If you want to make a significant change in your life, then you already have hope. It may not be a big hope, but even just a spark of hope is enough to grow from a mustard seed to reality.
The process of change is created much like a snowball. You start with a handful, and as long as you keep moving forward, the hope and the changes grow bigger and bigger.
It is not easy to start changing old habits into new ones, but it’s not impossible either. The following are some great strategies you can employ to help you get a jump-start on your snowball.
#1 – Clearly define your hope. Change begins and ends with hope. It is the most important part of change. A wise woman once told me that we all get bogged down in the “how” when we start a new journey, and the only sure way to keep you centered and motivated is to hold on to the “why.”
What are you hoping to create? What do you hope to accomplish? What change do you want to make in your life? That you can achieve on your own? Making a certain amount of money by a certain time is out of your control. Committing to taking one step every day toward making more money is a more attainable goal you have power over.
#2 – Ask for God’s help. Alone, you are a broken human struggling to come out of the great big ruts of your familiar habits of the past. With God’s help, you’ll climb out with a ladder. It may still be scary and uncomfortable, but it will be easier than struggling alone.
There is no mess you’ve made that God cannot help you with. There is no rut too deep where God has given up on you.
Some of us – myself included – still have trouble asking for help. The world tells me that if I’ve made my mess, I should have to clean up my mess. But the rules of God’s kingdom rarely follow the world’s example. He CAN clean up your mess. He WANTS to clean up your mess. What’s stopping you from allowing Him to clean up your mess?
Not accepting God’s help is actually a kind of self-punishment. And, not to be harsh, but this is a sin. It is the sin of pride – pride that you know better than the Almighty.
God tells us what we need to heal is love and grace, and He offers that in abundance. But here we are, saying to Him, “No Lord, you’re wrong. I know what’s better. I know what’s right. I want to be punished because this is my comfort zone. I’m too ashamed and scared to accept your help.” Who are you to tell the potter He is wrong? Have you lived a thousand lifetimes?
“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” – Romans 9:20
Ask for and accept His help, and grace, and love.
#3 – Put a stake in the ground. Do something physical to mark the change. This could be anything from putting a poster on your wall to wearing a new piece of jewelry or putting a physical stake in the ground. I had one friend who bought rose bushes to mark her turning point.
This is actually a biblical principle! Baptism is a physical “stake in the ground.” It is a ceremony, a physical act that symbolized a larger commitment, a spiritual and physical commitment to Christ. It takes the thought out of your head where it can be forgotten or rationalized away, and makes the commitment tangible.
#4 – Find a friend or support group. We are not meant to do life alone. We were created to live in community. For the most part, we have a choice as to who gets to be inside our personal community. We decide how close to hold each member of that community.
When making a change, choose to surround yourself with people who have gone through the transition already – successfully. Mentors will be able to see your situation more clearly and encourage you throughout the process.
And, if you can, I recommend finding someone who can walk the journey next to you. Two are stronger than one. Helping each other and being accountable to each other takes the burden off your shoulders entirely. Together, the commitment is bigger than just you. You are part of a movement rather than a single salmon swimming upstream.
#5 – Take one decision at a time. When I think about the end goal and all that I must do to get there, it’s usually enough to make me want to vomit before giving up, crawling back into bed and hiding under the sheets. It’s not productive, let alone realistic.
Change is not immediate of just one big giant leap to the other end of the football field. You have to get to the other side one step at a time. And life changes are made one decision at a time.
We have to make decisions all day long. We will come across big decisions we have to make occasionally. But most of the time, life change is made after we make a series of small decisions that build up over time to create the life we wanted.
After all, we can only change what’s in front of us in this very moment. Even if we want to change our entire lifestyle, we can still only do so by making one decision at a time. And each decision has to be made right now. That series of right-now decisions creates a new path behind you and then one day you’ll turn around and see how far you’ve come with all your simple right-now moments.
#6 – Give yourself grace. Change is a process and it will not happen overnight. One screw up, one missed deadline, one piece of cake or fight is not the end of the world. If you skip a day, it does not invalidate all the work you have done to that point. Pick up where you left off the next day.
Imagine your life as a library shelf. Your goal is to alphabetize the shelf. Each time you make a mistake, does it mean all the books before it were meaningless? No, you replace the book and keep going. You do not take all the books off the shelf and start again. In the same way, 10 good decisions to bring you closer to your goal are not thrown away by one decision that takes you further away from your goal.
God gives you grace, accept it. And then offer it to yourself as well.
|Ginny Priz is a Christian coach, writer and speaker. Ginny has overcome her own drama with a prosthetic arm, alcohol, panic disorder, and codependency. She has a passion for guiding others toward the same peace and freedom she has come to experience. Ditching drama is possible for anyone “armed” with God and the Serenity Prayer! It’s never too late to start your own Serenity Journey.|