Motivation That Works

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What’s motivating you?

It may be the difference between success and failure.

In the book of Matthew, we are told, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” changed priorities

Meaning, if we put the most important things first, the rest will fall into place. We don’t have to give up one for the other, but in the pursuit of the main goal, all of the other little goals will be achieved as well.

The same can be said of our fitness goals. Just hang with me for a minute, I’ll tie it all together….

Sidetracked by the Small Goals

In the pursuit of righteousness, it’s easy to get sidetracked with paying bills, doing good works, performing well at work, loving people well, being involved at church, etc. These very good things can distract us from seeking first the Kingdom – yet if we seek God alone, the rest of these concerns will take care of themselves as we live from a place of trust and peace, and not worry.

Rather than try to become more like God, as we spend more time focusing on Him and being in His presence, we naturally start to be more like him without trying.

I think we can look at our health, fitness, and body image the same way. Most of us (at least women) are fairly consumed with the way we look. It distracts us and often brings frustration and distress. The more we focus on getting skinny, losing fat, and avoiding certain foods, the more discouraging it can feel.

Most of my life, my workouts and eating habits have been motivated by being thin and looking good. Which is fine, it’s not bad to want that. But it shouldn’t always be the main thing, and it’s exhausting to always be fighting to achieve outward perfection.

A More Powerful Motivation

You know what has created the biggest, most lasting change for me – not only physically, but mentally? Pursuing strength and setting goals to improve my level of fitness. dana linn bailey

About a year and a half ago I started watching Dana Linn Bailey videos on YouTube. Her ability to lift crazy amounts of weight, her physique, and her fun attitude with the sport helped to reignite a passion. The combination of her appearance and motivation to  work hard and accomplish amazing things inspired me. It showed me how little I was really doing at the gym at that point in my life, and I began approaching it with a “DLB mindset.”

When I went into the gym, I started to focus on new machines, how much I could lift, how I could push my body to new levels. That became my focus – the strength, the overall improvement – and the rest started to fall into place. Muscles and veins started to appear where I’d never had them before!

Instead of obsessing about food I could and couldn’t have, I desired more healthy foods and the unhealthy ones lost appeal. I had a physical goal in mind and wanted to eat in a way that would increase my muscle mass and give me energy. Sugar, alcohol, and processed junk were not the way to do that.

Lasting Change

The better I ate, the better I felt. So much so that feeling great became almost more of an “addiction” than yummy food. It stopped feeling like a battle to overcome the temptations of food – a freedom I never thought I’d experience.

My body changed so much in this season that I began getting compliments and questions on a regular basis. Yet my primary focus was, for once, not on how skinny I could get. As I pursued the “first things” –  strength, athleticism, and accomplishment – the rest fell into place.

Focus Strong not Skinny

Maybe it’s being energetic for your kids, maybe it’s living a long, healthy life, maybe it’s increasing your endurance to run a marathon, or maybe it’s simply proving to yourself that you are capable of more than you think.These are the main goals that put us on a road to lasting change.

Whether it’s physical or spiritual growth or  you’re pursuing, remember to seek first what is most important, and all of the other things will be added to you.

 

 

What to do When the Passion Is Gone

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Is it hard for you to keep passion and drive alive?

If so, you’re normal; it’s sure not easy for me.

Whether it’s working out, a career, a marriage, or your relationship with God, keeping passion alive is tough.

It Doesn’t Come Naturally

I think sometimes because I am in shape and look fit, people think it’s easy for me, as if I’m a unique breed of person that’s just naturally fit and healthy and I don’t have to work hard for it. The same applies for my spiritual life- as if I’m someone who just naturally loves God and flows in the Spirit – Wrong! female motivation

Both areas take discipline, protection, perseverance, and LOVE.

But people don’t see the work and sacrifice behind the scenes. It’s an almost constant physical and mental battle; an ongoing effort to proactively make good choices in order to live at my best.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had trouble focusing in my time with God, and my hunger for his Kingdom has dwindled a bit. I still care, I still get excited about seeing him do miracles, but the passionate pursuit is more of a spark than a fire.

Physically, it’s the same. I still go to the gym every morning, but the “get it!” attitude is lacking. I’m there, I enjoy it, I look forward to it, but once I’m there the drive is just a tiny ember.

Because I know that actions often lead to motivation, my actions have not changed. But the heart behind them is just not what I want and have been enjoying for many months.

Set Yourself Up for Success

I just got back from vacation, where I relaxed with food and didn’t work out, and assumed upon returning, I’d be back into the groove. Nope. It’s still an ember…and now I’m just thinking more about relaxing, frozen yogurt and donuts, and wine with a big burger. eat food lose weight

So what do you do in these situations? You fight.

You position yourself for success. When I want to walk over to Pinkberry, I blend up some frozen bananas to make my own “ice cream”. When I really wanted to go out for a big, yummy dinner last night with a friend, I suggested we stay at home and watch a movie. I watch other fitness girls on YouTube to remind myself of my goals and spur me on.

If I put myself in front of the temptation, I know I’ll cave and regret it later. So I actively have to pursue the right choices against everything I want.

Stand Strong and Fight

Spiritually I must do the same. I’m reading Revelation right now, which is all about Christians standing and remaining firm through trials – even death – and rejoicing at the end. It is a reminder that we have to fight to remain strong in Christ; it’s not something that we naturally pursue, and falling away is incredibly easy.

Whenever I can, I should choose to worship, watch a sermon, or pray. I’ve been actively fighting the desire to throw on a movie and instead read a book about prayer that stirs up excitement every time I read it.

Growing apathetic and losing motivation is normal; the good news is, we can overcome.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but…against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  

Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert…”

We can expect struggle, temptation, and attack to come against that which we know we’re supposed to walk in. “Stand” is repeated multiple times, because we actively have to chase after passion and work to be strong when it’s hard.

When you’re struggling, actively “protect” yourself so you can stand. Watch, listen to, read, or spend time with influences which spur you on. Even when the passion doesn’t come right away, it sets you up for the right choices. Do the actions until the motivation comes – don’t wait for motivation to find you.

If you’re struggling with healthy eating or working out, I encourage you to use that as a way to make hard choices with discipline, so that the learning can be transferred over into other areas of life (or vice versa).

Walking with God is always going to be a fight, because we have an active enemy trying to take us down. Passion for what he’s created us to do is always going to face hard challenges because Satan doesn’t want us to succeed. Expect it, prepare for it, and put on every piece of armor you can find to fight. Feelings of passion come and go – so keep fighting until the passion returns.

don't give up

Restoring the Ability to Dream

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Why am I so passionate about fitness?

The same reason I chose the word “Renewal” for my business name. Fitness helps restore parts of ourselves that have been lost – or not yet discovered.  That is what motivates and excites me, and should motivate you! “we were like those who dream.....our

What do I mean by that?

Let me explain using Psalm 126, which I read this morning:

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.….our mouth was filled with laughterthen they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.'”


Restored well-being gives the ability to DREAM, to think bigger, to enjoy laughter….and life. And when that happens, people look at our lives and acknowledge God.

The power of restoration reminded me of a conversation last night with one of my clients. After her first week of working out consistently, she told me how great it felt to push her body once again. She’d always been physically strong and proud of her body’s ability to work hard, produce strength, and conquer physical feats.

But after having a child and facing some serious health issues that forced her to stop exercising, her muscles atrophied and could no longer do what they once could. As with most people, her  sense of confidence, strength, and self-esteem also atrophied.

She told me that in ONE WEEK she already feels stronger – it’s easier to carry her child, easier to accomplish daily tasks. That sense of strength, she explained, has carried over into her relationship with her husband, her work, and her relationship with God.

possibleShe’s regained confidence and pieces of the person she once loved and took pride in. Parts of her are being restored in just ONE WEEK of going to the gym and returning to a clean diet.

This is why I love what I do. I know motivation for the gym and healthy eating is lacking for so many people, because the focus is on how we look.

I want to remind you that you can be motivated instead by an experience of restoration and renewed strength. This will carry you much further in life than six-pack abs. This will help you rediscover what it is to DREAM.


 

photo credit: September 13, 2013 at 09:58PM via photopin (license)