As Colorado has moved into the “Safer at Home” phase and more non-essential businesses have opened, we are moving into a new normal. Things won’t go back to how they were, but we can be better for it. I encourage you to develop a strategy for change as we look into how to navigate the new normal.
I want to lead with this Scripture:
Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.-Proverbs 24:3-5
Developing a Change Strategy
Step 1: Interrupt Your Normal Patterns
One of the best ways to jump-start change is to interrupt your normal patterns. When I was a pastor, there was a point when God wanted to change our church. We embarked on a nine-week prayer meeting we called “Pray Through.” We came to church every night for sixty-three nights! Let me tell you, that will interrupt anyone’s pattern.
After the first three weeks, one of our staff members barged into my office and said, “Pastor, I don’t know if I can make it any longer.” I had to get an oxygen tank to resurrect him from the dead! The hard part was that I felt the same way he did—I needed an oxygen tank too! But that incredibly focused time was just what we needed. It interrupted our church’s normal, confining pattern and helped us move forward into new things.
If you are trying to change, you need to interrupt your daily pattern. You need exposure to something different. Maybe your daily life has become monotonous. You get up, eat breakfast, drink coffee, go to work, come home, watch a little TV, and go to bed. You get up the next morning and do it all again. In order for you to experience change, your daily rhythm needs to be interrupted. Now, this does not require you to make a radical change; even something as simple as exercising for thirty minutes a day or reading something positive and inspirational every morning will make a tremendous difference.
Step 2: Locate and Use Available Resources
There are many resources available to help anyone change, but most people never take the time to do a little digging and find, let alone use, these resources. Books, audiobooks, social media, podcasts, blogs, vlogs, programs, groups, magazines—these are just a few of the resources out there that are easy to find and generally free to access. There is a wealth of information out there that can teach you how to improve any area of your life. There is no excuse for ignorance. If you want to lose weight, check out one of the countless books available at your local library.
As you devour all of the free content, you might find yourself in a more empowered position to start spending a bit of your budget on these resources. Rent workout DVDs. Buy a used workout video game for your console. Follow a fitness blogger or a fitness Instagram account. There are lots of options for you, no matter your age or technological savvy.
Things will snowball for you if you just get out there and look.
Step 3: Find Someone to Coach You
The third step toward developing a strategy for change is to find what may be the most important resource you can have—someone who will coach you. This person will be your moral support when the going gets tough. He or she can provide you with the wisdom of their experience and give you encouragement and advice. This could be a friend or a relative, even a coworker or boss, if the situation is appropriate. It could be your pastor, your small group leader, or just an acquaintance. The point is to be bold in asking for their help. If you want to lose weight and know someone who is at the gym constantly, ask if you can tag along! Do you want to climb the ladder at work and you have a successful colleague? Ask if you can learn from him or her.
If you cannot find someone who is willing to coach you in person, all is not lost. Find someone you admire and get your hands on all the content they produce: their blog, their book, their program.
Step 4: Imagine the Pain
This might sound strange, but it’s important to really imagine the pain you will experience by staying the same. Picture it in detail— sight, sound and feeling. Imagine your health’s trajectory if you stay the same. Imagine the unhappiness you feel in your job every day. I know this is not a fun task, but it is a motivating one. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.” The word sorrow means pain, and the word repentance means to change your mind. So, another translation of that passage could read, “The pain that you allow God to direct brings a changing of the mind.”
On Wednesday, I will post part two of “How to Develop a Change Strategy”. Stay tuned to our blog!