Like many people, getting in better shape is one of my main goals. But as we all know, losing weight and exercising can be a major slog. And if quick results aren’t achieved, it’s easy to get disheartened and quit.
Knowing this, I’ve found a good technique for sticking with my goals: adding a pleasure booster during the process. For instance, it seems relevant to note on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) that I LOVE Jerusalem. I lived there for nearly three years and I enjoyed it immensely.
So when my friend, Moshe, invited me last month to participate in Sovev Jerusalem, a huge bike ride with thousands of cyclists through the closed streets of Jerusalem, I quickly said “yes!”
Maybe a little too quickly…
We signed up for the 40 kilometer (24.8 mile) path, which pretty much stretches my outer limits. What I didn’t really consider — and I only signed up a mere two weeks before the race — was how many huge hills we’d be climbing on our bikes.
In fact, my wife’s cousin told me the day before the race that he thought I shouldn’t attempt the 40 km path because he was worried I wouldn’t make it or would get injured. He knew it is a difficult trek and didn’t want me to have a negative experience.
I’m not going to lie, it was a GRUELING race. At times I wondered if I would even be able to finish it. Eventually, though, I stopped thinking about the pain and started basking in the unparalleled beauty of Jerusalem:
Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem. –Talmud, Kiddushin 49b.
We started off with a view of the outer wall of The Old City (goosebumps!) and then saw many beautiful scenes of green, rolling hills and famous landmarks.
I never would have been able to ride an exercise bike for the amount of time that it took us to complete the course, especially considering the climbs.
But I successfully completed the course because in addition to being very serious about my weight loss and fitness goals, I had combined that focus with something that brings me pleasure: Jerusalem.
Adding an element of pleasure elevates the all-important process to the same level of significance as the end goal and makes us more likely to stick with our efforts.
It worked for me during the Sovev Jerusalem. I finished the entire 40 kilometers, got a great workout, enjoyed nostalgically thinking about my memories in Jerusalem and appreciated the city’s unique beauty, charm and holiness.
Hopefully everyone reading this today, on Yom Yerushalayim, will take a moment to think about the world’s most special city. It’s a definite happiness booster!