Valentine’s Day is all about showing your affection for someone you love and pampering that person. Sure, you love your partner, but what about you? Many Christians believe that you shouldn’t put yourself before others, but think about how God commands us to treat our neighbors. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, this is what He said:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

He didn’t say to love our neighbors more than we love ourselves. Instead, He set our own self-love as the standard by which we should love them, too. After all, we can’t be there for our neighbors and for the ones we love if we don’t take care of ourselves properly.

Whether or not you have a partner this Valentine’s Day, why not do something nice for yourself that will improve you physically and make you feel better, too? Make it a goal to get toned up. If you’re not dating anyone, it’s still a nice, healthy step. If you do have a special someone, he or she certainly won’t complain!

Here are five tips to get yourself toned for Valentine’s Day and beyond:

Make a schedule

The first step to any fitness program, including toning, is to make a schedule that fits realistically into your busy life. You won’t follow through with your toning program if you don’t work it in in a realistic way. For example, do you have a little time first thing in the morning? Right after work? In the evening? Once you choose a time, make a standing appointment with yourself, and give your toning sessions the same priority as any other appointment would receive.

Use a method that fits into the schedule

There are many different resources to help you get toned, like taking classes at the local health club or community center, doing DVD workout routines, or using equipment at home or at a gym. Choose the option that aligns most closely with your schedule.

For example, if you plan to tone in the evenings, see if there’s a class nearby at a convenient time, or join a fitness club and do your own workout session on its equipment. If you want to work out in the morning and only have half an hour, get one of the many toning DVDs that run 30 minutes or less. You can also browse the local sports store for hand weights and other equipment to use at home.

Track your progress

Nothing inspires success like tracking your progress. Take measurements and before and after photos at the start of your toning routine. Periodically update the measurements and photos and watch your body get slimmer and sexier. Other ways to track progress include online sites like SparkPeople or fitness gadgets like FitBit that allow you to track your measurements, eating and sleeping habits, weight and more.

Don’t worry if your progress doesn’t go as quickly as you’d hoped. Working on physical fitness is a journey that happens more quickly for some people than for others. Celebrate any success, no matter how slowly the process goes.

Get support

You’re more likely to stick with your toning routine if you have support. For example, you can team up with a friend to go to an exercise class or to work out at the health club together. If you don’t have an exercise partner, join a free online support community like My Fitness Pal. Online resources give you support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You’re more likely to work out when you do it with a friend or are in a community of like-minded people. They’ll be there to encourage you, celebrate your progress in your toning program, and help you get back on track if you waver.

Stay the course

It’s easy to just give up, especially if the results aren’t happening as quickly as you’d like or if you have an occasional slip-up and miss your toning routine for a few days. Don’t use that as an excuse to totally throw in the towel.

It’s good to have a goal date in mind, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up if you waiver, get off track, and don’t reach your toning goal by the designated date. Just get back on track and extend the time frame.

God loves you the way you are, and you should always love yourself even if you could stand to tighten up the extra baggage. Still, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to tone up for the right reasons. As long as you’re doing it for yourself rather than to please someone else or to live up to media images, a newly toned up body is a great present to give yourself for Valentine’s Day.


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