My cholesterol came back high after completing a required insurance health exam in 2014. Five years ago. I had never even considered the thought of something not being right inside. I had always considered myself healthy – although I’m not really sure what measuring stick I’d been using. It surely wasn’t metrics like cholesterol or blood pressure. More than likely for a female my age, it was about calorie intake or fat grams or what size was printed on the label of my jeans.

That winter I agreed to a bet with two co-workers on who could lose the most weight within two months. After hearing that my cholesterol was an issue, it seemed like a respectable thing to do. I had no clue how to begin so hitting the treadmill was my answer. My goal was winning the bet. My motivation was the weekly reporting each of us agreed to. I won.

Within a few months, we moved and I found myself home with two kiddos all summer, no escaping to a workplace like I’d had for fifteen years. There were lots of pros but one con was not knowing how to continue the habit of exercise – even in a meager sense. In his kindness, the Lord brought another means of accountability to me by the time school started again. A friend from college asked me to participate in a group where she offered healthy recipes, daily accountability, and a specific workout program. I jumped in with both feet (after failing the first go-round…another story).

I loved the accountability.

I loved the proof that I could “show up” and even encourage some other group members along the way.

I loved the energy that exercise was giving me.

I loved picking up my daughter from school and reporting to her that I had exercised AGAIN this week!

I loved feeling stronger. And, seeing definition in my arms and abs was a bonus.

I loved that I had something to call my own – by me and for me.

I enjoyed the accomplishment. I would write exercise on my to do list just so I could check it off.

When the group was over, I was terrified of falling back into my old way of thinking when I thought I was healthy but doing nothing proactively to achieve that status. I was mostly afraid of losing accountability, a merciful gift of the Lord (he knows all too well our tendency to become the sluggard taught all throughout the book of Proverbs).

After several months of accountability for consistent exercise, this habit became something I didn’t really think twice about anymore. I couldn’t really imagine just letting it go. After a year of watching me, my husband found his own exercise outlet. It became something we could encourage and challenge each other in.

I kept writing it down and checking it off. I keep writing it down and checking it off.

Exercise has brought out God’s best in me.

People ask me how I find my motivation to keep going. How do I stay consistent? Here’s what I’ve just realized – after 4 years – not a lifetime, mind you, just four years….I could find lots of other things to do. I could easily skip days or weeks at a time. But, it’s been too good to me. Exercise has taught me mental, physical and spiritual lessons and continues to do so. Yes, it will all prove to be have been good for me when I’m 80. But, it’s good for me today. So, I write it down and I check it off. So far, I don’t have a good enough reason NOT to. Do you?

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