Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Success is a Habit

The topic of the week is structure.  I don't have much of it, I typically don't want much of it, but I see how it pays off in others people's lives and I want the pay-off too.

There is a way to have too much structure, where there is no creativity and no room to "flex." There is absolutely a such thing as being stuck in a rut and scared to leave certain processes. I'll talk more about that tomorrow.

What gets less critical attention and more glory in the media and the world today is anarchy, spontaneity, free-spirited living.  These people are fun to be around, they bring joy and interest and beauty.  But can they complete projects? Are they financially stable? Do they keep their word?

A spiritual person I heard recently said, "God is not impressed by what you start, He honors what you finish."  That hit me like a punch to the gut.  I am an amazing starter and not a great finisher.  If no job or grade is pushing me to finish, I might not.  Because I am always thinking up the next thing.  I call it "obeying the Muse" or "going with the flow."

Yet we know that good results come from consistent work and progress.  You have to study diligently - as in everyday, or at least three times a week - in order to make good grades, earn degrees and credentials and move forward.  You have to eat right consistently - everyday, or at least more days than not (most healthy people have a cheat day) - in order to retain nutrients and repel fat and disease.  You have to exercise regularly to keep your muscles loose and strong, and to keep away fat and atrophy.  Many a washed-up athlete will tell you that if you do not use it, you will lose it. 

But consistency is hard! There is always something that seems more fun, more interesting, more immediately necessary.  There are only twenty-four hours in a day and so many of them are "lost" to work and eating and sleeping, that those we have leftover are guarded.

My pastor has done an excellent job of teaching us about consistency.  We practice the presence of God in order to create a habit.  He taught us that when we create a habit of seeking God - as in every day - then God comes to expect us to "knock on His door" ready to commune.  Our habit creates in us (because God does not need a specific location to meet you in) a habitat, or a dwelling place (Psalm 91) where we meet with God and share with Him.  This is how our faith becomes a relationship with God instead of a religious devotion to His principles.  We devote ourselves to His principles because of the love overflowing from our relationship.  We obey because we love.

So I am spending time today considering what habits are most important.  Here is my list so far:
  1. pouring into my relationship with God (I am determined to do this everyday.)
  2. writing (I have been doing this everyday.)
  3. healthy eating (I have been doing this well for more than three weeks now, with small cheats. It is much easier to eat healthy when you don't have a huge dispensable income. You cook what you bought at the store, because you can't afford to go out for barbecue.)
  4. cleaning (I have done a ton of this since school's been out.  But every task is done in bits and pieces and it takes a bit longer than it might for some, because I have to fit it in here and there.) 
  5. fitness (This is where I struggle. I can commit to at least one workout session a week - it's usually Zumba because the class meets on my one night a week off of work.  I am trying to make myself go at least three other times a week to do some exercises from physical therapy for my knee and to get in some cardio.  But it is so hard, especially when my knee hurts as it has been since I did too much working out last Wednesday [50 mins dance fitness, and 90 mins zumba].  I am open to suggestions for being more consistent in this. I want to do more yoga, but it is hard. I told myself if nothing else, I would do a few sun salutations everyday.  That only lasted about 3 days.)
Note: My devotion and writing time often runs long. Like today I have been at it for nearly four hours, and I'm not done (as in I haven't read what I said I would). I need to leave for work in just over two hours.  For this reason, I'll only get to finish one load of laundry instead of two or three and I won't have the chance to go to the store and use my coupons that are expiring. 
I think it helps to consider what your priorities are.  I ranked the above in order of how much it matters to me. Spending time in the presence of God and writing are most important to me so I do them even when that means I don't have time for other things.  Fitness always ranks at the bottom of my list, and yet I find that the images and ideas that most inspire me are ones like these:

       My DVD of Seane Corn teaching a class (Yoga From the Heart) is my absolute favorite workout even though it is so hard, and I often can't finish the whole thing.

I don't know who this is, but look at that pose. 

You do not become this good at yoga without doing it everyday.  You do not get to see and feel and experience this grace and beauty without commitment to the daily process.  These bodies are whole and healthy and pretty nearly perfect (albeit a smidge too thin - I like having something to hold on to).  I want to at least be something beautiful like this.  And I really think that this practice will prevent further knee injury.

 This is my former roommate and dear friend Sheri who is a professional dancer (who thinks yoga is boring).  She has danced on cruise ships and she is in a local company.  She teaches fitness classes as well (RIPPED, TRX).

I will make a large effort to go by the gym for maybe thirty minutes after work today, to do my physical therapy and some yoga, maybe a little cardio. 

UPDATE: I did not go to the gym after work. I went to my friend's bar to watch the game.  My girlfriends randomly met me there and we danced a lot. I don't know if that counts as cardio. But my  knee was really feeling it.  I did my zumba on Wednesday and then did 30 minutes of cycling and 20 minutes of circuit training (which was ridiculously hard).  I'm going to commit to at least that - 2 classes on Wednesday nights. That's all I've got at the moment. 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome words! Very encouraging and inspiring. I want my daughter to read, too.