Achieving the Change You Want

I want to talk to you about one of the hardest things you will ever do.  Recognizing that you want to change your life is easy.  Knowing how you want to change is more difficult.  Achieving that change is the hardest of all.

I have found that accomplishing difficult tasks is more manageable when I break them down into smaller parts.  That's why I like lists and bullet points.  It makes a complex task more concise and allows me to track my progress more easily.  So, I'm going to to break down the complicated task of achieving change into 4 steps.  I have developed these through years of helping others meet their goals.  The steps are listed in the order in which they need to be completed.

1.  Identify Your Goal

This may seem like an obvious step.  However, I see so many people who charge into achieving change without have considered where they are going.  It's like having the mentality of, "I don't know where I'm going,, but I know I don't like where I am.  So I'm pursuing something different."  That's changing just for the sake of change.  The result of this approach is wandering through life with no clear purpose.

Pursuing change without a goal is like starting a road trip without an idea of where you are headed.  You may come across some interesting things along the way, but more often will take unnecessary turns that lead to nothing.  And beyond that, without a destination in mind, you won't even know when you've arrived.

Having a goal will give you a sense of purpose and will supply you a compass for each step as you go about achieving change.  Because this step is so essential, don't do anything until you have a goal in mind.

2. Have the Courage to Pursue Change

You know you're not satisfied with certain aspects of your life.  In fact, you're so unsatisfied that you've gone about identifying the need for change as well as establishing your goal for that change.  This is the point at which many people will stop.  In almost each of these people, fear is what stops them in their tracks.  They are afraid of failing, afraid of what others may think, afraid of the sacrifices they'll need to make.  The list of possible fears is endless.  And giving in to those fears is crippling.

Imagine you are playing baseball, standing at home plate with bat in hand, waiting for the pitch.  A home run would represent your ultimate goal.  The only chance at a home run is to swing the bat.  I have seen many people who were afraid to take that swing.  They were afraid of "striking out" and how everyone would react to that.  What they failed to realize is that they can strike out without swinging.  They can watch each pitch go by and never take a chance.  After so many pitches, they either strike out or walk to first base.  Either way, they are falling far short of a home run.

Every chance you have at failure offers an opportunity for success.  That's okay.  You are not pursuing failure.  But if you swing enough times, success will come.  If you are ever going to achieve your goal, you have to muster up the courage to pursue it.  

3. Be Intentional In Pursuing Change

If you have a vision for where you want to be and possess the fortitude to get there, you're obviously going to need a plan of how to achieve your goal. Being intentional is not about developing a plan.  It is about how you work your plan.  This is about things like dedicating sufficient time to work your plan, making sure you utilize the necessary emotional supports along the way (you will need them), and frequently reminding yourself why you're pursuing change in the first place.

You must also be intentional about prioritizing your goal.  Some coaches and advisers would tell you to make your goal the priority in your life.  However, that can easily lead to an imbalanced life and burnout.  I believe it is vital that your goal fit within the context of the most important things in life.  Specifically, if the pursuit of your goal fits neatly behind pursuing the Lord and prioritizing family, you are in a good place.  Maintaining that perspective requires you to be intentional.

4.  Start!

Once you have your goal, the courage to pursue it, and possess a mindset to be intentional, you are ready to go.  I know it is easy to give in to whatever feels good in the moment or to put off what needs to be done until tomorrow.  Eventhough doing nothing seems easy now, sontinuing to do nothing results in nothing.  

Get started.  Take that first step to work your plan.  It is the first step in achieving the change you want.

Have you been successful in achieving change?  What was your key?  Let me know in the comments section below.