One of my main goals in writing blog articles is to be authentic. I am sharing my journey through life with you in the hope that I may share something that will be of value to you. As I write about the transformation from being a couch potato to fully engaged in life and the path I am on through personal growth it is my desire that you might see yourself and find hope. That you will feel understood and be inspired to make personal changes. Being real about my struggles in everyday life is one of the most important parts of sharing my life with you. It is also one of the most difficult.
To be transparent requires courage because I am not always doing it right. Life, I mean. I was a bystander for so long that it is very easy to fall back into some old patterns. I could choose to only write about the good times when I make the right choices and am consistent but that wouldn’t be real. Because the struggle is real. What I’m learning is that it is in the struggle, well more accurately, through the struggle, that I grow and learn. Even that is a personal choice — to learn and grow from it. It would be much easier to just keep going the way I always have, taking the easy way, the path of least resistance. However, the path of least resistance is also the path of least reward.
It was discontent with being on the sidelines that inspired me to make some drastic changes in my life to become much more engaged and to No Longer Be a Bystander! I went from being a couch potato to walking/jogging a 5K. This has helped me be much more active and disciplined in regular workouts. I am scheduled for my 4th 5K in September. Watching TV used to take up much more of my time. Now I watch TV on purpose like to spend time with my daughter, rather than just mindless bingeing or for family movie night. I have always enjoyed reading but I have changed my priorities in reading from fiction for fun to personal growth and development books that help me move forward in life and business.
No longer being a bystander is not just about my individual personal life. Every area of life is impacted. Take marriage for example. When I was on the sidelines, it was easy to just let things slide or just allow the natural drifting apart to happen. But when I am fully engaged in life drifting apart is not acceptable. I have chosen to be more proactive in developing my relationship with my husband, Darrell and it has paid off tremendously. We are much more purposeful in our relationship and it has helped us to grow closer and become closer, more intimate friends.
Through this process, we decided to start a marriage ministry/business to help people go from ordinary marriages to extraordinary marriages. It’s called XtraO Marriage. We have developed a website (www.xtraomarriage.com) and will keep building resources to assist couples in growing their marriage. We will be developing online courses, email courses and hope to write a book. We are currently working on a small group curriculum that will be used in churches or any small group setting.
This is all very exciting to me and it is especially enjoyable to work alongside my husband in the development of our business. However, it is also a struggle at times. It is hard work and it requires a high level of dedication and discipline to achieve the results we are looking for. I have to fight against my natural tendency to want the easy way. I understand intellectually what working hard will produce. I have the desire to work hard and be productive in writing and creating XtraO material. But when it comes down to day to day habits and discipline, I still struggle. What’s that saying? “Old habits die hard.”
Many of my old habits have been replaced with new ones but it has not been an easy transition. It takes time, dedication and discipline to make life changes like this and many of my bad habits were ingrained in my brain.
However, I believe in change. I love the quote that says, “You are never too old and it is never too late to start something new.” George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” I love this, don’t you?! There is always hope: hope for change, hope for success, hope for love, hope for life, hope for fixing a broken relationship, hope for developing new habits.
The thing that makes habits so powerful is that they require consistency and consistency produces change. I have found that as I consistently go to the gym, I get stronger and feel better. When I choose to stay home sometimes rather than going to the gym, I quickly lose strength. The longer I stay away from the gym the harder it is to get back into it. As I consistently eat healthy food I feel better and lose weight. When I am hit or miss about my eating plan, I lose ground rather than inches.
When I am consistent in showing love and appreciation to my husband he responds well to it and I feel better about our relationship. Consistency in 5K training means being active every day. I’m either walking or walking and jogging to get stronger and faster. If I choose to stay home rather than getting out and doing my workout, I soon find I am breathing hard and struggling to go the distance. Being consistent is helping me speed up my time and jog more than walk.
Being consistent and disciplined feels great! We all like to feel good, don’t we? I much prefer having positive feelings about myself and my worth than feeling down on myself. So, the key for me is to continue to be consistent in whatever task set before me. As I succeed in being consistent and productive, it feels great which in turn encourages me to keep doing it. It’s part of the process of building new habits. My goal is not perfection but progress. Slow and steady wins the race. Will you join me?