A gym member approached me with a question I presumed he already knew the answer to. Knowing he asked, as many do, to seek the magic answer or solution that strikes some epiphany in solving his struggle(s), he asked my thoughts on strength training verses endurance training for weight loss, while beginning to answer it himself, saying those on cardio machines every day, follow the same regimen and they look as though nothing has changed. I assured him that his observation was true, in that one must continually induce new stresses to which the body must adapt in order to experience an adaptation, resulting in change. So, I prompted him to regard the ‘real’ issue at hand. His goal was to lose stomach fat, but I reminded him that diet and exercise are a very small piece in getting what he ‘really’ wants. He went on to say, though he is not an alcoholic, drinking is probably his main interference to weight loss, as he usually has at least one glass of wine per night. I responded with empathy, knowing our culture seems to encourage drinking, making it difficult to resist, and I partake myself. Beginning to get somewhere, he said a glass of wine while watching TV is relaxing after work, and work has been stressful. He proceeded to say his work-out routine was hindered last year while providing care to his father prior to his passing. I explained the impact stresses have on our ability to lose weight, the cortisol produced and the metabolic changes it induces. I asked him to consider something else that gives him stress relief. He said he should start walking more. I stopped him to say he regarded walking a chore, and I meant a non-exercise stress reliever, equivalent to drinking wine and watching TV. He mentioned reading, so I encouraged that he read more.
Working in the fitness industry, I see so many people attempting to operate in one dimension, failing to realize that diet and exercise comprise one of about seven components necessary to achieve well-being. I feel like a broken record talking about this, but so many people miss the concept, only to fall back into their same one-dimensional motive that fail them over and over again. Though the seven components comprising wellness include mental, physical, emotional, occupational, environmental, social and spiritual well-being, our hierarchy of motivation, in order from least to greatest, includes that which is physical-driven, mental-driven and spiritual-driven. So, in applying that physical motive to get abs, get the girl, produce feel-good endorphin hormones, lose weight and fit into a size 0, how often does this motivation succeed? And if one does succeed with such motive, how often is their motivation lost before falling back into the same place they were to begin with, or worse? Often those who do achieve their goal, with that single physical motive, find the emptiness they felt prior, still exists. Maybe the mental motive is applied and competitiveness induces continuation and the same success found in the physical realm carries over into other entities of life, increasing work-ethic, patience, discipline and other positive characteristics. But, eventually one must wonder, for what reason they are accomplishing this success and how do they maintain this motivation when they experience a life-crisis, depression, death, etc? This is when that third dimension comes into play. Spirituality is the one component of wellness on which we cannot exhaust our focus on. If we obsess, or focus too much on any of the other components, chances are we will disrupt the balance and suffer the consequences of ignoring one or more of the other components. However, focusing on spirituality, NOT to be confused with religion, grants purpose to enhance the balance among all seven components. You may ask, if not religion, what is spirituality? Spirituality is essentially anything greater than oneself. For me, it is God, an all-powerful being who created us in His image, with a mind desiring more than what this life has to offer. If listened to, our minds are never satisfied, constantly wanting to achieve more and more. So, identify what that achievement is that you want. Make sure it is more than that of selfish desire. Find incentive to work toward and desire something greater than yourself. This is the same rationale used by our military and sports coaching tactics, enabling teams to overcome the odds. So, I challenge you to search your soul and find that which induces passion in your life. Figure out what driving force gives you motivation beyond yourself and try to apply your daily tasks toward achieving success in becoming part of its' effectiveness. For many, it is family, yet so many parents lose themselves in guilt, thinking time spent trying to figure out their purpose, is time they should be doing something for and with their family, when we must realize that part of what makes us capable of fulfilling the needs of those we love, is taking the time to figure out that which makes us driven to do so. Sometimes it is not selfish, but selfless, to step away to do something that reminds us what we are doing here, what the overall purpose is and whether, or not, we are doing what we are capable of to fulfill that purpose. For example, I know I am capable of doing more than that which my job entails. However, my job allows me the opportunity to pursue projects in which I can implement that which I am passionate about and hopefully help others achieve more purpose in their lives. With that being said, I still seek ways in which I can better pursue my higher purpose via service outside of my primary job, this blog, writing a book or simply pouring time into lives of others in my life. The answer lies within, and it makes itself extremely obvious! That restlessness, boredom exhaustion and/or sense of complacency, is a sign that we may be ignoring a greater opportunity at which we could excel far more in than we are in our current state. Many of us are at fault for ignoring that impulse, remaining complacent and becoming blinded to the opportunities that lie before us. Often we become conditioned to think we are trapped in the current lives we are living, when we rarely ever are! Yes, acting on some impulses require risks and some risks will fail, but often it is the failure that gets us to the place we need to be.
When you get to your lowest of lows, consider what you would do if you had no restraints. Would you spend your savings on a plane ticket to fly across the world? Would you take a job offer in another state or country? Would you quit your job? Would you publish a book or become an independent contractor? Would you become a missionary in Cambodia? Would you sale everything you own besides a backpack and trek across the country? Are all of these options impossible, or do you regard them irresponsible based on the norm and what we are conditioned to believe? Who created normal and this conditioned response? Maybe it is the monetary system, which is great to enable structure, yet I think many let it define them and lose sight of what they are capable of earning. Yes, it takes effort and suspending that comfort zone, but how can we expect change if we do not induce it?