10 Nov The Time is Now
by Christie Masters
It had been almost two years that the exercise videos sat on the shelf covered in dust. A friend of mine had helped me choose them when she started a short term fitness group on social media. Every six weeks she would start a new group and every time she asked me if I wanted to join her, and every time I said yes. My friend never stopped asking, yet never scolded or judged me for my lack of exercise selfies and posts proving I had done the daily work-out. My excuses to not exercise, said only to myself, were innumerable. I even purchased an exercise shirt with the phrase “No Excuses” in bold letters across the front…..and it sat in my dresser unused for six months. Finally, just a few days ago, something inside gave way and said “Do it now,” and I did. The kids were told that dinner would be a bit late, the exercise dvd was started, and I clumsily made my way through 30 minutes of cardio. The next day I could barely move, but the accomplishment went so much deeper than just having done one work-out. It was finally a step forward in realizing a desire and goal for my life. Hopes and dreams, goals and good things can sit on the dusty sidelines of a busy life, waiting patiently for us to pursue them.
As I sat thinking of how glad I was just to begin, the realization of the lesson learned from this situation filled my heart with gratitude;
Never Give Up: We hear this so often, and it is so important to never give up on ourselves, but more profoundly, never give up on others. My friend’s heart toward me was so positive and encouraging, and she never made the assumption that I couldn’t or wouldn’t exercise. She just kept asking, every time a group would start up, and always left the door of opportunity open for me to join in. This hopeful attitude toward others could be life-changing for someone, even if it takes a long time.
The Time is Now: There are certainly seasons and times that are right for certain things, and dreams can take time to be accomplished, but there is no time like the present to take a step toward them. Do you have a desire to read great books? Start now, with the book that has been on the shelf for years and years. Read a page or two with a cup of tea, and stop worrying about the enormity of what lies ahead. The “Big Picture” can be overwhelming, and while it is good to keep it in mind, start somewhere small. The key (and I promise to practice what I preach) is consistency.
It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect: Thinking the stars had to align just right to begin exercising was one of my biggest excuses. I didn’t have the right kind of weights, (and kept forgetting to purchase them), my exercise clothes were too small (the irony), and the list goes on. The day I couldn’t take it anymore was the day I threw “perfection” out the window, and it was the day I finally started working toward my goal. Excellence and perfection are often confused for one another. Excellence comes with practice, it is the result of hard work and good habits; it is good to achieve, and good for the soul. The expectation of perfection is often a stumbling block, and one that keeps us from even trying. It is often present at the beginning of a dream, and glowers down on our efforts. True perfection, and not just the expectation of it, often happens when we lose ourselves in doing what we love (i.e. painting, music, cooking), and not when we strive toward it as a goal in itself.
One final realization, while contemplating these lessons I am learning, is that self-condemnation has no place in my life. Self-reflection is good, regrets are normal as imperfect people, but don’t stay there. Move on from regrets, and do not let condemnation cripple any hope of making an effort. Speak hope, life and encouragement to yourself and others, and never give up.