According to Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I have witnessed many people (including myself!!) become ‘insane’ when trying to make change. We tend to follow the same path and get stuck in a destructive cycle.
We get scared, lazy, distracted, hopeless, or depressed which leads us off course. Then after some time we beat up on ourselves enough to get back on track only to lose focus at some point and back slide…again.
If you desire to make long term changes this year, you need to exit the cycle and actually do something different than before. Here are 7 ways to do it:
Examine past successful changes
Personally I’ve been assessing how to make true long lasting lifestyle changes. I’ve reflected on times I have done this in my life already and I’m looking at what it took for me to be successful.
Is there an area you’ve made successful change in already? How did you do it? Try to put those same variables in place to replicate a positive cycle instead of a destructive one.
For me it usually goes like this: it starts with some kind of pain or significant life event to wake me up. Then I make a choice and a plan. Then I look at why I’m doing what I’m doing to see what deeper heart issues are driving my behavior. Then I execute the plan with the following steps below.
Be aware of your weak spots
Awareness is a key part if you desire to make change. Most people go through life without seeing how and when their weak points derail their ability to make change. It’s important to walk through life actively paying attention. Keep your eyes wide open to watch what you are doing. We often fall back when we aren’t being intentional and lose focus. When you know your weak spots, you can be prepared for them and fight them off before they start attacking.
Ask for accountability
We all need help sometimes. And it’s okay to ask for it. I have a crew of accountability sisters that are my go to gals when I need to make change. I vulnerably expose the struggle, why it’s a struggle, and my plan. Then I ask for them to hold me to it. It takes trust and mutual vulnerability to pull this off. Once you have it, it’s a great resource to lean on to help you do something different.
Document your change
Journaling your journey can be a great way to see your progress. Grab a notebook or journal and write out your plan, your attempts, and your struggles along the way. This will help you down the road to see how far you’ve come in your progress and your thinking.
Being cynical will only drag you down and cause you to fall back to your old ways. You have to speak positively to yourself that you really believe this change is possible. If you don’t believe you can do it, you will surely sabotage your efforts down the road. Positive self talk is the fuel to making lasting changes.
Celebrate small victories along the way
When you’re an all or nothing thinker, this can be really hard. It’s difficult for people to celebrate ‘some’ progress when they know there’s a longer road ahead. Stay focused on each victorious step and it will propel you to take the next one. Reaching your goal shouldn’t be the only time you celebrate.
Lean on God for wisdom and strength
When it comes to making change, we may not have what it takes internally to figure it out. When we surrender to the Lord, seek wisdom from Him, and lean on Him through the struggle, we will always be stronger. Not because of our own strength, but because we are stronger for leaning on Him.
We’re our own worst enemies when it comes to fulfilling the desire to make lifelong changes. Get out of your own way and take these steps to make a change and do something different that you’ve ever done before. Press on and persevere. The road may be rocky, but it’s worth it in the end to be free from the struggle.