Most of us know some things we could do that would make us physically healthier. But unlike a dedicated Olympic athlete, most of us only do some of what we know. The days, months, and years tick by, and you still haven’t lost the weight or become physically fit or quit smoking.
Oh, you have all kinds of reasons. You’re a young mother exhausted from caring for your baby and trying to get back to work. You’re on medications that make gaining weight almost inevitable. Your physical pain limits your ability to physically work out. Your finances or where you live make finding and preparing healthy food very difficult. Your spouse smokes too, and isn’t interested in quitting. Your parents and everyone else you know is overweight. Yes, you’ve got plenty of reasons for being less than your best physical self.
Sometimes you feel guilty. Sometimes you feel motivated to make a positive change – for a little while. But mostly you just give up. It’s too hard, and every time you begin you feel like you soon fail.
Wouldn’t it help if you had a really bit motivating reason to get healthier? Something that was bigger than your reasons for not making that necessary change?
Whether it’s eating healthier, getting regular physical exercise, quitting smoking, or any other lifestyle change, there are both good and bad reasons for doing so. The kind of reason you have will make a difference in how successful you are.
5 Bad Reasons to Get Healthy
First what NOT to do. Don’t try to get healthier in order to:
- Earn God’s favor. Your body will either return to dust when you die, or be changed in a moment when Jesus returns. There are no scales at the pearly gates. Your standing with God now and for eternity is determined only by your relationship with Jesus. You can’t make Him love you any more by getting healthier, and He won’t love you any less if you don’t.
- Become happy. It’s possible you may feel happier when you get healthier, but it won’t change who you are on the inside. I know people who lost 50 or 100 pounds and are more miserable now than ever. Learning how to be happy is a choice, and it’s not dependent on your outside circumstances or your physical fitness.
- Make someone else happy. Using someone else’s desires for you to get healthier may be a helpful motivation for a while, and they can be a big support along the way. But if you’re only doing it for them that motivation won’t last very long. When they aren’t around to push you, you’ll fall back into the old patterns unless you find your own personal reasons.
- Assuage your guilt. Guilt is one of those negative motivations that never lasts very long. By itself it won’t be enough to take you through the tough times when the healthier lifestyle change feels difficult. Guilt is too easy to ignore or rationalize for it to be successful as a big enough reason.
- Guarantee a certain outcome. Many things affect your physical and emotional wellbeing. You have more ability to affect the outcome through your own decisions and actions than you probably realize, but there’s no guarantee. If you’re looking for a guarantee, you won’t be able to maintain when something unexpected comes along.
5 Good Reasons to Get Healthy
Now, here’s what to do instead. DO try to get healthier in order to:
- Feel better. This is as close to a guarantee as you can get. You may experience some anxiety as you make changes. But you’re almost certain to feel better on the inside both physically and emotionally as you become healthier. Your mind will be clearer, you’ll have more energy, and your whole sense of self will be more positive.
- Be able to accomplish more. People who are healthier save a lot more money. They have more energy, are more productive during their work hours, and handle stress better. Those factors all increase how much you can accomplish during your day and your life – for your family, for your own dreams, and for the kingdom of God.
- Live longer. My husband quit smoking primarily because he wanted to live long enough to enjoy life with me for as long as possible. There’s no question that a healthier lifestyle will increase your odds of living a long life. Every extra pound, every cigarette, every week you don’t exercise is likely to take some small measure off your lifespan.
- Avoid pain and disability. Even if your unhealthy lifestyle doesn’t lead to an early death, it will increase your chances for disease and disability. Just speak with someone who has diabetes or COPD and you’ll understand the impact of your lifestyle today on your future quality of life. Living well today can prevent a great deal of pain and heartache later.
- Honor God’s Holy Spirit living in you. This is the best reason of all. Would you really want to treat God’s temple in the way you are treating your body? That’s exactly what you’re doing. If you aren’t happy with how things are, you can make a change now. And His Spirit will provide the best guidance and strength as you do so.
If you’re blessed to have a healthy lifestyle now, congratulations! That’s great.
If you’ve slipped into some unhealthy habits because of how you grew up or things you’ve picked up along the way, there’s no better time than right now to begin. There are reasons enough to make the consistent effort to get healthier.
Which reasons have you been using as you try to become healthier? And can you find a better one?
Your Turn: What is your reason for wanting to become healthier? Is it a big enough reason to carry you through the challenging times? Leave a comment below.
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- Not all reasons to get healthy are strong enough to work when things get tough. Choose a good one. Tweet that.
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