The last year has been quite the journey for me, and I attribute all of my successes to changes I have made in my spiritual and physical habits. I’ve been blessed in many ways other than what you may see on Facebook or hear about when you talk with me. In what follows, I outline the 10 areas of overlap that I have experienced in my spiritual and physical fitness (SPF) that you can apply to your life, too.
I won’t even make you scroll to the end for the big secret. Here it is up front: Every day we make hundreds of thousands of decisions. The only problem is that it is easy to fall into a habit of not making conscious decisions, or at least thinking about how our choices will affect us long term. In the following list, you’ll notice that making conscious decisions plays a huge role in enhancing your SPF each day.
Schedule time each day, preferably in the beginning
- Do a quick challenge; just enough to get your blood pumping and start your day with a sense of accomplishment. Nothing fancy here: push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc. are all great ways to get going first thing in the morning.
- Just as you schedule a date with a friend and block off that time in your schedule, block off some time for meditation to allow yourself to think clearly and pray. I cannot stress enough the difference it makes by getting your mind right at the very beginning of your day versus waking up and already feeling 5 minutes behind.
Make it yours
- Pick appropriate exercises for YOU! Know the “why” behind each exercise. Going into a workout with a purpose is key. “Train intentionally, not habitually.” (Slogan from Functional Patterns)
- Use simple prayers and use your own words. God doesn’t care how smart you sound. Talk to Him in prayer just as you would a friend; it feels a lot more natural this way.
Keep at it
- Do your best to stay active throughout the day. If you have a desk job, take some breaks to walk around and do some light stretching.
- Pray consistently throughout the day, even over the small stuff. Staying in tune with your faith and giving your worries over to God throughout the day can help you stay positive and focused on what really matters.
- Keep a workout log to track your successes in the gym and note your progress. It is easy to get down on yourself if you aren’t seeing the changes you envisioned.
- Don’t spend all of your time in prayer asking for certain outcomes or whatever it may be. Start by being thankful. The rest will follow. This may be tough to start, but start with being thankful for your most basic needs being provided for and another opportunity to better yourself, and those around you!
Know it makes a difference, even to those around you
- By partaking in a more active and healthy lifestyle, it just might inspire others to follow suit and join you!
- Believe that your prayers and acts of kindness are brightening the days of others. You’ve heard the quote before to be the change you want to see, but are you really making an effort to becoming that change on a consistent basis?
Keep it positive
- Set realistic goals and choose a weight/pace that is challenging, yet attainable for you. Approach every workout with the mindset of becoming 1% better – I don’t think that’s asking too much.
- Block out all negative thoughts during your prayers. “Only positive thoughts deliver positive results!” – from The Power of Positive Thinking
- Another option here is to journal. Yes, actually write down your positive thoughts. I have found journaling to help me rationalize some worries that I had built up in my head to a bigger problem than they really turned out to be.
- Get out of your comfort zone with your routine and try a new exercise or push the pace a bit harder. If you are running, start that last kick a few strides earlier. You might surprise yourself!
- What we want isn’t always in direct alignment with God’s plans for us no matter how much we pray on the issue. Accept it, if it is truly out of your control, and choose to be happy! “Ask for what you want, but accept what God gives you; it may be better than your original request.” – Benjamin Woods
Always do your best
- Get a workout buddy to hold you accountable and push you through your workouts. No workout buddy? Invest in a personal trainer. Yes, it is an investment – not a purchase.
- Just as important as knowing the “look” you are working towards, so is the inward appearance. Visualize how the best version of you will act and think, and then start changing your real actions and thought patterns to mirror that best version of you.
Stop looking in your rearview mirror for guidance
- Know that you are only one good choice away from making the right one. Don’t get discouraged if you have a day when you are feeling off. It happens to the best of us. Brush it off.
“You are only one good decision away from making the right one.” – Peter Voogd
- Pray for those who have wronged you. It sounds silly, and it might be difficult at first, but doing this helps to release any resentment or anger that may be lingering. Both of those feelings cause increased stress and are mentally exhausting. (Remember, keep it positive!)
Just do it
- You’ve heard it before, but have you done it? Get some goals on paper and look at them every morning. By doing this, you make it real and something that you stay mindful of. View each day as an opportunity to move closer toward achieving these goals.
- Put your beliefs into action! If nobody knew your faith, could they tell by the way you interacted with others on a daily basis? Make it a priority to walk the walk when it comes to your beliefs.
One of my mentors, David Crump, has been a great source of information and guidance through the last few months of this journey. After every one of our meetings I thank him for his time and effort in helping me grow as a business owner and fitness coach. Most recently, he replied that it is just “people helping people,” and that’s what I want this article to be about! It was my hope when writing this article that you would find at least one tip or analogy that could positively impact your life on a daily basis. If you did find something helpful, I ask that you share this with somebody else that may be able to do the same.
My last memory that came to mind when writing this article was during my time learning at The Institute of Human Performance from Juan Carlos Santana; he said that “…we move from the inside out…” when he was speaking about movement patterns and core control. And I think that is the best parallel to compare. Our lives change only when we internalize how we chose to spend our time and where we direct our focus.
My inspiration for writing this came while listening to “The Power Positive Thinking” and can be found in its original message around the 30min mark, if listening to the audiobook.
And a special thank you to Rachel for still being my English buddy almost 6 years later and editing my papers for me. You are the best!