Four months ago I embarked on a bit of a journey toward improving some healthy habits in my life. As a leader who juggles lots of responsibilities and traveling, it was a personal wake-up call. And while I’m still a work in progress and have decided I always will be, fall is a great time to consider making changes. As we head into the holiday season with lots of food temptations and winter weather that forces many of us to not be as physically healthy, here are six habits to consider.
1. Start with a health assessment. It had been a couple of years since I had completed blood work, so I had a battery of tests done that found I was lacking certain vitamins and minerals. Not only have I added several supplements to my daily routine, I had a follow-up assessment that showed improvement within a few months.
2. Healthy habits mean consistency and accountability. One of my least favorite things in the world is stepping on the scales, but each morning I face that number as a reminder that what I eat and how much I move make a difference. I keep track of my calorie intake with an app on my phone, and I evaluate my physical activity each day. Both of these things are hard for me because I love my carbs and sweets, but every food decision I make affects my overall health.
3. Grace is offered and second chances are available each day. There are days when it’s difficult to avoid unhealthy choices. Even so, I’ve learned that each morning I’m given a new day to make better choices. Don’t beat yourself up or give up. Just give yourself grace for the day and determine to make better choices tomorrow.
4. Healthy habits affect my ability to lead and serve others. Because of recent changes, I do have more energy and can focus on the things I need to accomplish in my work. I’ve taken on additional responsibilities in the past six weeks and am facing my largest event in the next two weeks. With healthy physical changes, I’m more prepared for the stress extra work brings.
5. Healthy habits include having fun and being intentional about rest. I can easily find myself obsessing about work and not taking time for myself, but I’ve learned in the last couple of years that a good dose of laughter and friendship are key factors for healthy leaders. I recently spent a couple of days with dear friends. They attended one of our LifeWay events, yet we found time for heart-to-heart conversations, laughter, and a little retail therapy!
6. Being a healthy leader isn’t just physical. We are body, soul, and spirit and each aspect affects the other. Just because I need to be healthy physically is no excuse for not developing healthy spiritual habits like spending time in God’s Word and developing community with other believers. Just as my physical health is an ongoing process, my spiritual development is also a lifelong process of becoming more like Christ. We call it sanctification, and Paul reminds us of this very thing in Philippians 1:6 when he said, “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
How about you? How are you creating healthy habits in your leadership? Enjoy the beautiful change of seasons and rest in the Lord’s goodness for your leadership journey.
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources and oversees the YOU Lead events. Join her this year and get to know her heart for ministry leaders. Follow her on Twitter @kellydking.