Forgive me for the insulting title. But sometimes we need a cold splash of water in the face.
At the end of each year, everyone begins talking about how they want to lose weight, quit smoking, get up earlier, be more organized, eat healthier, get out of debt, and so on. Everyone (including me) has things they would like to change in 2013.
But let’s ask ourselves some questions:
- Did you make New Year’s Resolutions last year?
- If you made them, do you still remember them?
- If you made them and still remember them, did you follow through on them?
I can’t answer that with a hearty, “Yes!” My guess is you probably can’t either.
Everyone wants to change. But few people do. Why is that? Why is it so hard to change? Why are we stuck in such an annual rut of resolve-then-fail that New Year’s Resolutions are almost a joke?
Here’s the most powerful thing I’ve learned about personal change: The only way to implement lasting change in your life is to change your daily routine.
1. It can’t be a fad.
Diets don’t work. Oh, you may lose ten or fifteen pounds. But when the diet is over, so are the results. You will gain the weight back and be right where you started. The results aren’t permanent, because the diet isn’t permanent.
The only way to have permanent results is to have permanent change. And the only way to have permanent change is to change your daily routine.
In the last three months, I’ve lost over twenty pounds. And it wasn’t because of a diet. It was because I made an hour of exercise and healthy food choices a part of my daily routine.
A temporary diet will change your week. A change in your daily routine will change your life.
2. Change one thing at a time.
I used to be an extremely unhealthy eater. Even though I didn’t like sweets much, I ate and drank an incredible amount of other junk, and I was addicted to Pepsi. I mean literally addicted. So much so that when I quit drinking it for a week, it ruined my life. I had terrible headaches, low energy, and was in a bad mood. That was when I realized just how addicted I was.
So I quit. No fancy programs, no easing off it, no Diet Pepsi or substitutes. I just quit. That was four years ago. I haven’t had a Pepsi since.
I was still eating junk, but I was no longer drinking it. And since then, I have also begun eating much healthier. But I’ve made all those changes one item at a time.
I’ve discovered that focusing on one permanent change at a time like this is powerful and effective.
Don’t try to lose ninety pounds, break all your food addictions, start an insane workout program, and write a novel all in one day. Trust me, it won’t work.
Instead, be patient and focus on one thing at a time. There are twelve months in a year, so pick out twelve things you’d like to change in your life and implement one per month in 2013. Your list might look something like this:
- January: Read two chapters from the Bible every morning.
- February: Buy a nice water bottle and begin drinking 3 extra glasses of water a day.
- March: Start reading for 15 minutes every night before bed.
- April: Eat out only twice a week to save money.
- May: Give up Dr. Pepper
- June: Begin exercising for 30mins on Mon, Wed, and Fri
- July: Start getting up an hour earlier each morning.
- August: Stop eating donuts every morning.
Imagine how different your life could be by just implementing twelve changes next year!
The Bible says we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). In other words, changing the way we think changes the way we act. So stop thinking about diets and start thinking about your daily routine.
The cool thing is that as you begin to make changes, you will build momentum. You’ll begin developing this neat thing called discipline. You’ll break addictions and dependencies. You’ll have more energy, stronger focus, better health, and more confidence.
And let me encourage you not to just make physical and financial changes. Let’s make sure we are implementing the proper spiritual and relational changes God would like to see as well. Those are the ones that matter most.
You can do it. God can help. And you might just discover how much more wonderful your life can be.
That is, of course, unless you want to be fat and broke at the end of 2013.
Getting up earlier each morning is one of my changes for 2013. What is one of yours? You can leave a comment by clicking here.