In the city where I live stands an amazing structure – a bell tower which houses a carillon which was built to commemorate the third millennium in the year 2000.
It is an iconic landmark of our city and a great deal of fundraising and work went into building and dedicating the structure. The fundraising, building and dedicating of the tower was quite exciting. But dealing with the finishing touches, maintenance and repair of the structure has been a source of controversy. It turns out that:
The situation with the bell tower reminds me a lot of the situation we often experience when it comes to our health improvement projects and goals. This is what our experience often looks like:
1. We get excited about starting a health improvement plan or strategy.
2. We enthusiastically dive in and make sacrifices to invest time and resources to carry out the plan or strategy.
3. We are encouraged as we see ourselves making progress and we celebrate when we get to the completion of our endeavor whether that is achieving a fitness milestone, losing a specific number of pounds or stopping smoking.
4. We then discover that what we have achieved also has to be maintained and maintenance is not nearly as exciting.
5. We learn that maintaining consistent healthy lifestyle behaviors is a daily, long-term proposition and that the costs can be high.
6. When faced with the high costs, we must then decide whether to adjust our health improvement plans so that they can be sustained for the long-term or just demolish them all together.
When it comes to building a bell tower or building our health, it really is all about how we define the endpoint or what we really desire to accomplish or attain.
The goal of building the bell tower was not just to complete the building of the structure by the year 2000, but to build and maintain a structure that it could be enjoyed by the people of our city for years to come. The failure to adequately consider the cost of maintenance of this project threatened the achievement of the long-term goal.
The goal of beginning a new health improvement strategy or plan is not to just complete a fitness event, attain a goal weight or break an addiction, but to achieve and maintain a level of health that will equip and enable us to have the energy and vitality to live an effective, engaging and enjoyable life for the rest of our days. The failure to adequately consider the cost of maintaining our health improvement plans or strategies threatens the achievement of the long-term goal.
When we think about and pursue health improvement strategies and plans, it is important to count the cost before beginning and to realize that part of that cost almost always involves maintenance!
What we attain must be maintained.
This is because good health is not achieved by planning and executing a few healthy behaviors, but by planning and executing multiple healthy behaviors each day for the rest of our lives!
Consider what Jesus said in Luke 14:25-35, as He spoke about the costs associated with every commitment, including the commitment to become His disciple.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower.
Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?
For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it,
everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying,
“This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.”
Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king.
Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
The achievement of any goal involves counting the cost. The achievement of a health goal involves counting the cost knowing that maintenance is a very large part of that cost given that healthy decisions must be carried out on a daily basis in order to produce the desired long-term result.
What does this look like from a practical standpoint? It comes down to a few very simple questions. Before getting excited about and embarking on a health improvement plan or strategy, it is wise to ask these questions:
If after doing our homework, praying for wisdom and honestly examining ourselves, we can confidently answer “yes” to these questions, we mostly likely have a health improvement plan or strategy that will lead us to our desired endpoint or goal.
What about you? Are your health improvement plans and strategies crafted with maintenance in mind? Are they wise and sustainable for the long-term? Will you be able to maintain what you have attained using your health improvement plan or strategy? If not, will you demolish them or make the necessary adjustments that will lead you to your long-term goal?
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About the author:
Hello! My name is Ginger Hill and I am a Christ follower and a wellness professional. Over the years, I have personally and professionally seen the benefits of healthy living and I have also seen the hardships of struggling to practice good health habits in the midst of a busy and sometimes stressful life. I am passionate about helping myself and others to live a healthy lifestyle and I believe that good health is essential in helping us to do the good works that God has called us to do. Because I am a work in progress, I write these blog posts to encourage myself and I share them with others in the hope that they may be encouraged as well.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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