When someone is desperate, how hard to they seek to get help? If someone is in pain, how quick to they seek comfort? When someone needs guidance, how much effort do they invest in finding it? If someone loses a job, how hard are they searching for a new one?
Over my years in the fitness industry, I’ve marveled at how many people who desperately need help are not desperately seeking it. I think of the story about a crippled man in the Bible who lay by, what was believed to be, a healing pool for YEARS. He literally lay there waiting for someone to pick him up and take him to the pool to get healed. I think many people (including me at times) are like that guy, waiting on someone or something else to do all the heavy lifting. Sometimes it’s because we are overwhelmed by the task that could be required of us to take action. Many times it is just pure ignorance – we have no idea what to do. Sadly, most of the time, it is just pure laziness. We’d rather hope for a miracle, than exert ourselves in fear doing a lot of work for no reward.
Listen, people who work get the reward. People just have unrealistic expectations, and they have a warped definition of the word “work”. They do a little work, and expect a big reward. They work for a short time, and expect the payoff to keep coming even if they quit.
Seek and You Will Find
It is rare that I see someone really seeking to lose weight who doesn’t lose it. People will often say “I tried, I really tried”, but if you were to reach deeeeep within their soul and could get the truth out of them, the real answer is “I tried a little”, “I tried once”, “I thought I tried”.
If you try to play the piano for the first time, you don’t expect to play Beethoven within a few “tries”. No, you don’t even learn a song at first. You start by learning the basics (#boring #uneventful #nofun). You have to learn the fundamentals before you can even read music or learn a song. With practice, you finally get to learn a song. You celebrate when you can finally play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with one hand. Then, you celebrate again when you learn to add your left hand. Then, after practicing, practicing and practicing, you begin to play the same song a little better, a little easier. Then you are ready for the next song – and it will be just as elementary as the first.
I can remember piano lessons, and I admit I was SO impatient. I would get so frustrated. I wanted to immediately jump in and play a more difficult “cool” song effortlessly without much practice. As a result, I’d take shortcuts. I’d play by ear, instead of reading music. I’d make up things that sounded good just so I could keep appearing to move forward. The problem was, I wasn’t moving forward. I was exactly where I left off. I might have “sounded” better, but I had not improved.
How often do we act like this in life? We do what we want to do to make us appear more successful (with our job, with our weight loss, with relationships, with God), yet many times we are exactly where we left off – exactly in the same place we were when we stopped actually WORKING.
I want to challenge you today to SEEK HARDER. Seek the things you desire to improve in your life with all your might. Seek answers to your weight loss plateau, seek help in your marriage, seek God in your life – and seek until you find.
God doesn’t ever ask us to do work for no reward. A matter of fact, He constantly talks about what we “get” when we seek Him. The key is understanding the word seek. I think we think of the word “seek” more like Steve seeks something in the fridge. He opens the door, looks at the contents and closes the door saying “Bonnie, where’s the BBQ sauce?” I’ll reply with “it should be in the door”. He’ll tell me he looked there. I will go on to list a few other places it could be and he’ll tell me he looked there too. The fact is, he didn’t really SEEK, he looked. Of course, I’ll go right to the refrigerator, open the door, move a few items out of the way and find it within 30 seconds. Why? I wasn’t looking, I was seeking.
Vines Dictionary’s definition of ‘Seek’:
To “seek” to ascertain a meaning (meaning, seek until you understand)
Are you seeking things like that? Are you seeking God like that? Are you seeking answers to your marriage issues or weight issues like that? Striving for, seeking until you fully understand, seeking until you find what you are looking for?
I had to laugh when Joyce Meyer was talking about how people act like they don’t understand what “seeking God” means. She then listed off a few examples of how we seek out stuff in life, like the woman seeking a 75% OFF sale or the guy in the deer stand seeking the deer in the freezing cold.
Don’t you think your life is worth the effort to REALLY seek the things that really matter? Your physical health, your spiritual health – happiness, joy, peace and well-being?
Today, make a commitment to stop looking and start SEEKING.
Today’s Spiritual Workout:
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalms 34:10
People aren’t just born awesome, they decide to TRY to be awesome – and with practice, they become more awesome every day. Fear is the #1 roadblock to greatness. They don’t let fear stop them from dreaming, trying or quitting. They recognize there is a risk on the quest for greatness. Your “greatness” maybe being a great mom, the healthiest you, a successful career person, a person who dedicates their life to making a difference. I’m not talking about money or power, I’m talking about being the best you can be. The healthiest you, the strongest you, the best you.
Sure you may fail. You may feel embarrassed. You may not get the results you want fast enough. You may not be the greatest on the planet, but I guarantee you, if you TRY you will be better than you ever could be without trying. What you should really fear is never trying to find out what you could do and who you could be if you don’t let fear get in the way.
Is what you are doing right now stretching you? Are you a little uncomfortable? Are you are little scared? Are you pushing your body. Are you challenging yourself with good habits and discipline? Are you depriving yourself of the temporary to be better longterm? If you aren’t doing these things, you will never see your very best. You will never become the best you possible.
Get ready to be motivated and be ready to take your life to the next level – more commitment, more confidence, more determination, more dedication, more perseverance. You. Can. Do. This!
I’ve been off my “diet” (AKA: Eating clean) for a month or so now. We’ve been staying pretty strict over the last year and wanted to take a break, and just have a little fun. (That even just sounds dumb already! Like we can’t have fun without a burger and ice cream?) Anyway, our plan was to start dieting again after July 4th. Monday, July 7th was the day to kick it back into high gear – but seriously, I just couldn’t wait. I couldn’t stand how I felt one more second!
I was so sick of feeling crappy, flabby and lazy. I had it up to my eyeballs in high-calorie food. 80% of the food I ordered I didn’t even really like that much. It was like I was on the search for something to satisfy my tastebuds in some special way. I almost boycotted salads because I can have those every day when I’m eating clean. I tried to squeeze in every food item I normally limit – and what a let down! Then, I thought “I really like the way eating clean tastes and makes me feel. So WHY OH WHY do I want to eat garbage?”
Don’t get me wrong, an occasional burger is no biggie, but hot wings one day, pizza the next, and ice cream too – that’s just dumb. Crappy food makes me feel crappy. It has no real fuel and nutrients to energize me so I am also more tired and less likely to workout. It’s double dumb! Yet, when I eat clean most of the time and have a small treat, it’s awesome. It’s not enough to make me feel bad and it’s just enough to satisfy a craving. That’s smart. So, why can’t I always be smart? I think it’s because we feel like we are missing something. How stupid is THAT!
When we are dieting, we aren’t missing anything worth missing. It’s when we are eating poorly, we are really missing out. We are missing out on feeling awesome in our clothes, as well as feeling energized to really LIVE and have fun. Our confidence is better, we are stronger, we are happier, we are more apt to do stuff we wouldn’t do when we feel fat and ugly (like go to the beach or wear a fitted dress). We don’t mind being in pictures, we are more positive to be around and aren’t as depressed. That’s not worth missing. Eating pizza and feeling like a big greasy slob afterwards? That’s worth missing!
So, the next time you feel like you are missing something when you are dieting, remember no chocolate in the world is worth what you’d be missing if you weren’t dieting & exercising! Making poor choices is trading the positive effects of healthy living for a temporary pleasure. It’s ain’t worth it – and it’s just plain dumb!
Let’s eat smarter!!
Before you can set goals, before you can change your ways, before you make any big decisions, before you commit to anything, there is something you must do first. You must consider the cost. Then, you weigh the cost with the reward.
Most people fail because they are too focused on the reward to consider the cost. They don’t dig deep enough to find out exactly what sacrifices are required. They jump in blindly ready to get the reward, without really being prepared for the work. As a result they fail, they quit or they get fired, divorced or unfriended.
How many times do we see this is the job place? People seem so excited to get a job, to get the paycheck, to enjoy the benefits….but they seem shocked they have to do a job – as if they had no clue they’d be expected to actually work for the pay.
You see it in the marriage. People love the idea of being loved, but forget there is a cost. Is it worth it? Heck yeah!!!! But, sadly, many people never really, REALLY think about what will be expected of them if they want to continue to be loved “til death do us part”.
When it comes to fitness, there is also a cost. Being fit costs time. It normally cost some amount of money. It may even cost you relationships (typically unhealthy ones you don’t need anyway). It will likely cost your favorite food fix, giving up a few bad habits and it the price of hard work. Sacrifices must be made. The question you have to ask yourself is “are you willing to make the sacrifice to get the reward?”.
David (in 1 Chronicles) was smart and understood true sacrifice. After he screwed up big time, he desired to pay full price for the sacrifice he was going to give to the Lord. Even after being offered a gift, he insisted on paying FULL price. I believe we should have that type of desire in everything we do. We should live in a way where we aren’t always looking for shortcuts all the time, but we are looking on ways we can pay in full – and be excited to do it.
As we say in the fitness world, EARN IT. Not that we can ever earn God’s forgiveness or love, there is something to say about how good it feels to earn our pay and to earn our good health. Even as a Christian, it’s great to know we are doing the right thing. It’s the earning process that is the learning process.
If we mess up, we need to accept it fully, and be willing to pay for our mistake in FULL. If we ate too much, if we were lazy and if we were irresponsible, we deserve where we are and we should be OK with paying for it. Anything else would be cheating (like David felt).
We can’t expect to fix a mistake without cost. We also can’t expect there not to be repercussions to our mistake and act surprised or irritated when we face them. We can’t expect to have someone else fix us. We can’t keep trying to find someone, or something, to take the blame.
We must be willing to pay full price for our mistakes. We must embrace the work, realizing it’s the work that will make us proud. It’s the hard work that will grow our character and shape us into the person God desires us to be. Short cuts cut corners, including cutting out important part of our personal growth. Not only that, they rarely work.
Insist on paying full price!
This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. When life throw it’s toughest punches, it’s human instinct to punch back. However, the best reaction is not always your first reaction.
Next time you feel attacked by people, work, finances or trials, the best medicine is to do something great. Fight stress by focusing on meeting other’s needs (it takes your mind off your own sorrows). Fight meanness by loving others. Fight laziness and fatness with exercise and eating healthy. Fight depression by surrounding yourself with people who lift you up and encourage one another.
The devil wants you to respond negatively to his negative attacks. And don’t you think for a second that people are your target of anger. It’s ultimately the devil that’s behind it all, so direct all your anger toward him. People are just the instrument of destruction. And he would love to use you too if you let him!
If you realllly wanna get him back, give him exactly what he DOESN’T want – anything positive. It truly is the biggest black eye you could ever give him. And then you get to smile, knowing you won.
OK, can I get a count by lifting your hands: Who wants to be weak? I’m pretty sure no one is raising their hand right now. No one is jumping up and down saying “Meeee! Meee!” No one wants to be weak. People want to be STRONG! And even if they are not strong, they want to appear strong.
What is required for strength? Well, in the fitness world, building strength requires lifting things that are quite difficult. It requires putting your body under great pressure. Our body doesn’t get stronger using the same 5lbs weights we started with. No, we have to keep moving up, keep trying heavier weights and keep challenging our body – many times to the point of failure (or perceived failure).
I personally HATE to fail. That’s why I hate pistol squats. I only can do so many before complete failure. Not only that, I can’t do them really well, and I can’t do that many of them. Even if I do as many as I set out to do, I consider myself a failure because they aren’t deep as I want, I’m not flexible enough to hold my dang foot out in front of me and I am not strong enough to pump that many out. I leave that exercise every time feeling like a big fat failure.
This is why I don’t like doing them. This is why I want to quit trying them. I stink at them. BUUUUT, I know I will NEVER get any better, any stronger or any more flexible unless I keep trying them.
Part of success is mastering the art of failing without it getting in the way of your goals.
We must realize every success requires many failures. We MUST fail to succeed. Every failure teaches us what not to do, it tests our strength, it teaches us discipline, it challenges our poor attitude and it grows our character. The good news is with every failure, is also a mini-success. These smaller successes help keep us trying. BUT, without trying, we never experience the small successes.
No one likes to fail. In fact, people try to avoid failure at all costs. People don’t love, for the risk of a failed relationship. People don’t pursue their dreams, because of the risk of failure. Many people don’t even start a diet or workout program because they don’t believe they can succeed and don’t want to be a failure in that too. However, if you want to succeed, you need to be ready for many failures (big or small) along the way. Part of success is mastering the art of failing without it getting in the way of your goals.
Don’t give into your weaknesses. Decide to be strong today. Accept that failure is a part of life, and the more chances you have to fail, the more chances you have to succeed.
Seriously, this is SO ME! As I lay in bed, I think of all the things I should have done and need to do the next day. I think of what I will do better and what I will quit doing. I reflect on both my failures and my successes. Since snacking at night is always a struggle, many nights I think “I blew it”. Sometimes it’s me fussing over 100 extra calories, sometimes it’s 500! Either way, as I lay there, I begin to imagine me burning them off.
I imagine waking up more motivated, strong and disciplined. Honestly, if I could run at night (Yes, technically I can run at night, but I don’t like running in the dark, and it IS bedtime, etc. Just humor me here!)… If I could run at night, I would bolt out of the house like lightening. (Of course this is just my imagination. I’m sure it wouldn’t look like I picture it in my head. Needless to say, I fall asleep thinking I will make it all better in the morning. My pulse even increases. I get excited. I get motivated. I picture myself extra determined and really disciplined. I remember how great it feels to run and how awesome I feel when I stay disciplined. I decide right then that I will start my day off right and I will erase those dang calories tomorrow! Yessss!!!
Now that I have a solid plan in place, I can rest. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Then I wake up. Ut Oh! Where did that girl go!? Where’s the girl that was ready to leap out of bed right into her running shoes? Yes, that girl! Where is she? Have you seen her? Maybe I’ll have a cup of coffee and give her some time to show up. Still no where to be found? OK, maybe I’ll have another cup of coffee. Hmmmmm. Maybe she’s waiting for me outside.
Time to put my running shoes on and go find her. Yes, I must search for her. She is out there somewhere. I can’t wait on her to show up. My results can’t depend on her. I must find her. I will go. I will chase her down. And, every morning I will search for her. Eventually I will find her. Eventually she will show. But until then, I’m running – with or without her!!
We all have excuses why we can’t do certain things, or we why we are down on our luck, but we often act paralyzed when we really are just simply limited. The truth is, most of us have limitations. We just have learned to work around our limitations. Money is limited, time is limited, our abilities are limited. Some people are more limited than others, but we can ALL do something to improve.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you CAN do. Sadly, people often think “if I can’t do it 100%, I won’t do it at all””. Do you have that attitude? That’s no way to live. A better attitude to have is “I may not be able to give 100% in comparison to others, but I can give it MY 100% right now – no matter what that looks like”.
Maybe you feel defeated if you can only workout 2 times a week so your tempted to not exercise at all. Maybe you have a physical limitation that is keeping you from the gym because you can’t do a full body workout, but could you work just part of your body? Maybe your body is able and your mind is willing, but you simply don’t know what to do. Do what you know you CAN do. The point is you can always do SOMETHING.
Make a list of things you CAN’T change right this minute that bring you down. Now make a list of things you CAN change that will improve your life, attitude, health and even your situation down the road. Start tackling that list. Do what you can with what you have. Even if you can’t change your situation, you can change you for your situation. As a result, your situation often changes too. :)
No More Excuses.
“When you want to give up, just think of the people who want to see you fail. Don’t give them that pleasure.”
This was a quote I posted on instagram yesterday, along with this text as I was thinking out loud: “Sometimes you don’t care about failing as long as you can fail privately. But when you realize there are people out there who would actually enjoy watching you fail, laugh at you behind your back and rejoice in your defeat, it’s sometimes just what you need to make you mad enough, hurt deep enough and become determined enough to do whatever it takes to not give them that pleasure! So instead. While it really doesn’t matter what they think, you can use the very thing they mean for harm to fuel you to succeed. So go ahead and hate on me and wish me harm or failure, because it’s exactly what I need to go one more rep, one more step, one more try.”
Later last night, Steve and I had a long chat about this. First, we both agree that you should lose weight, be healthy or try to reach your goals for YOURSELF. Not to prove a point, not to do it for your spouse or not to do it because someone is making you. No. The first reason we work on our fitness is for our OWN good. Agreed?
Fear of Failure or Fuel for Success?
So, the next question was “if you shouldn’t care about what people think, is it wrong to use what they think to fuel you to succeed?” Personally, I don’t think so – as long as you can use it (within reason) for a positive, healthy result.
I know good and well I should care less what people think. We all have haters. No matter how nice you are or how “good” you are, people will dislike you, wish you failure and be happy if you don’t succeed. Why? It stems from jealousy. If you succeed, it is just a reminder of what they could do or have if they tried as hard as you did. When people feel bad about themselves, they don’t want to be around people who actually are happy, healthy or successful. OR, if it’s a rival, sometimes it’s simply because they want all the attention and want to stay on top. Either way, since you will always have these people in your life, you can decide now what type of response you will have. You can A: ignore them (not a bad idea), B: resent them or C: benefit from them. I choose either A or C (depending on the person or situation).
Most of the time I use it to fuel me, to hold me accountable, and to stretch me to do more than I am willing to do. I am extremely lazy by nature. I was born with one extra big lazy bone. While some areas are easy for me to succeed, other areas (like discipline and physical labor) are challenging. So, I have to figure out ways to push myself, to motivate myself and to keep myself pressing forward to my goal. How do I do that? I use one of my character flaws to actually bring about good in my life.
Say hello to pride.
Pride: Good or Bad
Webster defines it as: “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.” There you have it. Pride. Yuck!
Pride is typically referred to as a very negative characteristic, and it’s something I am not proud of at all (no pun intended lol). I can’t particularly say I get deep satisfaction from my own achievements, however I can admit I get deep dissatisfaction with failure. I HATE to fail – so much so, I won’t even try something new if there is a risk of bombing at it. This is something I discovered recently and am working to improve. I am not perfect so I don’t know why I have such high expectations of myself, but I do. Always have.
“It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.” Proverbs 25:27
I believe it is healthy and normal to have a certain amount of pride and have those proud moments. I can be proud of an accomplishment or take pride in my work. However, if I am full of pride and haughtiness, I think that’s totally wrong. (When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2). Webster choose these synonyms for prideful: disdainful, haughty, lofty, lordly, superior. And the main antonym for prideful is humble. Another words, you can’t be prideful and humble at the same time, so it’s something you really have to keep in check.
Just like it’s wrong to eat too much “honey” (AKA: food), you can have too much pride. If I’m careful to manage my pride and not focus on the selfish victorious feeling (that deep satisfaction Webster talks about), I can use the very thing that is meant for bad to bring about good in my life. The same way it is not good to care what people think, we shouldn’t not care at all – to the point we lose our drive to be the best we can be. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” 1 Corinthians 9:24. The last thing God wants us to do is become complacent, and I think many people say “I don’t care what they think” as a way to stay complacent. Sure, don’t measure your self-worth based on what others think, but why not use their opinions to encourage self-examination and drive to become better?
Some people use competitions to drive them, some use weight loss contests to push them or they even reward themselves with money or shopping. I really don’t have a need to succeed big, I just don’t want to fail big. I love striving for goals, but they are regular normal goals – nothing insane, nothing flashy, just me trying to be the best me.
One of the things that drives me is knowing people are counting on me to lead by practicing what I preach. I also know there are people are counting on me to fail. Even Joyce Meyer uses Satan’s desire to ruin her day or damage her ministry to fuel her to do what’s right in good. She calls it giving Satan a ultimate black eye. I love it! Whatever you choose to use to drive you, we could all use a little more accountability.
What drives you? What gets under your skin? What pushes YOU to succeed? Do you train for a race? Do you work towards hitting the stage? Do you exercise to improve skill and compete in physical competitions like CrossFit games or mud runs? Or do you let those nasty mean coworkers of yours fuel you to keep showing up even though they’ve already made fun of your dieting, already reminded you of how many times you failed, told you of all their friends who have “tried that” and it didn’t work, and taunt you with chocolate and fast food? There’s no wrong answer here. You just have to figure out what you need to use to push you to improve and not give up. :)
But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7
I think of all the people who have tried to get fit for YEARS and failed. THEN, they decide to join one more gym, do one more boot camp, hire one more trainer, try one more diet program, take one more class, do one more fitness program, join one more support group, try one more time – and they SUCCEED!
What if they didn’t try one more time? They would have never known that success was just around one more corner.
I challenge you today to make it your goal, your mantra, your promise to yourself that you will never stop trying one more thing to help you get fit. Fitness rarely works for people on their first try. Everyone has to learn what they enjoy, learn how to train right and eat right and learn how to bounce back when they mess up – because everyone messes up.
I’ve seen WAY too many people who said “I’m not a gym person” turn into gym people. I’ve seen people who truly thought they’d never be able to lose weight lose 100lbs. I’ve seen elderly and feeble feel young and strong. Each one of them had to take the risk and try “one more time” – and it paid off.
Where are you in your fitness journey? Are you at a standstill? Are you in reverse? Are you questioning if you can ever reach your goals? Are you ready to give up? No matter where you are, remember…Just. One. More.