Every so often I like to sit down and evaluate where I am at in my life. I take a look at what I am doing, what I would like to be doing, what I want to stop doing, and a ponder and reflect and set new goals and intentions. Each time the Fit Mommi Challenge is back, I have the opportunity to take the time to evaluate my fitness. For me, fitness is more than physical. In my life I strive for fitness in many areas: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, mental, marital, and parental fitness are all important to me. There is so much that comes with being a Black mommi that true balance is impossible; however, I think that reframing the idea of balance as “fitness” is something that can be valuable for all of us.
What is “Fitness?”’
The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines fit as both a noun and a verb with multiple meanings. The meaning that most resonates with me is a combination of a few of these. Using the dictionary and my own experiences with fitness as my guide, I define fit as:
Preparing myself so that I am ready to survive and thrive while continuing to make place and space for things coming up in my life.
Fitness is continual preparedness. It is working to be ready in various areas of your life.
If I am striving for fitness instead of balance, I am consistently working to be ready to survive, to grow, and to make room for the things I feel are necessary and important in my life. With this definition in mind, overall fitness and wellbeing take on new meaning. Instead of viewing physical fitness as losing weight, eating better, and fitting into your favorite pair of jeans; physical fitness expands to getting your body ready to do the things you would like to do and to make room for yourself. Instead of viewing social fitness as having a lot of friends or your kids having a lot of friends; social fitness expands to making space for yourself and others in social situations and being ready to engage with others in a way that is healthy for you.
For me, thinking about fitness (instead of balance) and applying it to multiple areas of my life helps me remember that fitness is a journey, not a destination. Fitness also looks differently depending on what stage of life I am in. Right now, with a husband, a full-time job, and three young kids, my social fitness is taking a bit of a back seat. Instead of putting energy into making and keeping friends of my own, I am also striving to help my children develop socially and cultivate friendships. Things in my life are going really well right now, so my spiritual fitness isn’t being actively tested; however, I do the daily prayers and devotionals now so that when the hard times come I am in a condition of readiness, I am aligned with God, and with Him I am ready to do or suffer whatever He sees fit to put in my path.
My physical fitness also looks differently than it did ten, or even five, years ago. I have gone from training for five or more hours a day as a collegiate track and field athlete, to stealing 20-30 minutes here and there for some quick physical exercise before my kids wake up. My physical fitness goals and expectations have shifted from wanting to be the quickest one over the hurdles to being in a physical condition that allows me the energy to be active and present in my various roles.
When opportunity presents itself, I take the time to evaluate my fitness in various elements of my life. I pick and area and ask myself searching questions. If I am up for it, I also ask my husband to help me in this self-evaluation. Should you choose to evaluate your fitness, here are some questions to consider:
|Area||Questions||What This Looks Like For Me|
|Physical Fitness||How do I feel about my body? Does my current body allow me to be present in areas of my life that are important to me? Am I happy in this body? Do I prioritize my physical health? What can I do to be better about taking care of my beautiful, wonderful body?||
|Emotional Fitness||Do I understand and recognize my emotional triggers? Am I patient with myself and my feelings? Do I allow myself room to feel and explore my feelings and emotions? Do I feel comfortable expressing my feelings with my loved ones? Do I have tools to help me healthily manage my emotions? Are those tools working? Is it time for me to seek professional guidance and help?||
|Mental Fitness||Am I sharp? Are there things I want to learn about and know more about that I can make the time to study? Do I know what I need to know about current events and issues? Can I help my kids with their school work? Am I too tired? Am I reading enough? Do I notice any slips in my memory or my ability to concentrate or recall information?||
|Spiritual Fitness||How is my relationship with God? Am I praying enough? Am I studying enough? Can I hear Him when He speaks to me? Are there things I can be doing to better my relationship with God? Am I able to feel God’s love for me each day?||
|Marital Fitness||How is my relationship with my spouse? Are we spending enough time together? Do they feel loved? Do I feel loved? How can we add more romance into our relationship? Are we communicating effectively with each other? Are we growing closer to God?||
|Parental Fitness||How is my relationship with my children? Do they feel loved? Do they feel important? What do they need from me? How can I better meet their needs? What are they struggling with? What can I do to help them learn and grow?||
These are just a few of the fitness categories I like to consider. I don’t think about all of these areas of my life all of the time, but these are the areas I find myself re-visiting over and over again.
Something I always need to remember is that fitness is a process. Being fit in any area of our life requires patience, consistency, and re-commitment when we get off course. Striving for fitness overbalance has helped me put progress into perspective. My fitness ebbs and flows. Sometimes my fitness is exactly where I want it, other times it isn’t. I have found taking time to evaluate my fitness very helpful as I work towards becoming the woman, wife, and mommi that both God and I know I can become.
Peace + Love,