Lately, I’ve been putting a lot of effort into being more healthy. And it’s been awesome. I feel better, I look better, and (as cheesy as it sounds) I actually enjoy life a little more. I think that is a direct result of shedding the “crappy” feeling one gets after eating junk food and keeping an inconsistent sleep schedule for four years. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am living a completely healthy lifestyle just yet, but I’m a lot better than I was, and I’m happy with that.
But my healthier lifestyle didn’t happen all at once. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “I’m going to exercise my body every day, eat foods that are good for me, and regularly get plenty of sleep,” and then just do it. Those were obviously the goals I set, and I feel like I’m doing pretty well in each of them now, but it was a process that took some time. I started off by cutting out soda from my diet. I know it sounds crazy, but I haven’t had a Mello Yello in almost five months. Then I started jogging a little bit in the mornings, and along with that, I started keeping a strict, consistent sleep schedule. Gradually, I started adding to my exercise regimen and switching out unhealthy foods I was eating for healthy ones. I got to where I am now by taking small steps and making seemingly insignificant changes that eventually added up to something huge: a healthier lifestyle. To put it another way, I took baby steps.
Baby steps often seem frustrating at first. It can be discouraging when you make a change but don’t see the results immediately. I’m not going to lie, I really wanted to see myself slim up a bit when I started running in the morning. But the truth is that the steps I was taking at first weren’t really steps toward weight loss. They were steps towards other steps that would eventually lead me into habits that would, in time, lead to weight loss and to me having a healthier shape. But even shaping up is a process that involves small steps. If I had given up when the first step I took didn’t have immediate, recognizable results, I would have never made it to the next step. Now, I’m starting to see some more tangible results of my work, and I’m extremely glad I stuck with it and took the small steps that led to other small steps that eventually led to my goal.
While taking baby steps can be frustrating, it also protects us from other dangers, like overloading ourselves. If I had set out on the first day and said, “I’m going to run five miles, have nothing but salad, and sleep nine hours a day,” I would have failed miserably and probably given up thinking that I was incapable of living a healthy lifestyle. But choosing to take small steps to improve my health actually helped me avoid trying to push myself too hard, and it kept me from giving in to burnout.
I’ve been using the example of my health, but the baby step approach applies to many areas of life. Another big area where I apply the baby step approach is in my spiritual walk. I believe in something called progressive sanctification. This is the belief that once a person becomes a Christian, he or she begins a process of gradually becoming more and more like God (and thus more and more like the person God is calling him or her to be) as his or her spiritual walk goes on. I believe that as I walk with God each day, he draws me closer to him and illuminates areas of my life where I need to improve. And if I’m open to his grace, he will come into that area of my life and make me more like him. This is progressive sanctification, or, if you prefer, spiritual baby steps.
I hope you haven’t read this post as me trying to brag about my health. I’m still far from where I want to be in that area, and I’m trying to take the steps to get closer to my goal. I was just contemplating my health journey this week and thought that it might helpful to you. I hope we are each being intentional and trying to take baby steps toward some kind of goal each day, whether it be improving your health, growing closer to God, or getting a promotion at your job. The thing to remember is that each baby step is getting you gradually closer to where you want to be, and that’s worth investing in and celebrating. So tomorrow, I’m going to try to eat some hearty, vegetarian soup instead of my regular meat at dinner, and I hope you’ll try to take some sort of baby step in your life, too. God bless, friends, and I’ll see you next week!