I need to commit myself to my physical well-being, really commit for the long term. But it seems so overwhelming. There are good days followed by one rough day that leads to twenty more. Then I beat myself up and commit to try again. This past week, however, has been a little different and here’s why.
I’ve been part of a group that my sister started about three months ago. The premise was to choose a long-term project to work on and complete over the next 300 days. Once everyone declared their project, my sister divided us into smaller groups: projects ranged from creative to spiritual to health, among others. I was part of the health group, as was my sister. About two months in, she realized that those of us in the health group had special issues that needed to be addressed privately and more frequently so she made a sub-group. It was better, but still no real progress was happening for any of us.
Last week she introduced a new idea, and I can honestly say that it has made all the difference for me. The idea is nothing new, just simple and effective. Here’s a quote she shared from fitness trainer and author Chris Powell:
“The more you honor your integrity, the more dignity you have. Your promises to yourself must be so important and easily kept that you'll reach out and grab them every single day -- because you want what you've promised yourself!
“Keeping each promise to yourself has to be your focus, because it shows you that you are your own top priority. Each promise made is another step toward valuing and loving yourself and a brick in the foundation of your transformation. Each promise kept – your integrity – is the mortar that holds the bricks together, and the more promises you honor, the stronger the foundation gets. Transformation happens when you honor your promises over your reasons.”
It’s that simple. How many times do you make and keep promises to others? Breaking a promise to others is something I don’t even think about doing and yet how often do I do that to one of the most important people in my life – me?!?”
Making and keeping promises – it’s that simple. But there’s one other important part to it: your promise is “just for today”. For me, the most self-defeating part of getting healthy is the overwhelming thought that once I start I have to do it forever. Will I really never be able to have another Andy’s custard? Is this the end of family pizza night? Will I ever be able to eat a piece of chocolate fudge cake without feeling guilty? It becomes too much and so I either never start or I promise myself that tomorrow will be “the day”.
But this promise is “just for today”. If today I promise not to eat sugar, tomorrow I can promise that I will. If I promise to go on a 30 minute walk, tomorrow I can make it 15 or skip it all together. The key is not what I promise but that I keep my promise. Start simple: make a promise you know you can keep. But make it real. My first promise was not to eat sugar and walk 30 minutes. The sugar one I knew would be a challenge, but exercise wasn’t too much of a stretch because it was already a regular habit. When I got to the end of the day and both promises were kept – WOW! I can’t even begin to describe how I felt. You would have thought I had solved world hunger, traveled to the moon and back, and run a marathon. And all I had done was keep a simple, but real, promise – to. myself.
I have posted the challenge from a year ago so if you want parts of this to be your promise feel free to use it. If keeping track of credits on the daily log is part of your promise, than do it. If you want to throw in a spiritual aspect, it’s your choice. You do whatever you think is most important for you, just for today. I have found that it’s helpful to write it down the night before and hold myself accountable the following night. I will be posting regularly and invite you to do the same – but only if that’s something you want to do. This is about your integrity, your transformation. And we are here to support and encourage each other in whatever way we can. (Look for my “just for today” in the comment section.)
Try it! See what happens. See how you feel. Don’t be afraid to make it a little challenging but always remember to be gentle with yourself. Don’t ever give up! I know that with the Lord’s help ALL things are possible.