Yesterday I talked about living with purpose – and the importance in making sure each step, each bite and each decision leads you to where you want to go. Taking the RIGHT steps also means avoiding the WRONG ones.
My pastor just was talking about Eve being tempted in the garden. As many times as I have read that and heard that story, I never realized 2 very powerful life-changing points. One, she was CLOSE to the one thing she was supposed to avoid. Why was she even hanging out around the tree that she was forbidden to eat from? Stupid right? Yet, we hang out with friends who are a horrible influence on us, and visit restaurants we have no business being around while dieting too.
Two, she was TALKING ABOUT the forbidden fruit. How ridiculous is that?! If we have issues with sweets, let’s say, should we go down the cookie and candy aisle? Should we really put our brain, and taste buds, through the torture of talking about it? The same way Eve should not have allowed herself to have a long conversation with Satan about whether she should eat the forbidden fruit or not, we too should avoid tempting conversation (EVEN WITH OURSELF) about things that are off limits. Trust me, just like Eve did, you can easily begin to doubt your beliefs, justify your actions, and before you know it, you have messed up.
Anything that is standing in the way of you being your best, and becoming the person God called you to be, has no place in your life – not now, maybe not ever.
Here are 4 Tips to Protecting Yourself From Your Greatest Temptations:
1. Know your weakness. Charles Stanley said, “One of the important things about temptation is, if I’m going to deal with it I’m going to have to recognize, this is an area of weakness in my life. I have been tempted here before and before and before.” You can’t possibly protect yourself from something you think is not an issue for you. Ironically, one of the hardest steps for addicts is to admit they are powerless over their addiction. They think they are making the choice, or there is a reason they do it. It’s not until they completely surrender and admit they are powerLESS, that they can become powerFUL!
2. Be willing to let go (for good). Some people can eat pizza occasionally and keep their weight off. Others can’t. If you are truly obsessed with food, you may need to treat it as a true addiction. Your whole thought process may not just need to change for a period (like while you are dieting), but forever. There are plenty of people who do cocaine and never get addicted. In the same way, you must know what you can and cannot handle. If you have dieted before, but gained the weight back, it’s likely that you simply set aside your addiction for later, instead of laying it down for good.
Be willing to let go of the things that are ruining you – not just for a period, but be WILLING to let go of them for life (if that’s what it takes). Anything that is standing in the way of you being your best, and becoming the person God called you to be, has no place in your life – not now, maybe not ever. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can never have it again, but letting go completely (and being OK if you never have it again , knowing you are trading it for SO MUCH MORE) is the first step toward a permanent change. Letting it go doesn’t just set it free, it sets YOU free.
3. Focus on what you are gaining, not what you are losing. So many people are SO busy focusing on what they are giving up, that they never truly realize what they are trading it in for. Is the freedom to order whatever you want at your favorite restaurant REALLY that much more important than losing weight, being fit and healthy, and feeling good about yourself? Your issue may not be the food itself, but giving up the “right” or “freedom” of doing what you want. Either way, the reality is most people are miserable when they are overweight and out of shape. They are insecure, depressed, restricted, physically uncomfortable, unattractive feeling, weak, out of shape, sick and tired. That is what poor decisions cost us. Personally, I can’t even think about what I want, or what I’m giving up. I just have to focus on what I’m GETTING – and it trumps my favorite treat any day.
4. Run from temptation. Not only should we not be around it, we have to physically and mentally work on getting the obsession of food out of our mind. I believe a lot of us struggle with things more than we should because we LET ourself fixate on it. We think about it, dream about it, talk about it and make future plans with it. When we diet, we even SEARCH for ways to still get it. Whether we look for the newest latest low-fat, gluten-free, paleo version of it, or whatever, we are still allowing our obsession to live with us.
Let’s think of it this way. Pretend it’s something that is SERIOUSLY WAY off limits – like another man or woman, an illegal drug, or breaking the law. We know to run from those things. We know not to focus on them. We know to push those thoughts out of our head as soon as they pop up. However, food can be just as dangerous if we LET those thoughts stay and take residence in our mind. They set up camp, they bring all their friends and, before you know it, they are ruling your body. If you want to really cut ties with your “drug of choice”, then you need to go to extreme measures to sever ties completely. With a drug addict, that means changing phones, blocking calls, deleting phone numbers, joining a support group, arranging people to hold you accountable daily, ending unhealthy friendships, changing your circle of friends, avoiding certain places, etc. AND, even if you do most of those things, if you don’t do it all you are still leaving an opening for failure. Are you running from temptation, only to leave a forwarding address so it can find you later?
- What is your weakness? Let’s get specific today. What is the one thing (or things) you could not imagine giving up forever?
- Would you be willing to live without ______________ for the rest of your life if you knew in your heart you could reach your goals and succeed? You must be happy and whole with just you and God alone. If you panic at the thought of never having _____________ again, then you have an obsession. Surrender that obsession and realize how important it is to not rely on certain things to make you happy. Truthfully, it’s often those very things that are destroying us.
- Make a list of the things that are most important to you (that you are gaining) by pursuing your fitness journey. Compare those benefits to the item(s) you listed in question #1.
- Look for the cracks in your plan. Have you closed every door, or are you leaving a door cracked somewhere? Commit today to close all doors and FULLY 100% commit to changing your life forever.
DON’T FORGET! Subscribe to get your daily fitness tips and motivation for my 2014 New Year Motivation!
Would you run a little faster if someone was timing you? Would you lift one more rep if people were circled around you cheering you on? Would you make the same choices if your trainer went home with you and watched you prepare a meal, or sat next to you on the couch while you snacked?
What about how you live? Would you tell a certain joke if your pastor was in the room. Would you complain about your job if your boss was listening? Would you take Jesus to all the movies you’ve seen?
I believe, if you answered these questions honestly, you would probably act a bit differently if you ate, trained and lived like everyone important was watching.
YOU are important – and YOU are watching. You know everything you are doing, and what you could be doing better or different. So why cheat yourself? Even if your trainer doesn’t see you eat ice cream at night, you will wake up with the guilt – whether they find out or not. You will judge yourself. No one else has to live with the decisions you make in secret.
Don’t get me wrong. I make plenty of bad decisions in private – and public too, for that matter. I’m no angel. I’m the queen of opening my mouth when I should have kept it shut. As much as I want to do the right thing and be good, my nasty flesh comes out and I spew out ugliness, laziness and selfishness in a hurry. While I’m just as wrong as the next person, I believe we should always remember to TRY to strive for improvement – in public AND in private.
What you do in private eventually comes out for all to see. If you cuss at home, you are sure to cuss eventually in front of someone. If you eat poorly when no one is watching, it will show up on your body. If you are a disgruntled employee, it WILL show in your attitude or work performance (and your boss will know – believe me, I know! ha!). If you want to change the way people see you, and you also want to see yourself differently too – start changing the way you act, and think, when you are alone.
You have to live with you for the rest of your life, so work to become a person you can forgive, be proud of, and be happy to live with. No matter how hard you try, you WILL fail. Just try to fail less often.
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” ― John Wooden.
Make a decision today to eat, train and live like everyone is watching.
I think we’d be in a much better place if we didn’t focus on where we were but, instead, focused on where were are going. We tend to obsess over what we are NOT, and forget who we ARE, and who we are BECOMING.
I’m not a fast runner, but I run. I am not super strong, but I lift. I am getting faster, and I am getting stronger. Unfortunately, most of us are very impatient. We want to get the the “finish lines” of life in one big step, but that is unrealistic. We rarely get anywhere in life in one step. Everything great takes time. But, what separates the success stories from the failures is not really how strong or fast someone is, but whether they persevere.
Although I am not suggesting you become complacent and not care about your overall performance, what I am suggesting is that you don’t focus so much on your performance that you forget your accomplishments. Each run you complete, each day you show up to the gym, every calorie you count, and every ounce you lose is an accomplishment.
Whatever you are working toward, You Can Finish This!
Think of where you were once, at your worst. Now think of where you are now. Lastly, think about where you are headed if you continue to press on toward your goals. THAT’s who you are – who you are, is who you are becoming.
Your Finish Line
Here are 4 steps to reaching your finish line.
1. Choose Your Race: Someone who has never run before rarely signs up for a marathon. Most people don’t just “show up” without a little planning. With fitness, “choosing your race” means choosing your goal. This can also mean choosing a gym, a class, a diet or trainer. Before you even take your first step, you have to make some important choices first.
2. Map Your Route: Before a runner starts, they have to know where to go – and so do you. Make sure you know the route to your finish line very well so you can stay on course. Choose some friends to “run with”. Having a workout partner, trainer or a group of people at work working on the same goals can help you from straying or losing focus.
3. Check Points: Create a few small goals and a few moderate goals to help encourage you, as well as make sure you stay on track. Check points can be small weight loss goals, performance based goals, or health improvements like improved resting heart rate or cholesterol levels.
4. Finish Line: Make sure you have main goal, or set of goals, and post them where you can see them every day. Can you imagine running a race with no visible finish line? Make sure your “black and white checkered flag” can be easily seen every moment along your journey. Out of site, means out of mind.
Don’t Throw It All Away
I have met so many people, on the successful end of their fitness journey, who once had a story of failure. Time after time, I’ve heard stories of how people didn’t stick to a diet, how fitness didn’t work for them, how they wasted a gym membership, quit a program, lost weight only to gain it right back, gave up, quit or failed. And then, they made that decision to give it another try – and they succeeded!
My mom tried every diet in the book over a 30 year span, resulting in one failure after another. Today, she stands tall and proud, 100lbs lighter – and has KEPT it off for several years. BUT, what if she never kept trying? What if she decided she was doomed for failure? Do you think she, or any of the people around her who knew she had a history of being on a life-long diet, believed THIS would be IT? I don’t even know if she believed she could do it when she started, but she started anyway.
Ready for Success
What makes someone succeed THIS time? As much as I’d love to believe it’s our awesome training, our BCx Boot Camp or our gym, they cannot be successful until YOU are ready to be successful.
One, I think you have to let go completely of all your selfish desires. You have to decide that the heavy you, and how you were used to living, is dead and gone – and a new improved you requires drastic change. After you let go of what you think your body wants (food, laziness, not to “miss out” on “living”, etc), then you can focus on what you really want – and what that requires. Once you get your head in the game, you have to commit to it. You have decide you are not stopping no matter how rough it is, how slow it is, and how frustrated you get. Sometimes, you have to purposefully be reminded of where that old destructive path led you.
Strip Away the Old You
I believe you have to get SO sick of the old you, that you realize there is no other choice. Something’s gotta change – and the only thing that YOU can change, is YOU. You realize all your old ways brought you to this ugly place. You recognize the destruction. You acknowledged the unhappiness it has caused. Once those things are very real to you, then you embrace change. You welcome the stripping of flesh, lies and comforts. Once covered with excuses, now you are “naked” and exposed for who you really are and what you have really been allowing in your life that needs to go. You confess (admit) that maybe you have been doing things wrong and that it’s nobody else’s fault. Then, and only then, can you start working on you. You will welcome the clothing of everything healthy. You will be excited about your “2nd, 3rd, or 99th chance” to change – and once you put those healthy things into your life, you realize how good it feels do treat your body right and to do what is right. Then, when you start getting results (which you will) you will never want to go back.
Once you have gone through the mental preparation that success requires, you are ready to show up. You will still have doubt. You will still have temptations. You will wonder what is on the other side, and wonder if this time will be different. You will likely fight the old you every day in some way. BUT, if you keep showing up, you WILL win.
As I reflect on my 19th Wedding Anniversary, I think of all the days we didn’t know what was next. We didn’t know if “this time” it would be better. We didn’t know if we could succeed. BUT we decided to keep showing up. We’ll never forget a scene in a TV show where the main character asked his boss, who was celebrating his anniversary, what the secret to his marriage was and he said “I just keep showing up”. This is not just the case in marriage, but it is the case in fitness – and many other areas of our lives. It became our motto.
There will be many days we don’t want to go to the gym. There will be numerous days we don’t want to do the same job, be married to the same man, or even live the same life. We all have days we don’t want to “show up”, BUT you also never know if the next time you show up, it will be the beginning of success.
Like a dieter who failed 100 times, or the gym member that quit too many times to count, the NEXT time may be the BEST time – and you will NEVER know, if you don’t show up.
Thank you Steve for continuing to show up, even when you didn’t feel like it. Thank you for teaching me to never give up – on us, on fitness and on life. Happy Anniversary!
Do you remember the show, “Let’s Make a Deal“? This was the game show where a contestant is given a prize, like a TV, and then has the option to trade that prize for another prize. The catch? The other prizes are a mystery. It could be bigger and better, or could be a total disappointment. Since the pressure can be too difficult to handle, some contestants choose to keep what they have.
I think this is how we treat our life many times. We choose our current situation, no matter how bad it is, because we hate the unknown even more.
The unknown is scary and being out of control is no fun, but those two things go hand in hand with change. Change requires letting go and taking a leap of faith. Unfortunately, no matter how uncomfortable you may be right this minute, no matter how fat you feel, how tight your pants are, how bad your last doctor’s visit was, or how unhealthy and out of shape you feel, you STILL may not be ready for change.
Who’s In Control?
Ironically, people will choose to stay in their current yucky condition over getting healthy simply because they don’t like being out of control. Sadly, the person who thinks they are in control (and thinks they can eat whatever they want and do what they want) is the most out of control person of all. They have no control of their body compared to the someone who puts restrictions on what they eat and do. The person who has the most control is the person practicing self-control.
You see, you have 2 choices. You can control your body, or you can let your body control you. We are in a constant battle with our flesh. Our body will always want to be lazy and eat for pleasure. But, our mind knows better. We have goals in life. We know we can’t allow our body to do whatever it wants without experiencing repercussions. The problem is, the satisfaction of the temporary pleasure may currently outweigh the repercussions – until the repercussions get so uncomfortable you can’t take it anymore.
“You will be ready for change when you get to the point when your consequences of your actions outlast the pleasure of them.”
Like many repercussions of poor decisions, they build slowly. People don’t get obese overnight. A marriage rarely goes from happy to miserable in one day. Bad situations normally come from many bad decisions. In addition to bad decisions, bad situations become even more difficult because many people often ignore them. As if it’s not bad enough to make poor decisions, now you pretend your bad situation doesn’t exist.
Of course you WANT it to be better, but when you aren’t doing anything to help your situation, you are basically just HOPING it gets better on it’s own. Listen, whether you are struggling in your marriage, struggling with your weight or in your workplace, it will not get better on its own. Change requires work, even if all you can work on is you. Whatever your circumstance is, if it is not ideal, you need to be diligent and relentless to create enough change to make it better.
It’s time to surrender the “uncomfortable known” for the unknown and trade being IN control for being OUT of control – because often times the unknown will be much more comfortable than the known, and you will find there is much more freedom when you are willing to give up control and let go. Today’s the day to take a leap of faith.
Interestingly enough, fitness is not unknown. While many of your experiences along the way to getting fit may be unknown to you, your destination (being healthy) is very known. It’s a sure thing. Unlike “Let’s Make a Deal”, you know what you’ll get if you choose the healthy path. Yes, you will have to give up something, just like the contestants on the show, but does what you currently hold really outweigh the prize of health and having a fit body?
It’s time to “Make a Deal”. It’s time to trade your old ways and old body for a new and improved you – the best known prize of all.
Today’s blog was inspired by “Devotionary, a Devotion with Meaning” by Pastor Bob Coy
People say “don’t do it for anyone else, do it for yourself” but, with weight loss, sometimes that just isn’t enough. It’s unfortunate, but getting our own body fit isn’t always enough motivation to stick with it. Sometimes, there has to be more driving us. It might be an end-goal, like a race, a competition, a vacation, pictures, a job, a date, a reunion, a check up or a number on a scale, or it may be the mere pressure of everyone watching us.
We’ve all been there. We’ve either attempted a diet and failed, or we have set out for a goal that we never reached. If you are a yo-yo dieter that has battled with your weight all your life, one of the first things you think of is what others will think, or what people will say. Will they roll their eyes at your 135,827th attempt to lose weight or will they support you? Will they take you seriously this time? Will they believe in you? Or, are they actually hoping you will fail, so they can say “I told you so” or so things can go back to “normal”.
These are all very real feelings that go through people’s minds, and it can sabotage someone’s success before they even start – OR it can drive them to be a success.
Sometimes our fear of failure is what drives us to success. While I don’t believe we should always worry about what people think all the time, I do believe a healthy dose of care can give us the push we need to succeed.
No one likes being a failure. We all want to be successful, respected, valued and admired – and we can ALL be that person if we want to. We can be the example. We can show everyone in our shoes that they can succeed too. We can prove our enemies wrong and show them we DO have what it takes. We won’t need to talk about working out and dieting, or convince anyone of how bad we want to succeed. Our actions will be the proof of our desire. And the results will speak for themselves – and every day we are tempted to skip, slip, quit, cry, complain, we will remember those who are watching us and we will not give them the pleasure of seeing us fail.
Matching iPhone Lock Screen
Get a constant reminder that your actions always speak louder.
How bad do you want it? Then prove it each and every day!
Here is a simple concept: “Nothing changes if nothing changes”. WOW! What a revelation! I’m sure you already knew that, but I bet you haven’t always practiced what you’ve known. We complain about so many things in our life, yet many of us do nothing to make them better. Our job frustrates us, but we don’t work to improve it or find another job. Our marriage can be a mess, but we are too busy to get the help we need to fix it. Or, our weight is out of control, and we just keep doing what we always do, hoping someday it will change. How retarded is that?
I believe many of us get caught in this vicious cycle because we let our life direct us, instead of us directing our life. We live in survival mode, paycheck to paycheck, day to day, always thinking “if I can just get through this, I will..”. I’ve got news for you. You will never “get through this”. Sure, you might get through this particular trial, this season, this certain difficulty or this day, but as soon as you get through “this”, there will always be another “this” waiting for you.
What are you waiting for?
You have a decision to make. You can keep waiting for a better time to work on the things you know you need to be working on, and live in denial, waiting for life to be easier and your schedule to open up so you can make your dreams come true. OR, you can accept the fact that there is no good time to get healthy, get your life right, fix a relationship or get a better job. Honestly, NOW is the ONLY time that is right.
Believe me, I know. I have put off friendships, vacations, family, marriage, kids and many other opportunities for YEARS, under the assumption that there would be a “better time”. Now, I am 41 years old and I realize that time will NEVER come.
Procrastination: The thief of dreams
• If I want more time with the ones I love,
I can’t wait for time to open up, I have to open my time up.
• If I want to lose weight and get in better shape,
I can’t wait for the right time to work on it, I have to work on making the right time to do it.
• If I want to make more money or get a better job,
I can’t hope someone notices & values me, I have to work hard to be noticed & valued.
• If I want a better marriage,
I can’t wait for a magical moment, I have to create magical moments.
• If I want to get my life on the right track,
I can’t wait for my life to straighten out before I start working on it, I have to work on it (while it’s completely a mess) to begin straightening it out.
Our life will NEVER change unless we change it. What are some of the things you want to change? Are you doing what you need to do to make those changes? If not, you are wasting precious time. You don’t have to wait for change – make it.
Today’s Fitness Mantra:
When it comes to making our New Year’s Resolutions work, it’s all about sticking to your program. Many people START great, but something happens – or, should I say, nothing happens. We get out of our routine, we give up, we don’t try hard enough, we let things get in the way, we get sidetracked, we lose sight of our goals, or we don’t mean to quit. Many times, we procrastinate ourselves right to NEXT New Year! So how can we succeed this year?
You need to set some parameters. That’s right. You need rules! Adults HATE rules. We sure love to dish them out to kids, but we forget why rules are created – because we need boundaries. God recognized our need for rules from the very beginning. Remember the apple tree? How about the 10 commandments? Of course we could never keep them all, but they were created so that we would have standards to live by for the best life possible.
Well, if you haven’t set any fitness rules, then you are doing yourself a disservice. Because of our rebellious lazy nature, we must have rules in place to keep us in check and to give us something to reach for. Living life without rules is a recipe for disaster – and the same goes with fitness.
Here are some rules to get you started. Fill in the blank, add to the list, or make your own set of rules to fit your needs. Whatever you do, today is your day to play by the rules so you can be the winner you know you want to be.
5 Simple Rules to help you Stick with it!
It’s one thing to miss a couple of workouts, but it’s another thing to miss a couple of weeks. Make a pact that you will never miss more than a set number of days between workouts. For me, that number is 3. I will never miss more than 3 days in a row without exercise. During the week, I will only allow myself to skip 1 day. But, in the event I go out of town over a long weekend (3 days), that is the only chunk of time I will allow myself to take off so that I never get used to being lazy.
Rule #2: I will workout a minimum of ______ days a week.
If you don’t have a weekly goal, how do expect to stick with it? You have to have something to shoot for. My goal is to workout 5 days a week. However, I may workout more – or less. So, I have rules. I will never workout fewer than 3 days a week. This keeps me from ever getting out of a routine.
Rule #3: I will never miss a __(day of the week) .
One of my rules is to never miss a Monday. Mondays are the best day for most people to start fresh. By committing to hitting it hard every Monday, you increase your chances of sticking with it during the week too. If nothing else, you will begin to develop some consistency. 4 workouts a month is much better than none. And, if you follow the first 3 rules alone, you are working out 3 times a week Monday – Thursday, and that’s not too shabby!
Rule #4: I will do (the workout you need the most, and I like least) first.
We love to put off the the stuff we hate the most. That’s why I do my least favorite body parts first. For me, that’s legs. Since I am committed to going to the gym every Monday, I know I will be hitting the body part that needs the most work, and getting it out of the way. With the worst out of the way, I then look forward to the rest of my workouts and am less likely to want to skip. However, if I put off the worst for last, I will be much more tempted to skip it.
As soon as you say “if”, you are setting yourself up to quit. Just like my mom said when I was a kid, no “ifs, ands, or buts”! Quitting simply can’t be an option. I am always better off doing something than doing nothing. That means, even a 15 minute lame workout is better than skipping your workout altogether. That means working out only 2 days a week is better than nothing at all. Sticking to ANY routine is teaching yourself to stick to A routine. Then, the longer you stick with it, the easier it is to build on that routine and develop even a better one. No matter how bad you think you are doing, just remember, quitting is worse.
I put my top 4 rules in this this mantra for you guys today to post as your reminder
When I was growing up, I always said “the grass may be greener on the other side, but it still has to be mowed”. I have no idea what made me think of that, but I remember as a kid knowing that just because something looked better didn’t mean it didn’t require work.
Like our yard, our body is a direct reflection of how well we take care of it. We can nourish it, sculpt it, cut away dead grap, get rid of the garbage and maintain it to look exactly how we want it to look. OR, we can ignore it and let it grow out of control, unshapely and malnourished.
Next time you see a physique you like (like this smoking hot mystery chick I found), remember you could most likely look like that too if you took as good of care of your body as they did.
There’s no question you WANT it.The question is how BAD do you want it. Because if you really, REALLY want it, you will do whatever it takes to get it. In my line of work, I hear a lot of people who say they “really want to lose weight”, they “really want to get healthy”, or they “really want to have a six-pack”. But, honestly, they don’t – because if they really did, they’d really follow up and really make it happen.
Sure, they’d PREFER to be thin, fit, healthier, leaner – but in order to actually get thin, fit, healthy and leaner, they have to do more than “prefer” it, they have to be willing to DO it. What are your actions saying about what you say you want?