Your Holiday Plan: Break Some Agreements!

LET’S BREAK SOME HOLIDAY AGREEMENTS, SHALL WE?

No, no NO!  We’re not talking here about your in-laws coming over for Thanksgiving.  Sorry, Pal, you made that agreement, you’re stuck with it.

Even so, what with the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons upon us, let’s use a tricky question to lead into your three-part plan to control your fitness for the holidays

Tricky Good Question:  When is it wrong for me to break an agreement?

Tricky Wrong Answer: Never.

But, you say, isn’t it wrong to break an agreement, like, “OK – we’ll meet for lunch at 12:00 Wednesday.”   Well, there are agreements to keep (enjoy your Thanksgiving with the in-laws) and agreements to break.

What agreements are we talking about, and how can we break them?

For starters, we’re talking about agreements that you make with yourself or another person or the devil that are, in fact, not true.   (In-laws do not equate with the devil, usually, although they do occasionally resemble kryptonite.)

Sadly, bad agreements are easy to make.  You begin by believing that a lie about yourself could possibly be true, and when you believe it enough times you agree with it, and then it becomes a settled part of who you think you are – an Agreement.  Got it?  A bad agreement is simply a lie about yourself which you have come to believe.

As an example, search no further than yourself.  Here are two signs to find agreements which you need to break.  First, your agreement has these words in it: “Never” or “always.”  Second, your agreement conflict with a good desire within yourself.  Examples: “Holidays coming, and I always eat too much.”  Or, “I’ll never get into shape.”  Or, “Darn, I always do that.”

(For those of us who are married, I might add that you have made a bad agreement when you find yourself saying about your spouse, “Darn, she always does that.”  Keyword: Always.  Whoa! Some major agreement lurks within.)

When is it right to break such agreements?

Right Answer: When your integrity depends on it.  Ordinarily keeping agreements is a sign of integrity, a man’s word being his bond and all that.  But when a bad agreement conflicts with the true part of you then to preserve your integrity you must break that agreement.  For a simple sign that your integrity is involved just look for tension within yourself.  For example, which agreement brings you more peace within, “I always gain weight during Christmas,” or “I am in control of what I eat.”?

Do you feel tension within when you look at your agreements?  Note that sometimes pressure within you can feel like tension, but there’s a difference.  Pressure (even peer pressure if it is seeking to move you in a good direction) can be good or bad.  Pressure is simply a force trying to go in a certain direction.  Tension, though, is when you feel a torque within – a grinding as two or more forces act in divergent directions.  The street name for this is simply “Stress.”

Breaking Agreements with The Thief, Murderer, and Destroyer

Ok, here’s this, without which no discussion on agreements is complete.  Everybody – without even consulting Maslow or Robbins – has a basic desire for significance.  Good news and bad news – you certainly have a significance, but there is a thief that doesn’t want you to use it.

Jesus said that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  When you were created God gave you a glory and a beauty and a significance, a role to play that only you can play.  Now I hasten to tell you that as a traditional Christian who goes to a church that has no need for occupancy limits on our chandeliers, I don’t see Satan behind every tree and not everything that goes wrong can be attributed to him.

Yet your significance, no matter who you are and what you believe, is so weighty that Satan fears what you could become and will throw every engine imaginable at you to steal your glory.

Your “Weakness” May Be Hiding your Strength

I suggest that you think about this:  Your greatest strength may seem like your greatest weakness.  Here’s why.  We often think that Satan works against our weakness, but why should he bother?  Our weaknesses are no threat to him.  He fears your greatness – and you do have greatness – and that’s where his assaults are the strongest – and one of his favorite weapons is the lie.

Not every problem in life is from the devil, and not every fault can be blamed on him nor every failing.  But it may be if you find yourself stuck somewhere that you have believed one of his lies – I’m speaking from experience, here, by the way, having believed many a lie from Satan.  The lies come subtly, at first, as in, “Well, you know, you could be just a bit presumptuous here, thinking you could lose those last five pounds.”  Or, “Ah, yes, you do often fall short in this area, don’t you.”  Or, “Do you REALLY believe you have something to offer to the world?”  He knows what power you could have if you just enter into it and he hates you for it.  But he can’t come right out and say it; he needs you to agree with him to remove the threat.

An analogy, if you’ll allow it.  In some forms of martial arts you use your opponent’s momentum and strength, divert it just a bit, and whoomp! – he lands on the ground.  Nice.  That’s how Satan sometimes works against you and your strong points, you know.  Agreements, got it?

Stuck on the Lie

If you find yourself stuck over some good and strong desire within you, trace it back, gently, and see if you can tease out some lie that began gradually but now you fully believe.  Try the opposite position and see if it is true. For example, next time you say, “I’ll never get fit,”  or “I can’t stop eating sugar” or “Fat is just my body type” or “I always get angry when that happens” stop and ask yourself what basis you have, really, for making statements like that.  Who told you you can’t stop eating sugar, that fat is your body type, or that you are just an angry person?  Who has an interest in telling you that you have nothing to offer the world?

If some quiet voice tells you these things over and over you just might believe them, and then you agree with them, and whomp! There you are, stuck in an agreement.

Jesus wouldn’t tell you that.  Ask Him into this thing, and then next time some evil critter tries to tell you, “Yep, you’re just a fat angry person” you can disagree!  He’s in the business of healing and restoration, not condemnation.  Trust Him with your agreements, and go walk in the original glory God gave you!  The idea of Original Sin has its place, but I’m much more interested in talking to you about your Original Glory.  Break those agreements and you’ll find your glory!

YOUR THREE PART PLAN

Why discuss all this now and not mid-way through December? Because now is your opportunity to plan for the weeks ahead.  Once the craziness begins, you’ll be too busy to put a plan this out.

So let’s take this moment of clarity, this calm before the storm, to outline a three-part plan that will save your waist from unwanted holiday inches.

PART ONE – Break Some Agreements

Go ahead – become dis-agreeable!  Break your bad agreements!

Now let me add a larger suggestion:  When I recently asked Nicole, my beloved, about food agreements she said, “Food is a joy – or at least it should be.  If it is not, something has died in your heart.”  Then she said, “Enter the Christmas Holidays with a freedom mindset.  Don’t become a captive either way – not captive to overeating, not captive to counting every calorie that you shove in your mouth.  This is a Holy Season.  Enjoy it – something big happened two thousand years ago!”

So go ahead: Become disagreeable, break agreements, and enjoy the Holidays!  Speaking of disagreeable, say “Hi” to your in-laws for me.

PART TWO: Your Exercise Plan.

Exercise is the first thing people cut when they get busy, and the holiday season is notorious for empty gyms. This year do something different-agree with yourself to exercise. Promising to yourself won’t do it, you need to promise to others so that you won’t drop the ball.

  • Sign up to work with a fitness expert – This is the perfect solution for consistent, challenging and effective workouts. I’ll give you the attention and assistance that you need to power through the holidays in better shape than ever – talk about motivating!
  • Get a serious exercise buddy – Some friends can be an awesome help while others end up pulling you down. When looking for an exercise buddy consider the following questions:
    – Do they share your fitness goals?
    – Are they fairly encouraging, if not to say agreeable in a good way?
    – Do they give up easily?  If so, are they gonna let you off the hook?
    – Are they at your fitness level?

If you think you are short on time (you aren’t, but everyone thinks they are) do this 10-minute burst from my “WARRIOR COMPLEX” burn routine.  No equipment needed.  If you truly only have five minutes, then do five now and five later – besides, five minutes of this is enough to get you sweating.  Print this out and post it somewhere:

Do this one 40-20 (40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of Active Rest in the plank position).

No rest between exercises or between sets.  Do this circuit two times (five minutes each, 10 total):

1.A. Squats – 40 seconds

1.B. Front Plank – 20 seconds 

2.A. Cross-body Mountain Climbers – 40 seconds

2.B. Left Side Plank – 20 seconds

3.A. Rows or Pushups – 40 seconds

3.B. Front Plank – 20 seconds

4.A. Prisoner Squats – 40 seconds

4.B. Right Side Plank – 20 seconds

5.A. Jump Ropeless – 40 seconds

5.B. Front Plank – 20 seconds

Repeat one time for 10 minutes total.  Nice work!

PART THREE: Your Menu Plan.

The holidays offer ample opportunities to indulge, so you need to hammer down some guidelines before hitting that buffet line. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t indulge in any seasonal treats, but use moderation. Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to eat until the point of being uncomfortable – will you really miss that bloated feeling? Decide which treats to cut out this year.

Don’t bring edible treats to the office or to parties. You know that the leftovers will come home and you’ll end up eating far more than your share. This year do everyone a favor by not gifting fattening treats.

When faced with a buffet line, load your plate first with greens, vegetables and lean meats before breads and heavier foods. Also drink water with your meal and keep alcoholic beverages to a 2-drink maximum.

Beware of holiday drinks – most are brimming with calories. Hot drinks from coffee shops, cocktails at parties and creamy eggnog (which is my personal downfall – to me, eggnog is just room-temperature ice cream) – are all very enjoyable and all filled with empty calories. Enjoy yourself, but if you’ve overdone it at the cookie plate then stick with hot tea or unsweetened coffee.

Everywhere you go during the holiday season brings you face-to-face with a plate of sweets. To avoid being a bore but without adding inches to your waist, try the one treat rule. Each time you’re in a social situation that involves sweets just eat one, and enjoy your treat slowly.  Well, try to, anyway.

You don’t have to gain weight this holiday season. The key is your mindset.

If you approach the holidays with the mindset of, ‘I deserve to indulge [see the agreement?] and I shouldn’t have to exercise’ then you’ll enter 2015 a few pounds heavier, a little less healthy, and with lower energy than ever before.

I believe that you deserve better. I believe that you should enter 2015 in better shape than you are today, healthier than you’ve been in a long time, and with more energy than you thought possible.

I’m here to help – call or reply to this email to set up a fitness consultation with me. I’d love to show you how to transform your body over the weeks to come.

Can we agree on that?

About Tom Schweickert

Tom Schweickert, EA, CPC, CPT brings a unique combination as a Life Coach, Personal Trainer and Money Coach to help folks negotiate these interesting times.
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