Most of us are familiar with what it feels like to lose confidence of enthusiasm about our exercise or diet plans. Past experiences and present challenges can affect our hope for the future.
- “It is taking too long to see the results I am looking for.”
- “I worked hard and achieved great success only to lapse due to illness, laziness and/or indulgence.”
Nearly all discouragement comes from focusing on failures of the past and expecting a repeat of those results. It seems to make perfect sense. Experience is a great teacher. We can learn from reading and attending lectures, but no lesson hits as hard as experience. Our brains are wired to produce conditioned responses to the present based on experiences from the past. It’s a basic animal instinct.
But, of course, as humans, we are able to overcome basic animal conditioning, because we have a direct connection to our creator, and we are creators ourselves. If the past were an accurate predictor of the future, our world would be a pristine wilderness in which we live in caves, hunt and gather our food and die before we reach 25 years old.
We have the power to change ourselves and the world around us. This power is not reserved exclusively for educated engineers and artists. We all have it. And the greatest of our natural talents is that to engineer our own bodies.
It is very difficult to measure the results of body changes. Weight can be transferred from fat to muscle resulting in a better looking and feeling body but no weight loss. Muscles can become more tone and robust without resulting in an ability to lift a great deal more. Using concrete measurements such as these may help to get a long term sense of progress but can not always be relied on to show all the benefits and can often be very discouraging.
As with any goals we set in our inspired lives, the greatest benefits are best experienced in the moment. Being physically active should feel good. A healthy meal should be enjoyable and leave us feeling energized. Feeling our bodies getting stronger, healthier and more beautiful this moment is much more encouraging than thinking “if I work my butt off for the next month, I might lose 10 pounds.”
In reality, we can’t know for certain what our future results will be. Life circumstances may change. Tomorrow, we may decide on a different diet. But this is true in all areas of life, yet we make plans and move forward knowing that God may change our plans someday.
Love Your Body Today and it Will Love You Back
Today, I am working at maintaining a habit of thanking God every morning for the body I have. There are imperfections and things I want to change over time, but what I have now is brilliantly architected and capable of amazing things. See Your Body is Marvelous for more on this.
Long term goals and dreams can be great motivators, but if we spend all our time working for the future and delaying our gratification, it is easy to get discouraged. Appreciate the miracle of your body right now, and you will be motivated to take good care of it which will result in more to appreciate.
Making Peace with Our Bodies
This article is the fourth in a series about making peace with our bodies. Click below to continue reading:
- Part 1: Motivation for Physical Self Care
- Part 2: Obstacles to Maintaining Physical Health
- Part 3: Overcoming Exceptions that Kill
- Part 4: Overcoming Discouragement (currently reading)
- Part 5: Overcoming Procrastination