Ok, we made it into a new year. I wanna know, are you team Resolutions or team Screw the Resolutions? I fall somewhere in between. I love the idea of setting goals and making changes for a better life, but I also don’t like setting myself up for failure.
On New Year’s Eve last year, I asked everyone to write down something they planned to accomplish in 2019. Last night as we rang in 2020, I pulled out the jar for everyone to read what we had written. Not one of us has accomplished what was on our slips of paper. We all laughed stuck them back in the jar. One of us said, “Looks like last year’s goals are now this year’s goals.” Yeah, that pretty much sums up New Year’s resolutions, amiright?
But there’s also something about a new year that invites us to reflect on the past and look to the future with a renewed hope of a better life, a better self. As cynical you may be toward making New Year promises, there’s something inside all of us that longs to make a change that lasts. You whisper to yourself, maybe this will be the year I figure things out.
Change is hard and doesn’t seem to last when you do succeed. Sure, you can lose the 10 lbs by your birthday, but they’ll probably be back on by Christmas. Change requires more than stuffing your goals in a jar and forgetting about them until next year. But is there a way to make lasting change? Is there a way to lose weight and keep it off? Can you really get out of debt and stay out of debt? Can you overcome depression and be a happier person?
I’m going to write a book (after the one I’m currently writing) and title it, How to Change Your Life in Two Years or More. It seems like a dismal sort of life proposition because we want to fix things by tomorrow. But over the past six years, I’ve discovered change — lasting positive change — takes time. It’s a slow journey that doesn’t have any shortcuts, and there isn’t a destination either.
To make a permanent change in your life, it requires a deeper shift, a change within yourself.
The key to long and lasting growth in your life all boils down to one thing:
You must first change your thoughts before you can change your life.
It’s not a change of “making up your mind” either, because if that were the case, more people would make it past February with their diet.
The first step in change is to first face yourself. It’s about growing in self-awareness and paying attention to your false and limiting beliefs. It’s reprograming your thoughts and rewriting your current narrative. It’s about healing your relationships with food, money, and your past. It’s about rebuilding your inner woman, and that takes time and it’s messy and it’s hard work, but the results are astounding. Remodeling a home is worth the headache, time, and investment. So is remodeling yourself.
I was pondering the things that are required for this journey inward and after writing them all out, I realized there were ten, so I titled them The Ten Commandments for Lasting Change, minus the Thou Shall Nots. These aren’t in any particular order or in order of importance. I also made them into an image for you to print or pin to Pinterest for future reference (To save: right click or press and hold and save to your device).
The Ten Commandments For Lasting Change
1. Accept the Way Things Are.
Accept where you are in your life mentally, emotionally, and physically. Accept the mess, the debt, the weight, the depression/anxiety, the broken marriage, the misery. Look at it without judgment. Acceptance doesn’t block change, it welcomes it.
2. Think About What You Think About.
What you think about, you will become. Start the daily practice of self-awareness. What thoughts are you dwelling on? Replace all negative and fearful thoughts with positive and love. Practice taking your thoughts captive.
3. Take Responsibility.
You’re where you are in your life, ultimately because of your thoughts and actions. You must stop blaming your parents, spouse, kids, or even God for the state of your life. When you’re the problem, you’re also the solution. You’ve been given all the power you need to change yourself and your life.
4. Stop Categorizing Life Events as Good or Bad.
All hiccups, problems, and roadblocks are neither good nor bad because ALL things work together for your good. Life happens. Decay happens. Fatigue happens and worn out happens. Ups and downs happen. We don’t know the future, so we should not be so quick to define unexpected events as bad. Expect them all to be good and look for the good in the mess. For in all situations you can find a blessing and a lesson.
5. Have Lots of Compassion.
Have lots of compassion for yourself, for your spouse, for your family, and for everyone else you meet. We’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got and where we are in life.
6. Be Present.
The only moment that exists is this present moment. To dwell on the past brings depression. To live in the future brings anxiety. Keep your thoughts in this present moment. You have everything you need right now to figure things out. There is ALWAYS an answer, just look around you and you’ll find it.
7. Compare Yourself to Yourself.
This is a journey, and you’re not on the same path as anyone else. We all bloom at different rates and in our own time. This is your timeline, and its perfect just the way it is.
8. Live in the Place of Abundance.
We live in an abundant universe. Lack and scarcity are made up by us humans. Think of a botanical garden with its abundance of flowers. There’s no such thing as a shortage of flowers and there’s always room for another bloom. Or think of an apple orchard in the fall. There are so many apples they’re falling off and rotting on the ground. Even if every single person on earth took a breath at this moment we would still have enough air to breathe. There is more than enough.
9. Build a Life of Structure.
Abundance and blessing are continually flowing to you but without structure in your life, the abundance sprays everywhere willy nilly, kind of like a water spout on full blast. It’s flowing, but pretty ineffective in watering the grass. Building a life of structure is like adding a hose to that water spout. It allows you to direct the flow of abundance and blessings in the direction you want them to go.
10. This is a Journey With No Destination.
Be happy now. Find peace now. Enjoy this moment. Don’t wait until xyz happens. There’s no magical destination. The magic is right now, at this moment. You’re on a journey. Enjoy it.