Sunday, February 3, 2013

You Can Do It!

So it's February and the gyms will start to see their daily attendance decrease as this month flows into next month. The health food aisles in the grocery stores were much busier last week than they are this week because today is the superbowl and people party and eat too much of the wrong things and drink too much. We start well and end poorly in many areas of our lives by the end of 2013 many of the things we "want to do" will be back on the shelf until Jan 1st comes in 2014.

I hear people say "I want to get in shape", "I have to start eating better", "I'm going to do such and such to change my life", but why doesn't it stick? Why do we so easily fall back into the same old routines that got us to the place where we are tired, poor, unhappy and overweight? 

If we know what we shouldn't do why do we seem to always go back to doing that thing that irritates us about ourselves when we know for certain that if we could just change "x" our lives would be much better?

Well, you're probably not going to like this anymore than I do but I will contend that the reason we keep doing "that thing" is because we want to.

Now that is really bad news on our part because if it is true then the only one we can blame for the spot we are in, whether this subject is health, finances, spiritual growth, relationships or whatever, it comes down to the person we see when we look in the mirror.

We like to say that we have some disorder, disease, some genetic issue or a myriad of other things that might be causing us to do "this thing" but in reality almost everything in life is our fault. 

In the circles that I run with there is a saying, "We always do what we most want to do" and that is very true. Let me give an example of what this might look like.

Many people are habitually late to practice, church, school or whatever else is not fun but they are early to the ice cream social, movies, sleep over, concert, football game or the fishing trip. How could this be if the above statement is not true?

So, if our lives are not headed in the direction that we want who is ultimately responsible for that direction? We are. And if we are going to change what will it take to bring about lasting change? We have to actually want to change- really want to change.

I recently saw a man sleeping in a meeting. This man doesn't look like he's in great physical shape and he obviously is tired. He realized he was sleeping so he did the right thing and got up out of his chair and stood up- that's a great start- but accompanied with that was the desire to go get a sugary snack. Did he want to stay awake? Maybe, but if he really wanted to stay awake there would have been little that could have made him fall asleep in the first place.

Everyday we start off with a clean slate and we can change the way we live- yup we. Unfortunately we are easily distracted by the easier way. It's easier to do the same things we have always done and to do them in the same exact way.

We are often afraid to start something new because we know ourselves and we know we are quitters and so it's better not to start and then fail again, or is it?

NO! It is better to start even if we are going to quit. It's better to exercise for 2 weeks than to never exercise. It's better to read your Bible for 3 months than to not read it at all. It's better to eat right until June than to always eat poorly. All these things are cumulative, meaning that the effort or discipline stacks up.

But what will make it stick? How can we make it through the entire year and then all the way through the next year and then to the end of our lives? 

I think there are some helpful things to consider.

Surround yourself with like minded people. If you really want to stop eating donuts, don't hang out in the donut store. If you want to stop drinking, don't go to the bar. If you want to exercise then go to the place where it's easiest for you to engage in those activities. If you want to read your Bible more then surround yourself with people who are excited about reading their Bibles as well.

Have someone who will hold your feet to the fire. Tell someone that you know, love and  trust to hold you accountable to not eat donuts, to not drink, to ask you if you've been to the bar the week or to come over and pick you up so you do go exercise. A little external motivation is good.

Replace your old lifestyle choices with new and healthier ones. Eat vegetables instead of donuts. Drink a healthy drink instead of alcohol. Take up walking instead of watching TV or take dancing lessons instead of sitting home and watching Dancing with the Stars. If you don't fill up that hole then the tide of "I've always done it that way" will come back in and fill it right back up.

I think most of all it is a matter that we really must want to do what we set out to do. It has to come from deep within ourselves or it won't last. We have to get sick and tired and decide that we are never going back to that way of life and then God will help us to change. Until then it's going to be a lot of work and a lot of stopping and starting.

I know how much better I feel because of the changes I am making in my own life and I want others to know that same kind of refreshing that comes from the change. I believe that you can do it but you must want to change.

You can do it. Will you is the question that only you can answer. 

No comments: