It’s pretty safe to say we all have something in our life that we would like to change.
But let’s be honest….change is not always easy. And sometimes we desperately want different results, but don’t even know where to start to accomplish them. Sound familiar?
With the encouragement of some great mentors in my life, I have focused a lot on personal growth over the past 2 years and seen a lot of positive changes as a result. Changes in my marriage, health, finances, debt, relationships, fitness, nutrition, ministry, leadership…pretty much every area of my life. Of course I still have a lot of growth to do (did I say a lot? I meant a whooooole lot), but I am thankful to see positive changes. Progress is motivating! I am not the same person I was 2 years ago, and I am thankful for mentors that have challenged me because it has helped us get closer to our family’s big picture goals.
I have found that you can’t make a change until you know WHAT you what to change. Does that sound overly simplistic? Well, it is. But so many times we do not pause lone enough to evaluate where we are in life, reflect on what we’ve been doing, & set goals/plan for the future. Are you there right now?? I remember that. I remember once I finished school and got a ‘big girl job,’ I got really caught up in the trap of “Monday through Friday just livin’ for the weekend to do it all over again” kind of life. I stopped setting goals and I quit dreaming. I was just trying to survive my daily to-do list!
No one ever really taught me to think with what Andy Andrews refers to as a ‘long view of time.’ I’ve always been a little on the ‘nerdy’ side when it comes to personal growth & goal setting, and I can remember in high school that during our free reading for lit I chose books like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.” But by the time I made it through a few degrees and a few years in the work force, I bought into the lie that I “didn’t have time to read.” Thankfully we were introduced to AdvoCare in March of 2012, & it’s a leadership culture where you “grow or you go.” It took me a little bit longer than I’d like to admit before I really jumped on the personal growth bandwagon, but I am so thankful I finally took the plunge. The “fruits” have blessed our family beyond measure and it has been awesome to watch Jonathan (who is already an INCREDIBLE man) grow as well. So I want to share some of those starting places. Some really simple things you can do to move your life in a positive direction. To make some positive changes.
First of all, I HIGHLY encourage you to do this small thing that someone we highly respect and admire shared with us. We were encouraged to create a T -chart, and on the left side of that T-chart was a “Get Rid Of” list and on the right side was a “Want” list. Takes some time to think, pray, discuss, observe, and reflect, and then fill out the chart. That is a really good starting place. You have to identify the specific areas you would like to see change if you want to see specific results.
And once you have made that chart, here is how you get started with some simple action steps.
For us, it all started out with that simple quote. Two things. After establishing some things we want gone from our life and some things we want IN our life that wasn’t already there, we had some direction. Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Vision is SO important! So here’s what we did.
1. We started reading. A LOT.
HERE is a list of some of our faves & top recommendations. It might be worth finding one of the categories where you are looking to make some changes and choose one of the books from that category. Just ONE! And read for 10 minutes every night. You can set the timer on your phone (& put it across the room so you’re not tempted to scroll through FB or IG or respond to a text…if you’re like me anyway!). You will be amazed how taking 10 minutes every night to read will start to change your thinking. When you can make changes with your thoughts, you will start to see changes with your actions, your habits, and ultimately your results.
2. We checked our circle.
The majority of our friends are solid in their faith, highly motivated, loyal friends who want the BEST for us and who make us better people. Unfortunately though, not everyone falls into that category. We’ve had to let go of some friendships who bring drama, negativity, & chaos. That was a little bit sad, but after praying through it, we realize we didn’t even have to make a conscious effort to remove those friendships. It just kind of ‘happened,’ which was confirmation for us. Jonathan is an exceptional judge of character, and there are a few friends I had that he never liked. He was nice to them, but let me know he wasn’t a fan. I
was am still working on that whole submission thing, and although I couldn’t understand at the time why he didn’t like them, I now see 100% that he was exactly right. And honestly, I wish I would have listened to him sooner because I realize they have had a negative impact on my life in some way or another. Now I can just learn from that and move forward, but I can assure you I will make a better effort to respect his judgment in the future. Now, that being said, we still make time to minister to others of course (& have more time freedom to do that now with what we do for a living), but we make sure we are surrounding ourselves with people who have a walk with Christ we want to have. With people who have “Fruit on the Tree" like we want. We are really cautious about the influences we allow in our lives, and even more now that we have our sweet Baby Jase. I encourage you to examine your relationships to determine if your current circle is helping you get closer to your goals, whatever that may be.
Here are a few other SMALL things you can start implementing that will make a major impact:
1. Thank the Lord for 3 things in your life before your feet hit the floor in the morning.
2. Make your bed every day.
3. Eat a big, balanced breakfast within 30 min of waking up.
4. Take 5 minutes a day to reach out to someone you love & let them know how much they mean to you.
5. Take 10 slow, deep breaths before bed.
6. Drink a LOT of water.
It may take time to make those things a habit. Pick one, and commit to do it every day for a week. And then for the next week. And then add in another. Slowly, they will become habits and part of a new lifestyle. They will lead to a more disciplined life, and over time, those positive changes will start yielding big results.
Last thing I’ve got for ya. Belief cards.
This sounded so cheesy to me when I first heard it that I didn’t do it. Finally, when my friend with “fruits on the tree” told me for the SECOND time to do it, I realized that I didn’t want my pride (thinking I knew better & that it was silly) to keep my family from our better future. So I did it. And Jonathan did it. And it made a difference.
See, you believe the messages you hear over and over. And we have the choice to CONTROL the messages we allow into our hearts and minds. That’s why I am so passionate about studying the Word and praying and memorizing Scripture. I want God’s Word to be the first thing that comes to my mind in any given circumstance. And that’s kind of how belief cards work.
This is not an original idea on my part, but it absolutely WORKS if you’re looking to make some changes, so I wanted to share.
Here is how it works. Get a stack of blank notecards. Write 25 separate BEIEF STATEMENTS (each on on its own card) that you are going to “download” into your belief system. It needs to be in the form of a positive and in the present tense. The statements may relate to ANYTHING in your life. Read the belief cards aloud (yes, I know it feels awkward at first) at a minimum of 2 times per day. (First thing in the morning and before bed worked well for me.) It shouldn’t take more than 2-3 minutes. (Ex: I listen better than I speak.)
So, to wrap all this up…
I’ve been having some issues with my vision, and I finally got glasses. I cannot BELIEVE the difference they have made!! Man, I am blown away at how clearly I can read now! It’s crazy…I didn’t realize how blurred my vision was until I got the new glasses and started looking through a new lens. And is that not such a powerful metaphor for life? I see things through a totally new “lens” and filter now. I notice things now that I wouldn’t have noticed before. (For example: I’m really uncomfortable when I’m around gossip. And I notice when someone is complaining. Or when people interrupt. Those are all areas I have SPECIFICALLY worked on improving in my own life.) Sometimes, “we don’t know what we don’t know,” and it is scary how much that can be limiting us for a more abundant, fruitful life. This can be absolutely be in any area of life- your faith, marriage, career, relationships, health, parenting, finances, fitness, nutrition….pretty much anything. There is no better investment in yourself and your future than PERSONAL GROWTH.
What are some areas you would like to see changes in your life??