“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them– every day begin the task anew.” ~ Francis de Sales
Let’s play a little “word association” game. I’m going to throw some words out at you and you are going to tell me what they all have in common. Ready? Microwaves. Dishwashers. Hair dryers. Email. Spray tans. Airplanes. Now make your guess. If you answered “things invented to help save us time”, then pat yourself on the back. Go on….do it. You deserve it. If you answered “essentials to a good vacation”, then console yourself with a pat on the back anyway. There you go. Now doesn’t that feel better? All of the items listed above (ok, maybe spray tans are a stretch) help make our lives more efficient by decreasing both the time and the effort it takes to complete the required task. In fact, we humans are continually looking for ways to streamline our lives. We are world champion multi-taskers, able to talk on the phone, cook dinner, surf the web, and help the kids with their homework all at the same time. Our time is valuable. There is so much we cram into a single day that we actually get frustrated, no downright angry, when someone squeezes in front of us in traffic, leaving us 10 seconds behind schedule, or when the microwave takes longer to heat up our food than what it says on the package. If it’s quick and easy, we’ll take it.
We treat the realm of our physical health no differently. “Have the body you’ve always wanted in 90 days!” “Burn fat faster with this pill!” “Use this electronic contraption and get the effects of 1000 crunches while sitting in your chair eating Cheetos and watching “The Biggest Loser”. “ Someone is always trying to sell us a faster way to fitness. And our time-conserving mindset makes us buyers every time. However, this creates unrealistic expectations as to how quickly we can reasonably hope to achieve our fitness goals. In a marriage, or a close friendship, how long does it take before we have it all down perfectly? Always do the right thing. Always say the right thing. How about our relationship with the Lord? At what point in our journey with Him do we finally “get” Him? Where we know exactly where He is leading us at all times and why we are going there. Does it all make sense on day 1? Or is it a process of growth, learning a little more every day, taking a few steps forward, sometimes taking steps backward?
If there is one thing that growth requires, it is time. And growing in understanding of our physical bodies, how they work, how they respond to exercise, and how they respond to dietary changes is no different. Why is it that we expect to lose in 90 days what it took us 10 years to gain? Drastic changes in a short period of time are not lifestyle changes. They don’t last. The honeymoon eventually ends and you are left with the reality that you are in it for the long haul. Complete with all the food hang-ups, exercise aversions, and misplaced priorities that you always had, but managed to mask, at least for a little while. But here’s the good news. YOU HAVE TIME! Don’t feel like you have to get it all together at once. Set reasonable, achievable goals for yourself. Build on those to bigger ones. Start changing attitudes and the behaviors will follow. Give yourself 6 months. A year. 2 years. 5 years. Whatever it takes to make true, lasting changes. Don’t get sucked into this idea that it has to happen overnight. You don’t set those expectations for any other area of your life. It takes time and hard work to build a business from the ground up. Rising through the ranks of a company is a gradual process built on successive accomplishments. Truly getting to know someone takes a lifetime. Embrace this journey you are on and give it time.