Sunday, August 23, 2009
There are four action steps on the path to fitness: Wanting to succeed, deciding to succeed, making an effort to succeed, and perseverance in our efforts.
Like an alcoholic or a user of illegal drugs, we must acknowledge that we WANT to change and become healthier and more fit. Without a conscious desire to change our lives, we will roll along in the same self-defeating manner that has plagued us in the past, often for years. Change begins in our minds. We are what we think.
Our lives today and our future lives are shaped by our daily choices. By choosing to alter our lifestyles and ourselves, we will define a new, healthier us. Too many people simply float through life scared of any commitment that would require any real effort.
But once we admit to ourselves that we are not the person we want to be, that we are unhappy with the way we look and the way we feel, that we are not satisfied with our level of, or lack of, fitness, then we must actively DECIDE to take positive steps to change the person we are into the person we desire to be. Deciding to take positive steps forward does not mean a half-hearted attempt at changing. Fitness is a lifestyle we must decide we want to live daily before significant changes will occur.
After we become serious about attaining our new lives, we must MAKE AN EFFORT to succeed and act as if we're serious about our new journey. We must adopt healthier eating habits and incorporate exercise into our daily routines. Remember, as we think, so we are. If there is to be a meaningful change in us, we must alter our thinking to reflect our new way of life.
Because we do not typically feel comfortable with change, we must PERSEVERE in our efforts until our new habits become second nature to us and replace our old, unhealthy routines. We must not give up at the first sign of soreness after a workout. We must not give up if we fail to stick to our healthy eating plan on a particular day. Some psychologists claim it takes many people 16 consecutive successful attempts before a new habit replaces an old one.
If you are reading this, you WANT to succeed. Now you have to DECIDE that you will succeed, then you must MAKE AN EFFORT to succeed, and PERSEVERE in your efforts to change. If we persevere, and never give up, we will soon develop a new set of habits that will carry us forward to a new life.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
A SP member wrote recently of how she gives thanks when she exercises. This afternoon I decided to follow her example while mowing the front lawn.
When I started it was a typical hot and muggy Central FL afternoon. A blah, gray feeling had wrapped itself around me. But as I began mowing, a breeze kicked in and lasted until I was finished. In no particular order here are some of the things I gave thanks for during the half-hour this took me:
* That I am alive and functioning rather well. That I am fairly healthy and can see and hear and taste and feel and that I experience happiness and compassion and sympathy and sometimes sadness.
* For the cool breeze and the smell of freshly cut grass and how nice the yard looked when I was finished.
* For my friend Tom and the lawnmower he bought me last year when mine broke and I couldn't afford to get a new one.
* For my nurse practitioner who gave me a good bill of health after yesterday's annual physical and for the doctors and lab people who assist me throughout the year.
* For my family and friends and their families, that they remain well and safe.
* For our military, firefighters, law enforcement and corrections personnel who risk their lives that we and our country remain free and protected.
* For having a home to live in and a radio and TV to listen to and watch.
* For my pets that I've rescued from a life on the run and for their companionship and playful antics.
* For the flowers and plants in the yard that produce such vivid colors.
* For the orange and grapefruit trees in the back yard that offer up sweet and juicy fruit each year.
* For my neighbors who always seem to be around when I need help with something.
* For the frequent rain we receive that turns the grass a brilliant green and that helps replenish our aquifer.
* For SP counting cutting grass as cardio.
* For all of the SP members who offer encouragement and support every day. Although time does not allow me to always thank everyone individually for their kind words, I am grateful for your caring attitudes. You may never know how your words pulled me out of despair. Thank you all.
As I finished mowing, I realized the blah, gray feeling had disappeared. The endorphins from the exerise kicked in I suppose but most of all I believe I felt happier because I turned my focus off of me and onto other people and things.
Maybe that's something we need to do more often. I realize I do. Have a blessed weekend.
Friday, August 21, 2009
A fellow SparkPeople member posted this quote today:
A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds -- Francis Bacon.
When I read it I was convinced I must have been wise for a short while this afternoon when I stopped at the grocery store. I'm usually more outgoing with people when it's my choice than when I feel forced into gestures of friendship. And so it was today. While I shopped I said hi to several employees and told them what a good job they were doing. It never hurts us to do this and makes people feel appreciated.
Then I turned down an aisle and encountered my wise moment. Another shopper and I began talking about our pets when we saw the cat and dog food in each other's cart. Like me he also had taken in strays when he could not find their owner.
After we chatted for several minutes, we had to get on with our shopping and reluctantly said our goodbyes and nice talking with yous. Then he surprised me as I began to move on. "You know," he said, "not everyone is like we are. Many people wouldn't have bothered with these pets. But you probably saved the lives of five animals by taking them in. Bless you for that. Have a great afternoon." Surprised, I thanked him and then he walked away.
I mentioned how I try to encourage employees by telling them that what they do is appreciated. But here a stranger was telling me the same thing because we both were animal lovers. To be thanked by a stranger in the middle of a grocery store, a man I simply happened to make an effort to say hello to, had me walking on clouds as I left. I suppose for that encounter, as Mr. Bacon said, I created an opportunity, an opportunity to spend time with another person who shares the same compassion toward strays as I do.
As a result, my spirit was uplifted and my heart filled with a sense of camaraderie. I am certain that the positive feeling I now have, and a stranger's kind words, will be recalled every time I look into the eyes of Brownie, Kitty and Little Thang, my three cats, and Baby the Boxer and Thumper the Shepard, the two dogs.
Because they all get along well with each other is, I believe, a testament to their knowledge that they have found a safe harbor where someone cares for them and feeds them and brushes and plays with them.
In turn, today I found a safe harbor where a stranger cared about me and what I have done with these homeless pets. That may have been an isolated wise moment for me at the grocery store, but it is one I will not soon forget.
And now I pass along what was unexpectedly offered to me today: Bless all of you for your support and encouragement. You may never know how much it means. Have a great weekend.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
What is your point of reference regarding your journey to fitness?
I read another member's blog this morning where she explained that she was at the weight she had set as a goal for herself. Now, she wants to lose more and realized that she had set a goal that was too easily reached. Her point of reference changed.
An old joke tells of a car race between representatives from California and those from New York. The car from New York finished ahead of the one from California. In the New York newspapers it was reported that New York finished first while California came in dead last. In the California newspapers it was reported that California had finished second while New York came in next to last.
It's all in the point of reference. Both versions are accurate, just framed differently.
I talked via email with another member who had lost three pounds. The way she described her weight loss was to say, "Two more pounds and I will have lost five pounds altogether."
Or take the employee who began working with his company in August. In September, when he was asked how long he had worked for the firm, he answered, "Next August will be one year."
Both of these people are correct. It's their point of reference that's different than that of most people.
The next time you feel as if you are not progressing, try changing your point of view and see if you feel better, perhaps more focused and happier with yourself and your situation. If you have lost 2 pounds but want to lose a total of 10, say to yourself and others, "Eight more pounds and I will have lost 10 pounds altogether."
By looking ahead we will lead our thoughts from what has passed -- the two pounds, for example -- to the future. By changing our point of reference we may see the road of our journey more clearly and with a more positive outlook.
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