Note: This essay was originally posted on the former Fitbruary.com blog.
When I was a junior in high school, one of the track coaches convinced me to join the team. I had settled on basketball being my sole athletic pursuit, and I quite enjoyed being a one-sport athlete. It fit well with my “try, but no need to try too hard” philosophy that plagued me through my early twenties. But eventually I caved under the coach’s persistence, and I asked my mom to buy me a pair of the latest Nike racing flats. Which, by the way, were basically just expensive socks with laces that offered zero cushion or ankle support. Because, fashion. Or more likely because, high school.
I showed up to the first 5am practice, laced up my socks, and things went really south from there. Fifteen minutes into the workout I was crying in the bathroom wondering if life was truly worth living. My respiratory system was simply not mature enough to handle the DTR talk that this practice had just given it. And we (me and both my lungs) were in a state of total melt down. My relationship with track was not off to the most promising start. What had I just signed up for?! This was clearly the devil’s handiwork, and these fancy sock-shoes weren’t going to save me. I was completely caught off guard.
It would have been helpful to see the practice rundown before I signed on to such an evil enterprise. The only running I would have done would have been in the other direction! But I should have known that when people said “run track” they meant run around a large, oval-shaped path until you find yourself in an existential crisis. I only have myself to blame.
Now don’t you go worrying. Fitbruary will not send you running to the nearest bathroom for a good cry. Well, I hope not. But before you lace up your socks and show up for this thing, I thought it genteel to make sure you know what you’ve signed up for.
Fitbruary is not a diet or a workout program. It’s not a book club or a Bible reading plan. Fitbruary is, in essence, whatever you want it to be. You decide what new habits you will implement into your daily life, and together we keep each other encouraged and accountable.
God has plans for your life, and every decision you make is either a step toward or a step away from fulfilling those plans.
Only He can tell you where your habits don’t line up with his purposes for you, and only He can give you the grace you need to transform them. That’s why the Faith Factor is the foundation of this month-long commitment.
Take time to listen to God. Allow Him to show you what you need to add, remove, or change so that you can get in shape for the things He has planned for you.
The Bible says that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the child of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
So, get into God’s word and ask Him to use it to teach, correct, and train you so that you will be “equipped for every good work” He has prepared for you.
You don’t have to have it all figured out on February 1st. Transformation is a process, a journey. The Bible talks a lot about this process, and tends to call it “sanctification”. The process of Christ being fully formed in us.
“Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” – Phil 2:12
God calls us to an ongoing lifestyle of seeking, submitting to, and partnering with Him for our long-term benefit and His eternal glory.
So, create a plan, commit to it, and give God permission to change it if He needs to. Along the way, we’ll provide you with resources for all Five Factors. We’ll encourage you frequently with short daily devotions and blog posts like this one. We’ll even host a few meet ups throughout the month to hone in on each Factor and fellowship with one another.
So, what have you signed up for? You decide!
• If your devotional life has not been consistent, set one small habit that could put you on the right track. Even five minutes of prayer each day is enough to lay a solid foundation. I use this to take short prayer breaks throughout the day.
• If you struggle with self-control in your diet, commit to one new step you can take toward victory in this area. Perhaps you start tracking your food intake in a journal or fitness app.
• If you hate to work out, maybe start with five minutes of stretching each day.
• If you feel disconnected from community, you might consider calling a friend every day to check in. Not texting, calling. #mindblown
• If you battle negative thoughts, you could find a book on this topic and read for 10 minutes each day.
Remember: Fitbruary is about setting reasonable habits that you can implement immediately and consistently.
If you don’t remember that, it may be because you haven’t checked out our website! Be sure to read through The Challenge, The Five Factors, and Getting Started pages before your Fitruary begins.
I hope this will all help you to avoid ending up in the bathroom crying, wondering if all of this is worth it. Spoiler alert: It is!
In the meantime here are some FAQs to consider:
“I have no idea where to begin. Haaaalp!” There are no experts here, so don’t be intimidated! A small, simple change will go a long way if you are consistent. Keep an eye on our GroupMe, Instagram, and blog for more specific resources and inspiration along the way. If you need more specific help, don’t hesitate to reach out us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here for you.
“It’s already after February 1st—is it still worth participating?” Yes, girl, YES! This is your month. You will decide what it will be, and if that means that your Fitbruary begins on February 9th, then so be it. It doesn’t have to start on Feb. 1, and it doesn’t have to end on Feb. 28. In fact, that’s why our socials are @fitbruary. Your Fitbruary is whenever you decide to embark on 4 weeks of intentional change. We chose February because we like alliteration and it’s a perfect 4-week (28 days) calendar.
“I already have healthy habits in some of the Five Factors, can I just skip that one?” Sure! But before you do, consider what your best next step is toward an even healthier life in those areas. There is always something more we can do to equip ourselves for the things God has planned for us. But, feel no pressure to change things that are working for you. God can begin to transform your life with only two or three new habits.
What if I struggle to maintain my new habits during Fitbruary? Don’t give up! If you miss a day, just get back in the game the next day. God doesn’t want to condemn you, He only wants to lavish you with love, grace, and strength each day. If you need an accountability partner, reach out to us, and we will try to pair you with someone who can walk more closely with you on your Fitbruary journey.
Onward and upward!