As we said in the “God Strong Challenge” post (click here), physical well-being is the foundation upon which we build our lives. That’s why when we consider the four aspects of being fully alive – Physical, Emotional, Intellectual and Spiritual – the physical aspect is critical in allowing us to have the energy, health and strength for the other three. I’m only now coming to understand this.
During the first 40+ years of my life, I kept myself pretty active. And I mean the kind of activity beyond the demands of priestly ministry, such as golf, basketball and swimming, etc. However, after leaving behind my parochial vicar days and taking on the greater demands of being a pastor (along with all kinds of extra ministries I added to it), I found every excuse imaginable to convince myself I was too busy and too tired to exercise, play or prepare healthy meals. I poured myself into my ministry, and caught my “meals on the fly.”
As a result, I packed on a lot of extra weight. Now I’ve found it increasingly more difficult to avoid that mid-day sluggishness, or the increasing number of colds and flu, or just the lack of any extra energy to attend to healthy things like diet and exercise.
While I hate to admit that advertising agencies can ever influence me, I have to say that Nike was GENIUS in letting go of their relentless need to parade perfect body athletes and, instead, let the “first jog” of 12-year-old Nathan inspire all of us to “take the first steps” to health and well-being.
That commercial (above) aired for the first time in just the second month of my personal campaign to get fit. By the grace of God, I had signed myself up to Princeton Club, and I have been circuit training twice a week with an amazing personal trainer, while I receive additional cardio training tips from an Olympic athlete. I have also been receiving professional training on how to prepare healthy meals.
The only thing missing on this journey to health and well-being is YOU!!! Will you PLEASE join me???
The Power of Habit: “The Power of Group”
I’ve been reading an amazing book this Summer entitled, “The Power of Habit.” Among many of the findings in this area, one has to do with the “Power of Group.” Of course, they are quick to point out how absolutely essential “group” is for recovering alcoholics. Without that support system and form of accountability, the addicted are doomed to fail (how addicted are we to one way of doing things?).
The Power of Habit: “Keystone Habits”
The other insight I gained from this incredible book is that there seems to be certain “keystone habits” that, once engaged, have the power to get other important “positive habits” up and running. And, for many people, the discipline that goes into working on one’s physical health tends to be one of these “keystone habits.” The idea is that, if a person engages the work and discipline to change a habit in one area, they begin to develop what the author calls their “will-power muscle” that can create a chain reaction, giving them the vitality and energy to change other habits that, before, seemed too difficult to change.
This is why I urge you to take a look at Nathan (in the Nike commercial), and let’s not worry about the other three aspects (emotional, intellectual, spiritual) for a while, as we focus our attention on encouraging each other to get physically fit.
Are you with me?
As I mentioned, the good people at Princeton Club want to support this “God Strong Challenge,” so they are offering a pretty generous discount. I’ll try to speak with other health clubs too, but Princeton Club is pretty complete, including childcare. Please contact me, and I will explain, in more detail, the discounts available. I’m also considering grants for those who cannot afford a health club membership at this time.
We are also exploring the possibility of offering exercise classes – run by professional trainers – in one or both of our two parishes (St. Ignatius and St. Mary’s). Stay tuned!!!
For those who live a greater distance away, please make arrangements in your own area. Please contact me to let me know your plans, so we can enjoy the knowledge that we are working on this together, even as we are separated by distance.
Together, let’s get physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually FIT in this Year of Faith!!!
Ad majorem Dei gloriam,
Fr. Rick Heilman
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