Devotional / Blog
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November 2, 2014, 9:07 AM

Why I really Don't Try When I Start an Excersise Program


 

 

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
25  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
27  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

My race has definitely taken a turn to more difficult. Physical challenges I can handle, usually. Satan knows this too. So instead, he hit me mentally. Complications from anesthesia left my mind clouded, unable to form complete thoughts. My body was not firing on all cylinders either. I should have been standing. Instead, I couldn’t coordinate myself enough to move in bed and couldn’t explain the problem. Honestly, it was disappointing and a little depressing. It wasn’t unheard of; just unexpected. Surgery, for my autonomic nervous system is a roll of the dice sometimes.

So what do we do? When we undergo change, there is always the unexpected. Satan is always standing by with that spiritual stick, ready to poke us at the worst time. The principal is the same for all of us. We go back to the basics; the Word of God and prayer.

When I start an exercise and nutrition program, I don’t put out a lot of effort for the first couple of weeks. I am not trying to change the world. I don’t get myself all motivated and worked up and try to get in shape in one month. Many times, just for fun, I may do something like attach my bike to a stationary trainer on the back porch and eat some chips while I set on it and watch some TV, pedaling slowly. If I do ride, it’s not hard or far.

Instead, the first couple of weeks, I have one goal. Get on the bike. No time limits, no distance goals. Just get on it. I have to get on it every day. The 3rd week, I begin to increase limits and intensity and so on. This is deliberate. It goes back to when I was discharged from the rehabilitation hospital in 1989. I was weak, walking with a cane and I didn’t know where to start. I knew a man who was a famous weightlifter and I went to see him at his gym. Looking me up and down, he was a little doubtful about my intentions, but as we sat and talked about my goals he told me to look around. There was a variety of people; some in fantastic shape, others not so much.  He focused on three. They seemed to be out of shape and had returned to the gym to return to their “former selves” whatever that meant. They were working out hard and yelling and high fiving and really working up a sweat.

“You see those guys?” The gym owner asked. I nodded. “I give them 2-4 weeks tops. Then we’ll probably never see them again.” He smirked. His advice…”Start easy, pace yourself. It’s a mental battle, not a physical one.  It doesn’t get difficult until the 2nd or 3rd week. That is where the real work starts.”

And he was right. After a month, they were all no shows. I, rather embarrassed, worked out with my light weights for the first 6 months. At first, all of the “pro’s” would just look at me, but over time, as they saw I was serious and coming back every day, befriended me and started to help me. It wasn’t the amount of work I was putting in, it was the commitment. I showed up. Over the next 6 months, I slowly increased until I was bench pressing around 200 lbs. and squatting around 500 lbs. I never forgot that advice; it applies universally.

Most people start out change with a bang. Then after a few weeks or months it begins to get difficult and they just quit. So instead, I start out with a whimper and focus on the 2nd through 8th week and really battle then. That is how all of my successful change has come.

It is fair to say right now I’m a little scared and a little depressed. It’s okay. It’s normal. I am in the Word and I am in prayer. What a wonderful place for God to lead me. I show up with Him and He is doing all of the heavy lifting that I can’t.

My word for you who are doing this with me, (there is a surprisingly large number) Start out slow and be realistic. Unless it is some destructive behavior that needs immediate attention, take small steps. Understand you are going to hit a wall. Without getting into too much detail, it is common belief that you need to continuously do something for around 21 days before it becomes a habit; I believe it is much closer to six months. Then, your subconscious mind begins to take over from your conscious mind and it becomes a habit that you want to do. Remember if you are making a life change, you will reap the benefits for years and years. Don’t try to win your race in a week. God will bless you! Be persistent.

Blessings!


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