“ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10
What’s the “one thing” that you can do today that is guaranteed to jump start your day and build STRONGER faith, healthier and more nurturing food choices, consistent fitness, sharper mental focus and deeper relationships? Give up? It’s training.
In his book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, bestselling author John Ortberg uses a sports metaphor to explain a tried and true method to maximizing your daily motivation and empowering you to become STRONGER in body, mind and soul every day!
Ortberg says, “Suppose you woke up tomorrow morning and decided to run a marathon. You put on some running shoes, don the right apparel, and head out the door to begin your 26.2 mile run. Could you do it? What if you tried hard? Really, really hard? If you gave it the ole’ 110%? The obvious answer is, for most of us would be no, of course not. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t simply head out the door and run 26 miles. If I want to run a marathon, I’m going to have to train for it. Effort alone won’t cut it.” Ortberg goes on. “Too often, we “try to do better” in an area of life. The problem is that trying won’t get us any closer to our goals. Only training will do that. If you want to run a marathon (26.2 miles), “trying” will not get you there. If you woke up every morning and tried to run 26.2 miles, you’d fail at it every time you tried. However, if you woke up each morning and trained to run a marathon by following an exercise program, a running schedule, and a recovery schedule, almost anyone will have the ability to successfully complete a marathon. That’s the difference between training and trying.
I know when it comes to certain aspects of my life I usually just “try”. Unfortunately, most of us simply try, not train. The answer isn’t to try again. The answer is to train for what you want. Training requires a plan of action. Training requires commitment to the plan. Training requires a shift in our mindset. Training requires accountability. Training requires support and encouragement. If you really want what you say you want, train – don’t try.”
Daniel’s strength is apparent throughout scripture. His unwavering faith, devotion, discipline, dedication and desire to follow God no matter the cost puts him in the hall of faith for sure. Scripture tells us Daniel designed his life, to be dependent upon God for everything-his food, his fitness, his friends, his focus, his faith and ultimately his “training regime” was given to God as an offering making him supernaturally spiritually strong. But we forget Daniel was human, as he experienced similar challenges and emotions we all experience on this road of faith. Daniel understood his weaknesses and inadequacies-which drew him closer to God. Praying at least three times a day was a good example of how much Daniel relied upon God for his strength. Likewise, we are strongest when we rely not on ourselves, but upon God to help us in all areas of our lives. We are STRONGER when we can begin and live out our day as an offering to God.
8 Minutes to a S.T.R.O.N.G.E.R. You:
Here’s a simple form of “training” you can apply first thing in the morning (or if you’d like also midday and at night) to help you become S.T.R.O.N.G.E.R in all aspects of your life. This training works and has been inspired by the life of Daniel, multiple research studies and authors; (Hal Elrod, Jeff Olson, Gary Keller, Martin Seligman, Dallas Willard and John Ortberg). To make the most of this “training” you’ll need a journal or notebook to write down your thoughts, prayers, progress and goals. You can follow this 8-minute approach or modify the timing to meet your specific needs.
Sacred Time (Minute 1): Take one minute (or more if you’d like) to share your heart in prayer with God. In your journal, make note of a simple one-sentence prayer for the day. I personally have found this time a great way to get ready for the day and create some “meaningful margin” and space before the day gets going. Use this time to do some deep breathing and relax your body, mind and spirit.
Thankfulness (Minute 2): Researcher Martin Seligman discovered people who are grateful are happier, healthier and more fulfilled. Seligman and researchers discovered writing down three things you are most thankful for and why can dramatically alter your happiness and life. Seligman and researchers recommend writing down just three things that you are most thankful for and why today. Take a minute to be thankful for all aspects of your life. Begin to list three things you are thankful for as you consider your health, faith, family, friends, food, fitness, shelter, work….go through your day and imagine all you’ll have to be thankful for today.
Read (Minute 3): I’ve discovered by reading even just a few scriptures (e.g. a Proverb, Psalm or Daniel Plan Devotional) can have a profound impact upon my thinking, heart and day. Take a moment to read even just one-minute of God’s Word and watch what happens!
One Thing (Minute 4): Next, ask yourself two questions: ”If I could change ONE THING in my life, what would be my ONE THING today?” Next, ask, “Lord, what’s the ONE THING you’d like me to accomplish today?” Write your thoughts down in your journal.
Notes (Minute 5): For as long as I can remember, I’ve kept a journal and written down notes about my hopes, prayers and thoughts for the day. Keeping “Notes” about what I am learning, how I am growing, what I am planning to do with this day is my way of observing what I intend to do today before the day begins. It’s a powerful way to begin your morning-making a profession and a commitment you can read later in the evening!
Goals: (Minute 6): Detail your specific goals for the day related to your faith, food, fitness, focus and friends. For example, you can quickly detail your goals using the SMART goals approach, making all goals:
- Specific-target a specific area of improvement today (e.g. fitness)
- Measurable-write down quantity and or duration
- Achievable-Set goals you believe you can achieve
- Relevant-Create goals that are relevant to your “One Thing” and Objectives for the day
- Time based-specify when the results will be achieved & shared
Exercise: (Minute 7): Utilize this next minute to perform a “visual” exercise. Elite athletes for years have benefited from “practicing inside their head before they hit the field”. It turns out that the athletes who picture themselves finishing first are more likely to do it. You can do the same. Take the next minute to close your eyes and breathe deeply. Take a moment to picture yourself going throughout your day in your mind in a positive and STRONGER way. See if you can utilize all of your senses. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What do you feel? Picture yourself a STRONGER you, performing at your optimal best.
Reflect: (Minute 8) Take your last minute, close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply. As you are breathing deeply, reflect upon your experience and all you have planned for the day. Make note of anything you may like to change. Say a prayer and ask God to guide and lead you this day. Later in the day and or evening take a moment to reflect upon and look over your progress for the day.
If you’d like to receive a FREE “8 Minutes to a S.T.R.O.N.G.E.R. You” Video and 21 Day Journal, go to http://www.strongeruacademy.com/
21-Day S.T.R.O.N.G.E.R. YOU Experiment™:
I’d like to challenge you to perform your very own 21-Day S.T.R.O.N.G.E.R. YOU Experiment to see if this approach will work for you. Test it. Challenge it. Be skeptical-but I encourage you to give it a fair test and I promise you-if you practice this approach for just 21 days-you’ll see dramatic changes in your life!
Before you begin. I’d encourage you to take a moment and write down on a piece of paper a “word” that describes what your expectations may be before you begin your 21-Day S.T.R.O.N.G.E.R. YOU Experiment. Take a picture of yourself with your “word” and send it in to us.
At the end of your 21-Day S.T.R.O.N.G.E.R. YOU Experiment write down on a piece of paper what your experience and results may be with a “word”. Take an “after” picture of yourself with your word and see if your 21-Day experiment moves you that much closer to realizing a STRONGER YOU!
Here’s to a STRONGER YOU!
All the best,
Coach Sean Foy