Our church just finished a “50 Days of Fitness” program, which kick-starts “Journey 365,” a health program designed by local pastor Todd Lamphere of The Venue Church in Apopka (www.enjoythejourney365.com/journey-365). Originally designed for a church, Journey 365 was eventually given a secular track for use in public institutions and has transformed the physical lives of people throughout Central Florida.
It certainly transformed me. During the 50 Days of Fitness, I set some goals for myself. I wanted to lose 10 pounds and I wanted to be able to work up to a 3-mile run without stopping. Marathoners may scoff, but for someone who had never run more than a half-mile in his life, it was pretty challenging. I accomplished both goals. Now, I tell you that not to brag, but to share some things I re-learned along the way.
Before I began the 50 Days of Fitness, I was already in reasonable shape, working out at the local YMCA about five days per week. However, reasonable is not the same thing as good, so I set out on a journey to improve. Here are some things I was reminded of:
Numbers don’t lie. Before the 50 days, I watched what I ate. During the program, I actually counted what I ate using an iPhone app. Until I started counting, I didn’t realize how delusional I had been! The same thing goes for the running. Prior to the program, I would run until I felt really tired, then quit. Paying attention to the numbers helped me push through the feelings to the reality.
You develop a taste for what you pursue. Prior to my “get fit” commitment I had two major downfalls when it came to food: fried foods and ice cream, neither of which is the breakfast of champions. Oh how I missed those things when I first started counting the numbers! But a funny thing happened about halfway through. I tried eating some fried food and my stomach really didn’t have room for it. I wish I could say the same thing about ice cream! The point is this: As I started eating more healthily, healthy seemed more normal.
Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Most of us are impatient for results. I wanted to lose 10 pounds the first week and be marathon-fit by the end of 50 days. However, I took a more modest approach, taking each day one bit at a time, and eventually I began to see the change happen. In my case, consistency was more important than valor.
Of course, I gained far more from the 50 days than just a little weight loss and stronger legs. I was reminded in a fresh way of how physical lessons transfer into all aspects of life. Numbers don’t lie — even though we’d like them to at times. There is often a significant gap between reality and our grasp of it. What we pursue will eventually become normal for us. The challenge is: what will we pursue? Real change happens when we make daily commitments to attend to little things that eventually compound into big things.
My journey all began with a feeling of dissatisfaction, however slight, with the way things were. I think most of us experience that transformative dissatisfaction in our lives from time to time. We see the gap between how things are and how they ought to be. The question is, do we have the courage and patience to close the gap?