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Day By Day

by on April 9, 2013

It’s early April, so I’m betting the gym has finally returned to normal. I get my cast off on Friday, so I’m going to be (slowly) returning to a workout routine that I’ve greatly missed.

Every year the gym fills up with people, New Year’s resolutions fresh in mind. By now, the difficulty of keeping up has sifted out who is going to stay committed and who was not willing to pay the price.

We often set goals and aim to improve ourselves, and then fail to keep up. Maybe it’s New Year’s, maybe it’s a weight loss target, maybe we want to look good in a swimsuit in the summer, or pass a fitness test to keep our job. Whatever the case may be, without building habits, we rarely achieve long-term goals.

Schedule it – vague commitments produce haphazard performance. “I’ll go to the gym more” is not nearly as effective as “I’ll go at 5 PM, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.”

Routine – when it’s the same time and duration every day, it will become a part of our lives.

Track it – paying attention to how you’re improving or measuring up will help you realize when you fall behind.

Accountability – when someone else is checking up on your progress, it’s hard to ignore responsibility.

Resume – remember that pushing for your goal doesn’t mean you hit it every time, and trying to make a habit doesn’t mean you always do it every day. It just means you get up and start again when you realize you slipped.

This fitness business is hard. Anyone who says different is lying to you and themselves. Sure, you can come to love working out, to where it becomes a part of your life. You can enjoy the challenge of pushing your limits and the sweetness of surpassing your expectations. But no matter what, it’s going to take hard work and discipline.

And honestly, “being fit” is never going to be a destination. You will never cross the fitness finish line and be done with it. It’s something we maintain, not something we attain. And we all struggled to get to where we are, and we all struggle sometimes to keep going. Everybody has off days, where nothing seems to go right.

So here’s another “H” for you – similar to my blog today on spirituality and the never-ending quest for holiness:

There is hope.

Whether you gave up on your resolution or got up for a run… whether you blew it on your diet or beat your best time and distance… whether you put on more pounds or lifted your personal record, here’s something to remember when you wake up.

Every morning brings fresh hope that today we’ll be better than we were before.

Yesterday’s over, you can’t do anything about it. But today is ripe with possibilities. Today you can get out and go after your goal. Tomorrow, you can do it again. And the next day, and the next.

That’s all a habit is. It’s not perfect every day performance. It’s a day-by-day recurring effort to live up to the inner drive to succeed.

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way…
Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal…  I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”  — Paul the Apostle, The Message

What goal is worth making a habit for you? What ways of making new habits have worked best?

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From → Take a Breather

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