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Getting Back On Track After The Yomim Tovim

You’ve Worked On Your Neshamah, Now It’s Time To Work On Your Guf

 

So how did you fare? Did you take my suggestions on board over the yom tov period? Ate fewer starchy carbs and heavy desserts? Went out for a power walk to work off all those heavy meals? If you did, well done; your body and I thank you! If not, don’t fret; what’s done is done. Now it’s time to get back on track; it’s a great time to assess what your goals are physically, and to take some time to figure out how you’re going to attain them. It’s a new year, a new beginning, full of opportunity.

 

But getting back on track is hard if your belts seem to have shrunk, or your dresses don’t quite fit like they used to before the chagim. When the person you see in the mirror looks a little less healthy than you recall, that reflection can be so discouraging, and the journey ahead may seem so overwhelming. Where do you start?

 

How do Jews improve, year to year? We wipe the slate clean. On Kol Nidrei night, when we negate every vow, we dismiss every excuse we ever told ourselves why we couldn’t reach our goals. Those promises you made, those affirmations that held you back, no longer exist. “I could never go running”; “exercising just isn’t for me”; “I can’t stop eating that” – each of these “vows” is now moot. You’ve wiped the slate clean and are a different person to who you were last year.  

 

Don’t plan on making huge life-altering changes from today to tomorrow; it’ll never last. Instead, ask yourself why you were never able to keep your previous resolutions to keep fit and eat right: Didn’t have time? Surrounded by nosh at home and at work? Little support from friends or family? Dislike exercising? Like eating junk food too much? Last year, these excuses were walls that stopped you from achieving your goals; now, however, they’re challenges to overcome and opportunities to embrace. I’d like you to write down each of these excuses on the left-hand side of a single sheet of paper. Face them.  Contemplate them. Know thy enemy. In future articles we’ll examine each of these excuses in more detail, and I’ll offer helpful suggestions to eliminate each and every one from your repertoire of defenses, but for now, I’m only requesting that you list them.

 

Now, on the right-hand side of the paper, write down every reason why you have those physical goals in the first place. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to be healthier? Why do you want to be stronger, more agile, or more flexible? Perhaps you’re fed up of being out of breath when you play with your kids or grandkids? Perhaps you want to know you’ll be there for your spouse for many years to come? Perhaps you want the stamina to learn more, study more, and do more mitzvot

 

Scrutinize your barriers, but focus on your goals; our strength to persevere will come from the right-hand side of the page. 

 

Only you can change you, so know why you want to change, and make it happen. After 120 years, we’ll all be asked if we did the best each of us could do, each of us standing alone, totally culpable for our actions. You are not judged against your siblings, your friends, or your coworkers; you are only judged against yourself. Did YOU do the best that YOU could do? 

 

Never let your excuses define who you are. Let’s work together to make each of us better.

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