It’s been a super busy week. I’m getting stressed about meeting the deadline for finishing the Breakthrough book. I also have a ton of meetings booked this week, medical appointments, and family matters that need urgent attention. Needless to say, my workouts are suffering.
Whether you’re busy building your own business; you’re a stay-at-home mom; managing a career while taking care of children or an aging parent; or Lord help you, caring for both children and parents at the same time, the task of continuing to make your health a priority is a challenge for many women.
The challenge for many of us is not a question of “Should I exercise or get my nails done instead?” But, …
- “Where do I fit exercise into a day where I already wake up at 5:00 am to prepare lunches and get everyone organized?”
- “How do I even think of grocery shopping when I’ve got 20 people waiting for me at work?”
- “How do I make the time to prepare healthy foods when the entire Sunday School department is relying on me to show up?”
Despite their deep desire, most women in any of these circumstances can’t imagine how and where they would find time to squeeze in exercise and proper meal planning, and if they did, they would feel guilty about taking so much time for themselves knowing how other ‘more important’ work needs to be done.
If you find yourself nodding in agreement (or perhaps getting defensive), then read on to learn how you can make your health a priority and learn how to see it from a different perspective—a Godly perspective.
There are no easy answers, but there are tools and strategies you can use to help you change the way you see your health forever!
Below are some tools and strategies that I use with clients to help them gain a better perspective on the role their health plays in their life. Use one or all of these tools to help you move your health from a place of simply wishing, wanting, and hoping for it, to a place where you’re naturally motivated to make time for your health regardless of how much time you have every day, what’s going on in your life, or how busy you are.
1. Align your health goals with your values
What do you value most in life? Faith, family, fun, friendships? What about success, simplicity, security, service? When you live your life (and your health) from your values, there’s a much higher probability that you will stay loyal to achieving your goals.
But first you must understand what your values are. For example, my values are success, charity, variety, faith, freedom, independence, and stability.
I know that if my health goals conflict with any of these values, then I will not be motivated to achieve them. I am successful because I’ve added as many of these values into my health regime as I am able to. When I’m out of alignment with my values, my exercise falls off my radar and I have to come back into alignment by adding variety back into my workout programs. I do this by participating in a race to feel success; fasting or cleansing to get my weight back under control to maintain my stability; realign myself with my heavenly Father to re-establish my spiritual connection, or break-free from the gym and go for a 2-hour hike to reconnect with my need for independence and freedom.
So what about you? Do you know what your values are? More importantly, are they supporting or sabotaging your weight loss goals? The first step is to understand what your values are—that way when you create your health and weight loss plan, you can make sure that your values are included in them.
2. Align your health with your life priorities
Most of us sincerely want to be healthier, but when the pressure of fitting 10 seemingly urgent things into our day confronts us, it’s our health that most often gets squeezed out. We don’t want to neglect our health but we just feel like we don’t have any other choice.
Much like our values, our daily priorities may always take precedence over our health. Many of our priorities will (or should) be based on our values in life (e.g. if family is a high value, many of your priorities will reflect that). Other priorities will also be imposed, such as work/school needs, taking the kids to their games, or shopping for a friend’s birthday, wedding, or housewarming gift—priorities we impose on ourselves or are imposed on us—and unless exercise and taking the time to eat healthily are high on our priority list, odds are, they will constantly fall off our daily to-do list.
Many of us are not conscious of what our priorities are, so getting clear on what your priorities are and giving them a hierarchy of most to least important will greatly help to move you from a place of stress and frustration to calm planning.
Good health can have a positive trickle-down effect on your other priorities. After all, what wouldn’t benefit from you having more energy, feeling charged, and feeling positive about yourself? When we take the time to really understand what our priorities are and put them into a logical order, health always gets moved up in priority. It just makes sense.
Even still, there will be days where your health goals are getting pushed out by other priorities. But what if you did not have to choose between your health and your other priorities? What if you could have them both?
You can always find creative ways to fit your health goals in. For example, at work you can choose to take the stairs (or some of them) instead of the elevator; do some light exercises right at your desk or go for a walk while on break. If you’re with your kids, you can engage them in physical activities that you can all do together or prepare fun, healthy meals for everyone. Similar ideas if you’re volunteering at church or for other causes, or doing your chores.
When you understand where your health and weight-releasing goals fit into your values and priorities, your mind begins to constantly look for ways to fulfill that need and you’ll begin to naturally and automatically make healthier choices from a place of self-love and not a place of ‘should-do’.
3. Put your health in the proper perspective—God’s perspective
Let’s say we’ve got our values in order, and we even have our priorities in order, the challenge still becomes one of trust and obedience to God. Many of us know that we need to put God first, but do we trust Him enough to really believe that he will take care of us? If you ‘want’ to be healthier but can’t make the time, ask yourself the following questions to help you put things in (God’s) perspective:
1. Is the amount of time you spend on other priorities in line with their level of priority? (e.g. Are you spending too much time on low priorities, instead of addressing high priorities?)
2. If you look at priorities that takes up a lot of your time, are you confident that God has called you to spend your time there?
3. Have you prayed about your workload and asked God to help you order your steps?
4. Do you feel like you are led by the Spirit and therefore work with ease, or do you constantly feel under pressure to get things done? Are you always behind?
5. Do you spend time in your morning in prayer before you start managing the other priorities of the day?
6. Are you able to carve out at least one hour in the day for self-care which includes looking after your health?
7. Have you been hearing messages, signs, hints, or warnings about your health, yet you neglect to take action?
8. If someone asks you to do something that will require a lot of your time, do you pray about it first?
9. Are you able to focus on your priorities instead of dealing with urgent matters (putting out fires)?
10. Do you understand the impact that being healthy will have on your ministry? Calling? Other priorities?
Did you answer ‘no’ to any or all of these questions? If so, then it may be time to take a long, hard look at your priorities, your schedule, and your health and align them with God’s priorities and perspective.
There should be no question in our minds that God wants us to be healthy. His Word has made that clear many times over (3 John 1:2, 1 Cor. 6:19-20, John 10:10). How will you align your priorities with God’s?
If we allow the Holy Spirit to strip everything else away so that we’re left with a schedule based on God’s priorities, wisdom and leading, we will be able to experience the divine health He created us to enjoy.
P.S. if you are tired of circling the same mountain over and over and want a Christ-centered approach to lasting weight loss without feeling guilty, deprived, or overwhelmed, be sure to sign up for our video course program right away at cathymorenzie.com