I stepped on the scale the other day. Yikes! All the progress I’d made a year or two ago to lose some weight and get healthier… vanished! What happened? Why are the numbers continuing to go in the wrong direction? I don’t like what I’m seeing on the scale lately – or what I’m seeing in how my clothes fit. Something needs to change… now. I need a lasting, transformational change so I don’t end up here again in a year.
How did I get here? The answer’s simple, really. I took my focus off healthy eating and exercise. For a while, I’d been starting my morning with exercise and spending time in the afternoon riding bikes or playing with the kids. For the past year, though, I’ve been working like crazy. I traded my morning exercise time for work. The kids got busy with sports and playing with friends, so we haven’t been out biking or walking as much. I took my eye off my goal to lose weight and…oops….now I’m here.
What about you? What goal has slipped? Where are you not making as much progress as you’d like (or even moving in the wrong direction)? Maybe it’s your health, too? Or, has the clutter in your house gotten out of control? Do you want better habits and discipline about going to church and making time daily for prayer and Bible study? Do you have a dream you’d like to achieve, like writing a book or completing a degree? Do you need to drop some bad-for-you habits or heal a relationship in your life? Or, something else entirely? What change do you want to see in your life?
Transformational Change Isn’t An Accident
We don’t wake up one day suddenly 20 pounds lighter. The clutter in our house doesn’t magically disappear. Books don’t write themselves. Bad habits don’t change overnight. Simply thinking about prayer won’t actually grow our faith or deepen our relationship with God.
To make the kind of change you dream about requires intentional focus and dedicated effort. Change is hard. Change takes time. Change takes commitment.
How much do you want to make that change? How critical is it to you right now? I’ve known I needed to lose weight for a while, but there were other things that took priority. I needed that extra time to accomplish other goals. Now the time seems right, though. I need to take this step now and give it my focus.
Is there a change you want to make in your life? Will you make it a focus and priority now? Let’s get started together.
7 Steps to Transformational Change (that lasts)
If you want to make a real change – a lasting, transformational change – you need to be intentional. These 7 steps will get you started on the right foot, so you can commit to the change and the process it’ll take to get there.
If you’re ready for a change that lasts, enter your email below for a free worksheet to help you get started and work through each of these steps.
1) Invite God into the Process
Before you begin, start with prayer. Invite God into the process and ask him if this is where you should be focused. Ask him to show you the change he desires most in your life right now. Be open to hear his response – through whispers into your heart, through repeated confirmations through other areas of your life, through scripture. Make sure your plans are aligned with his and then ask for his support and guidance through the process. Ask him to bring forth the right support and help for you to be successful.
2) Own the Before
If you want to change, you must first admit you need to change. I won’t lie, this post was hard to write – and even harder to publish. It’s hard (and embarrassing) to admit you’re not where you want to be, to admit failure, to admit you’re not measuring up to some ideal, to admit you need to change. So first, get real with yourself and own where you are right now. How far off the goal are you (really)? How did you get here?
3) Visualize the After
Before you set off on a journey of change, you need some idea where you’re going. You need to know what target you’re trying to hit. Visualize the ‘after.’ What will be different in your life if you accomplish this change? What will the end result look like? How do you want to change? Write down concrete and specific details and goals. Create a mental image of the future state. Place the new you in a setting that brings you joy and commit that image to memory.
4) Create an Intentional Plan
Next, you need a plan. Remember, this change won’t happen by accident. You need to be intentional about making the change. List out the steps you need to take in order to reach your goal. Place them on a timeline and give yourself dates and deadlines to complete each. Which ones are prerequisites for others? How long will it reasonably take you to complete each step?
Review your plan for reasonableness. Have you set interim goals that are reasonably achievable in the timeline you set? Break larger tasks into smaller steps so that each is in the 2-4 week range to complete (this will help you make more progress).
5) Seek Help and Accountability
Before you begin, decide what help you’ll need to go through this change and work the plan. Do you need the support of your family and your spouse? Do you need a friend to act as an accountability partner? Do you need to engage the help of a professional? Write down the names of everyone you need on the team to help you achieve this transformation.
Start with the ones closest to you – a spouse, a family member, a close friend. Share your goal with them. Use this worksheet as a guide, sharing why you want to do this, what you want to achieve, and your plan to get there. Ask for their support and guidance. Listen to their feedback and suggestions. If you need additional help, such as a doctor, personal trainer, nutritionist, professional organizer, life coach, spiritual director, etc., reach out and make the introduction to engage their services.
6) Commit and Take the First Step
Now that you have a plan and a team in place, you’re ready to get started. So that you get the best start possible, prepare for the first week. Detail the first week. What will be your schedule? What are the specific tasks you’ll do? What do you need in order to be successful? Prepare those in advance. If it helps, make a checklist for the first week, so you can review your progress.
Find a way to celebrate the small victories, such as getting started on the first day, completing the first week, etc., without giving in to the thing you’re changing. For
example, if your goal is weight loss, celebrate by getting some fresh flowers for your house or taking a long bath.
Taking that first step is crucial. You can plan and plan, but eventually you need to take that first step if you want to see real, lasting change. So, commit and step forward!
Let’s not sugarcoat this. The road ahead will not be easy. Change never is. You’ll have bumps in the road. You’ll fall off course and question why you’re even doing this in the first place. You’ll have times when you don’t see any progress and feel like you’ve stalled out. You’ll face criticism and discouragement, both from others and yourself.
Make prayer your go-to response, whether things are going well or not. Make a habit of praying daily about the change you’re undertaking. Celebrate the wins with God and bring the struggles to him first. Share your heart with him and work through the challenges in prayer. Know there will be days you are singing praises and feeling strong about the road you’re on, but there will be other days that feel dark and stormy and all you can do is cry out for help. Lean into him for support through the hard times and allow him to carry you through the process. Staying firmly rooted in prayer will help you achieve the change, but will also grow your faith in the process.
Consider starting a daily devotional or focused prayer series as you begin this process. Commit to daily prayer over 21 days, 30 days, or 40 days and build a habit of daily prayer. Click here for ideas and resources on cultivating that daily prayer habit.
What change are you seeking in your life?
What change have you been dreaming about in your life? What change do you know you need but haven’t yet committed to undertake? What change have you tried and failed, but still deeply desire? Let’s take a step together! Download this free worksheet and work through these seven steps. Then commit to take that first step.
Ready to get started? Enter your email below and I’ll send you a worksheet for the 7 steps. Commit to change and get started today!