Whether it’s at the start of a new year, a new month, a new week, or a new day, we can always use a bit of self-improvement. While we can certainly grow in learning contentment. That’s a very different thing from being complacent and letting the gifts and calling God has given us lie fallow.Besides that, being invested in your own growth by caring for and seeking to improve yourself is important, not necessarily as an end, but because of the benefits to yourself and others. For example, becoming more patient is good for all of the people in your life.
Getting fit and being healthy allows you to continue to do the things you love and be engaged in life. When you are happier, and in a good place emotionally and mentally, the people in your life also reap those benefits.
Focusing on self-improvement, especially in physical fitness, is a gift you can give to yourself and others. 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
While Paul here relativizes the value of physical training in light of eternity, he certainly doesn’t denigrate it. There is value in this life to getting fit and training your body physically. Our physical health touches on our lives in profound ways, making maintaining our fitness an important goal. So, if you want to improve your physical fitness, it is a worthy goal to pursue.
As you start your journey toward getting fit, it may be helpful to define clearly for yourself what you mean by “fit.” After all, you want to be clear about what exactly you’re chasing, and it will help you in your planning and execution. In our culture in America, we have a few understandings of what it means to be “fit,” but it can’t be denied that some images are more prevalent than others.
The common idea is that if you’re on the leaner side you’re better off, and likely more fit. This has a grain of truth to it, but it’s not the whole story, but it’s such a powerful idea that most people aim for that.
You can be cardio fit but not look svelte or jacked. That needs saying. And “fitness” can vary depending on what you want to accomplish. Becoming fit enough to run a marathon is not the same thing as getting fit to wrestle or climb a mountain. In each case, your body needs to be able to do different things, and you train it.
So “fitness” for you might be about having endurance and strength or being flexible enough to perform important tasks like playing with your kids without getting winded or hurting your back. What do you want to be able to do? Asking that question can help you discover your fitness goals.
Tips for Getting Fit
Starting a new habit or trying to pick up on an old one that’s fallen into disuse can be hard. There’s a learning curve, and you must overcome your lethargy. One way to help yourself is to find something that you enjoy doing for fitness. Of course, you can always grin and bear it every time your alarm goes off and you must get up and get moving, or you can do yourself a favor and find an activity you enjoy. Some activities look cool, and you can post about them on social media with a reasonable expectation of getting likes and such.
However, that only goes so far. Liking what you’re doing for fitness makes it easier for you to keep doing it, and after all, that’s the whole point. So, find something you like and run with that (the mixed imagery here is very intentional). Have fun doing what you love for fitness, and it becomes less of a chore to do it every week for five days a week.
Try something newIf you want to accomplish something different, you must try something different, and you must be willing to go places you’ve never been in order to achieve your goals. If you want to accomplish and possess something you’ve never had, then you’ll have to try something new to get you there.
Whether it’s a new workout program, a different gym, a new trainer, a new ethic, and attitude to the work – whatever it is, you need a little something new and extra to get where you want to go. Of course, in your explorations, it’s wise to heed the advice of your doctor concerning what you can do safely and how to achieve the results you desire in as safe a manner as possible.
Stick with it
To get and retain your gains, you’ve got to have some persistence. You don’t develop flexibility, gain endurance, or become stronger overnight. There is no super-soldier serum you can magically inject into your veins and become fit overnight. It takes time for your body to adapt to new rhythms, get stronger, and start behaving in different ways.
If, along with a fitness regimen you’re also changing your diet to support your fitness goals, know that it takes time to learn new eating habits, new grocery shopping habits, and so on. But to get those gains, as with anything else in life, you’ve got to stick with it until you get there. There will be setbacks, obstacles, and a ceiling you may think you’ll never break through but sticking with it is the only way to go.
You’ve got to stick with it and push past and through those obstacles, whatever they may be. Sometimes the biggest obstacle will be you, or the little voice in your head that’s urging you to give up, but you need to keep going. If you need to, reset, rest, and keep pushing forward. That’s something valuable to remember whether during a workout or when you’re feeling discouraged in your fitness journey.
Besides all that, if you’ve made the investment, you probably want to get the most mileage out of your athleisure wear, and the best way to do that is to use it. As cool as you look in your new gear, you owe it to yourself to stick to the plan and put it to good use. Your future self will thank you.
Do it with friends
Doing anything alone sounds like a good idea in an individualistic society and culture, but it may not work out well. There are three additional ingredients to add to everything that’s already been said for a winning recipe, and they all flow from the idea that community is vital for success.
Three Reasons Community is Important
Community is important for the three following reasons:
You need people who will ask you if you’ve done what you said you would. That may be a fitness coach, or it may be a friend within a program you’ve decided to be part of. With technology, you can even share your progress via apps and track your growth, and that’s something you can invite others into.
Encouragement for when things just suck.Getting fit, whatever that looks like for you, means pushing yourself beyond your comfort zones. Sometimes that just gets painful and hard, and in those moments when you’re thinking that everything sucks and you want to give up, it pays to have someone else alongside you who can share some encouragement. It may be a testimonial or just a simple, “You can do it!” but that can spur you on toward great things.
A bit of friendly competition to add to the stakes.
Healthy competition can make you push yourself just that little bit harder to make sure that you complete your rings before anyone else in your group. The power of bragging rights, even for just one day, is nothing to sniff at. It’s a wonderful thing to be surrounded by like-minded people who push you to be a bit better today than you were yesterday, who encourage you to be excellent and make you avoid cutting corners.
Be Kind to Yourself
In all of our endeavors to become more of who God made us to be, it is essential that through it all we commit to being kind to ourselves. We can encourage ourselves with positive self-talk and rewards of a new running route, a new hiking trail, or just a smile to ourselves in the mirror. Life is full of transitions and being unkind only makes it tougher on ourselves unnecessarily. Be glad God made you and that you get to be you!
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