We’ve all been given another gift. 2015 arrived right on time, and whether we mean to or not, we embrace the new year with the hope of change. Even if we’ve failed every previous year on making the changes we desire, we embrace the new year like a brand new teddy bear.
This year will be different. I’m going to take care of this year and treat it differently.
You make a list of all the things you’re going to change, you create Pinterest boards of healthy recipes, you buy the latest workout program, join a gym, buy a piggy bank. You find the best planner with all the bells and whistles or the one that’s most simple that will help you stay on track.
Every night you cuddle your new teddy bear. This year is going to be different.
Then, a week passes, two weeks, and a month. Before long your new teddy bear is forgotten, lost somewhere among the pile of new workout clothes. Maybe halfway through the year, you find a new motivation, and you pull your teddy bear out from under our bed and try to fluff him up again.
Or maybe you pull him out and his creepy grin taunts you, and you realize he’s no different than all the previous years, so you shove his smug little face back under the bed and tell him where he can go.
So where do you go from here? How do you make a lasting change? How do you get past the life of good intentions? Are some people the disciplined ones and some people forever lack the motivation?
This was me. Every. Single. Day. Good intentions gone bad.
All these goals, resolutions, plans, and lists were not the solution, but rather a treatment of the symptoms.
I cannot change my actions and lifestyle until my mind is ready to make the change. The change must first happen in your mind before it will ever happen on the outside.
You see, I can’t love God with all my heart until I understand that God loves me with all his heart.
I can’t lose weight until I love myself more than I love chocolate cake.
I can’t request the raise, get my dream job, or start a new business until I know that I deserve it.
I can’t love myself, until I know I’m worthy to be loved.
The change has to happen on the inside before it can ever happen on the outside, and this change takes time, a long time. This change of the mind doesn’t happen overnight or in 30 days. This change is slow, gradual, and soft. It’s a daily renewal of the mind, and it takes a lot of self-forgiveness.
So, is this an anti-resolutions, anti-goals post? Not at all. Quite the contrary. I say make the goals — the lofty ones. Write down your ideal weight, write down how much money you want to make a year, and don’t skimp on the number either. Go crazy writing all the things you desire and want to accomplish, but then throw away the timeline. You’ll get everything you desire when your mind is ready to make it happen.
At the beginning of 2014, I didn’t buy a planner, I didn’t write down goals, or make to-do lists, I bought a blank journal and on the first page I wrote
That’s it. My one goal, my one purpose, my one challenge was to pursue love. The person Love, His love and desire for me, love for myself, and love for others. Everything I wrote down in that journal in 2014 was centered around Love. Sure, I have all my lofty goals sitting on a shelf: lose weight, exercise, financial freedom, but they all came second to my pursuit of Love, because,
Perfect Love casts out fear. Love conquers all. Without Love, I am nothing.
I am willing to spend the rest of my life in that one pursuit, because from love my mind will change, thus changing my actions and lifestyle.
Can you believe 2014 was the most productive year of my life? I’m not even kidding. Am I where I want to be? Have I met all my life goals? No. Not even close, but I am a few baby steps ahead of where I was in previous years, and everyday I practice renewing my mind to believe that these things will happen.
Give yourself time. Let your mind make the changes it needs to make before you beat yourself up for all the things you fail to do. Then, watch your life change right before your eyes.
For instance, I used to drink tons of soda every day, and not the diet kind. I knew it was bad for me, I knew it was adding on pounds, but do you think that stopped me? No way! I sucked down that bubbly delight like it was liquid heaven. I knew I needed to cut it out of my life, so for three months — THREE MONTHS! — I began the mental process of cutting out soda. Everyday sucked down my soda, but in my mind I began envisioning myself quitting the habit, loving healthier alternatives, and I forgave myself for every drink I took. Can you believe when my mind was convinced to quit drinking soda, I did it overnight? Now, it’s only a sip now and then.
So, are you ready to change your life, starting with your mind? Are you ready to spend however long it takes to make the changes you want to see?
Hold your teddy bear close, he’s a gift, and give your mind time to embrace the small change you want to see this year.