OPTION: noun
1) The power of choosing; the right of choice or election.
2) The power of wishing.
3) Choice; election; preference.

Exercising my options…if only that it what I had been doing… really. We all make choices in life. We all live with the consequences of those choices. It’s a principle that I try to teach my children and I thought I lived by.

Wrong! Or rather it’s true…but only with some things. Not with the hard things.

I have two boys at home. Master J is currently 14 and Master C is 11yo, nearly 12. I tell you, it’s tough being a homeschool mum to these two rambunctious fellows. And I thought it was tough with girls…but this is stretching me in other ways- previously untouched by homeschooling the girls. Doing the hard things, going the extra mile, giving a little bit more, perseverance, diligence…these are all traits that all people do well to practice but the way I need to teach it to my girls is quite different to the way I teach it to the boys. Homeschooling is like getting a mirror and holding it up to see myself. I see all the bumps, cracks and crevices, the warts, the pimples, laughter lines and worry lines. I don’t believe any parent can embrace the homeschooling lifestyle and remain untouched or unchallenged!

I love my cup of tea in the morning. It isn’t an option for me. It is what I do. Always. I have 2 cups of tea and then a milk coffee. It has been non negotiable. I didn’t even really think about it…just did it.

I love my daily computer time. It isn’t an option. It’s just what I do. It’s non negotiable…I just do it.

There are some things in life that I do which are not healthy…the fruits of which are not strength, life, joy, peace. So why do I do them? Why have I made them non negotiable?

I don’t like exercise. I don’t like to sweat. I do not like to drink water. These were all options. I could exercise but I choose not to. I can drink water but I prefer not to. Why? Where will these choices or options get me? Why or when did I make exercise an option, that I could choose to do or choose not to? Why was it not a priority for me?

It was easy for me, as a homeschooler, to let go of my athletic nature. Many years ago, I attended a beautiful homeschool fellowship evening, where mums shared and encouraged each other. It was lovely. The leader of the group was quite academic with a strong focus on literature, the humanities and the arts. Nothing wrong with that though. She stated that she considered it more important for a child to be able to recite poetry than to compete in a sport or be athletic. Ackkkk! Our family was the complete opposite- driven by our sport and fuelled by our love of exercise, this comment stuck with me. I’m embarrassed to admit that it stayed with me and I allowed it to shape my own view for many years. Sadly, I allowed an imbalance to take place in our family and in my own life. And I was reaping the fruit of it- bitter, sharp and biting in the form of thrombophlebitis.

I would make excuses like, I don’t have time. I have to teach 4 children, prepare meals, do laundry, etc but the truth is we all have 1,440 minutes in a day. We choose how to spend that time. My sons were a mirror that allowed me to see what I had become and what modelling for them. And I was not pleased with my reflection! I saw a woman who did not like to do hard things…who preferred to take tasks or activities that I knew would be natural or easy for me. I showed no guts, no determination and very little perseverance. How can I teach these growing young men these traits when my life modelled the exact opposite? Ugh what a reality check!

Was I lazy? No, I wouldn’t say that. I simply didn’t understand how it is possible to find the time to build a healthy and strong body. I wasn’t looking ahead to see where my inactivity would lead me. Thrombophlebitis put a little bit of healthy fear in me. When I look at it I only need about 4 hours per week to build a healthy body! How hard is that? Well, in reality it is a little more than 4 hours simply because I need lots of time to focus. Focusing and researching assists me in making something a priority– whether it be homeschooling, website building, gardening, writing, softball, nutrition or fitness. However, 4 hours would be a better start than no hours at all! Hmm, where would I find those 4 hours? Less TV, less computer, less coffee drinking…the list goes on.

First, I had to make the quest (my Fit n 40 quest) a priority. This means that exercise is now not an option! it’s non negotiable. It’s not an option now. It’s just something that I do. Only this non-option is actually good for me! Do I feel like sitting down to check my emails this morning or do I feel like working out? I DON”T FEEL LIKE WORKING OUT! Not one bit! But, I do want the benefit of it. So, I have a plan, which helps me not to get too bogged down with indecision or procrastination, which will invariably lead to me doing nothing. (Remember the 6 P’s: Prior Preparation & Planning Prevents Poor Performance)

  • Make the decision.
  • Prioritise and make exercise non negotiable.
  • Plan my exercise and nutrition to avoid procrastination.

This is only week 4 for me…so I hope I don’t sound like I’m preachy. I’m not. But I am excited about the changes that I’ve seen happen in my own body and life…and in the life of my children! Whoohoo, talk about positive! we are all learning more about self control, self discipline, dying to the flesh and more! I also realised that this concept of options and choices can relate to any area of our life.  We all make choices. We all have things which are optional and non option in our daily lives.

What are some of your non optional activities? Why do you have them and how do they work for you? I’d love to hear more.