Online Services

Our Government

News and Events

Maps, Facts & Stats

State & Federal

Take 12 Steps for Health

Take 12 Calendar


December 2016

Step 12: Being the Best YOU

Self-improvement never stops – attend a seminar, talk, workshop or read a book to improve your daily outlook.

Making Healthy Strides


Living with Purpose
A clear sense of purpose enables you to focus on what matters most, take courageous risks and persevere. Find the ‘sweet spot’ that sits in the intersection between what you care about, what you can contribute, and what will be valued most.

Just Surviving
Unlike animals, which are driven simply to survive, we humans crave more from life than mere survival. Without an answer to the question, “Survival for the sake of what?” we can quickly fall into disillusionment, distraction and a quiet sense of despair.

Source: Forbes, "Do You Know Your 'Why?' 4 Questions To Find Your Purpose"

Read This!

Need a good book to read? Self-Improvement books can be great to lift your spirit, for self-reflection, or goal-setting. They are usually easy to read and written with practical knowledge that you can apply to your own life. Here are ten books that have become best sellers over past years that you should consider reading.

  • The 4 Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss. For living more and working less, this book is the blueprint.
  • Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E Frankl. This book is at once a memoir, a self-help book, and a psychology manual that tells the story of a psychologist (the author) imprisoned at Auschwitz during the Second World War.
  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen. It is a complete system for using your time most efficiently and especially where it matters most for you.
  • The Art of Happiness, by The Dalai Lama. It focuses on worldly factors like wealth and satisfaction as well as spiritual parts.
  • The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. Written in a voice that is timeless in its message of understanding, the book continues to help us explore the very nature of loving relationships and leads us toward a new serenity and fullness of life.
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Advice offered includes: six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey. This book aims to help you build positive habits that really improve your life.
  • The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. This is one of those life-changing books that can turn your world upside down.
  • Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, by Brian Tracy. For people who are overwhelmed by tasks of all sizes, this book provides methods for conquering procrastination and accomplishing more.
  • Who Moved my Cheese? By Spencer Johnson. This is a motivational book about change management written in the style of a parable or business fable.

Sources: Entrepreneur Magazine, "Top 10 Self Help Books of All Time"

Leadership is a Service, Not a Destination

What is a leader? A famous movie star, a pro-athlete, millionaires, business people, elected officials, parents? You could say yes and no to all. Part of the challenge for leaders is that they are all human. And as humans, we are all flawed. That being said, what is effective leadership? Is it a title? Is it achieving goals? Is it inspiring others? Is it seeing a unique vision? Leadership is a combination of practical skills and personal values that, when used together, create an atmosphere in which people feel valued and motivated to pursue a clear vision.  What is it about an effective leader that captivates followers?
Leadership is not always what you do but how you do it. Leaders who embrace humility, graciousness, and attend to their people, will not only achieve more but have more support along the way.
Effective leaders know their limitations. Most leaders have specific gifts and skills. They can't be good at everything. An effective leader recognizes limitations and attracts other people to compliment his/her skills.
Great leaders have a sense of humor. A leader who has a sense of humor, especially about themselves, appears more confident and attracts confidence from others.
Leaders do what needs to be done. An effective leader is willing to do what needs to be done to move the organization forward. Whether this requires having difficult conversations with a staff member, covering for a colleague who is ill, or making the right decision rather than the easy decision, a leader who does what needs to be done is a leader worth following.
Leadership is a service and not a destination. Sometimes people seek a position of leadership for the position itself. They may desire the power or the acclaim that goes with the position. However, a leader that seeks to serve rather than to be served will always be more effective.
Great power, great responsibility. This reinforces the idea that leaders must own their responsibility during the good times and the bad times. Leaders who relinquish responsibility to avoid taking blame usually dig a much deeper hole for themselves. Leaders who step up to their responsibility generate more trust and respect.

Source: The Huffington Post, "6 Tips for Effective Leadership"

What is Your ‘Why?’

Knowing your ‘why’ is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living. When you know your ‘why’ you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.

Here’s an exercise for you to do… homework, if you will, for the New Year. Write down your answers and put them in a place you will remember. Ask yourself these four questions:

  1. What makes you come alive?
    Think BIG. What are you passionate about? What makes you feel bigger than you are? What puts a fire in your belly?
  2. What are your innate strengths?
    What have you always been good at? What comes easy to you?
  3. Where do you add the greatest value?
    Ask yourself what problems you really enjoy solving, and what problems you feel passionate about trying to solve.
  4. How will you measure your life?
    What purposes or ideologies do you align yourself with?

Source: Forbes, "Know Your Why 4 Questions To Tap the Power of Purpose"

Get Info for the 50+ Crowd at the Park Authority’s 50+ Web Portal

50+ Connect, Engage, Play The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched a website specifically for residents age 50 or older. The 50+ Engage-Connect-Play portal provides one-stop shopping for information on Fitness & Wellness, Arts & Learning, Gardening & Adventure, Giving Back, and more that’s geared toward Baby Boomers and active seniors.

Staying active and staying connected are key to good health and happiness at any age, and the Park Authority is making it easier for older residents to find new ways to engage as family and work demands change. In Fairfax County, 23.2 percent of households include adults who are 65+, and this group represents 11.5 percent of the county’s total population.

Go to Fairfax County Park Authority - Fifty Plus to see which of the thousands of Park Authority classes are most popular among Baby Boomers and the 70+ crowd. Find out about concerts, fairs, festivals and other park events that appeal to older residents. Book a tee time at a golf course, register for an art or gardening program, or find activities to entertain the grandchildren. Visitors to the site can also explore ways to give back to their community through paid and volunteer opportunities in the parks.

This initiative is part of the larger, countywide effort aimed at addressing the needs of a rapidly aging population in Fairfax County. U.S. Census figures show that there is a net in-migration to Fairfax County of persons age 85+. Among Fairfax County residents age 80 or older, 47.5 percent have one or more of the following: serious difficulty with walking and/or climbing stairs, difficulty dressing and/or bathing, or a cognitive disability.



Fairfax County Park FoundationFairfax County Park Authority RECenters




Trader Joe's


WalmartINOVA LogoGiant Logo

Virginia Pediatric Group Logo

Take 12 Steps for Your Health

Download Your

Take 12 Steps for Your Health in 2016 Calendar

Download 2016 Calendar

12 Months, 12 healthy goals. Don't miss out on this year's great wellness opportunities in the Fairfax County community! The calendar contains fitness and wellness tips, ways to improve your nutritional habits, and better health ideas for kids, teens and adults. Also, the calendar contains coupons to use throughout the year. STEP UP to better health!

The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:

  • Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
  • Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
  • Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
  • Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
  • Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!

pledge card

Download the Take 12 Pledge

2016 Healthy Strides Community 5k/10K, Burke Lake Park, April 22, 2017
2016 Healthy Strides Community Expo, SpringFest, April 30, 2016

We are seeking support from local businesses and organizations for Take 12! Steps for Community Health in 2015. Our participants are the same people your business is looking to attract. Take advantage of this opportunity.


Achievement Award Winner

Healthy Strides Race and Expo are
2015 NACo Award Winners


Healthy Workshops and Events are always being added!
Check our events calendar often for great opportunities in the community.

All events are free (unless indicated with a "$") and require advanced registration.
To register, please email


We are looking for people who have used the Take 12 program and found better health as a result of their participation. We are also looking for any kind of feedback about the program - the calendar, events, workshops, tips, articles - anything that you want to tell us, we're listening! Email us at


Take 12 Newsletter


Phone: 703-324-8423

Mailing Address:
Fairfax County Park Authority
Attn: Take 12 Program
12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 425
Fairfax, VA 22035-1118

All content within is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health. Always consult your physician or health care provider before taking any new medication, beginning any program of exercise, or following any health or wellness advice contained herein.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

ADA Accessibility | Website Accessibility
Awards | FOIA | Mobile | Using this Site | Web Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Get Adobe Reader
Official site of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, © Copyright 2016

Website Feedback Website Feedback    Globe with various flags representing Web site language translations   Language Translations

Return to Graphic Version