Let me just be real, this post will not tell you how to lose weight. This is not going to be a one-stop shop or a ten-step plan to get fit to get into your summer swimsuit. What this will do is tell you some simple principles that I have used over the years to slowly transform my lifestyle.
As I wrote last year, I struggled with always being a little overweight. Growing up, I wore “husky” jeans, I was always a few sizes bigger, and was very self-conscious of it all. As time went on, I made several lifestyle choices that lead to a very unhealthy life, eventually leading me to weigh about 240 pounds. I was unhealthy and unhappy about it.
One day, I was asked to go on a run with some friends at college. I thought, “this cannot be that bad,” however, when I went out I was so embarrassed as I could barely jog a half a mile. We continued our time together by walking, but I decided something had to give. I decided that day that I wanted to be healthier. The next day, I went out by myself and tried to run 10 feet farther than I had the day before. The next day, I went out and tried to run 20 more feet. I did this over and over and over again.
Slowly, day after day, I made the choice to run a little more, to eat a little healthier, to push myself just a little further. I signed up for a 5k to train for, I stopped eating cookies every meal in the café, I laced up my shoes when I wanted to do anything but exercise. Making these decisions, day in and day out for years, lead me to eventually complete half marathons and loose nearly 70 pounds.
It has not been easy – in fact, I have gone through short seasons where I stop all together and put on some weight. There are days I give in to some guilty pleasure snacks or a week where I choose not to run. But I always end up remembering one conversation from my high school years that gets me back off the couch and up at it again…
I had a really wise high school teacher when I was in the 11th grade. He was a great guy who genuinely cared about his students. On many occasions he would give a really short speech to our class and it went something like this:
You want to know the secret to being rich? Work longer and harder than anyone around you. You want to know the secret to losing weight? Burn more calories than you consume.
It was never about rocket science, but that was the point. What Coach Rhine taught me in these conversations is that life is much more about the consistent decisions we make than the trends that we try.
When he talked about the “secret to being rich,” it would normally end with him explaining how he could make a lot more money in the business world; however it would likely mean traveling a lot, being away from his wife, working long hours and being out of balance.
For him, it was not worth the money he would make to give up his life. It was a decision he had to make, and I am willing to bet there are times he wanted to change his mind, but real success comes from making the consistent decision day in and day out. He made the decision to impact students, to teach the next generation, to coach baseball – because he wanted these things to define his success as opposed to a lot of money.
The same goes with loosing weight. People ask me all the time, “how did you do it?” I go back to the sarcasm of Coach Rhine and typically answer, “you want to know my secret? What I did was eat right and exercise.”
It is not easy. But daily I wake up and make the decision to be healthier. Before walking into my favorite restaurants, I make the decision on what I will order. Before I go to bed, I make the decision what time I need to wake up to exercise the next day.
What I have learned is that the success we have in life, whether with our family, our work, our fitness, is all about making the decision to pursue it everyday. It is making the consistent decision over and over again – making the decisions when it is easy to do and especially when it is hard.
We want an overnight success in our world of instant gratification, but this is not how things work. It is a slow discipline of choosing success in the day to day of life. Let us choose today to live a life of success, but know it only comes by the decisions we make and not the trend we try.
Question: Where have you experienced success in life? What decisions did you have to make over and over to get there? (leave your comments below)