“Flex your arms!” I told my husband, “Show me your new muscles,” I said excitedly. I was beaming with pride at his new found dedication, hitting the gym 6/7 days a week for the second week in a row. A few days later at home I said the same thing, “Let’s see some results!”
He sighed and laughed, “Sarah, it’s only been two weeks. You don’t even notice results in yourself until at least 4 weeks. Your friends and family don’t notice until 8 weeks. Everyone else doesn’t notice until 12 weeks.”
I didn’t really think much about his statement until this morning when looking in the mirror after a work-out class and feeling just ever so slightly disappointed that I couldn’t see a little bit more definition or a little less inner thigh jiggle. His statement resounded in my head, and it was just like a light-bulb went off, one of Oprah’s “aha” moments…
How many times do we effect change in our lives, becoming disappointed when we don’t see immediate results? We reach out in a relationship, and give up when we don’t feel the return. We put our hearts into work and do our best, then give in to let-down when there isn’t recognition, processes don’t change, morale doesn’t improve, things don’t get better. We implement life-style changes, and our bodies don’t reveal it.
We are very impatient people. Our commitments wane and fade off when our goal isn’t foreseeable, when we can’t reach out and touch it. I’ve started to observe this impatience in my every day life. I love immediate results. I crave them, and I have to fight frustration when I don’t receive them. An internal craze sets off when I don’t get my patients’ lab results back in a time I feel is appropriate. When their medications don’t arrive from pharmacy, I shake my head and sigh in annoyance. When the microwave is running, I stop it 5 seconds early. And I shouldn’t even go into grocery store lines (10 items or less means 10 items or less people!!)
So many times when we execute change, we grow frustrated when the environment or the circumstances don’t mirror that change. What if we changed the expectation? What if we applied that 4 week, 8 week, 12 week, and even longer mentality in other areas of life?
When you feel distant from your spouse, reach out to them and don’t give up when they don’t respond. When you feel disappointed in your lifestyle habits, change them and stay committed even when your body doesn’t follow suit the way you imagined. When your career isn’t advancing or your work-environment is negative, stay true to your goals and keep your positivity whether you see a difference made or not.
Commitment sets apart the people who are truly happy from the people who experience brief jolts of happiness and bottom outs in depression.
James 1:4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.