I pulled into the lot looking for the elusive parking spot. To my increasing dismay, my search was unproductive. Turn after turn, circling time and again, I could feel my frustration mount. I glanced sideways at my daughter, “What is going on? It is never this busy!” Then it dawned on us. “It’s January!” We spoke in unison and understanding. New Year’s resolution, everyone wants to get healthy. “Give it a few weeks Mom, things will be back to normal before you know it.” Sure enough, it’s March, Resurrection Sunday (Easter) is on the way and this morning I had my pick of parking spots at the gym. What happened to all those health enthusiasts who began the year with great intentions? I can relate. So many times and so many goals I set for myself yet did not complete. I have been relatively faithful as a gym member for over a year. I wondered what helped me keep going in spite of the many mornings I wanted to hug my covers a little longer. Reflecting, I discovered three reasons to stay motivated.
- Know your why. It sounds like a good idea to lose weight, go back to school, pray more, memorize Scripture, organize your house, or ________ (fill in the blank). All of these are great decisions, but in order to take the great idea from lofty dream to new reality, you need a solid foundation, your why. My why for the treks to the gym stems from a desire to be a visual example of obedience to God. He reminds me that my temple, my body belongs to Him. When I make unhealthy choices, I am not doing what God had asked me to do. I am not taking care of my temple. Because I know my why, it helps keep me going. How about you? What do you desire to do? Pray and ask God to help you discover your why. Then seek Him for the encouragement and strength to do that thing.
- Set reasonable goals. I would love to lose a hundred pounds in two weeks but that is not very realistic, right? (Hey if God can raise the dead, He can make pounds disappear, but pardon me, I digress) Once you know your why, identify small specific steps to help you achieve it. My initial goal for the gym is three times per week. That is very doable for me. I look at my schedule and create a date with my mate, the gym. My average is really four days but meeting my three-day goal creates satisfaction and motivation to keep it up. Define clear cut steps to achieve your why and watch progress happen.
- Celebrate the victory. I don’t know about you, but I tend to beat myself up more for what I fail to do than recognize my accomplishments. Sound familiar? Sometimes my schedule gets so busy, like this week with three family members sick with the flu needing me to take care of them. I only made it to the gym twice. I started fretting, feeling I let myself down or even worse, I let God down. My daughter told me, “Mom! With your extra full schedule, you went to the gym two times! Cut yourself some slack, God understands.” I realized in times past, I would have missed all week, but this time I did not and it felt great. I remember the smile spreading on my face and standing a little taller. Try this for yourself. Next time you want to chastise yourself for something, look for those moments of achievements and celebrate.
March is here. January is over but you still have the chance to strive for change in your life or perhaps the time for healing. Seek God’s direction for your why, set reasonable goals, and celebrate your victories. Who knows, you may be in the parking spot next to mine next time.