If there were a shortcut to having a healthy body, I'm sure I'd have the secret by now. Since that day so many years back when I decided I wanted to get into my size 10 Calvin Klein jeans again, I've fallen prey to just about every diet scam known to womankind—anything that represented a quick fix. A magic pill or potion. An easy way to get what I wanted without having to step onto that StairMaster every morning.
Whether we want to lose weight, reach a career goal, or improve our relationships, it's human to look for the easy way out—the shortcut. One woman I met on my show reminded me of how we can delude ourselves. She was planning her wedding, and she and her fiancé disagreed over the exorbitant cost. He wanted a simple, inexpensive affair. She wanted the fairy tale: the perfect dress, a pricey photographer, hundreds of guests. No matter how he tried to reason with her that they couldn't afford the $40,000 cost, she wouldn't hear him. She was so fixated on planning the event that she'd forgotten to prepare for their life ahead—for the real work of their marriage. The wedding represented the yellow brick road that would lead her to a perfect princess life on the other side of the rainbow.
What I know for sure is this: The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal for this year is, you can get there—as long as you're willing to be honest with yourself about the preparation and work involved. There are no back doors, no free rides. There's just you, this moment and a choice. Will you persevere when you most want to quit? Will you pry yourself out of bed for a morning run months after you've made your New Year's promise?
One thing I find helpful is making a formal commitment to myself with a contract much like the one Bob Greene designed for Get with the Program. Each time you make a decision to move toward the life you say you want—whether that means sticking to your own fitness contract or choosing to be patient with your 2-year-old—you are doing your most important spiritual work. I call these daily choices your "holy moments."
This year, have the boldness to tell yourself the truth—every bit of it. We all know that if you don't attend to your relationships, they will wilt; you can be certain that if you invest all your time in work you don't care about, your spirit will die; if you raid the fridge every night and never hit the gym, I guarantee your hips will spread. And if you decide to rise up and create a new experience for yourself, I know for sure that you can attain it the old-fashioned way—through hard work.
From the January 2003 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!