Who Encourages You?
By Don Otis –
One of the primary reasons people aren’t consistent with their fitness regimen is lack of encouragement. Of course encouragement and motivation go hand in hand. What do you need to stay focused and consistent?
As Christians, we have our heroes of the faith. These are men and women who stood tough in the face of impossible odds, grave risk, or uncertainty. The walk of faith is characterized by the unknown. When you think of people who are fit, who comes to mind? If you are like most, you admire people who look good, are active or in shape. Some of us are blessed with good genes or the ability to eat almost anything we want without putting on the pounds. But the rest of us have to work at it, remain diligent, disciplined, committed.
If you have read this column in the past you know I preach the importance of consistency, intensity, duration, and mode–choosing activities that you like that are going to help you improve. Most of us also benefit from having encouragement from a spouse, friend, or fitness coach. These people keep us accountable, give focus, and offer a pat on the back when we need it most. Who plays this role in your life?
Unfortunately, some spouses discourage their mates from spending too much time exercising. Others complain that their spouse is lazy or overweight. These disparaging or discouraging comments do not motivate us to improve our lives. People change their lives when they decide to do so, but the effort to stay changed is pivotal to reaching our goals.
There is a saying, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” The same is true for fitness; you need to know where you are going. When you know what you want to be and where you are heading, you eventually find ongoing success. Once you have determined your goals, find someone to hold you accountable for achieving these goals. While most of us have little trouble achieving short-term success, our real problem is sustainability.
Today, before you forget, write down your goals. Then write down how much time you are willing to commit to achieving these goals. Nothing worthwhile happens by accident; it takes intention. Next, be sure to tell someone about your plan and then paste it on your refrigerator or next to your nightstand. Be sure the person you tell is someone who will be supportive.
What I have discovered about encouragement is that it happens in the beginning and it happens once people see the results. It’s the in-between part that is tough!
Here are some things to do to encourage yourself and stay focused:
- Write it down (what are your goals?).
- Track your progress (keep a journal).
- Tell someone and ask them to check in with you occasionally.
- Keep a mental diary of how you feel about yourself.
- Be patient with yourself and others.
- Ask God to help you to successfully reach your goals.
Remind yourself of this: God wants you to be healthy and whole. And He wants you to encourage others to be healthy. It is His will for you. If being healthy is part of God’s plan for you, don’t you think He wants you to be a success? Of course He does! And He will give you strength to succeed… if you do your part.
Don S. Otis (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a certified personal trainer, runner, climber, and author of five books. He runs Veritas Communications, a publicity agency based in Canon City, Colorado.