I’ve just recently started going to the gym again (finally). It’s been several months since my exercise routine has been consistent so it feels good to get back in there and get my workout on. I’m not sure why I put it off for so long. Exercise is funny that way, even though we know it makes us feel good we still don’t want to do it. Go figure.
After an extended hiatus from regular gym attendance, you really feel the difference when you start up again. You’ll feel a higher energy level, better moods, and (perhaps most likely) sore muscles. All have been true for me. I’ve been feeling great since getting back to the gym, but unfortunately these early days aren’t the true test. The real test comes three, six, and twelve months from now. Not sure I’ll still be feeling great about it, but that’s where the rubber meets the road. Rising above feelings and doing what’s best is easier said than done.
I think exercise is one of the places where we can most clearly see this rule at work: “It doesn’t matter how you start, but how (and if) you finish.” And when it comes to exercise, you’re never finished (until you die). So it’s a slow, steady, never-ending process. That’s tough for me.
See, I expect results right away. I like to get things done, get it over with, and move on. I stand on the scale, look in the mirror, and ask my wife how I look, fully expecting that I (and she) will see a difference. Obviously, not much has changed in a couple of days. As ridiculous as it may be, that puts a bit of a damper on my excitement. I want results and I want them now. After all, (I feel like) I’m doing so well! If I don’t see immediate results, am I doing something wrong?
I think that human nature, and especially the culture we live in, is prone to impatience and instant gratification. We have strong internal desires and needs that we want met five minutes ago. But little work = big payoff is extremely rare, the exception and not the rule. The most trustworthy formula is that hard work = big payoff, and hard work is done day in, day out, for a long period of time. Chances are you won’t see results immediately. The average entrepreneur/small business owner has to wait ten years before he or she starts to see profit. It’s hard to do something without seeing an immediate payoff. But those are the things that give the greatest rewards. We can never change the law of investment and return. The only way to change is to change our thinking.
The most important thing is not making changes for a day or for a week, but making a decision to change on the inside. Experts tell us that it is the small, daily choices that have the greatest effect on our health. There are no quick fixes, and this is actually a good thing (I think). Change your mind, find a rhythm, and stop worrying about it. This applies to whatever area of life needs to change, health habits, thoughts, words, etc. You don’t have to have an instant and complete transformation. What’s important is that we get up every day and, with God’s help, do it again. Perfection is not the goal, perseverance is.