Do you remember my last article? In it, I talked about the three underlying reasons why New Year’s resolutions typically don’t work. If you can’t recall, the three reasons were:
- We tend to do things out of fear,
- We tend to do things alone, and
- We tend to forget our “why”.
That may have left you wondering, if this is all true, what should I do about it? This is my opportunity to tell you that there are New Year’s resolution-based programs that completely sweep away and overcome these underlying reasons. Amazed? You should be.
There’s a brand-new organization called F5 Challenge. It’s an association of likeminded, positive people at every fitness level that seeks to encourage and uplift each other from every corner of the world.
Right now, F5 Challenge is running a program called the 6-Pack Give Back Challenge. (And for the readers who might be wondering…yes, this is a shameless plug for an organization that I’m involved in. I admit it, but then again, can you blame me? I’m one to believe that God gifts us with a precious life and precious time. I also believe it’s best to utilize the little time He gifts us with to give back to Him and share with the world.)
So sure, this is a shameless plug. But it’s also simply because I want to encourage you to keep your health resolutions. F5 and its challenges can help keep you on track.
How do programs like F5 Challenge help you avoid the three thieves (fear, solitude, and forgetting our “why”) of our New Years resolutions, you ask? The programs must involve the following three factors.
1. Eliminating the fear
“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert G. Ingersoll
Bob wasn’t very popular throughout his life, mostly because of his unpopular views at the time. Bob’s views? He believed that slavery was wrong, so he fought in the Civil War. But it wasn’t only his view of slavery that made him unpopular—Bob also believed that women should have the right to vote.
If Bob were alive today, his ideas would fall right in line with most of us, but he lived in a time when such beliefs were not always accepted. In fact, Bob would get prohibited to speak in certain areas because they accused him of being a blasphemer!
Bob, otherwise known as Robert G. Ingersoll was a famous abolitionist and American attorney general. Despite being so unpopular and having no shame about it (he was renowned as being a great orator and would spread his beliefs to anyone who listened), he still went out and spoke his views.
Knowing this, it’s no wonder he’s coined the quote used in this section, “We rise by lifting others”. I’d venture to say that Bob or Robert G. Ingersoll was not motivated by his fear, but by the pursuit of helping others.
Bob is an example of how we can eliminate fear as a motivator. When we serve others, we forget about ourselves and, in the same vein, our fears. In a sense, we’re no longer running away from something out of fear, but running toward something with enthusiasm.
I’ll use F5’s 6-Pack Give Back Challenge as my example, as it’s the one closest to me. The challenge raises funds to support orphaned children in Haiti through Beehive International, an organization that has served Haiti since the big earthquake in 2010. Beehive International builds houses, teaches agriculture, and has even helped started a school to educate orphaned Haitian children. For our challenge, participants pay a small fee, and then for every pound lost and every inch removed from our waistlines, we will have sponsors who will donate specified dollar amounts to Beehive.
Although we’re selfish by nature, humans have been documented to show greater strength and motivation when their motives are not fearful, but altruistic. Take Lauren Kornaki for example, who, at the age of 22, saw her dad being crushed under a car and had the strength to not only lift the car off of his body, but also, after lifting it, push the car aside so she could perform CPR on her dad. Now that’s motivation!
Indeed, when fear is no longer debilitating us, we are free to move about our lives with all of our God-given strength.
2. No longer alone
“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love.” – Mother Theresa
In the small town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, an odd phenomenon was discovered in the 1960s about the Rosetan people. Despite heart disease being the number one killer nationwide in the United States, they discovered that the number of Rosetan people with heart disease was, in fact, zero. An in-depth study was pursued and doctors and students from around the country flocked to Roseto to study medical records, interview patients, run blood tests, observe the people, and study the towns close to Roseto.
Then, after more than 10 years of intensive study, the conclusion that various medical experts came to was not diet (Rosetans ate cheese and meat at every meal), exercise (a lot of them weren’t active), or the healthcare provided to them. The reason why Rosetans were free of heart disease was due to the following behaviors of the residents:
- They cooked for one another,
- They talked to each other on the streets, and
- They went to church.
What was their big secret to being free of heart disease? It was community.
Again, using the 6-Pack Give Back Challenge as an example, the program encourages community by promoting communication among members via social media and in-person gatherings. At the moment, there are participants from Washington State to California and even overseas in South Africa! Within this virtual community, the support provided promotes healthy eating, holds everyone accountable to exercise routines, and in the long run, can even change lives.
3. Reminded of why
“What’s your ‘why’? When you know why you do what you do, even the toughest days become easier.” – Anonymous
The dark embraced him as he kneels on the floor with the broken machine before him. This broken machine represents two months of rent money. He has to fix it, but he’s already worked for four hours straight and still nothing has changed. He lost his apartment two weeks ago. His wife walked out on him two weeks before that. Now, he’s left in a shelter with only a broken machine left to claim as his own.
“What am I doing here?”, “why am I doing this?”, “I can’t keep going” are just some of the questions that race though his mind. And there on his knees, engulfed in the dark…he breaks down into tears.
Just then, the sound of a child coughing interrupts his tears. He looks over into the dark corner and towards the sound, concerned that his crying may have been too loud this time. But as his eyes begin to take focus, he sees that his son hasn’t awoken. Seeing his son sleeping so peacefully, he whispers to himself, “Oh yes, that’s right. He’s the reason why.” He wipes away his tears and in the cold, dark room, he continues to work for another four hours.
Sometimes, all we need is a reminder.
A reminder that there are others out there counting on us.
A reminder that there are reasons outside of ourselves to work and get healthy.
A reminder that health in itself is not the main goal, but the things that we can do with good health are what matters.
For the 6-Pack Give Back Challenge, the “why” is in the name—to “Give Back”. Our reminders are in the form of orphaned children in Haiti…as well as in our own children.