We can’t help it. A new year brings with it considerations of a past year and the one ahead. Considerations of change and newness. Most of us would say we aren’t where we could be in our career, academics, finances, relationships and more. So, we vow, “new year, new me.”
But in reality real transformation doesn’t happen like that. It’s not a one day decision. It’s a lifestyle of constant evaluation and goal setting. It’s gradual changes to our mind, body, and spirit. It’s seeing things in a new way and learning new ways of transforming. Sure, we can stunt that growth. We can stagnate. We can die slow deaths. But if we are growing we are changing.
New Year, Same Ol’ You
This year I’m not feeling the “new me” mindset I normally feel. I’m not interested in radical transformation. Instead, I’m interested in doing the same thing I’ve been doing. Growing. Transforming. In it’s normal state your body completely replaces itself every seven to ten years.
Guess what! You’re always changing. Your cells are shedding and replacing themselves with largely new cells your whole life. Everything changes always. And we aren’t any different. Growth and newness are a part of the human experience. The difference is do we like who we are becoming at the moment.
We are moving in a direction with our change. We are changing for better or worse. If your financial situation, for instance, is changing for the better you’re probably at peace with it. But if it’s changing for worse, you’re stressed. If your marriage is changing in a healthy way, you’re content. But if your relationship is changing in ways that lead you to feel alone, neglected, or mistrusting, you’re probably feeling frustrated or angry.
So, where’s your life? What needs your attention right now?
I have a few ways I like to keep a finger on the pulse of my life and relationships. This process came through some really great coaching and counseling. I recommend it to anyone looking to actively participate in the direction of their growth and change.
3 Elements to Healthy Growth
- Make a plan. It may sound simple but it’s profound. Without a Life Plan to provide direction for our growth we will more than likely have no way of tracking progress and making necessary changes. My life plan involves my life through the lenses of relationship. My relationships to God, spouse, kids, purpose, etc. are all outlined and evaluated consistently. I’ll never stay on track to be who I am becoming without a written plan. A plan written can easily be broken down into goals and tangible next steps. There’s a ton of great tools to plan in a way that makes sense for you. I don’t like telling people how to plan or what to plan, but I’ll encourage you to plan all day long!
- Make it known. A plan is wonderful but if you keep it to yourself you’ll fail almost every time. Humans were created socially and we need people in our lives to help us grow the best ways. Call it an accountability partner or coach or mentor or counselor, but whatever you call them, have one and make your plan known to them. Don’t make it known to everyone. Social media accountability isn’t concrete. You could just turn it off when see yourself failing. Have a plan, make it known, but know who you’re letting in and why.
- Make time to evaluate. Without consistent evaluation we will simply forget our plan. Our goals and projects fall to the wayside in the wake of emergencies and life circumstances. If we don’t make the time to evaluate, edit, and update our life plan we won’t stick to it. And we’ll have little to no idea how we are doing. By “make the time” I mean carve it out and consider it immovable. My most important meeting every month is with myself. It’s with my life plan. Also, I encourage people to take days away when possible to spend time alone dreaming of a preferred future and aligning it with their current life plan. These days are so precious. Make a plan, let someone in on it, an then keep up with it often.
You’re changing right now. You probably don’t even feel it. Take hold of your direction of change and actively participate in what’s going on in and around and through you all of the time. Be better than you were yesterday. Do what it takes. You coworkers will thank you. Your spouse will thank you. Your friends and family will thank you.
I believe God is making all things new. That the restoration of all things includes you and me and everything. I’m not perfect. I’m broken in places most others will never see. But I’m in. I’m participating. I’m working with God on the growth and transformation in and around me right now. And one tool I use is a plan. You’ve heard it, “fail to plan and you’re planning to fail.” “Organize or agonize.”
These aren’t just catchy. They are true. If you want some tools and resources or some coaching feel free to commet below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org