My youngest son who is 22 has been working out faithfully at a public facility for several years now. He has come to learn that in January, wherever he works out is going to be crowded for just a few weeks and then attendance will settle back down to a more normal crowd with maybe a slight bump up for the minority who are serious.
The obvious reason is people wanting this to be the year they are going to “get in shape,” so they sign up, and after a few weeks…or days…decide its just too hard so they quit.
I am not a public gym kind of guy so 2 years ago, I purchased a Total Gym and have it in our garage. I figure, hey, if Chuck Norris can look that good at 76 and swears by this thing, I’m gonna try it. C’mon, it’s Chuck, right? And he even has the Gospel on his web site. So for $200 and free shipping at Costco, I was in business. We already had a treadmill in the garage so … boom… I got my own private gym at my house.
Fast forward—I just began my third year of consistent exercise, having started in January 2015. One of the reasons I think this machine worked for me is it accomplishes the goals in the same manner as my spiritual growth. Resistance training. Not piling on weight until I can’t lift it anymore but using my own body weight and an incline to challenge my muscles to break down and build. To slowly trim away fat by consistency coupled with resistance.
After increasing my reps the past 3 months, last week, I moved the bench up a number, upping the incline thereby increasing the resistance. Suddenly, the same number of reps was far more challenging and exhausting.
So, here are 3 life lessons.
1-If we stop to “rest” after reps, it is far harder to start over, to get moving again, than if we keep the movement flowing in a rhythm, keeping the action going. End a rep and immediately go into the next. Stopping and starting leaves room for stopping altogether which makes the workout far harder to finish. In life, when we constantly stop our forward progress to evaluate, question, and doubt, getting started again gets tougher and the temptation to quit has an opportunity to work and we lose.
2-When the incline (resistance) increases, the workout is way harder, but the desired results will come faster. In life, when our circumstances suddenly increase the struggle, the fight, the desperation, yes, the days get tougher, but our growth comes faster when we keep our eyes up and our forward progress moving in the face of difficulty. This can also change our perspective of the circumstance.
3-And, finally, if we will stick it out and make this scheduled discipline a natural part of our daily routine, not questioning if we should do it, just making it automatic like shaving or showering, the daily decision will, over time, pay off and make all the work worthwhile. In life, it’s the simple, small daily decisions to move forward that will ultimately change our lives in big ways over time. Waiting for the revelation or the mountaintop moment to come before we will move, for 99% of us, just keeps us standing still.
You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself. —1 Corinthians 9:24-27 MSG