourself to be of good use and service to those you love. Let me say it again...YOU must take care of yourself.

If you don't do it, who will?

Your body is the tool to facilitate all the other areas of your life, including caring for others.

Use preventative maintenance to take care of this wonderful gift you've been given. It's a necessity for a life of balance and well-being.

Erroneous belief #2:

"If I blow my diet (regimen), I might as well go all the way."

This is the All or Nothing paradigm. This belief suggests that if you make a misstep, it is license to fully indulge yourself and even quit the whole thing.

This bad idea places you on a perfectionist tightrope. When you can't manage to balance yourself on that skinny rope, the alternative is a long, hard, and painful fall.

It also creates the overwhelming illusion that you must change everything all at once or you're not really changing anything at all.

The shift:

Keep cultivating a vision of being a fit and healthy person over your lifetime.

This can include days when you may not hit your highest mark, but you can have room for straying off the path and then steering right back on. (Yes, you're on a path, not a rope).

I have a friend who lost over 100 pounds. He used to live in the All or Nothing paradigm. It obviously didn't work, because he was only gaining weight with that strategy.

Rather than failing and then berating himself while consuming another gallon of ice cream, he would just resume his healthy habits, even within the same hour. The more he did it, the better he got.

This is a more balanced and long-term approach to transformation...not to mention successful.

Erroneous belief #3:

"I have all the time in the world to start taking care of myself. I'll get to it some day."

I'm sure that seeing this in black and white makes it very obvious that it's a false premise.

Even though people know it isn't true, they still may live in this fantasy.

Truth is...we don't have all the time in the world. We have a limited existence on this earth with bodies that age and decline.

When you are in denial and procrastination, you're basically saying that you will wait for a crisis to force your hand.

The shift:

Get a more realistic and truthful approach to your life. Face reality.

Do you want to live well, feel good, and make a difference in this world? Then, you need to do something now, not someday. Your body may not wait for someday.

My friend that lost over 100 pounds decided not to wait for a heart attack or leg amputation to force him to change. Instead, he proactively made incremental shifts that melted pounds away and added years to his life.

There is no rule that you have to change everything at once. But how about starting with one thing this year?

What would be a doable, powerful, and positive change that would bring more health and well-being into your life in 2011?

Start where you are...and...start now.

Author's Bio: 

Belinda Lams of Soul Organizer is a Certified Professional Life Coach, Professional Organizer, and speaker. She is passionate about helping people live from clarity and purpose. Belinda is available for coaching services by phone and can be reached at