Most people, if they are truly honest, would admit they don’t like change. They like the idea of change. They see the need for change, and deep down, desire to change at least one aspect of their life. They would love the result of a personal change, but the idea of going through a personal change sounds about as fun as volunteering for a middle school Lock-in.
There is no doubt that change is hard. If it were easier, then . . .
• The 70 percent of Americans who don’t like their job would get a new job.
• The average diet would last longer than three to five weeks.
• More than eight percent of people would keep their New Year’s Resolutions.
What’s true about all of us is that we are perfectly designed for the current results produced in our ministry, life and work. All the systems and habits that are in place in my life are producing the exact results they are designed to produce. My physical health is a direct result of the food I eat and the amount of time I’ve allocated to exercise. My relationship with Jesus is equal to the investment in relationships, spiritual disciplines, and value I’ve allocated. My bank statement reflects the treasures of my heart as well as my life choices. Our life and work is the sum of the decisions we make, many of those decisions we don’t even think about. A well-reported study by Duke University in 2006 found that 40 percent of our daily decisions are habitual, meaning we do things without much brain energy. We move through our day doing what we’ve done in previous days.
Simply put, if we don’t like the results our lives and work are producing, then we need to change. Any change will not just happen without an intentional effort. There are Four Foundational NEEDS to any personal change:
NEED: Motivation To Drive Change
The desire to change has to be greater than an attitude of acceptance of the current realities. You didn’t just wake up to a struggling relationship, a mountain of debt, or an unhealthy lifestyle. Over time, a series of choices collectively landed you in your current state. No one decision by itself produced the results; it is the culmination of your choices over time. The good news is you don’t have to stay in this state of discontent as long as you have a source of motivation.
Two years ago. I opened my news feed and came face to face with “Fat Pat.” A friend had posted a picture of me speaking, and I saw for the first time visually what I had known for some time, I had put on a lot of weight. I didn’t just wake up one day to being overweight. I gained the weight because it was easy. I didn’t have to work at gaining weight. Making a change starts with making choices based on a commitment not based on what is convenient. “Fat Pat” became a source of motivation as I committed to make a change.
NEED: Knowledge To Improve Skills
Desire and motivation alone isn’t enough to transform. In a culture where we have access to everything quickly we have to understand that there are no short cuts to change. You need to invest time in gaining knowledge to improve your skills. Knowledge can be easily obtained, so we have no excuses. Blogs, books, podcasts, and social networks are great resources, but you have to access them.
As you gain knowledge you will see where your skills are deficient, then you can develop a plan for moving forward. My overweight issue in the past had been addressed with quick fix diets and short-term results. Motivated to have long lasting results, I set out to make changes based on newly obtained knowledge of a lifestyle change. Making better choices over time resulted in losing 40 lbs.
NEED: A Tribe To Support Change
Desire can be compromised and plans will break down, so you need to add to them a tribe of support. You’ll have days where you will be discouraged, frustrated, and just want to quit. Those are the days you’ll need someone or a tribe to lift you up. A tribe that understands you, the challenges, and the encouragement you need. They’ll be there to remind you of the end goal and to remind you of what you would be giving up.
Beware that not everyone will be encouraging of your transformation. Change can disturb some caring, well-meaning people. Deep down, they don’t want you to change because your change forces them to come face to face with their own deficiencies. Build your tribe of support with those that will encourage you, lift you up, and speak the language of loving truth.
NEED: To Invest Personal Capital
Finally, it’s essential that you add to your foundation an investment of personal capital. Capital can mean many things: money, time, energy, relationships, dreams, work, hobbies, etc. Your change will cost you something, and if it doesn’t then it probably isn’t a significant change and it may not last. Think about it: If you don’t have to risk anything, then you won’t be that committed to the process. A healthier lifestyle requires eating higher quality food at a premium price. Being more available for your family might cost you a job promotion. Being more productive might mean letting go of a good thing so you can gain the best thing. Serving your spouse might cost you a night of softball. We all have limited capital, and it’s insane to think we can continue with our current choices and expect different results.
The greatest thing about change is, it’s contagious and inspirational. The foundation of change you are building in your life will inspire and motivate others. As leaders, change has to be in us before it can be through us. Don’t wait for Monday, get started today and make your change!