Especially during the new year period, people make bold and drastic decisions to change. These resolutions are generally ditched by February or March as new year motivation dwindles, and the majority reverts to their comfort zone and typical habits. Fortunately, there are ways to make personal growth choices that stick.
Try these five tactics to transform your life with personal growth changes that last.
Focus on why you want to make these changes.
Altering our habits takes work. That’s why people tend to focus on what they don’t like about these new routines. But, the secret to keeping your motivation up is to remember the outcome you desire. Think about how good it will feel when you eventually achieve what you worked so hard for.
If your goal is to improve your knowledge of the Bible, you will have to spend more time studying. But, don’t focus on how much less free time you have, instead celebrate your newfound knowledge! Similarly, if your goal is to get fitter, don’t focus on how much you hate the gym. Enjoy your newfound strength, and remember, it will be worth it.
Set reachable targets — and celebrate them!
Although your goal might not be reachable short-term, setting sub-goals that can be celebrated along the way is a wonderful way to keep up motivation. Take the dream achievement that comes alongside your new lifestyle change, break it down into bite-sized chunks, and tackle each mouthful as it comes.
This could take the form of chapter deadlines for your Bible study or a specific test to pass. Or, if your goal is to run a half marathon, don’t feel ashamed to celebrate the smaller gateposts of success. For example, upping your distance by one mile each week will eventually get you there, and each step won’t feel unreachable.
Schedule your new habits into your day.
If you don’t carve out a specific time in your day to complete a new activity and facilitate a new lifestyle it will be easier to forget. So, scheduling them in is a powerful tactic, because when we are on autopilot, we resort to our normal state of being. Unfortunately, this tends to mean a return of the bad habits that we are trying to ditch.
Instead, set a separate part of your day to go to the gym, or do that extra Bible study, so that it’s impossible to miss. For example, taking your gym clothes to work so you can stop by on your way home is a great way to get your exercise in. Because you're already out of the house, it’s so much easier to follow through.
Don’t hyper-focus on perceived failures.
Changing our habits is hard. So, that means we will encounter failures along the way. You may have heard the saying, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” It’s crucial to hold this in mind and not beat ourselves up for slipping every once in a while. Instead, ask the question, "Why?" and work around your limitations.
When we see our perceived failures as proof that we cannot change, it equips us with the justification to give up entirely. If you reach the end of the week and have not managed to study the Scripture you had intended, the instinctual response is to throw your hands up in the air and declare defeat. Be gentle on yourself — you are trying.
Holding yourself accountable can help.
Integrating your goals in ways that hold you accountable is a powerful way to make you get stuff done. Most people have less of a problem with letting themselves down than they do with disappointing others. So, harness this energy and use it to your advantage. Arrange it so that you have to do what you planned.
This is why people always seem to buddy up and go to the gym. Setting a time, date, and place with a friend makes it much harder to back out — this is a popular tactic for accountability. Similarly, you could buddy up for your extra study sessions. Or, why not take it to the next level and sign up to tutoring sessions and get expert help while being held accountable too?
Whatever your personal growth goals are and how unattainable they may feel, you can achieve them. Whether your goal is to improve your skills as a church volunteer or dedicate more time to your children’s ministry curriculum, follow these five tactics and see how far you can go. God is watching us every single day, so we must remember to make Him proud.
Yes, reaching goals and changing our lifestyles takes work, but that’s what makes it so worth it. When we are functioning to our fullest, we thrive. Not only does this boost our individual godliness but enables us to channel more positive energy into our church and community too! Don’t forget to use the Bible for guidance, as spiritual words of encouragement can go a long way, reaffirming that you are on the right path.