Seeds of Success

When you decide to pursue success in an area of your life that needs improvement, you’ll face many large obstacles standing in your way. Perhaps the greatest challenge of any new journey on the path toward thriving is keeping your resolve when the results you want aren’t coming.

Typically, the first few weeks of a new fitness regimen will be filled with excitement, enthusiasm, and passion. But by week 3, all you are is tired, frustrated, and wondering if it’s all worth the trouble. You have the testimony of those who’ve gone before you that this program will make you look better, feel better, and help you thrive in all areas of life, but that’s not what you’re experiencing right now and there’s a strong temptation to give up.

In these times, I find it helpful to take a moment and consider my position. First, have I done the things that my mentors have recommended? In the case of a fitness regimen, am I doing the workouts as prescribed? Or, do I skip the parts I don’t like, or not give my full effort?

If I am doing what I’m supposed to, yet still not experiencing the success I expected, I’ll do well to step back and reconsider whether my expectations were reasonable. Oftentimes, the instant success I imagine on day one is simply incongruent with reality. Growth takes time, and as long as you are moving in the direction of success each day, you’ll get there in time.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I find it helpful to remember a poignant example from nature—the simple vegetable garden. I keep a small garden in my back yard, planting seeds around mid-April. To date, I have spent many hours tilling the soil, measuring and planting rows of seeds, watering, fertilizing, and weeding. For all this time and effort, done skillfully and with the help of experienced experts, I have harvested nothing but one bowl of salad. A green pepper grows on one plant, and tiny tomato flowers have sprouted, but I have tasted nothing but a few leaves of lettuce.

As in my garden, many great things in life require hours and hours of effort, guidance from good mentors, and time. If I will take this view on new ventures I pursue, I will be able to resist the discouragement that comes in the early days of hard work and few results. The effort I put into my venture today may not produce results today, but as I grow and God grants me His blessings, they may just turn into delicious fruit tomorrow.

On this point, here’s a curious fact from my garden story: the lettuce I’ve harvested this year did not come from my efforts this year—I didn’t plant any lettuce this year! Rather, this plant sprung up of its own accord near the spot that I had planted last year! When I tilled the soil and planted those seeds in April 2011, little did I know that I’d be satisfied by that produce in May 2012! Perhaps the seeds you’re planting today will surprise you in the future at just how great a harvest they’ll bring!

To Find a Mate

This post is third in a series of six articles on how fitness benefits many other areas of your life.  So far, we’ve explored the dividends that a challenging fitness regimen will pay in your productivity and your disposition.

In the previous post, we noted that the improved disposition that comes with a challenging fitness regimen can have a dramatic influence on your relationship with your spouse.  If you’re single though, you might have felt a bit left out…

Tuscaloosa Picture

So, today’s post is for you singles out there.  Believe it or not, embarking on a journey to better fitness will not just benefit your physically, but bring you success in your search for a great mate.  The heart of the issue lies in the following bit of wisdom, courtesy of a few wise old men I know:  “to have a great marriage, don’t focus on finding the right person, focus on being the right person.”

It’s not you, it’s me

Most of us have experienced the converse of this firsthand from going about this in the wrong way.  Maybe you’ve caught yourself complaining to your friends, “how come every girl I date is argumentative and emotional?  Why can’t I find someone who’s kind and easygoing??”  Here’s the shocker–the common thread in all your relationships is you!  Perhaps there are things you are doing, attitudes you have, even criteria you use for selecting dates that are bringing you the results that you don’t like.

The way that a fitness regimen can benefit you in this situation is that it takes your eyes off others, and helps you focus on the things you can control–namely, yourself!  As you progress in your fitness program, you’ll see tangible results: your pants fit better, you can lift heavier weight, your arms look more toned, and so on.  Your disposition will improve from your body’s natural reaction to exercise, and you’ll feel good about the work your doing and the progress you’re making.

Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks

These internal changes tend to be more visible to others than we would imagine.  After you’ve completed a tough lunchtime workout with a new record time, you’ll find yourself smiling at people you meet, genuinely interested in them and more patient with their shortcomings.  It’s somewhat like how you feel after you’ve won a race, gotten a raise, or finished painting a house–you’re just feeling good, basking in the work you’ve done, and no little inconvenience is going to get in your way of enjoying this moment.  That elated feeling can become part of your everyday schedule, especially when you adopt a strenuous program like ThriveFit and give it your all.

Living in this state of mind where you genuinely care about others and are patient with others’ shortcomings will take you a long way down the road to being the kind of person who attracts a quality mate.  Not only that, but this pattern of bettering yourself can be used to refine other areas of your life as well.  Perhaps you’ll make time to learn a new skill to improve your capabilities at work.  Or, you’ll join a Bible study to improve your relationship with God.  By making a dedicated consistent effort to improve yourself, then meeting your objectives with excellence, you’re growing your character and confidence.  Not only will these changes naturally attract members of the opposite sex to you, but God tends to reward those who seek after Him and live as He instructs.  So, as you take care of the body He gave you, seek Him in His Word, and learn to forgive and love as Christ did, He may just send your future spouse right across your path…

Fitness and Your Disposition

This post is second in a series of six articles on why you should care about fitness.  We often don’t realize how investments in one aspect of life provide benefits not just in their own realm, but in many other areas of life as well.

Be Honest

Are you ever grumpy?  Most of us would grudgingly answer this question in the affirmative.  Even though we enjoy so many blessings, comforts, and advantages in our modern society, we all sometimes get upset and unpleasant.

One powerful tool in the battle against grumpiness is a consistent fitness regimen. In particular, a workout that involves moving heavy objects and barbells (the program we recommend here at TotalThriver) tends to take you from a state of irritability to a state of contentedness and confidence.

There are certainly many physiological reasons why moving heavy weights around or doing burpees makes you happier and more relaxed, but to make things simple, let’s just say it this way:  workouts are satisfying!  Sometimes, you have a rough morning.  Nothing seems to go right.  And on top of that, your coworker yells at you for not doing a task in the way he would have done it.

Use It

All this junk is your fuel for your workout.  When you step up to the barbell, remember those frustrations you faced in the first part of your day.  Focus your anger and frustration into the movement you are doing.  Not only will the weight move more swiftly, but you will get a better challenge to your muscles and cardiovascular system.  And now for the best part:  when it’s all over, you won’t care about your morning frustrations anymore!

There’s something about overcoming a difficult physical challenge that melts away a grumpy attitude.  Perhaps your coworker was rude and demanding in your morning meeting, but when you return from your workout, you don’t really care about it anymore.  By moving your body through this fitness regimen, you’ve burned off your frustrations, and you can start the latter half of your day with a fresh and positive attitude.

The Bonus

And what do you think this does to your life at home with your spouse?  If you’ve been married for any length of time, you know that a great many of the fights (and especially the big fights) have lots to do with the disposition of one or both spouses in the moments leading up to the battle.  The husband got chewed out by his boss just before leaving work, and the mom was puked on by a sick kid just as dad rolls up the driveway.  The smallest conflict between these two is likely to set off a firefight, and both spouses are apt to say things they’ll later regret.  Why not take a step to diffuse this situation before it even starts?  Take those derogatory comments from your boss with you to the gym, and pour your frustration into some heavy clean and jerks.  The fruit that a good fitness regimen brings to your marriage is some of the sweetest you’ll find!

Why Train?

Today, we’ll begin a series of articles on the topic of, “why is fitness valuable?”  Here at TotalThriver, we’re always working to provide you tools for how to win in all areas of life, but sometimes it’s the why that is missing between you and the person you aspire to be.

Fitness is so important to thriving in life because it touches so many other areas, increasing your capabilities for success in those areas.  In the coming days and weeks, we’ll look at how adopting a challenging physical regimen pays dividends in:

  • your productivity
  • your disposition and your marriage
  • the search for your mate (singles)
  • your finances and long-term health
  • your appreciation of God’s glory
  • your control of your habits

Each of the next six articles on our main page will search out and explain how success in the fitness realm will awake new thriving potential in these other areas.  Join us in the journey to thriving in all aspects of your life, and be sure to check out our ThriveWealthy and ThriveFit tools to help you along the way.

Overcoming the Unexpected

Most of us have been through the following story at some point in our lives: We resolve to “do better” with our money. That credit card company has taken advantage of us for the last time! We’re angry that we let ourselves get into such a vulnerable position and we’re angry that the credit card company hit us while we were down.

So, we get out the yellow pad or the computer spreadsheet and we get to work on a budget. We allocate our money carefully, taking our best estimate at what we’ll spend in the following month on groceries, gas, and utilities. Everything’s going fine until the 9th of the month…

That sinking feeling

On that day, two tires go flat on our usually-reliable family car. Your dentist sends you a second bill for the work done last month to resolve a clerical error. And your electricity bill is $30 higher than usual. What in the world is happening?!? Why is this all hitting at once???

Unfortunately, these unexpected things do seem to hit us just when we think we’re getting it all together. However, even though they seem like a string of improbable flukes, the root of the issue closer than the mechanic’s garage or the dentist’s office–the problem is us!

When we get used to living life without an advance financial plan (a budget), we quickly lose touch of what we really spend each month. Ask me before I started budgeting what I spent on groceries each month, and I would have said, “like $150 or so.” (reality = $400) Or ask me how much I spent on car repairs per year: “like $450 I think…” (reality = $60 per month)

The point is, our perception of reality is quite different than the truth of the situation, and we tend to underestimate how much we spend each month on these “unusual expenses.”

So be encouraged–you’re not alone when you’re hit by a “string of flukes,” in fact almost all of us have been there! If you’re starting (or restarting) budgeting for the first time, be generous with your grocery budget, and include $60 per month or more for car repairs. You may not need it in the first month, but soon you will, and having $180 sitting in your account waiting to be spent on car repairs makes that phone call from the mechanic a great deal less stressful!

If you haven’t yet downloaded the most recent version of ThriveWealthy, please spend a few minutes trying it out for yourself now. And as always, let us know of anything we can do to improve your experience at! Remember, we exist to help you Thrive!