At least 20 years ago, my sister sent a greeting card to me that read, "If you don't take care of your body, where will you live?" This message stuck with me for decades because I think it may have been the first time it really registered that our physical form is only a small (but important) piece of who we are.
Last week a woman sat crying in my office seeking a way to find more balance in her overly scheduled life. I asked her if she had an exercise routine. "I'm too busy for that," she replied. I pushed back. It felt like if she didn't make time there could be some serious consequences.
I talk with countless people who are looking for a path to more peace, balance and joy. I believe there are several avenues to this type of harmony, but my go-to offering is usually through some sort of physical practice.
Like most periods of growth in our lives, taking the first step into something new is usually a result of some sort of pain. Maybe you're burnt out, frustrated, sleepless or just plain unsatisfied with life. If you're feeling these symptoms but are not quite ready to make a change, chances are you'll respond to an inquiry on your exercise routine with, "I don't have time for that."
If you get to the point where you realize that how you treat your body is impacting your leadership effectiveness, your emotional health or your family's relationships, try these tips to start a physical practice. They worked for me.
- Find a friend who is in the same boat as you. Make a pact to start something new.
- Plan ahead. Just as meetings don't happen unless you schedule them, exercise requires the same advanced planning. Open your calendar and block out the time.
- Create a tracking tool. Set weekly goals and give yourself a gold star (or at least check off a box) when you complete a workout. Keep it somewhere others can see it.
- If you don't enjoy a certain type of exercise, try something different. We each enjoy a different style of movement and are sure to find the right answer(s) if we try several options.
- Keep up with it through the discomfort of the first month or two. Have faith that you'll eventually feel a shift and find joy in the movement.
Once you integrate exercise into your life, it becomes something you don't want to give up. Sure, you'll find that there are physical benefits to moving your body, but the real gold is in the balance and peace it brings. Once you get there, you can start to explore even more practices that lead to the harmony that feels so illusive right now.
It's easy to get stressed out in today's world. With all you have going on, be sure to take care of yourself, because if you don't, where will that beautiful soul of yours live?
The Flourishing Workshop Series
We have now conducted several successful pilots of the Flourishing Workshop Series and are working on a full schedule of offerings for 2017. These workshops provide the framework and tools to help you uncover your personal storyline, core values and inspired purpose.
Are you ready to live your life on purpose? Become part of a new community of people declaring who they are, what they stand for and how they want to show up in the world. Stay tuned for more information about how you can participate in 2017!
Photo: Declarations of inspired purpose from recent Flourishing Workshop participants.
Want to Build UNITY?
We are pleased to share that over 600 people have downloaded the How-To Build UNITY Manual! If you're looking for a way to bring people together, consider hosting your own UNITY project. It's a great way to demonstrate how important our differences are to building a well-rounded, interconnected community.
Photos credits from left: Zachary Preheim of Bethel College in North Newton, KS and Diane McCann of Oak Bank, Australia