Hello from the skies! (edited to add: we just landed in Baltimore!)
I am currently flying from Edmonton to Toronto with Mikey, bound for the East Coast in the US. Mikey is speaking at a med school in Hershey, Pennsylvania (yes, the chocolate factory Hershey!) and decided to tack on a trip since we’ve never visited this area of the US. It’s a fun way to spend New Year’s Day – traveling for 12 hours thanks to 3 different flights. But I love airports!
I enjoy the people watching and never mind if my flight’s delayed or I end up sitting at the gate a little longer because it is a forced, built-in time for me to be more pensive. Traveling makes me think and causes me to reflect, and what better time than during the first day of a new year? And so, I wanted to share a few thoughts I’ve been thinking as one year closes and another begins – maybe more to have a record for myself, but maybe something will strike you too.
New Year’s Resolutions
I’ve shared many times how I feel about making goals, and I feel the same about New Year’s Resolutions. You’ve probably all heard the stats about how many people stick to their resolutions (hint: they’re pretty abysmal), which says something to me that makes me think maybe we should revisit how we approach a fresh 365 days. My initial thoughts on this annual ritual for many people is that we make them out of guilt. Sometimes resolutions are made out of pressure or because we feel like failures in an area and need to feel or see some amount of success in an area, be it physical, in business or relationally.
Now don’t misunderstand me – I don’t think that making resolutions is a bad practice, and many people make resolutions for the right reasons and hold to them! It’s just that if so many of us break those resolutions so soon, I wonder if there’s a more effective way to make some changes and stick to them. Because, let’s be honest, without goals, without direction, without purpose it’s pretty easy to live a complacent life and let the days go by without living very intentionally. So what do we do?
I don’t have many answers, but I do have thoughts about simply shifting our focus. From what needs to happen, from “won’t power” (I will NOT eat junk food, I will NOT skip my workouts, etc), to will power (an emphasis on the positive). What if, instead of focusing on what we will take away from our lives, we focused on what we will add to our lives? And what if we focused on something that’s sustainable rather than drastic that is, in reality, pretty tough to stick to?
I love how John Berardi of Precision Nutrition put it in a recent newsletter I received as he delved into the topic of “fitness in the context of a real human life:”
“If you think about it, most health and fitness plans live OUTSIDE the context of a real life: ‘Here’s a 30 day detox diet to follow…and a new hardcore workout DVD…’ ‘Why not do a fitness competition in April… and a triathlon in August…’ ‘It’s time to go all-in… it’s the only way to win!’ Except that it’s not… Because that diet plan, or workout DVD, or one-size-fits-all training program you pulled from Triathlon magazine was never built to accommodate sick kids or open heart surgery or your co-worker’s 2-week vacation… Real human lives are messy and complicated. They’re unpredictable. When we learn to accept this they can also be dynamic and exciting. They can push us to grow.”
Isn’t that neat? I love that concept of making your own goals and direction based on YOUR OWN unique life.
And I love the perspective Adam Bornstein shares as he starts the New Year: “Whereas everyone is saying START NOW I’m encouraging you to take a day to recover and prepare for the journey ahead. Because that’s the reality of what will be different. It’s not who starts the fastest but rather who has the best, most sustainable plan that will not only work but also last… You have an entire year to kick ass. So whatever you do, do it YOUR way.”
Another refreshing perspective! Do it your way, go about it smart, don’t stress or rush the process. As someone who hasn’t done a single pull up, squat, push up or run in the past 8 days, that sounds about right to me! I’m going into 2015 feeling rested and refreshed, focusing not on the intensity of what I need to change but rather on keeping a healthy lifestyle in balance, in check, and sustainable for what my day-to-day routine looks like.
Will I hit the gym as we’re traveling this week? You bet! Or at least get outside for some sprints, do an in-apartment workout at one of the Air B n B’s we’re staying in and enjoy lots of walking. Will I stress about not working out with the same intensity? Nope. Will I worry about my food? No – today’s been a balance of a fasted morning with a healthy smoothie (spinach, parsley, mangoes, water and aciai juice) and some gummy Coke bottles and I’ll try to enjoy the foods we eat while keeping myself in check to not overeat more than my body wants. More and more I am loving this balanced approach to fitness and nutrition and want my clients to experience success toward their goals while doing so with their own, unique lives at the forefront.
On another note, I do want to pursue getting an official kettle bell certification and get started studying for my ACSM Cancer & Exercise exam. Now that I’m on my own, working as a contractor at CityFit as well as continuing with in-home training, I want to rebuild my business up to 40 clients and get 20-30 hours of work each week (going from 30 at my last job now down to just a few, it’s a hill to climb but I’m ready for it!).
Those are my business goals. And as someone who isn’t very good at making goals or going after dreams, I’m writing them out and sharing them to help keep me accountable to sticking with them!
My ultimate focus, so much more than my body fat percentage or scale weight or number of pull ups or clients or even family relationships is to chase after the Divine. It’s easy for me to muse about health and fitness goals and resolutions because I’m so interested in it and am passionate about helping people see change, but at the same time, those conversations don’t encompass my end all and be all – they are a small part of my life. To chase after the Divine is to focus on my relationship with God, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, and make the pursuit of Him be the central thing in my life.
This always comes to mind when my relationship with fitness gets a little out of hand, as Paul says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (I Timothy 4:8). Moreover, my dad and I had a great talk this Christmas about spending more time with God and really cultivating that relationship. He has had a rough year, or few years, looking for work and experiencing a lot of silence from God – no answers, no direction, just silence. He compared it to being in a maze, and you think God is to the right, so you turn right and He is nowhere to be found.
You must, therefore, choose a different path so you go back and turn left, seeking him there. But again, no answers, no response, no person. But you don’t give up. Instead, you CHASE. Chase after the Divine because you are looking and longing and desiring Him and that depth of relationship. For too long I’ve been ankle, or maybe knee deep, in God’s presence, and I want more of Him. But in just the same way that I must be intentional in the gym (or on the pathways or in my living room) and in the kitchen (leaving myself without excuses and being flexible enough to roll with the punches and adapt on the fly), I need to be intentional in my relationship with God, and simply wanting to know Him deeper won’t get me anywhere. I need to read His Word, spend time with Him, and chase! Yes, chase after the Divine.
Who knows what this year will yield? It might be a year of success. Or maybe hardship. I might feel sorrow or lots of joy, but what remains is the desire to chase after Jesus and put my focus on Him. In doing so, life won’t be perfect but my priorities will fall in to the right places and I will experience Christ in deeper ways, which I do believe will enhance my other goals – or at least my perspective on them.
What do you think of New Year’s resolutions? Do you make them each year? How many of you keep them or break them? And how does that makes you feel if you keep them or don’t?
Do you have any goals for 2015 in terms of your health, fitness, business, spiritual?
Just some thoughts as a new year begins. I’m excited to live it to the fullest and chase hard after the Divine, chase some fun and hard workouts, chase after a healthy and balanced body and healthy, thriving relationships. Sure sounds great; now it’s time to live it. Will you join me?
Live well & be well, and Happy 2015!