If we want to be successful in our nutrition and fitness goals, we need to have a very clearly defined “why”. Why are we trying to lead a healthy lifestyle? What is the purpose behind our efforts? What is the passion that drives us?
Dedication naturally waxes and wanes, but a clearly defined “why” will pull us back on track. Therefore, it isn’t until we have formalized and physically written this down that we will have enduring success in our health and fitness goals. Furthermore, I would like to argue that this “why” not only must be clearly defined, but it also must be rooted in something other than ourselves.
If we are honest with ourselves, as women, vanity is one of, if not the greatest, determining factor in our pursuits for health and fitness. Plain and simple, we want to look good for ourselves and for others. How we define “good” varies from person to person. To me it is fit – thin with quite a bit of muscle definition. For others, it might be long and lean. Or hourglass figure for still others. While I don’t necessarily think this is in and of itself terrible or sinful, I would contend that if this makes up the whole of our “why”, we are going to either get easily frustrated because we aren’t measuring up, or we are going to become prideful, glorifying our bodies. Neither is a good situation. Therefore, I truly believe that we need to push past a looks driven “why”, and as a Christian, I would even go so far as to say that it ultimately needs to be rooted in the Lord.
We should be desiring optimal health out of love of the Lord and fully living the lives that He has designed and desires for us (the glory of the Lord is man fully alive). To me, this should be the main focus of our motivation and “why”. However, that is much easier said than done. To articulate this further, I would like to apply a common Christian theme – perfect contrition – to the concept of motivation, specifically in regards to fitness.
Perfect contrition is the detestation of our sins and the resolve to change simply out of pure love of God. Imperfect contrition, on the other hand, is motivated by fear of hell and the hope for heaven. While still valid reasons to turn from our sin, we should strive beyond that, seeking holiness purely because we love our Savior. This is very difficult to achieve (almost seemingly impossible at times), but we should still try to obtain perfect contrition.
Now apply that same idea to health motivation. As I previously mentioned, vanity, along with a myriad of other factors, pushes us to be healthy, but each of them are imperfection motivation, since there truly is only one perfect motivation – love of God and keeping a healthy mind, body and spirit so that we can live the life that he has designed and desires for us.
Like contrition, we should strive for our motivation to be perfect as well…yet, I don’t know about you, but that seems to be far from reality for me. And like perfect contrition, it sometimes seems next to impossible to achieve perfect motivation. And I dare say that it wouldn’t be achievable if it weren’t for Jesus Christ – the only one that can ultimately change our hearts.
Thankfully, we have access to Him through prayer. So I am giving myself a different kind of challenge that I invite all of you to join in – praying before every work out. I can’t wait to see the impact because I trust there will be one. As difficult as it may be, I should keep striving for perfect motivation – keep trying, and little by little, through the power of prayer, I hope to become more and more motivated simply by love of the Lord and pleasing Him.