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Attitude Adjustment…The First Step in “Change”


By Tom Wilson, Fitness Coach

There are numerous reasons why people fail in their attempts to restore their health. But one area that is hugely overlooked is the area of attitude.

For the Daniel Plan to be successful in your life, the first thing that needs to change is not your eating or exercise habits, it’s your attitude towards them!

When your attitude toward anything is negative, the outcome of the task at hand is going to be diminished. And when the results are diminished, the effort begins to diminish and the cycle towards quitting and failure is under way before you even get started. So the first step to feeling better is changing your attitude and approach toward your overall health. Many people have a negative attitude toward any type of physical activity or correcting their eating and exercise habits. Then they somehow justify this as acceptable behavior. And why shouldn’t they?  After all, if 70 percent of the population is out of shape, then they are in the majority. But do you really think that God wants you going with the flow of the world?  Is it your belief that God is accepting of a lazy, non-disciplined attitude towards your health?

Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.
Romans 12:11(New Living Translation)

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 (New Living Translation)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 (New International Version)

Many use humor as a defense mechanism for their lazy, non-disciplined attitude toward physical health. But it’s my understanding that, as Christians, we are to follow all parts of the Bible and not just pick and choose which parts we want to follow and which ones we don’t. The Bible says:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2(New International Version)

Those who choose to neglect their health are doing exactly what this verse tells us not to do; they are conforming to the pattern of the world. Statistics, as well as general observation, show that the pattern of the world is leaning way more toward obesity than to being in shape. Next God tells us to be transformed or, in this case, to make a lifestyle change. Then He tells us how to do it, by renewing our minds. Remember that the battle for controlling your health starts in the mind. This means changing your attitude toward exercise and eating right. If this process is done correctly, you will enjoy the benefits of healthy living and all The Daniel Plan has to offer. If you jump right into an exercise routine and try to eat right, you will most likely succeed in the early stages. But if your attitude hasn’t changed, you’re likely to end up a statistic and fall back into your old ways. A positive attitude plays a huge role in your success.

It’s Just Not Fair!
I’ve trained thousands of athletes over the years. Some were able to excel without working as hard as others simply because they inherited better genes. The same holds true for our efforts to maintain our physical health. We all know someone who can eat whatever and not gain a pound. That’s just the way it is. Remember, God did not create us all equally. He loves us equally, but we’re not created equally. Some people can get by with very little effort while others have to work at it daily. But the common denominator for everyone is the more effort you put into regaining your health, regardless of your genetic gifts, the better the results will be.  

If God were to write a book on changing your attitude towards health and fitness, I think it would go something like this:

Step 1:  Everything you do, do it to glorify God
Step 2:  See step 1

“Everything” includes your health. It all boils down to the realization that God desires obedience in this area of your life. Does your physical health demand the same emphasis as your spiritual health? Not even close. But, for numerous reasons, God does not want you to emphasize the spiritual while neglecting the physical. Order and balance are required because our health can affect our relationship with God. We could go into all the theories of change and the step by step self- help books on changing your attitude. We could go through the six stages of behavior modification as outlined in the Trans-theoretical Model by several noted psychologists, but all you really need is this: 

In the Bible God says that we should pay attention to our health.
I’m a Christian, therefore I’m going to be obedient.

God promises us that following a Christian lifestyle can be challenging. But the difficult times are by His design to make us an even stronger Christian and to build our character. It can be the same with beginning or maintaining a health and fitness regime. There are times it’s going to be challenging and you will be tempted to cheat or give up. But the rewards of sticking with the program should outweigh the desires to quit. Once you realize just how much God cares about your health and how much Satan desires to control it, quitting should never be an option.