Consistency? Having a routine? Actually achieving results by putting in a little each day? Hmmmm… sounds like too much of a commitment, and I want to be all in or not at all…what if I fail…?
My husband taught me something when these thought so readily stirred in my mind a little while back.
“You will find your balance jumping through your extremes.”
What the heck is that supposed to mean? I really chewed on this for a time. It had no form, yet heavily tugged at my heart. What was balance, really, and more so what was my balance?
I would like to use the example of exercise because I think that God loves to speak us in a ways we can best understand. Exercise was a perfect example because I kept falling on either side of the spectrum. I would stop exercising completely because to me, an hour-long cardio class was the only way to really get a workout in. When an hour-long cardio session left me worse off then when I started, I stopped completely in hopes to heal. The up and down of this never left me healthy or with the results I craved.
There were a few problems I was facing in the sea saw of extremes that held me back from what I wanted:
- I didn’t have a grasp of spectrum. If your spectrum of understanding is one fold, then finding the balance in the middle of it is near impossible. By looking at other forms of exercise (yoga, walking, weights) I was able to find balance within all of them and understand how much of which I needed. Even just starting with something small every day made more of a difference than something big once a week.
- One approach doesn’t fit all. This can also apply for periods of time in life. At one point, excessive exercise worked for me. When I became ill for a season of my life, it did the opposite for my health. I needed to find a new approach that fit who I was within my limitations, which in turn were blessings in disguise (2 Cor 12:9)
- My fears and doubts. Thinking “I cannot” or that a little bit (say a 30 minute walk) was not considered exercise was destroying any chance of success. Giving up for fear of failing before had me paralyzed. Thinking “I can” and “I will find a way, even if I fail in the process” were better thoughts to build my health back up. Failing better each time is better than never trying.
Once I addressed these, I was not only able to apply them to exercising, but also to other areas of my life and have radical success.
To find your balance, remember these three things
- Understand that there is more than just one way to succeed at what you are trying to achieve. Never settle for a one trick pony. Understand all of your options, and even if it takes time to learn, add one thing at a time and remove what you don’t need. MOST IMPORTANT it is perfectly OK to go slow. If you need to start with 30 minute of walking 3 times a week, that is better than the extreme of nothing. It’s better to have a routine of something rather than nothing.
- Find what works for you. Maybe following a specific guide that tells you how to exercise or eat right works great! I know for me it didn’t. I had to take advice from others and modify it to meet my needs. Not following specific guidelines isn’t about being rebellious and never following directions, but instead being true and uniquely you. Sometimes it is better to follow precisely, but remember that the guide you are attempting to emulate came from someone who started at the bottom and built there way up.
- Tell yourself the right things. NEVER say you can’t. There is always a way unless it just isn’t right for you, which is the exception. Often we don’t follow through with what we truly want because we are scared or afraid of what it will really be like to have that thing, or to fail in the process. If you change your thoughts and take them captive, you can change what you believe to be true. Say ” I cannot ____” three times. Do you believe it? Now take that same blank and say “I can ____” and say that until you believe it. Whatever it is that stand in the way, start talking against it, even if it’s you against you (2 Cor 10:5).
What you believe to be true will be what you invest in. Good or bad.