How to Go from Couch to Finishline

According to a recent study by the World Health Organization, 5.3 million people die each year as a result of illnesses tied to lack of physical activity including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer. Now is the perfect opportunity to get moving in order to proactively prevent these illnesses, as well as possibly prevent premature death. Follow these simple steps to a get started on a journey to a whole new you!

Identify what motivates you
You were created to glorify God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

As Christians, we recognize that our bodies are not our own. They are vessels of and for God’s glory. Some may say, “My body, my right.” God said “My body, my temple.”As a triathlete, I have to be purposeful about finding the things that excite me, inspire me, and reward me as I press forward toward my goals. What a
re those things for you?

Set a goal and share it
The Apostle Paul understood what it means to envision and pursue a worthy goal. In Philippians 3:12 he says, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” Stop for one moment and invite God to bring to mind one goal that would improve your overall health and allow you to you have the strength, vibrancy, and abundant life that is awaiting you.

Set one goal for yourself. Remember that your goal should be SMART. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (to your vision) and Time-bound. Make it very clear exactly what you will accomplish and how you will know (measure) when you have succeeded. Make sure the goal is possible and worthy of your sacrifice and investment. Finally, set a deadline for achieving the goal. Remember, you can set short deadlines along the way to the final destination. Once you set your goal, share it with someone who can encourage you and hold you accountable along the way.

Start somewhere and grow
Matthew 17:20 says, ‘You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”’

Jesus reminds us that our faith can move mountains. If you are like me, setting a goal to get in shape or improve my level of performance can feel like trying to move a mountain. When I look at the size of a mustard seed, I am inspired. I have hope. I may only have that much faith that I can accomplish that goal, but Jesus says that’s enough. It’s a start.

Identify and remove obstacles
Before you set out on the path to achieve your goal, it is important to look ahead and glance behind to consider the obstacles that may hold you back from achieving your goals. What has hindered you from achieving a similar goal in the past? What current or future life circumstances or commitments may make achieving your goal difficult?

In Hebrews 12: 1-3 the Bible reminds us to identify obstacles and proactively remove them before they get in our way. It says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Make a list of three obstacles that could trip you up. Below each obstacle, write two ways you will avoid or overcome the obstacle.

Act and achieve
Now that you have set your goal, recognized your motivators, and prepared to stamp out the obstacles, plan to succeed. Write down the actions that are stepping stones on the path to achieving your goal. Write them down and schedule them in your calendar. Just as you would not skip a meeting at work, a doctor’s appointment for your child, or a scheduled dinner with a friend, you will need to commit to keeping this appointment with yourself.
Today is the day of a new beginning in your life. Get off the couch and take the first step toward your finishline!

Dr. Terry Morrow is an assistant dean and assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University. She has a Ph.D. in conflict resolution and is in the process of becoming a Certified Christian Conciliator. She can be reached at terryannmorrow@gmail.com.

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