I have now lived in Israel for 22 months. In that time, I learned more than I expected about health, fitness, and determination. I learned I needed to develop a fitness mindset, starting with the little things. When you spend the equivalent of a full time job as a volunteer, and work on your own business, there is never enough time. Add in all the other things we love to do, and something is bound to slide.
In ministry, we love to give our all, particularly when we’re working to aid others. But, we have to remember that first impressions matter, our health matters, and we do no one any good by burning ourselves out. Many people in full-time volunteer ministry end up burning themselves out, either because they didn’t take time for their health, or they didn’t take time to rest and renew their spirits.
The best thing volunteers can do for their organizations is make sure they are taking care of themselves. Your health matters, your mental stamina and strength matter. Leave work at work, and make sure you are taking time to be active, to relax, and to take care of your own needs.
Fitness and Health Equal Hygiene:
I’ve realized that hygiene is intrinsically related to health. If you’re not taking care of yourself hygienically, you won’t be taking care of yourself physically, mentally, or spiritually. With time constraints, I’ve found hygiene is the first place I’m tempted to cut corners. But, the second those corners get cut, other things start slipping too.
When I’m very deliberate, and thorough about my hygiene, I am also deliberate about what I eat. I pay more attention to stance and posture, and am more aware of appearance and bearing.
If you are struggling with being active and healthy, check your hygiene first. Are you taking enough time in this regard? Are you being mindful? If you aren’t, change here first, and then add in other habits as your mindfulness increases. You cannot have a fitness mindset if you are cutting health corners. You cannot be fit if your health is suffering.
And maybe you don’t struggle with cutting corners on hygiene. That’s fine too. This is simply something I noticed in the cycles of busyness I’ve encountered over the past few months. If I get too busy, something is bound to slip (and it’s usually related to the cleanliness of something).
For a Fitness Mindset Simple is Best:
Due to lower-back pain, I hate standard workouts and anything that requires getting on the floor. But, I love walking. Most of my health improvements (and a general body-shrinking) have happened because I formed a daily walking habit.
Walking is also good for your mental health, particularly if you spend the day behind a screen. I find it helps me process the day, work through problems, and sometimes plan the next day’s procedures so I’m less stressed.
Walking is simple, effective, and can be done anywhere. I even pace the hallway at work on my lunch break. Part of my fitness mindset is being active in the little minutes. That includes the lunch break!
Tracking can help with consistency, particularly if you like playing with numbers. Goals, whether real or virtual can also help. It took me 13 months to “walk” to Mordor, over 2717 miles. But the tracking, and virtual locations and story-line all helped me stay motivated.
Now that I’ve simply walked into Mordor, I’m working on a bigger and less simple challenge. I’m in the middle of 6 months of Krav Maga classes, which means I have to attend since I pre-paid. They’re also stretching my comfort zone as they are group classes, and involve real sparring. Before I did the walking I would never have dreamed of attending Krav Maga, I simply didn’t have the stamina and was too self-conscious. Now it’s a different story.
Support and Accountability:
One of the things with taking a class, any class, is that you are accountable to attend to the teacher and your fellow students. If you aren’t there, they notice. Support is essential when you are trying to form habits. Your support person could be your roommate, an office mate, or just a friend.
When walking to Mordor, I updated my office-mate (who knew nothing about Lord of the Rings) with my distance progressed. My roommate tested my speed and stamina by dragging me out on long walks.
Doing Krav Maga training means that I check in with my trainer as to my progress. But, I also have a friend who I update on how I’m doing, and any wins or fun from the previous training session. This friend has done self-defense, so is easy to talk to concerning what I’m learning, and he likes clarifying things and giving me ideas too.
Within a fitness mindset, every session does not need to be perfect, or 100%. Showing up, doing your best, and fighting to keep improving are all part of it. If one session is lower energy, or has to be curtailed due to exhaustion – do so. The next one will be better, as long as you keep pressing forward.
When you want to make change, or simply just maintain good habits, having someone who can check in with you is essential. If you don’t want to disappoint them, you stay more on track. You want to be able to share a win, so you push yourself that one step further than you otherwise would. Bad days happen, so you admit it and push forward the next day.
Back to You:
Would you agree with these examples and tactics? Do you have a favorite health related tactic to add?
How would you recommend someone begin developing their own fitness mindset?
Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.