Well, here we are. If you’re reading this, you have survived 2011 to watch the sun come up on a brand new year. Congratulations! What a lot of symbolism and meaning we attach to what is – if you were to ask the squirrel sitting out on my front step – just a day like the last. A bit chilly perhaps, but not bad for the middle of winter. To us it means a new beginning – a chance to start over and hopefully get it right this time. So if you’re just sitting down with a fresh piece of paper to chart your course for the next twelve months – here’s my two-bits worth of wisdom: if nothing changes – nothing changes.
Our mistake is in hoping against all reason that things are somehow just going to be better when the immutable law of life (#236) is that doing the same thing tends to produce the same results. Now I can hear you saying that you just made a New Year’s resolution and vowed that this year things are going to be different. Nothing wrong with that. Resolutions are fine as far as they go. But if, two weeks from now, things are pretty much back to where they were – then nothing has really changed, has it? And make no mistake, it’s you that needs to change, not your circumstances. We populate our world with the children of our character. When we change who we are, little by little our world changes to reflect who we are.
So how do you make lasting changes in yourself? Well here’s your second bite of wisdom for the day: if it was easy everybody would be doing it, wouldn’t they? It’s not easy to change yourself, but neither is it impossible, especially when you have God’s help. What you may need is a G.A.M.E. Plan.
G: Goals. First you need a goal. Not thirteen goals, but “a” goal. “This ONE thing I do…” The tricky part about setting goals is choosing the right goal. I suggest taking a little more time to set it in the first place. Pray it over a lot, think it through. Try to get past the obvious needs and your “feel good” wish list. Superficial goals, even if achieved, will only make superficial changes. Keep digging through all that until you arrive at a core character issue in yourself. Remember, the goal is to change YOU – not your circumstances.
A: Accountability. Tell someone your plan. A plan without accountability will always be a half-hearted effort. If no-one knows you tried – no one will know you failed, right? Wrong. The fruit we produce hangs on the tree of our life for all to see eventually. If you are serious about changing, find someone who will love you enough to hold you accountable. Better yet, find someone who doesn’t even like you, they will delight in holding you accountable!
children of our character.
M: Map. Someone once said that a goal without a plan is just a wish. If your goal is worth achieving, it is worth taking the time to map out a step-by-step plan to get there. Huge leaps across deep chasms are difficult for all of us. But anyone can take a small step. Then another. And another.
E: Equip. In order to tackle the job of life differently, you are going to need some new tools in your toolbox. Just like you need to renew your mind in order to walk the Christian walk successfully, you will probably need to acquire some new knowledge or skills, in order to accomplish new goals. Knowledge really is power, and what you know is something you can do something about!
The real secret to lasting success? Do the right thing and just keep on doing it for a long time! Remember, I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together!