As a 27 year old single woman it is challenging not to ask myself multiple times the infamous question, “What is wrong with me”? The problem that is often associated with this question is that it can highlight imperfections and inadequacy and therefore cause discouragement. As we learn in Preach my Gospel, “discouragement weakens faith.” I decided that last thing I wanted to do was weaken my faith and I sat perplexed. Then it came to me, “Self, what if instead of asking what is wrong, you ask what is good that you could make better and best?” And so the evaluation began.
After my list was made, I was trying to figure out which thing to start on. Then I remembered, sometimes it is best to start with the thing that is the most difficult, because then you can give it your most effort. Looking at my list, the most difficult thing for me was glaring and almost bolded. It is something that most men hold in high regard when looking for a future companion. To say that I am good at health and fitness seems like a stretch, but perhaps I am good at recognizing that I could be better at it.
For over half of my life I have been what most would call “overweight.” It has been the source of my greatest insecurity. I’ve been publicly humiliated, and privately scorned — mostly by myself — though others have also been involved. It is something I have tried to fix on multiple occasions and have failed at every time. Dieting, exercising, you name it I have tried most of them — and usually only for 2 weeks to 2 months before i quit. So, making it first on my improvement list was a bit daunting. In order to succeed this time I needed to pinpoint the problem areas and fix them.
First, I need motivation! After working 10 hours every day, I find it very challenging to want to go exert more effort. Walking around circles on a track, or going to a gym didn’t seem very appealing. So I chose to identify a place where I enjoy to be and where I feel the most motivation possible. Yes, being as weak as I am in this area, I had to choose to go to my strength — the temple. Rosemary M. Wixom once stated, “In the temple all feelings of inadequacy and imperfection begin to fade” For even on the outside I can begin to feel this power. I find that it is easy to want to approach temple grounds as I begin my walk each time. It is a great reminder of my purpose and helps me to remember that my body is a temple of God.
Second,I need to create better habits of eating and drinking water. As a very task oriented individual I decided it best to add things to my “to do list”. For example, Drink one 750ml bottle of water (put on the list 4 times) eat 4 servings of vegetables, skip dessert. Somehow I find that this makes it seem like an accomplishment that I can check off of my list rather than a hovering thought that looms over me all the time.
Third, I need a better attitude about being healthy. For this goal I searched the scriptures and found one that I could memorize and choose as a motto. This way when I am out exercising or when it gets hard to eat right I can recite it to myself and stay focused. The winner for me came from Doctrine and Covenants 88:124.
“Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that he may not be weary; arise early that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated”
The last line of the verse is what changes my attitude the most quickly- “that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” — doesn’t that sound like a great thing to have in your life?
Fourth, I need to be accountable. What can make me more accountable than to know that I just publicly announced this goal for the whole world (or at least the 20 people who regularly read it) on my blog.
There you have it folks, I have begun my journey of improvement. This is only the beginning, the first and hardest goal. But I realize that if I don’t get married in this life, I don’t want it to be because I didn’t try my very best to make it happen. Becoming my best self in all areas of life is one way to show my Father in Heaven my desire to be whoever He wants me to be. I can’t control other people and their actions, but I can control my own. I find it best to focus on what you can control.
Thank you in advance for your support as I conquer this goliath in my life! What works for you? How do you find success in facing your challenges? What advice do you have for me on this journey?
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.