Around this time of the year, I start thinking about change. I noted that my article at this same time last year spoke about change too, which proves my point.
The New Year brings the opportunity to make things anew, and many people resolve to change various aspects of their lives. But we also know that by the time you are reading this, most New Year resolutions have already fallen by the wayside.
The worst-case scenario for anyone is to make a resolution, fail to achieve it, and then suffer regret, get depressed or feel like a failure because they didn’t carry through on their desire.
That's why I say, if we want to change, then we need to change. The title says it all, “Nothing changes until something changes.” Something has to change if we want things to change.
If someone wants better health, then they need to change their eating and exercise patterns. If someone wants more money, they need to change their saving and spending patterns.
Whatever it is a person wants to change, they need to make changes to get there.
Goals and planning
The first thing we need to do is to change our attitude to New Year resolutions. Instead of resolutions we should set goals and make plans to achieve those goals. If I just say I want to lose weight, make more money, go on a holiday, start a pod-cast, record a CD, improve a relationship, or whatever, then I need to change what I am doing now to make these things happen.
Goal directed behaviour with a documented plan of action is the only way any of these changes will actually come to fruition.
A goal without a plan is just a wish, and I don’t know about you, but I have rubbed many a lamp and never once did a genie appear to grant my wish!
No. If we want to succeed in what we do this year we need goals and plans to get us there. We need to plan the changes and work the plan to see changes take place and achieve our goals.
Six Step Planning Process
Some years ago I developed a process for change that worked for me, and I have shared it with many people over the years. Basically it works like this:
1. Define your situation - where are you at now and what do you want to change? Write it down!
2. Consider all aspects - look at both the good and bad aspects. It may be better to increase the positives than reduce the negatives to achieve change.
3. Nothing changes until something changes - reaffirm your commitment to change and prepare yourself to make the necessary changes
4. Visualise the future state - what will change? How long might it take? What steps will you take? What will the end state look like? Write all of this down.
5. Build an action plan - capture all the changes you want to make and then prioritise. You can be overwhelmed at this point, so apply the 80/20 rule and focus on those things that will maximise returns on your effort.
6. Do it NOW! - Start immediately. Don’t wait. Take the first step. As the old Chinese proverb says, “A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Prepare for change
There is one other aspect that we have to remember in any and every change process. The world we live in is not static. In fact the only constant in the world today is…change.
Everything is changing around us from one day to the next. We must adapt our plans as we work through the action steps to achieve our goals. Usually there are many paths to achieve the same goal. If we find one path blocked, look for another.
This is normal. Nothing ever works out exactly as planned. We will always need to modify some aspects of the plan, but the goal should never change.
Finally, let us consider the wisdom of the Bible as we plan our changes.
“Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” Proverbs chapter 16, verse 3.
Also; “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs chapter 16, verse 9.
It is said that there are three kinds of people in this world: Those who make things happen, those who have things happen to them, and those who wonder what happened!
We really want to be among the first group of people. Setting goals, writing out plans, and taking action are the best ways to ensure we achieve what we want out of life.
So dust off your resolutions, turn them into goals and start planning for success. Tomorrow begins today.
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” John and his wife Colleen travel all over Australia and you will often find him playing guitar or ukulele outside their caravan somewhere in the Great Outback. You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his Christian Bible study blog (freegiftfromgod.com).