Lately I’ve been changing my eating habits and exercising more often, which is not new effort for me, but this time around, things have just been different. It’s been easier to get up and go to the gym, I haven’t been tempted to eat badly as often as other attempts, and I realized that it is because of one change. I changed who I was doing it for. It was difficult to to change myself to satisfy people and stereotypes around me because those were constantly changing. What I thought could change the way I felt ended up just making me feel worse about myself. This led to being disappointed in myself for “failing” at a game where there were no winners. It sucked! To constantly feel as if you could never be good enough or could never please everyone is a very dim place to be. Because of this, I would fall back into my bad eating habits which would in turn add to the depression, if you will, which would effect my motivation to get up and exercise. It was a vicious cycle that never ended. I started praying about what I should do to fix my problem, and God immediately showed my where I needed to make cuts. There were small things like getting off of certain medications that were causing mood swings and such, but the biggest area was who I was changing my life for. I realized that I needed to stop trying to please everyone AROUND me, and start bettering, NOT changing, myself to please God, and to be a better asset to those around me. It is amazing how a simple change of focus can effect everything in your life. Once my motivation turned from trying to change myself, into trying to better my life in order to be more helpful to those around me, my results instantly turned into what I was trying to achieve.
Not only have I been able to meet my eating, exercise, and weight-loss goals, but my thoughts have been opening and expanding. God has been showing me areas in my thought processes that I can be working on daily. I began focusing on the “why” of it all, and I was immediately brought to Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. My “why” changed from pleasing others, to doing it for God with the intentions of bettering my life in order to be able to serve those around me. If I am sluggish, depressed, and unhealthy, I can’t be there 100% for my family, and I’m setting a bad lifestyle for my kids. Also, this verse hit right on point with not just my health, but several other areas in my life. For example, my attitude towards disciplining my kids has changed from being a dictator, which I hadn’t even noticed I had become, to being a mother whose goal is to raise loving, understanding, listening, caring, helpful children. But how could I raise that kind of person if my attitude was such that was stubborn, ignorant, bossy, rude, and wasn’t willing to listen? It’s not possible, it’s as simple as that. Those around you, especially your children, watch, and are influenced, by your actions. As much as you try to force it, they learn by what you do, not by what you say. So if you’re telling them to act, eat, or even play a certain way, but you yourself are not portraying those habits, they might do it momentarily to please you, but in the long run, they will act the way you act.
Once I began exercising with intentions of having a clear mind, and to release stress, I began getting the results I’ve been looking for which has been boosting my motivation even more! I’ve also been seeing my children’s habits changing because they’ve been watching me. TV time has decreased immensely, they’re attitudes have been happier and less aggressive, they sleep better, and they enjoy being outside and active more. So, one simple mindset change on my part has set off a domino effect in several other lives around me.
Therefore, if you’re going to make a lifestyle change, change it to portray God in your actions. Not just God as a person as some might imagine, but God as an action; as Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control, Selflessness, and so on. Be present in body AND in mind, and remember that your actions and words go a lot further than just being said. Words can, and will, make an impact on someone around you even if it’s not to the person you’re speaking to. Open your mind to change, but change, not to please those around you, but to be able to show God to those around you with your everyday lifestyle.