Christian Fitness - How to be an encourager

Want to be an encourager? Then don’t be a Barone!

In spite of my frequent Seinfeld references (like my Organize your kitchen pantry and Fitness goals can easily be sabotaged by “special” occasions posts), I actually think Everybody Loves Raymond was better (yeah, I said it). In fact, the day-in day-out struggles of the Barone family make for one of my all-time favorite shows. Want to know how to be an encourager? Don’t be a Barone! Marie is quite easily the devil. Her husband Frank isn’t much better, and why would he be? He chose to marry the devil. And Ray’s spinelessness is insufferable. Even still, the show just makes me laugh… a lot. Of the many lines I still quote to this day, one of my favorites is that of the “dream-squasher.” Don’t remember? Watch the first 60 seconds of this clip.

How to be an encourager: Step 1 – Identify the dream-squashers

Do you have people like this in your life, fitness dream squashers? For instance, you’ve been disciplined all week with your nutrition tithe and are all geared up for your well-deserved cheat meal and under the guise of “helping” they blurt out, “Are you sure you should eat that?” Or maybe you’ve already had success at shedding some fat and they say, “Don’t get too skinny.” Or perhaps it’s less passive-aggressive. You tell them you’re going to do P90X and they shoot you down with a “You’ll never finish.” One minute you’re super enthusiastic and the next you’re totally deflated. In an instant, someone comes along and uses a verbal pin to pop your excitement balloon.

Let me tell you something: people who consistently dream-squash are insecure about where they are in life. Don’t let their insecurities become yours. You have full permission to ignore them… even avoid them.

How to be an encourager: Step 2 – Be introspective

I was listening to Success Magazine publisher Darren Hardy on a podcast the other day. One of the things he said that struck me is that we all have an internal “set point.” This set point is our belief about ourselves and our worthiness. He said that more often than not, when people fail at their goals (including fitness), it’s because they have a low set point, which serves as a self-defeating mechanism.

I can see this being the case. And furthermore, I can see that the people around you, if you’re not careful, will help determine your set point for you by the things they say. We can easily rise to the level of our families’ and friends’ expectations of us, good or bad.

I want to challenge each of you to be a little introspective today: examine what you really believe about yourself and how you came to believe it. Do you think you’re worthy of reaching goal X? Do you think that other people are better equipped or more deserving to reach their goals than you are and if so, is it because of what someone else said to you? Maybe you don’t believe in you because _____________ doesn’t believe in you, as evidenced by all their dream-squashing.

You will learn how to be an encourager when you are first able to encourage yourself, which involves honestly examining what you really believe about you.

From there, you’ll be much better equipped to encourage others, which leads me to the next step.

How to be an encourager: Step 3 – The Golden Rule

Finally, start working on being an encourager… today… right now! Work on being the kind of encourager you wish you had. While I’m not a dream-squasher, I am also not inherently a good encourager. It’s something I’m trying to improve, but have a looooong way to go, just ask my beautiful wife (better yet, don’t ask). I have to work on it. I have to make it priority. I need to do a much better job at praising progress over perfection. I would be well-served by encouraging others the way I would like to be encouraged. As Ghandi put it, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I mean really, this is Sunday School 101… Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.

So it’s on that note that I want to tell you that I believe in you. I believe that you can do it, that you can achieve what you put your mind to, and more than anything, that you are deserving and worthy of reaching that goal. I want to challenge you to stomp out the negative-self talk, turn a deaf ear to the nay-sayers, and raise your own bar… your set point. There’s a difference between arrogance and confidence. This is about confidence and what you are worthy to achieve and become.

So to all you dream-squashing Barones out there, stop. Go away. You are not welcome here.

And for the formerly squashed, it’s time to put that behind you. Rise up… be encouraged… you can do this… it’s a new day and your outcome is up to you.