Can you do 100 sit-ups? How about 150? That sounds like a lot for most of us. It's also become a normal amount for me. Now, before you think I'm an excessive fitness nut, there's a catch. I don't do 150 sit-ups at once. On a normal day, I start the day doing as many as I can at once, and then throughout the day, I take a break from being at my desk studying or dealing with administrative issues and do a small number of sit-ups and push-ups. (After I finish writing this, it's time for the next batch!)
When the day is done, I will have completed far more repetitions than I thought possible just a few short months ago. By breaking down the big number and doing it bit-by-bit throughout the day, I have gotten more done. Alongside the exercise, I have picked up a few more good habits, like eating healthier and getting more water. These have been easier to add because they complement the effort of the work, rather than being things that I tried to do on their own.
You know this has to go somewhere, right? Because I'm not writing a fitness column, and I'm far from a fit-and-trim guy. It's going here:
We've reached November. The next to last month of the year, the month where we set aside time for a couple of important days: Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving Day. These are two days, though, that are much like dropping down to do 300 sit-ups at once. We cannot do enough on either one of those days to truly show our gratitude.
I would challenge us to consider, for example, that Veteran's Day must not be the only day we respect those who have served this country in the Armed Forces. We should consider ways in which we can, every day, show that we are grateful for the freedom secured by those who have served in uniform. Perhaps we could respond more positively when our high school students express an interest in serving. Certainly, we could reckon our liberties as far more precious than many of us do.
Then, consider Thanksgiving Day, a day that our nation sets aside to give thanks for the blessings we have in general. The heritage is of thanking Almighty God for what we have. But is one day truly enough for that? For the air we breathe and the water we drink? For the fact that, generally speaking, our bodies work?
And even more, as the Psalmist says, that "his steadfast love endures forever!" (Psalm 107:1)
Gratitude is not a one-time event, but instead should become a habit. As we exercise it, daily, we will find it easier and easier—and easier to make large demonstrations of that gratitude. And with that habit developed, we may just find ourselves also developing a bit more patience and kindness to go with it. After all, one good habit grows another.
Now, it's time for some more sit-ups.
Originally published in The East Ender.