Category Archives: One Word: Blessing

The Blessing of “I Don’t Want To.”

One Word 365 writing series

One Word: Blessing

The Blessing of “I Don’t Want To”

When I originally began my weight loss and fitness goals in the spring/summer of 2013, I was dealing with knee problems. It was painful to walk, every single step hurt, literally! It felt as if it took an hour to walk one city block. I wondered how I was going to train for a 10K running race if I could barely walk 10 meters.

As the weight came off people began asking what diet I was on and if I was exercising. I told them I stopped dieting at age 26 and for more than a decade I had not been on a diet. I informed them that I was training in brisk walking. I wish I had been able to capture the looks on people’s faces every time I said “walking”. People seem to have a hard time accepting that brisk walking can be quite the physical challenge and that it is a healthy form of exercise.

I have to explain too many times to too many people why I have zero desire to ever run a marathon. I feel as if my fitness goals and weight loss journey is taken less seriously because right now I’m limited to doing, at most, a run-walk. My knee doesn’t allow me to run for long distances, but that is not the problem or the issue. From the bottom of my heart I mean it when I say, “I don’t want to complete a marathon”.

I don't want to look like a marathon runner. I want to look like a sprinter!
I don’t want to look like a marathon runner. I want to look like a sprinter!

Questions I’ve been asked

(Q): But isn’t that every runner’s dream?

(A): No, not for this runner!

Q: How will you know you don’t like doing marathons if you’ve never tried?

A: Because, I hate running for more than 60 minutes, after that, I’m done, I just want to go back home or start walking. There’s no ax murderer behind me, so why do I need to keep running when no one is chasing me?

Q: It’s mind over matter! Keep running and you will eventually learn to love it!

A: Well… I have my mind set on not doing a marathon and instead I want to do something that is of interest to me.  I want to do something that I enjoy now.

I'm a hater!
I’m a hater!

Here is the part where I have found the Blessing of “I Don’t Want To”.

Saying “yes” to investing a lot of time and energy into physical activities that I don’t enjoy is draining for me; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Training to do a distance longer than 10K is a major time investment.

There are plenty of fitness activities to choose from and neither you nor I are required to invest in something we don’t enjoy. Saying “no” has allowed me to search for activities that I will look forward to without having to do daily motivational speeches to myself or find some sort of accountability group to help keep me publicly accountable to my unwanted goals.

I wonder how many people out there are engaged in physical activities they truly don’t like and are only doing so because they are forcing themselves to engage in a battle of mind over matter. If you can get the same results doing another activity, one that you actually enjoy, why not choose that option? Choosing daily activities that are a burden, time consuming, and are not enjoyable eventually causes unhappiness. It doesn’t matter if you finished a marathon or cycled through the forest for 6 hours. If the process of meeting this goal was not enjoyable, you did not accomplish anything emotionally rewarding. A physical accomplishment needs to have all three components of well-being: mind, body, and spirit. Did your activity genuinely feed all three? And by genuine, I’m asking was your joy and happiness authentic or did it require daily pep talks, fitspiration pictures plastered everywhere and forcing yourself to attend almost every single session of training?

I'll do the work to look like Flo Jo, my childhood hero!
I’ll do the work to look like Flo Jo, my childhood hero!

Even when we choose an activity that we do love, there are going to be times when it does require motivation to get things done, but it should be an exception not a regular occurrence. Enjoyable activities might require some motivation, but once you are finished there should be some enjoyment. I dislike going to the gym, every single time, but I can assure you that once my workout is over, I feel an incredible high. There are times when the treadmill beeps and I think, “Nooo, I don’t want to cool down, I want to keep on going!!”.

Exercise is a time for release from the stressors and problems in our lives; it’s not a time to add yet another task that doesn’t bring fulfillment, emotional release and joy to our life.

Be blessed in your physical activities by choosing to participate in workouts that add life to your day.

There is a traditional Jewish morning blessing (Elohai Neshamah) where you say,

“My G-d, the soul that you put in me, it is pure: You created it, you formed it, you breathed it in me, and you tend it in my core. But you will take it from me and put it back in me in the world to come. For all the time that the soul is in my core, grateful am I before you, Adonai my G-d, and G-d of my ancestors, master of all works, lord of all souls. Blessed are you, Lord, the one who restores souls to lifeless bodies.”

When I wake up in the morning I want to learn to bless God and give him thanks. This is still a work in progress for me because waking up usually involves, grumbling as I reach over to turn my alarm off. I lay there dreading certain tasks on my to-do list and then I fly out of bed in attempt to reach the bathroom before the other people in the house so I can have hot water and some decent pressure flowing out of the shower head. When I used to head to the gym at 3:15 a.m. it wasn’t the most pleasant experience for me and required a lot of motivational head games. At the time I chose to workout before work because I knew I enjoyed my evenings so much that I never wanted to interrupt my pleasant evening with an unpleasant activity such as running.

Nothing says reward like a permanent injury and surgery 20 years later.
Nothing says reward like a permanent injury and surgery 20 years later.
Can I stop if I REALLY hate this activity and want to do one I enjoy that will get me the same results? Please?
Can I stop if I REALLY hate this activity and want to do one I enjoy that will get me the same results? Please?

I’m returning to my morning workouts this week, but thankfully not at 3:15 a.m., it’ll be a 5:30 a.m. wake up call. I’ll head to the gym to engage in activities that I genuinely enjoy. I intend for my mornings to start with a blessing of thanksgiving; this will be my morning praise, no motivation needed. My blessing will be that God has restored life to me again and I will give Him blessings by engaging my body in exercise that feeds my body and my spirit. It is no blessing to me or God if I unnecessarily force my body to do things that are not of interest or a benefit to me.

I pray that you are blessed this week in whatever physical activity you have chosen to do to keep fit. Let your activities be a blessing, not a burden. 

Be the best you

The Blessing of Self-Discipline

2014
2014

The Blessing of Discipline

I’ve enjoyed incorporating the One Word 365 philosophy into my daily life. There hasn’t been a day where I haven’t stopped and considered the word and experience of Blessing (my chosen One Word for 2014).

God's blessing brings goodness to your life, not trouble
God’s blessing brings goodness to your life, not trouble

This week an area where blessing has resonated with me is: Discipline. Throughout my life I haven’t always been a well disciplined person, however, once I entered my mid-thirties, discipline was no longer a choice for me, it became a requirement. Having ADHD resulted in a life of disorganization, confusion, distraction and running around in circles. My life was filled with starts and stops along with many unfinished tasks and uncommitted responsibilities. Thankfully, in my later thirties I learned through the help of an ADHD Academic Strategist many helpful techniques for managing various areas of my life. For any adult with ADHD, I highly recommend investing in an A.D.D. Coach. A.D.D. cannot be “cured” because it is not a disease, but it can definitely be managed.

This is NOT discipline!
This is NOT discipline!

I can’t think of too many people who enjoy discipline or having to get into the habit of developing new disciplines. I wish I could say it is easy work, but it isn’t. I’ve come to accept that discipline must be a part of my everyday life in order to function. I now consider discipline a blessing.

In Judaism, a blessing involves the drawing down of spiritual energy from God. The purpose of “Berakhot” is to acknowledge God as the source of all blessing and to turn everyday experiences into religious experiences and as a result increase awareness of God. In becoming a disciplined person I see and experience God’s blessing “Berakhah”, a gift from God. It would be difficult to live God’s calling on our lives if we do not have discipline. One could not become a doctor without daily study, an athlete without daily exercise, or a musician without daily practice. I cannot become the best “me” without the gift of discipline and “you” cannot become the best you without this gift either.

Discipline creates strength
Discipline creates strength

Discipline as a blessing produces the following in your life:

  • Self control
  • Perseverance
  • Ability to prioritize your life
  • Becoming a man/woman of your word (you do what you say you will)
  • The reward of having completed something (fulfillment of dreams and goals)
  • Development of your God given skills and talents
  • Time to enjoy doing things you enjoy
  • Overcoming habits that are of no benefit to you
  • Being able to continue working on something long after the initial excitement has ceased
  • Increased boundaries
  • Growing closer to God as you draw on His strength while you go about your daily responsibilities

discipline chart

May your discipline be a blessing in your life!

Question:

Think of areas in your life where you see discipline as a blessing. Praise God for these disciplines and what it has produced!

Application:

Pray and ask God to reveal areas in your life where you lack discipline; ask Him for help in making changes.

Count Your Fitness Blessings

One Word 2014: Blessing 

2014
2014

We’re one month into the New Year and I’m excited to say I haven’t broken any resolutions yet, and that’s because I didn’t make any! This year the One Word option is something I welcome into my life. If you’d like to learn more about One Word, you can select the One Word 2014 tab near the top left of this blog and learn all about it and why the word Blessing is my guiding word for this entire year.

When it comes to health and fitness I can be quite the downer. I don’t recall ever waking up and thinking, “Yeah, I get to go to the gym and sweat on a machine!” or “Yeah, my aching legs and butt still hurt two days after my lower body workout!” I give thanks to God, but I certainly don’t get all excited about going to work out or HAVING TO lose weight. At times this healthy living journey feels like punishment. In my mind I tell myself I am being punished for having eaten way too many processed foods and not exercising enough.

NEGATIVE THINKING HAS TO STOP NOW!

Jpg Source: Fitsugar
Jpg Source: Fitsugar

This is what I told myself yesterday. Negative thinking has never helped anyone lose weight and keep it off. Negativity is not healthy. My word is Blessing, so… what blessings can I find, give thanks for and share with you as encouragement (for those who need that extra spiritual motivation). I give thanks to God that it didn’t take me long to count my weight loss and fitness blessings.

Health Blessings:

I’m alive: Seems silly, but I have to give thanks for this. I’m alive and it can’t get any better than this.

I don’t have terminal illness: Terminal illness isn’t necessarily related to poor health choices, and this is all the more reason to give thanks that death is not at my door. There are many people lying in hospital wishing they could trade places with me right now. I am fairly healthy and I have to give thanks for this.

I can afford fitness equipment and a subsidised gym membership: I don’t have an at home gym, but I have some basics like kettle bells, medicine balls, foam rollers, bands,lots of DVD’s, and yoga mats to name a few. I am fortunate to live in a city where the municipal government subsidises fitness memberships for those with low incomes. For those with limited funds to spare the YMCA also assists individuals and families with the cost of memberships. I am blessed because I have no excuse for not obtaining a gym membership.

I have a choice: Having a choice to decide if I want to commit to being healthy is a major blessing that I think we take for granted here in North America. We have so much food in this country that I get to make a choice between eating healthy or reaching for the not-so-good-for-you temptations. We’ve all seen those sad commercials with hungry people who need our less than dollar a day. I wondered, “If I have a choice, why is it so difficult to make the healthiest decisions”.

ARE YOU BRAGGING OR SHOWING OFF? Fitness Snob

No, I’m not doing either. What I’m doing is counting my blessings and I’m sparing you all the details by telling you that I would have to write a lot more pages if I were to list for you all the blessings given to me by God as it relates to my health journey.

Application:

We’re a month into 2014 (and two days if you are celebrating Lunar New Year). I encourage you to take stock of the many health and fitness blessings that have been made available to you. I sometimes think that if we knew how blessed we were in our quest for health we would be more diligent in taking care of ourselves. We would no longer see our journey as tiring, boring, punishing, a duty, a hassle or any other negative emotion. Most importantly, we would bless the Lord for blessing us with whatever health we’ve been given.

So, go ahead, count your fitness blessings all week long! I’m excited for you to see the awesomeness of God as He inserts Himself into your goals for health and wellness.

1000 blessings