For the past three weeks I’ve been diligently working on my “New Years Resolution List”. Just like countless former ‘NYR Lists’, the subject of Weight loss & Fitness is written near the top. And, just like every other year, I had good intentions. But unlike every other year, I made an important discovery which is helping me overcome my ultimate stumbling blocks to fitness.
First, I had to resolve two logistical hangups:
- WHERE: As regular readers know, I love walking outdoors with my dog Joey. However, since I live in a part of the country that experiences extreme weather conditions I need an ‘indoor option’ for consistency. From past experience, exercising at home doesn’t hold my interest. I discovered [much to my embarrassment] that I actually OWN a gym membership, which I’ve been auto-paying for as part of a ‘couples package’ for well over one year [oops] OK. Location solved.
- WHEN: This has always been my fitness “Goliath”. I have conjured up a million wonderful, valid and legitimate excuses as to why I cannot be a consistent ‘fitness buff’, all excuses revolving around the fact that “There’s simply no time.” But, when I actually faced the giant, and looked it in the eye, the issue wasn’t about time, it was about commitment.
The truth is, we can always find time for something we are truly committed to. So, I needed to find a WAY, and also the WILL. First, I objectively analyzed my week, and discovered a pattern. For the past two years, every Sunday morning my alarm goes off at 5 am, I pop out of bed, I hop in the shower, and I leave the house on time like clockwork to keep my unique church commitment. During the rest of the week, my alarm goes off at 6:30 am, I hit the ‘snooze’ button at least once, I finally drag up my grouchy and groggy self, and I end up rushing around frantically to get to work on time.
I had to face the facts. If I can get up at 5 am every Sunday for two years, then I am perfectly capable to do the same thing every other day of the week.
Found: The WHEN and the WAY.
Last, I needed the WILL to exercise. From my personal experience of the past 2 years, it is clear that having a sacred calling attached to a commitment adds an extra layer of motivation. This made me ponder my fitness commitment a little deeper.
Here were the steps to my discovery:
- God gave me a body.
- He declared this gift is a holy temple for my spirit.
- My Body is an essential part of my Soul.
- I am responsible to take care of my body-gift, which includes physical fitness. This is a sacred calling. LDS Apostle Elder David A. Bednar taught:
“An essential part of the test of mortality is having and properly using a physical body”
– Bednar, ” Ye Are The Temple Of God“
[Next came my “Ah-Ha! Moment” or, as some say, “The light bulb finally switched on”]
- I formally accepted my personal calling from God to take care of His holy gift. I committed to Him that I would rise at 5 am each day and engage in fitness activity for one hour [with Sunday as my “day of rest”].
So far, so good. Exercise excuses are now a thing of the past! My alarm goes off at 5 am, I rise & [not quite] shine, I dress and leave the house. I found it’s a ‘no-brainer’ routine for me. However, this is something I have tried and failed so many times, and so many years, I’ve lost count. The difference today is that I’m participating in a sacred committment. Essentially, I’ve made God my workout partner.
When the weather warms up, I’ll start pounding the pavement with Joe Dog more often. Meanwhile, I’ve been getting acquainted with my neighborhood Gym. I’m finding out it has a lot to offer, and I really enjoy the variety! The best part is how I feel afterwards, besides the sore muscles. My whole outlook on life is slowly but surely transforming!
This morning, as I started hobbling on a treadmill, I was pleased to find my machine had it’s own TV screen [what won’t they think up next?]. I stumbled on the BYU Broadcasting Channel, which was replaying a talk given to BYU students in Sept. 1999 by Elder James E. Faust , entitled “Our Search For Happiness“. It was brilliant. Every word, quote, phrase, example and story he used was inspiring! As I struggled along fulfilling my cardio quotient, I found Elder Faust’s words motivating. In fact, I kept up my pace longer than planned, just so I could hear his entire message. I encourage you to watch, listen or read the entire talk.
Here are a couple of excerpts that helped me find happiness today on a treadmill!
“Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume. Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather than thinking in terms of a day, we perhaps need to snatch happiness in little pieces, learning to recognize the elements of happiness and then treasuring them while they last.” – Elder Faust
The Odessy To Happiness
“In the story The Little Prince, the fox was wiser than he knew when he said, “Now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”.
The odyssey to happiness lies in the dimension of the heart. Such a journey is made on stepping-stones of selflessness, wisdom, contentment, and faith. The enemies of progress and fulfillment are such things as self-doubt, a poor self-image, self-pity, bitterness, and despair. By substituting simple faith and humility for these enemies, we can move rapidly in our search for happiness.” – Elder Faust