The dominant challenge we face when striving to obtain a goal or make a life change is OURSELVES.
But if you don’t allow yourself to make excuses or look for a back door, you’ll be much, much more successful. AND if you choose to look at multiple sources of data, you’ll have a more complete picture of the situation and be able to measure your progress better. (I’ll share a personal example in a bit.)
I also indicated that we cultivate our bad habits over time.
You know what that means, don’t you?
We MUST be patient when looking for our desired results!
The catch? We live in an “instant culture.”
Express lanes, same-day delivery, and instant food have conditioned us to want what we want now. We’ve come to expect to get our yearnings met immediately—with little to no waiting. We’ve come to anticipate obtaining our desires on our terms—cheap, to our specifications, and no sacrifices necessary. And we want to invest little to no effort to see our dreams come true; our hungers satisfied; our goals met.
Beloved, this is NOT how the world works! Nor is it how God works! (Proverbs 12:24, 13:4, 19:15, 24:30-34)
Satan has filled our cultural-mind with lies to slow down the spread of the gospel and to keep people lazy. Unsatisfied. Unmotivated. Jealous. Selfish. Apathetic. Uncaring. While God tells us to work at EVERYTHING as if we’re working for Him (Colossians3:23); to serve Him with zeal (Romans 12:11).
You know that. And I know that (now).
But somehow that doesn’t seem to protect us from this slothful way of thinking. We become the sluggard who thinks himself wiser than anyone else but has nothing to show for it (Proverbs 26:16).
This mindset isn’t a big deal when getting coffee or ordering something on Amazon, but it’s a significant incumbrance when trying to implement life changes while breaking old habits; when setting goals and making plans to see them come into reality.
If we aren’t careful, we’ll become ensnared in this trap when we don’t see immediate and significant results. We’ll be at risk of believing what we’re doing isn’t working. And we’ll give ourselves an excuse to give up and go back to the way things have always been even when we know it’s not God’s best for us. And we’ll feel miserable. Defeated. Like we’ll never(fill in the blank). Which is why the percepts I share in part 1 are so relevant; why my story can help you if you CHOOSE to let it.
So, what did I mean about multiple sources of data?
My gym is one of those high intensity, trainer-guided, never-the-same-thing-twice, in-and-out in 60 minutes kind of gyms. Actually, the workouts are 45 minutes long, but you need to allow for some socializing at the end.
I love it! It’s perfect for me!It’s exceptionally challenging and full of incredible people—which is vitally important to me. I’ve done the impersonal workout—I’ve done it—and hated it.
There was no connection, nothing personal, no reason to go the next day and the next. There was no encouragement or support. And I need that. Plus, it feels awesome when the people notice you’ve been missing due to illness or vacation and they check in with you to see how you are doing/feeling/or to hear about your trip.
The trainers and participants create a family-like atmosphere where everyone’s welcome, and there’s always room at the table.
I also prefer guided training, so I don’t have to think about what’s next. I just have to worry about the exercise I’m on, maintaining a good form, and giving it all I have.
Before my first workout I:
- Stepped on the scale (cringe)
- Measured nine critical places on my body
- Took a before picture. (No, I’m not sharing that with you, lol.)
Because, as we learned in health class, muscle tissue weighs more than fat and takes up much less space. I knew my body would be making incredible changes long before my scale noticed. And I knew I was going to need that reminder as I proceeded.
My first two weeks at the gym were brutal.
I’ve never worked out so hard in my life—not even during half-marathon training! I was exhausted! I hurt all over. I discovered muscles I didn’t know I had—without an anatomy book.
But the people encouraged me, cheered me on—and I kept going.
I knew as I advanced the workouts would still be hard, but my recovery time would be more manageable. I knew my body would adjust. I would get stronger.
And it did. And I did.
After two months of giving it my all Monday through Friday, of sweating like a glass of lemonade in July, of working as hard as I am able; I have lost—
Well, almost nothing. My scale read-out today was 3.4 pounds less than when I started. In fact, in November the scale told me I was 3-4 pounds heavier than when I started.
Now, if I had just taken my weight before I started, that would have been enough to make me quit. Two months in and I wasn’t seeing the results I expected. In fact, I was going backwards! I had every right to say, “I’m out! Done! Fini’!”
I would have been just in determining this wasn’t working!
That is, if my only goal was to lose weight.
But it wasn’t.
My goals were:
- To be more fit
- To be more healthy
- To lose weight
However, I felt discouraged as my scale numbers started creeping up. I felt Disappointed. Crushed. Like a failure.
Then, in the middle of November, I remembered my measuring tape.
I remembered my other set of data.
I quickly took my measurements. Then I retook them. I couldn’t believe it! I had lost more than two inches on my waist alone! What?!
I WAS seeing results! I am getting more fit! How thankful I was to have another perspective, another viewpoint, another set of data to determine results. To get a more complete picture of the situation.
Then I took a picture and compared. Less pudge. Less flab. More muscle tone.
And then I paid more attention to my clothes—they fit better, hung nicer. AND I needed a belt to hold up my jeans!
I am NOWHERE near meeting my goals fitness-wise, and there are many more action items to add to my regimen along the way. My next big goals on this journey are to make better food choices, to add running back into my routine, and to use my WalkTop when writing. But it’s a process. I’ve learned from past mistakes. Get one part down (in this scenario, working out) and while I’m continuing with that (working out) add the next piece (better food choices). Then while I continue with those, and the next bit (WalkTop and running).
In part 3, I will share HOW I set my goals and break them down into bite-sized pieces.
But today, I want you to evaluate your attitude as you evaluate your goals. Remember to bring God into this (as we talked about in part 1).
Then ask yourself…
- Are there back doors left open or unlocked?
- Have you left excuses to be gathered?
- Are you willing to be patient as you break bad habits and make new ones?
- Are you willing to put in the required effort to achieve your goals?
Until next time, Blessings!