*A Heart at Peace Gives Life to the Body Proverbs 14:30*
During this first week together I would like for you to try something that may be new. I want you to carve out some time each day to simply sit in stillness. Some of you may already begin your day with prayer, meditation or your own personal quiet time. Personally, my morning quiet time is non-negotiable. It may mean that I have to set my alarm clock anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour early, depending on what is going on, but I have found it’s time well spent.
I have carved out my spot in a favorite chair. I typically have the first cup of coffee and my pup in my lap and it’s a wonderful way to begin the day. For me, this time in this spot is in prayer and devotion time. It is also a time to simply sit and formulate the day. I am not at all saying that my way is your way. I will confess that at times it doesn’t happen, or doesn’t happen as I would like, because life gets in the way. Sometimes my spot gets moved to another place and time in the day. Sometimes it may be a bit of stillness in the parked car in the parking lot of the grocery store. It might be sitting at a redlight, or waiting in carpool line or at a doctor’s office. I don’t think it matters at the end of the day. What matters is that you begin to take a little bit of time each day to simply be with yourself.
If the thought of actually sitting still makes your eye begin to twitch, (I know the feeling, I promise!) start small. Take that time at the redlight, or 5 minutes before your feet hit the floor from your bed, or during your shower, to be with yourself and force yourself to forget the distractions and your “to do” list.
I’m hoping this time will grow on you, and may grow in length, and you may even find yourself rejuvinated, more peaceful, ready to tackle life and even more productive!
Let me tell you right now that you likely CAN do everything BUT you cannot do everything all at the same time. So, if you were raised to believe that you are supposed to be Superwoman and ALL things to ALL people ALL the time, I’m here to tell you to learn to say no.
When you begin to say No to some things, you are able to open up opportunities or blocks of time and find more energy to say YES to the things that really matter to you. Lysa Terkurst wrote a great book called, “The Best Yes”.
It is a great read about learning no to some things that are great things. But, even great things and opportunities can be exhausting and overwhelming. As you are asked to take on responsibilities, projects, volunteer jobs, even fun endeavors, this is the week to learn to really meditate on what yes is best for YOU and best for those that You Can Touch.
Learning to say NO to say YES is a fabulous tool.
Joyce Meyer, one of my favorite speakers for telling it like it is, says, “Stop giving someone else the job of making you happy.” Bam. There it is in a nutshell. You are responsible for your own happiness. No one else. Not your husband, boyfriend, child, best friend, dog, or whoever you might try to lay that burden upon.
So this week your homework is to find ways, big or small, to make your own happy. Maybe you invite a friend to meet you for lunch or a walk or just have a chat on the phone. Maybe you sit in a bubble bath with a mindless magazine if that makes you feel happy. Put on a fun playlist and crank it while you do your workout. Sometimes the happiest I feel is when I do something for someone else. That works too.
Whatever it is that makes you feel happy, do that. Maybe you’ve forgotten because it’s been so long. Don’t wait on another person or event or perfect time to decide to be happy. It is up to you. Experiment. You might be surprised at what makes your happy.
This week I want you to ponder this question. When you find the answer, you go do that. Again and again. And then again as often as you can.
I know work is work and oftentimes we just cannot find pleasure in a mundane 9 – 5 job. Some folks are very fortunate to have work that they love so they never feel as if they are working. If this is not you, it’s okay. There is still pleasure to be found in ordinary things and ordinary days.
If you can pinpoint just what in life lights you up, then it is your duty to feed that. What lights up and makes you feel good? I recently pulled out canvases and paints that had been lying hidden for years. When I can find the time to put paint to canvas my mood gets so much better. Maybe you love a certain poem or song. Perhaps you have a certain scarf that makes you feel like a million bucks when you wear it. Perhaps it is a great book or time with a friend, going to church or baking a cake from scratch. If we can identify these things in our own world that makes our corner of the world a bit brighter for ourselves, then we have a duty to seek those things out when we can. If we are lit up on the inside, can’t you see how you will project to others around you?
This week think about the things that light you up and find ways to include them in your life. Your mood will improve which will improve your day which will improve the quality of life of those around you.
*thank you Lisa Adams for sharing this idea!*
Now that you are here I want to make sure you know WHY you are here. I hope it’s not to get into a pair of skinny jeans, either. That’s completely okay if you want to shed a little weight to feel better in your clothes. I totally get that. I’ve done that, too, of course. However, I want you to be here because you have a bigger, better picture in mind. Your own journey is your very own. I want you to make great big strides in these 6 weeks. I want you to be able to establish some good groundwork for a healthy balanced lifestyle – that will last well beyond this 6 week program.
Some folks do this program another round just to make sure they have firmly established a new lifestyle. I’m not selling that now, although I’ll be happy to talk about that and offer a reduced price to alumns. I say that because it often takes a bit longer to figure out what to do with the new you when the program is over. From my experience, it takes more than just losing a jean size to keep the motivation going for the long haul.
This is when it is super important to know why you took this leap. Many folks have different reasons for improving their health. These listed below are all great, valid results.
Live Longer: There is a huge body of evidence suggesting that healthy living — both in terms of exercising, eating well, and staying on top of health screenings and physicians visits — can keep you living healthy and living longer!
Thrive Not Just Survive: Quality of life matter. We want to stay healthy so that living longer is enjoyable and we can still enjoy the fruits of our labor.
More Energy: Exercise stimulates the release of feel-good endorphins that not only make you feel better but also up your energy levels.
Avoid Disease/Illness: A healthy lifestyle helps stave off hypertension (high blood pressure), promote healthy cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of diabetes, and keep your ticker in shape!
Keep Medical Costs Down: Research backs that healthier people require far less medical visits, procedures and prescriptions for heart and overweight related illnesses.
For your Kids and Grandkids: Most folks want to be there for our children and grandchildren. This is a huge motivation and one that tends to help new habits start and stick.
Empowerment and Confidence: Accomplishing a goal, completing a workout, working up a sweat, gives you confidence which carries over to how you feel and present yourself.
Look Better: You will feel better in your jeans if you follow this program, but even more, a healthy lifestyle makes your skin, teeth and nails also look better. While I am not a huge proponent of following this program simply for the outward appearance, but I do know that it is a great by-product.
Better Mental Health: Exercise gives you time to de-stress, relax and work out problems or issues. Research also shows that an estimated 60% of patients overcome their depression without using anti-depressant medications.
These are some great reasons to be here. You may have an entirely new one to add or may even list each of them.
Take this week to figure out WHY so your why will stick!
This last homework might actually be the MOST important. This program and process to living a healthy lifestyle is all about you and your mindset. There is NO cookie cutter perfect way for you. And it’s not about perfection at all. I want you to celebrate each and every success you have along the way, whether it is large or small. Think about this:
WIN THE DAY!
Whatever you do on any given day, whatever happens to you or to those around you, whatever good or bad choices you make, are all part of your day and you can still celebrate! There are always some successes to celebrate. I want you to think about how you end each day with a WIN. A win never has to be perfect! It is still progress and still moves you further along on your goal.
Moving forward is always a reason to celebrate! So, remember . . . Win the day!