When it comes to making improvements in our health, I find that most of us, including myself, want to “leap tall buildings in a single bound.” We have Superman-sized desires and want to see big results from a few action steps taken in the heat of great enthusiasm.
Mahatma Gandhi once said that “It is health that is real wealth…” and I think most of would agree that our health is very valuable to us for a variety of reasons. Health, just like wealth, is one of our most valuable resources. Given the connection between health and wealth, let’s consider how the following proverb about attaining wealth might apply to attaining good health as well:
Dishonest money dwindles away,
but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Proverbs 13:11 (NIV)
Or as another Bible translation puts it -
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle,
but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
Proverbs 13:11 (ESV)
Wealth that is gained hastily or through dishonesty is wealth that has not really been worked for. Those who take the shortcut to wealth do often get a good result, but it is only temporary, and the good result often dwindles or is reversed. Contrast this with the person who, by the consistent daily practice of hard work and wise money management accumulates wealth little by little and watches it increase and grow over time.
Health can also be gained hastily by taking some shortcuts. Consider about every fad diet that you have ever heard of. The story is nearly always the same and it almost always involves either enthusiastically taking a drastic action (cutting food groups out of your life forever) or a desirable shortcut (lose weight by consuming chocolate flavored high protein shakes and energy bars). The result is a quick loss of many pounds and the result is most often temporary.
When something is accumulated little by little over time (knowledge, skills, money, good health habits), learning takes place. As we build or accumulate in the daily ups and downs of life, we learn many things.
Taking drastic actions and short cuts may get big, quick and dramatic results, but it bypasses the learning process. And because nothing has been learned, the result will not stick once a challenge is introduced.
The difficulty of focusing on accumulating good health habits little by little is that is forces us to focus on the small, going against our desire for big, quick and dramatic results! It’s just not the American way!
Here are a few examples of very small good health habits that I have learned and accumulated over the years:
All of these are small steps that have made a big impact on my health while being not particularly big, exciting or dramatic.
In observing myself and working with others, I have learned that, rather than focusing on leaping “tall buildings in a single bound”, it is better to focus on small changes that can be learned and implemented slowly over time so that they will stick in the face of the challenge called stress. This goes against almost everything in our human nature and our culture. But, in my experience, it works!
How about you? Are you willing to trade your Superman-sized desires for small steps? Are you willing to slow down and take the time to learn so that the good health habits you accumulate will stick when they come up against the stresses of life? What small step could you focus on today?
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…
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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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