Recently, I read a book that gave outstanding insight on ways we can lead this generation which the writer referred to as “Generation iY”.
Among the countless pieces of insight he brought regarding their personality, he discussed certain muscles that this generation is in danger of not developing because they aren’t practicing on a consistent basis what it requires to build them.
He lists things such as patience, empathy, and tenacity as a few.
However, the point of this section that jumped out to me was in regards to the physical distortion of atrophy.
Now we understand atrophy to be the result of non-use when in fact, the complete definition applies a more serious warning. It points out that due to underuse or neglect there will be a gradual decline in effectiveness.
As a mental picture, I’ve always applied this to a person in a hospital bed who is recovering from a surgery, perhaps in a cast or brace of some sort that completely restricts the mobility of a particular part of the body.
Understanding that this can require weeks or months where the patient remains in this condition and afterward would need some degree of physical therapy to regain their strength.
While this may be an accurate depiction, I believe we can have a tendency to think that only those with a long-term discontinuation of use of a body part fit this description.
Sadly, this isn’t the case.
Atrophy can occur in as little as 3-5 days!
Three days is all it takes for you to lose something you’ve worked hard at building.
Think about the hard work you’ve put it to gain greater understanding or mobility in your life. What are some areas where you’ve put in your best effort to see growth?
Now imagine losing ground in those areas.
We often stop and count our blessings because of what we overcome to be where we are and we should do that.
But if you don’t maintain a healthy level of gratefulness that causes you to keep pushing and moving forward in those areas, you’re likely to wind up taking steps back in those areas.
When I look back at my life and how far God has brought me; at how much He’s taught me; at all the opportunities that have been offered to me leading me to where I am today, I can’t afford to regress.
Here are 3 strategies to help prevent atrophy in your life.
1 – Be picky about what you consume.
If you research the best ways to prevent your physical muscles from atrophy you’ll find the first approach is to eat healthily.
If eating healthy is a key contributor to this cause, then naturally, what we are consuming in our minds is important as well.
There is no rational need for us to cave to a lifestyle that mirrors others who are not protecting their investments. It can be a natural fear we have in our attempt to “fit in” our community of friends.
However, their investments won’t match yours exactly, so don’t fall into the trap others may find themselves in.
Whatever you consume shapes you into who you are, so consume what helps instead of what hinders.Whatever you consume shapes you into who you are. #nmwi Click To Tweet
2 – Maintain positive habits.
My son has a tendency to see his room differently than my wife or I. He sees an area where his imagination reigns, creativity is relative, and boundaries are non-existent.
We, on the other hand, see empty bins where legos should reside instead of where they’ve been left – in perfect position to fulfill his idea of a world of conquered lands and foes by mighty forces.
We tend to see an empty closet where clothes belong instead of a mountain where a formidable foe hides to avoid the stealthy protagonist.
It would be a wonderful world if he placed every sock in their drawer or each new toy in its bin each time these things got out of sorts. Instead, if you have children, you understand the struggle with the child (or children) that don’t quite grasp the concept of cleaning a little each day so free time can be endless.
Just like this example, your habits aren’t formed in a day, so they won’t be corrected in a day. But if you start now and build slowly upon positive momentum, you’ll increase the chances that you avoid the atrophy in your life.
3 – Place a high value on assistance.
If you have ever put in the time to exercise consistently, you know the value of an accountability partner. That person who is counting on you to also wake up at 4:30 to be at the gym by 5 each day.
I realize it can be hard to ask for help, trust me, I struggle often with letting my pride keep me from seeking out assistance in certain areas.
But what I have learned is that people want to help. It’s unbelievable the offers I’ve received during times where issues were both small and great.
I guarantee you will experience the same if you’re open to it.
If we can fall into atrophy after only a few days of neglect, then we must be diligent about keeping ourselves active in the areas where we provide the most value.
The old saying applies here – “Use it or lose it.”
Don’t let what happens in the moment – an emotional surge, rob you of your progress. Keep pressing, be intentional, and leave the “what if” behind.
Have you ever experienced atrophy? How did you overcome and prevent it from happening again? Comment below and share!