This week, at the 2018 Winter Olympics, elite athletes are going for the gold. They have worked hard for years to reach goals that only few will ever reach. These athletes train and compete like it’s their job…because for many of them, it is. They do things every day that will help them reach their goals, things that have become habit for them. For some of them, their goal is specific: to win gold. For others, it is to do the best they can do on the biggest stage of their life. For us, well…I am sure our habits look MUCH different than theirs.
So let’s talk goals…for normal people. In my mind, there are two kinds of goals: sometimes we have goals that are specific, like to lose 15 lbs, and sometimes we have goals that aren’t, like to simply be healthy. While specific goals aren’t at all bad (and often are necessary), I want to encourage you to think about broader-minded goals–maybe even life goals. Sometimes, goals aren’t meant to be met; they are meant to be forever pursued. So what does this look like in the day to day?
Well, the formula is simple: think of a goal, then think of something you can do every day that moves you toward that goal. I have many goals in life, but below are two that I am sharing with you as an example. Then, I shared two very doable habits for me that I can do in 15 minutes or less because, hello–I have 3 kids! Habits are by definition “an acquired behavior pattern followed until it has become almost involuntary” (*see full definition below); in other words, it’s a lifestyle. Sometimes I might do more and sometimes less, but if I have these habits, then I am on my way to achieving my goals.
- To Glorify God: Always increasing in my love for and knowledge of Him
- To Be Active: Not obsessive and not neglectful, but taking care of my body
- Read a chapter in my Bible each day.
- Run a mile every day. If I end up doing more, then great.
In closing, think about those goals that are something you never really meet but always pursue; goals that = mindset and habits that = lifestyle. I would recommend to focus on physical health AND spiritual health. The Westminster Shorter Catechism has this question and answer: What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. What is your chief end…your chief goal? What habits can you form to help you towards that chief end?
*Definition of Habit (from dictionary.com)
an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary:
the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.
customary practice or use:
Daily bathing is an American habit.
a particular practice, custom, or usage:
the habit of shaking hands.
(Recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine-ACSM)
- Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
- Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
- One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.
- Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.
- People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.
***Extra thought: One thing I want to do when I write is to help us to together think about how our faith should be influencing our fitness. In this case, let’s think about how does our faith influence our life goals, and even our fitness goals? In the last few months I have thought about fitness goals and realized that I wasn’t tending to my spiritual health as much as I was focused on my physical health. I imagine that is true for many of us when thinking about goals, and often times, don’t we get so set on a specific goal that things like spiritual growth go by the wayside? That’s why I needed to back up and think more broadly about these things. Is my specific goal of losing 15 lbs. clouding my judgement to make choices that will support my greater goal of nurturing my family? These are struggles that I wrestle with because I want to lose baby weight, but I also want to make sure my family is loved and cared for. And most of all, I want to glorify God in all areas of my life (Soli Deo Gloria). Prioritizing these things is key.