Yet far too many of us LDS singles choose bondage. We choose to keep habits of thinking that hold us back. We choose habits of seeing the obstacles instead of the opportunities. We choose habits of living under the oppression of a victim mentality instead of the liberation of a victor mentality. We are in many ways our own worst obstacle. If only we could get out of our own way!
And that’s the irony of it all. We can get out of our own way. We can break free from the bondage of a lesser life because we are free to choose for ourselves. We simply need to make the right choices.
Don’t discount your gift
I know some of you are scoffing at that idea right now. You’re thinking your freedom isn’t like a light switch you just turn on and off at will. Real life, you’re thinking, isn’t like that. There’s so much affecting your life you don’t control.
I used to think that way, back when I didn’t enjoy my life. What I couldn’t see then that I clearly see now is how my choices in how to think brought me the reality I was living. The way of thinking I embraced in those days discounted my gift of agency.
I didn’t see how my habitual choice to focus on the negative created the negative energy I broadcast to others around me. I didn’t see how my habitual choice to look constantly at my obstacles prevented me from seeing my opportunities. I didn’t see how my habitual choice to embrace a victim mentality kept me from living a life of victory.
The truth is your focus determines your reality. When you focus on the negative, you have a negative reality. When you focus on the positive, you have a positive reality. Because you choose your focus, you also choose your reality.
Choose your habits
And here’s more truth: Most of your choices you don’t make consciously. Rather you choose out of habit.
About 97% of everything you do on a day-to-day basis is simply a habit playing itself out. Habits don’t require you to think about what you do when you do it. You can, but you don’t have to. That’s the beauty of habits. They automate sequences of action so you can actually live life.
But your best life is a life lived by intention, one you consciously choose. Because you choose habitually 97% of the time, you choose consciously only 3% of the time. That suggests you can’t live your best life, but you can because you choose your habits.
When you understand how habit works and then make conscious choices to embrace more effective habits — especially in how you think — you really can choose your life because you choose the elements that together create the life you have.
Own your life
The moment I realized that truth was a pivotal turning point in my life when everything changed for me. I had a life I didn’t want because I chose the elements that combined according to natural law to create the reality I had. And it all came back to how I chose to think.
Sure, those choices were by and large habitual. But I chose my habits. In the very least, by choosing not to improve an existing habit, I by default chose not to embrace a better one.
That moment when I consciously chose to own my life turned everything around for me. That’s because I started making choices that were more conducive to the reality I wanted. And that’s a choice you can make as well because you have the same gift of agency.
Don’t depreciate that gift. Choose to own your life. Choose to break yourself free of the habits of thinking producing a reality you don’t want. You don’t have to live that way. You don’t have to settle. When you learn how to leverage your gift of agency to your advantage, you can live a phenomenal life, irrespective of the choices others make. You can make your life extraordinary. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Procrastination is one way our biological hardwiring maintains our status quo. “Yeah,” it says, “that dream sounds great, but we’ll get to that someday. Right now we’ve got other things we need to do.” And as long as we keep accepting that excuse for not living our dreams, we’ll never live our dreams because they’ll never come true.
There are only seven days in the week, and someday isn’t one of them. When we quit tolerating some day and insist on today, we can move our dreams closer to reality.
I have a dream
That has been the kernel of my struggle for so many years. It’s perhaps the most concise explanation for why I don’t yet have all my dreams fulfilled. I too often tolerate lack of progress. But I also struggle as many others do with fitting everything I want to do into my day.
Part of that comes from having so many dreams that making substantial progress on any of them is difficult. There’s just too many objectives vying for the limited space in my calendar. And abandoning any them is even more difficult because, as I mentioned earlier, I can’t help but dream big — big not just in the extent of any single dream but also in my quantity of dreams.
I dream of an eternal marriage to a wonderful, faithful LDS woman who sees in me my virtues more than my vices. I dream of an LDS culture that fully accepts singles as well as marrieds. I dream of a vibrant LDS singles support network. I dream of a career in higher education through which I inspire the next generation to make the world a better place. I dream of building businesses generating overflowing wealth to support whatever my community needs. I dream of writing books and producing other products that help people live lives filled with more joy and satisfaction.
And my list goes on. Like I said, I can’t help but dream big. All the actions required to bring all my dreams into reality can’t possibly fit inside the fixed space of a 24-hour day or even a single week, month, or year. And so it’s easy to accept that “voice” from my biological hardwiring that says, “You can do that someday.”
Someday never comes
Ultimately, this fight — the fight within each of us — revolves around standards. What standards will we tolerate for the life we’ll live? The dreams we all have of a wonderful future necessitate change; otherwise we wouldn’t have those dreams.
But all results come only from action. Tolerating excuses that our dreams will happen someday keeps pushing the realization of our dreams further and further into the future.
That’s because someday never comes. Choosing to accept the excuse of someday is choosing to accept a standard of living life outside our dreams, and a standard of joy and satisfaction in life far below what they could be. The joy and satisfaction of living our dreams will come only after we choose not to tolerate anything below the standards of our dreams.
Raise your standards
We Latter-day Saints are familiar with standards. We often link them with blessings. Those who live the standards get the blessings that come from obedience. Those who don’t live the standards don’t.
Ultimately, standards serve another purpose. Standards provide boundaries that distinguish who belongs in the community and who doesn’t. In like manner, the standards required for our dreams determine whether we’ll live them or not. When we live by those standards, we move closer to our dreams. When we don’t, we don’t.
If you want to live your dreams, you need to raise your standards. Never tolerate someday. Always tolerate nothing less than progress — even if it’s only a little each day — towards making your dreams reality. When you stop focusing on what others did or didn’t do and start focusing on what you can do, you’ll start to feel the power that comes from moving towards your dreams. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
That’s true for anyone, LDS singles included. How much injustice have we endured? How often have we been considered an “other” or somehow “less than”? The bitterness we singles can feel — and indeed many have felt — isn’t fundamentally different from the bitterness behind all the chaos currently tearing the country apart. Bitterness is bitterness. Hate is hate.
And so as we approach Father’s Day this year, I reflect upon the never-married single men who want to be fathers but feel embittered against the single women who have constantly rejected them. I reflect upon the divorced single fathers who feel embittered from a broken marriage. I reflect upon the widowed men who feel embittered after tragedy forces singleness upon them. For these and so many others, what we need is forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there can never be healing.
Start with self
I was once quite embittered. In fact, I often joked, “I’m so jaded, I’m diamond!” — a tongue-in-cheek jab at the single sisters who somehow couldn’t see what a real find I was.
But that attitude never made me less single. If anything, it kept me more single. After all, who wants to live with bitterness?
And the ironic part is that the hatred bitterness always breeds is most fully directed against self. One may think all of the hatred is directed outward, but how can people truly love others without also loving themselves? We’re all children of the same Heavenly Father.
Only after I embraced forgiveness — of both myself and the imperfect ladies making imperfect choices regarding me — did healing begin to take hold in my heart. And only after my heart had healed could I broadcast a more positive energy that then led to more positive dating experiences
Take strength to let go
Simply put, the failure to forgive will hold everyone back from living their best life. Many singles harbor ill-will for both perceived and real injustices related to their singleness. However justified singles may believe their feelings to be, bitterness will always consume more the longer it’s held. Healing can’t happen until we let the bitterness go.
Chris Williams was a married man until a drunk teenage driver robbed him of his wife, then pregnant with their fifth child, and two of his other children. He watched his wife’s last breath. I can only imagine the sorrow this man endured.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story of Chris Williams, I highly recommend you watch the video in which Chris tells his story. And if you’re anything like me, grab a box of tissues first because you will break a water main.
Let the healing begin
Of course, it’s not just single men who need to embrace forgiveness. Everyone’s been wronged somehow. Bitterness works the same way in anyone. It knows no preference on whom it feeds.
And it doesn’t matter who is involved. Bitterness will corrode and canker whatever soul contains it. It works the same way on anyone. Its antidote is also the same for anyone. What we need is forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there can never be healing.
So this Father’s Day, show your love for fathers by embracing forgiveness. Forgive the man who was never the father you needed. Or forgive the one who took your father from you. Or forgive the man who has yet to be a father, especially if that man is you.
Whatever your situation, embrace forgiveness. Let the healing begin. Only then will come the peace and comfort you yearn to feel. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Last February, I devoted a radio program episode to that very topic. I examined the Word of Wisdom, just letting the words say what they say, not reading anything into them. And the inescapable conclusion was that the Lord recommends a plant-based diet.
That doesn’t mean going vegan. I’m certainly not grilling a veggie burger as part of my holiday celebration. The meat I grill will be the real deal. Sparingly doesn’t mean forbidden.
At the same time, sparingly does mean not often and certainly not every day. The Word of Wisdom promises significant blessings to those who keep it. And we choose whether or not we receive those blessings. That’s part of the freedom we enjoy because of veterans who sacrificed theirs. They gave us the freedom to eat.
The freedom not to eat
Now I can hear some of you getting ready to quote D&C 49:18. Rest assured I’m not going to suggest we transform the traditional start of summer into some vegan festival. As I just said a moment ago, I’m eating real meat this weekend. And I won’t feel the slightest pang of guilt over it.
This is the freedom we enjoy because of our veterans’ sacrifice — the freedom to eat what we want (provided of course the pandemic hasn’t sparked a shortage). But freedom runs both ways. The freedom to do something is also the freedom not to do that same something. And exercising the one freedom can make the other freedom more precious.
For example, since I discussed the Word of Wisdom back in February, I’ve limited my meat consumption to no more than 20% of my meals each week. That means at least 17 of my meals each week are meatless. And I’ve seen some significant weight loss. I’m now about 14 pounds lighter than I was just three months ago.
But I’ve also taken more pleasure in eating meat than I did previously. Because it happens less often, it has become more special. My experiences pleasing my palette with the taste and texture of meat have truly become precious to the point of enriching my life.
The absence of guilt
That scenario has contributed to an anticipation for future meaty meals, like the premium hot dogs I have planned for Memorial Day. Of all the meat products I could select, hot dogs are probably one of the worst in terms of promoting health, if not the absolute worst. But I eat meat so infrequently now, it doesn’t really matter.
That’s why I don’t feel even a remote pang of guilt over my anticipated consumption. Exercising the freedom not to eat meat has made exercising the freedom to eat meat more enjoyable. And you should never feel more guilty over experiencing more joy in life.
When you think about it, you could extend that relationship to other areas of life as well. The pandemic has limited many of us in our daily activities, forcing us to exercise the freedom not to do this or that. When the time comes that we can exercise the freedom to do those things formerly restricted to us, the experience will be truly liberating and precious.
The “new normal”
If you would have approached me a year ago about embracing a mostly meatless diet, I would have laughed at you. But now I don’t think I could ever go back. The weight loss has certainly motivated me in my mostly meatless direction, but the delight in the freedom to eat meat after exercising the freedom not to eat meat has pleasantly surprised me.
That’s actually a bigger benefit for me than the weight loss. It makes me wonder what other delights I might find in that dichotomy of freedom both to do and not to do something.
This Memorial Day, as we celebrate freedom, may I suggest we include our freedom to eat in that reflection? Consider how you’ll use that freedom to reap all the blessings of living all the Word of Wisdom. When you own your life, you accept the past for whatever it is and look ahead to better days to come. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
As I read the specific aspects of the fast President Nelson proposed, I remembered my own participation in that worldwide fast. President Nelson said, “Good Friday would be the perfect day to have our Heavenly Father and His Son hear us!” But that raised this question: Did God hear us? How effective was the worldwide fast?
To answer that question, I searched for evidence regarding the specific points in President Nelson’s invitation. What I found gives me hope and a strengthened testimony in the power of fasting in opening the heavens for help.
Examining the trends
President Nelson declared the first purpose of the fast was “that the present pandemic may be controlled.” And so I searched Google this morning for “covid 19 deaths worldwide” and obtained an informative chart. It shows the general trend of COVID-19 related deaths rising around mid-March. But then after April 10, the general trend becomes more constant.
We see something even more hopeful for those living in the US. A similar search in Google for “covid 19 deaths us” produced another chart. Again, COVID-19 deaths rise after Spring Break. But after April 10, the general trend actually decreases!
Now, what drives that decrease is a separate question, one I’m not tackling here given my limitations of space and time. But did the fast lead to a control of the pandemic? As I’ve often told my statistics students, correlation is not causation. Just because two events happen at the same time doesn’t mean one causes the other. But is it a coincidence that the turning point for the trend in both of these curves is around April 10, the same day as the worldwide fast organized by God’s living prophet? I think not.
Hearing the stories
The second pleading President Nelson invited us to make in the worldwide fast was that “caregivers [be] protected.” What can we say about that?
We often think protection means physical safety, especially in a pandemic context. But protection could apply holistically to include other areas such as emotional and psychological health. In that light, I searched for stories relating what support health care workers have received. The American Hospital Association has a page on its website dedicated to stories about health care workers serving on the front lines of the pandemic. And these stories are amazing.
What I find especially encouraging is the HERO registry, an initiative launched by the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina. The registry collects stories from health care workers so that administrators and public health officials can better understand and work to solve the problems health care workers face both in real time and over time.
For me, the especially encouraging aspect of this effort is its launch date — April 13, just three days after the worldwide fast. Again, just because two events occur together doesn’t mean one causes the other. But again I ask, “Is this coincidence?” And again, I think not.
Looking forward in faith
President Nelson’s invitation for a worldwide fast ended with two final pleadings: one for “the economy [to be] strengthened, and [one for] life [to be] normalized.” So what about these aspects? Did God hear us in these?
Well, what measure should we use to assess economic strength? Whatever we choose isn’t going to tell us much; it’s only been about a month since the worldwide fast. In that time, we’ve seen the devastation of many economic sectors resulting in record unemployment numbers. And what exactly does “life normalized” mean? What standard do we use for “normal”? However we define our terms, many of the issues affecting the economy and daily living have yet to find resolution. And so we look to the future with hope that God will resolve these issues to the satisfaction of His purposes.
What we see so far after the worldwide fast gives us hope that all of God’s promises will be fulfilled. He will prepare the way for His promised blessings. Indeed, fasting can open the heavens for help. Looking for the ways in which God hears us gives us greater encouragement to look for ways in which we can hear Him. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Part of what enabled him to do this is the Restoration’s fulfillment of the hopes of ancient prophets and saints. They looked forward to the Restoration as a time when all gospel blessings would be enjoined together. Indeed, we who live today have the glorious blessing of the fulness of the Lord’s gospel. And those fruits can enable us to have a perfect brightness of hope for ourselves, our world, and our future.
See the blessings
Elder Holland begins with a list of what he would be looking for in religion were he living in 1820. He and his wife imagined themselves transported back in time with the same spiritual longings that many of the world’s inhabitants have possessed throughout time.
Elder’s Holland’s list provides a wonderful review of the glorious truths restored to humanity — the true nature and character of God, a clearer understanding of God’s plan for His children and especially the role of the Savior in that plan, an additional scriptural witness that enhances one’s understanding of the Lord’s life and ministry, and true priesthood authority to dispense every ordinance required for salvation and exaltation.
Elder Holland saved the crowning blessing for last. In his own words, he would have searched
Indeed, the blessings which the temple extends to bind the living and the dead across eternity truly crown the joy which living the restored gospel offers. As Elder Holland declared,
Elder Holland then directs our attention towards the future. The fulfillment of the hope of ancient prophets and saints for their future can give us hope for the fulfillment of blessings in our future.
Conquering the COVID-19 crisis is perhaps the most immediate of those hopes for the world. But once we overcome that challenge — and Elder Holland assures we will — other challenges will remain, such as hunger, poverty, safer schools, and the eradication of prejudice. And of course, truly conquering those physical challenges will require the adoption of spiritual solutions, what Elder Holland called
Elder Holland then gets deeply personal, and here is where he packs his best punch.
Isn’t that what we all hope for? Many LDS singles hope for a more perfect life, yet marriage never made anyone’s life suddenly perfect. You simply exchange one set of challenges for another.
That said, the hope that marriage can improve one’s life is not unrealistic, especially if one (to borrow a phrase from President Oaks) “marries right.” We LDS singles, no matter our individual circumstances, can and should hope for the achievement of righteous blessings, not only even when that fulfillment seems impossible but especially when that fulfillment seems impossible.
Feel the hope
I suppose that’s why this Conference address touched me. I’m in my mid-40s having never been married. What hope do I have not just of finding the right type of person who would want to marry me but also of having a family of my own, not just one I inherit from a now severed relationship?
I think Elder Holland would say I have every reason to hope. And so do you. The God who has performed miracles in the past can and will perform miracles in our present and our future. I echo with Elder Holland the message of a returned sister missionary in Johannesburg: “[We] did not come this far only to come this far.” Great and glorious blessings await each of us as we stand firm in our faith and continually choose hope over despair.
Truly, the Restoration has blessed us all. The hope of past believers fulfilled gives us hope our present desires for righteous blessings will not be in vain. Choose that faith over fear. Choose that hope over despair. When we walk in the perfect brightness of that hope, we’ll progress towards our best life. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
It’s hard not to be concerned about the growing pandemic, especially if one listens to the fearmongers who seem to swarm everywhere. But we need not live in fear. We can live by faith, not fear.
Resist the fear
When I first heard about COVID-19 spreading beyond China’s borders, I began wondering if perhaps this would be the pandemic public health officials have been warning for years would eventually come. As the situation escalated, very quickly everything changed.
Some seem intent on assessing blame, saying many will suffer for the insufficiencies of our initial response. Others clearly intend to use the situation to further their own agenda. I have zero interest in such efforts, since they don’t help anyone deal effectively with the current situation.
Neither will we deal effectively with the current situation if we succumb to Chicken Little Syndrome — surrendering to the fear spread by many that dark days have befallen us and prelude darker days directly ahead. Indeed, as the Lord foretold, “... and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them” (D&C 45:26).
Yet I defy every fearmonger by declaring we need not fear.
Promote the faith
How can I make such a bold declaration? How can I be confident now is not a time for fear when the “evidence” for fear appears all around us? Quite simply, I walk by faith.
And my faith is simple. I know God lives. I know He has a plan for His children, and that includes me. And I know He will keep all His promises and fulfill all His words.
That doesn’t mean we can get away with being stupid. If we ignore the counsel from competent public health officials, we risk infecting ourselves and those we love. We should follow sound instruction and then walk in faith all will be as it should.
Notice I said “as it should.” We don’t always know what “should” be in our lives. But God knows, and we can walk in that faith.
Walking by faith in the midst of fear doesn’t mean believing you won’t be infected because you have faith. But it does mean living with confidence God will not allow events to stray too far from His purposes. That may mean I won’t get ill. But it could also mean I will. After all, I don’t know all of God’s purposes for me.
I do know, however, that in either event I can have confidence God’s plan to bless me with whatever is best for me will unfold. And whatever happens, He will not abandon me. His tender mercies will always surround me.
Shine your light
That faith which fills me can fill you as well. We can all walk by faith, not fear. And the opportunities before us extend well beyond our own selves. Because we have the light of the restored gospel, we can shine our light to others. We can inspire them to walk by faith, not fear.
Can we see beyond ourselves to grasp the opportunity to share the light we have with all around us? We can if we walk by faith, not fear. I had just such a moment yesterday speaking with my landlord and his wife. She expressed a fear to go anywhere outside her house. I gently rebutted her comment with faith, saying if we take proper precautions to limit our exposure, we need not fret. You could feel the reassurance which my simple, gentle faith promoted.
Let us all walk by faith, not fear. Let us radiate faith, lighting the world around us with confidence that, come what may, God will see each of us to our best end. When we do, we can increase faith in the earth. We can expand the boundaries of hope. We can multiply love in the hearts of all people. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Now I’m struggling with page layout problems. What I thought was settled in my word processor apparently isn’t. And when that’s done, who knows what unforseen obstacle I will encounter next?
That said, I’m not discouraged. I know in the end I’ll succeed in publishing my book as well as many more in the future. I just need to keep looking for the next opportunity and then pounce on it.
That’s how anything worthwhile in life works. The world owes you nothing. No one will deliver the life you want on a silver platter. If you want something, you need to go get it.
That’s where most people falter, because going to get it means work, and most aren’t willing to work. After all, most already work just to pay the bills, so the last thing they want is more work. Thus, when the next opportunity to move closer to their dreams and goals appears, they opt instead to watch TV or surrender to social media or diverge into some other distraction.
Such distractions come to all of us. But those who heed their siren call soon find themselves off potential. They waste time they could have spent helping others and moving closer to their dreams and goals. And at the end of the day, their dreams are nothing but wishes.
But we can all choose differently. We can all choose to look for the opportunity to move closer to making our dreams reality. We can choose to exercise discipline and pursue that opportunity even when we’re tired or don’t feel like doing it. And at the end of the day, that choice allows us to rest our head on our pillow with satisfaction because we accomplished something. Even if it’s only something small, we accomplished something.
That gives me hope. I know an opportunity to near myself to the life I want will always come my way. And when it does, I know I can pounce on it and reap the satisfaction that can come only after action.
How do I know opportunity will always come? The Lord loves me and wants me to succeed. I can’t succeed without opportunity. And so the Lord will bless me with opportunity. And because He loves me, He’ll bless me generously with opportunity after opportunity after opportunity. But I have to do the work. So I look for the next opportunity and then pounce on it when I see it.
And I’m OK with doing the work. I own my life. I accept I’ll need to work hard and work smart to get my best life. And I embrace doing what I can to move even a little bit closer to my dreams and goals, because I know the closer I get to my dreams and goals, the sooner I’ll see them become reality.
That’s just as true for you. Every movement towards your dreams and goals, no matter how small, carries with it a momentum. So even small movements count a great deal.
This is, after all, how the Lord works. Small movements produce small momentum, true. But working that small momentum allows a slightly bigger movement, which carries its own slightly bigger momentum that allows an even slightly bigger movement and so on. Before you know it, you’re not just splashing a small street puddle; you’re roaring a tidal wave that totals the coastline!
So what tidal wave will you create? What dreams and goals will you approach? What opportunity will you pounce on today? No matter how large or small, take what steps you can today to move yourself closer to your dreams and goals. Then get up tomorrow and do it again. Then get up the next day and do it again. And keep doing that until you win. When you do, you’ll know the satisfaction of making your dreams reality. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
We focus more on cardiovascular exercise when scientific studies galore have shown real weight loss correlates with diet and strength training exercise. Likewise, many of us focus on saving and cutting expenses when real financial improvement comes with increasing our earnings. We focus so much on one side of the financial equation that we miss the effect of the other side. And when you look at both sides, it’s not hard to see it’s bigger in than out.
Do the math
Let’s do a little math. Many people approach improving their finances by cutting costs. Let’s see how well that plays out with this example: Suppose your job pays $35,000/yr. You pay tithing and spend $22,000/yr to live after the state takes its portion.
You were eating out once a week at $10/meal, but now you’ll cut that back to once a month. So you’ll spend $120 for the year instead of $520, a savings of $400. And let’s say you secure a friend to give you the $20 haircut you get every three months. Now you’ve saved an extra $80. And you decide to wear more sweaters in the winter to cut back on your heating bill, saving you another $200.
So overall you’ve saved $1000 for the year. That sounds impressive. After all, most people don’t consider a full grand chump change. But that’s what it is when you consider the effect of increasing your income.
Let’s say you pursue one of the best ways to increase your income — get a new job. Your new gig pays $45,000/yr — a not uncommon increase. Without changing your lifestyle, you’re still spending $22,000/yr to live, but now after tithing and the state, you’ve got an extra $7250/yr. Still think that $1000 you had to scrimp to save isn’t chump change?
In this hypothetical but still very realistic scenario, cutting back gave you an extra 3% in spending power. But getting that new job gave you an extra 21%! The effect of increasing your income greatly outweighs the effect of saving.
Get your hustle on
Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t save for a rainy day. It does mean you shouldn’t rely solely on cutting back to improve your finances. The core of your approach should address what’s coming in, not what’s coming out.
And it’s easier than you think to get a better job. One class in the Church’s welfare program teaches people how to get a job if you’re unemployed or how to get a better job if you already have one. Many who’ve taken the class get results in less than 30 days. Think of it! If you’re willing to do the work, you could be earning significantly more by this time next month.
Transitioning to new employment isn’t the only way to bump your income significantly. Many people who don’t want to replace their current job augment it by engaging in side hustles. They trade time for money (consulting, editing, and yard work are examples) or build a business (like making jewelry or writing a book). Not everyone succeeds in starting their own business, but some people have quit their day job because they created a better one for themselves.
Pursue your options
You’ve got lots of options and lots of opportunity to pursue whichever you feel is best for you. The Lord wants all of us to have prosperity, because then it becomes easier to raise families, serve in the Church and our communities, and help other people. I truly believe your prosperity is an important element of your best life.
So consider your ways in approaching your own finances (Haggai 1:5-7) . By all means, save where you can. Just recognize your influence over your spending power is bigger in than out. What will you do to improve your income? Focusing your efforts there will bring you more and better success. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
That said, I’m not going to approach exercise in the usual way. Instead, I’ll share how you can improve an exercise habit whether you exercise not at all or everyday. All you need to do is just one more.
Determine your motivation
First, let me start where everyone else starts — a recognition of our highly litigious society. Please consult with a competent physician before starting any exercise program.
That said, before you see a doctor, you need to establish some motivation. Without the proper motivation, you simply won’t follow any program long enough to integrate it permanently into your life. So get crystal clear on why you’re going to do this. Your reason must be compelling enough to push past the resistance to change you’ll surely encounter.
And there’s no one-size-fits-all reason. Perhaps you hate having your weight limit you. It’s harder to bend over and stand up when you’re fat. Or perhaps you need to keep up with some younger folks in your life. That would currently help me as an Aaronic Priesthood advisor.
Or maybe you need to shed those pounds so you can become more agreeable and progress in your dating journey. Argue with it all you want, but no rightness in any argument will diminish the truth that many singles have, do, and will continue to assess potential dating partners by physical appearance.
Yes, I know how it sounds, but it’s no less true. And if you don’t become more agreeable by losing the extra weight, the only way to progress in your dating journey is to find someone who’s satisfied with less. Those people are very few and far between, so relying on that proportion seriously decreases your probability of success.
As I point out in my new book, you increase your probability of success by opening yourself to more possibilities for the successful outcome to occur. The best way to do that is to raise what you offer to a whole new level so that enough people find you agreeable. The more people that find you agreeable, the more possibilities you create for your successful outcome to occur, and thus the more probable your success will be.
Now, before you despair at having to exercise to progress in your dating journey, there’s a simple way to get started. And it’ll improve your performance wherever you are on the fitness spectrum. It’s called the One More Principle.
All you need to do is just one more than you did before. So if you’re just starting out, what you did “before” is zero. All you need to do today is one — one sit-up, one push-up, one whatever. When it’s time to do that exercise again, do just one more, which is two. And so on.
Adopt the lifestyle
It’s amazingly simple, and yet, if you stay with it, you’ll be amazed at how easily you can ease yourself into an exercise habit you previously didn’t have. And here’s the real beauty: If you practice an exercise habit long enough, you’ll actually start wanting to exercise.
Crazy, yes, but it’s true. I’ve personally experienced it. What before made me cower away in terror (What? I have to run how far?) became something that filled me with great anticipation (Oh yeah! I get to run that far!).
And anyone can do one more. If you haven’t exercised in a while (or ever), you can do one push-up. If last time you did ten push-ups, now you can do eleven. If last time you did 100, this time you can do 101. By doing just one more, anyone can progress.
And you can adopt the One More Principle in not just exercise but everything. Last time you wrote 2573 words, so this time you write 2574 words. Last week you went meatless for two meals, so this week you eat three meatless meals. When you do just one more as a lifestyle, you’ll find yourself and your life substantially improved. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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