Will I Ever Change?

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I don’t know about you but sometimes I look back at my life and wonder – have I changed that much? Am I growing as a person? I still am drawn to various temptations. I have long struggled with deep feelings of inadequacy and often still do. My frustration levels at life still rise higher than I like and more frequently than I wish. I find myself not patient with the driver in front of me. I don’t like it when my wife tells me how to drive or where to go, and I tell her so! I regularly think to myself, and say to Zerrin, “I’m a mess!”

Madly In Love

Can we really change? If so, what does it take?

We are now three months into the New Year. I don’t know the percentages, but my guess is that most people who made their New Year resolutions have already fallen off the bandwagon. It is a frustrating and disappointing experience.

Why do we struggle so much with change? Is it that we don’t really want to change? Or maybe our “want” for change just isn’t strong enough. Is it that we are just not disciplined enough or don’t have the will-power? What is it?

If you are at all like me, you have asked yourself the same questions.

What is it that produces real change?

I want to know. Do you as well?

I have an idea – maybe we can help each other.

But first, a little secret: I am working on a very exciting product that I have been anticipating for over a year. And CHANGE is critical to what we will be offering. You will be hearing more about it in the future (be patient with me!), but I need your input.

Will you help me create something that is truly transformational in your marriage, your family, and all your relationships?

Here’s how:

First, I am going to write about an area in my life where I have changed. Second, I am going to tell you two things I am aware of that helped bring about that change.

Then it is your turn: pick an area in your life where you have changed and share with me one or two things that helped you.

Together we can learn from each other as we assemble a list of change agents in our lives.

In doing so, we will discover more of what we need to embrace in order to bring about lasting transformation.

Through our joint observations, we can encourage each other to make 2016 a year of significant change!

Ok? Are you in?

Here’s mine:

When Zerrin and I first married, she always wanted to go on walks. Me? No way. Why walk when you don’t have to. We had a car!

A little background: my wife grew up exercising like crazy. She started taking ballet lessons when she was 8 years old and continued all the way through High School. She would dance and exercise and run often for hours every day.

Me? I knew that we had to do the “Go You Chicken Fat Go” routine in gym class (which I hated), but other than that, the only exercise I knew was playing in the neighborhood with my friends. I never had any kind of regular exercise plans or vision for it in my life.

Now–don’t get me wrong–I was pretty active as a kid. I enjoyed bike riding, playing softball and kick the can in the warm weather, and ice hockey in our back yard in the winter (you can do that in Chicago!) But I never even considered any kind of regular exercise until college. There I tried running with friends, and honestly – I just didn’t like it. I didn’t like how much time it took or how out of breath I got. It just wasn’t fun.

So when I married Zerrin who was very active, and just LOVED exercising and going on walks, I …was…not…excited…at…all!

For years I whined and rolled my eyes whenever my wife suggested a walk again. BUT – I walked with her anyway. And today? Thirty some years later, more often than not it is me suggesting to Zerrin that we go for a walk! What happened? How did I change?

Today I will share two of five components that helped me change:

First I had personal support.

Zerrin and I did it together.

Change is tough enough as it is, but going it alone is even harder. My wife kindly put up with my rolling eyes and sighs when she suggested a walk. Notice I said suggested. It wasn’t a demand, just a request. Her patience, persistence, and encouragement paid off. I became a walker.

Change is much easier and more likely to take place when you are working in conjunction with others!

Second, it was doable.

I wasn’t cut out to be a marathon runner. I have had back problems most of my adult life. But I could walk, and fast. In fact, in a High School physics experiment, I was deemed the fastest walker in school. No joke. Even today most people have a hard time keeping up with me when I get going!

One of the reasons we fail so often at change, is we set our goals too high. There’s nothing wrong with being a walker rather than a marathoner.

OK – your turn: share below one area where you have changed and one or two things you are aware of that helped bring about that change.

Everyone who comments here or posts their response on our Facebook will be in a drawing for a $10 Panera or Starbucks gift card (your choice!)

So, what change have you made and what did you find most helpful in doing so?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Will I Ever Change?

  1. 1. Begin with the end in mind.

    For instance, you might exercise and control food intake in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

    2. Make a plan.

    At my naval reserve unit, there was a weathered index card posted with a timeless weight loss plan. Eat less and exercise more. Of course you will need more detail but that is the essence.

    3. Track your progress.

    Today, most such plans are easily obtained. For instance, smartphone apps exist that will tailor food control and exercise plans for you and track your progress. Learn and adjust, when you aren’t making progress ask yourself why and make changes.

    4. Make it a lifestyle.

    If you make the plan correctly, it will naturally become a lifestyle. Reaching that good end in a manner which identifies the necessary habits and required a sustained commitment should naturally result in good habits.

    My wife and I have work through this process together using the buddy system you mentioned in your article.

    • Awesome Charles – thanks for sharing! I appreciate everything you wrote. Steven Covey’s “Begin with the end in mind” is a must! Making a plan and tracking your progress is a big help, and even more so as you wrote to “ask yourself why” if not making progress, then learning and adjusting. And finally, I love your thoughts about making the change a lifestyle. The more we work the plan, the more natural it becomes. Thanks for your input Charles!

  2. When I got married I was used to suppressing unfavorable emotions and trying to process them on my own. This usually resulted in me distancing myself emotionally from my husband while I attempted to work through them. Thankfully, God gave me a man who is very sensitive to my emotions and who recognizes almost immediately when I do this. Through his patience and encouragement, I am learning to communicate more openly in the moment so that we can immediately address what I’m feeling. For example, even learning to acknowledge that something he said made me feel stupid, or confessing that I felt disappointed when he didn’t do something I expected him to, has helped me learn to deal with my emotions in a healthy, communicative way, rather than suppressing them and letting them fester inside of me. I attribute this both to my husband being proactive in the matter and to God teaching me to walk in the Spirit (moving toward my husband emotionally) rather than in the flesh (withdrawing and creating emotional walls).

    • Thanks for sharing Natalie! Neat to hear how you have changed. It is SO important for us to be able to communicate openly but in love as you spoke of. Regarding the change elements, I hear you saying that for you it has involved God teaching you to walk in the Spirit, and secondly, having a husband who challenges you to be more open and real. Change takes place more readily when others help us along the way!

  3. God had been dealing with me with some anger issues. I would in prayer ask Him why I was so angry. He would let me know. I would pray, repent, seek forgiveness and work through the issues. I gained lots of freedom during this time. One day I went to prayer asking God yet again what was up ….would I ever be done…He told me the anger I had left was now just a bad habit…a reaction that I needed to get rid of.
    This anger usually happened at the kids during home schooling. So after a time of anger I would take them individually into another room and repent and ask for forgiveness. Then I would humbly ask them to lay hands on me and pray for me and ask God to heal me from this anger issue. They always forgave me and prayed for me. It didn’t take long for this bad habit to go away!
    What helped me bring about change in my life was:
    1. The willingness to go to God in prayer and ask for help…and a willing heart to change.
    2. Accountability…my kids held me accountable. They walked this road with me…lovingly holding me accountable.

    • Aah! What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing! The love and grace that kids have for us as moms and dads is amazing – and quite and example to us! So I hear you saying that change requires asking for help – in this instance for God’s help. Included in that is a willingness to change. So true. Sometimes we say we want to change, but I am not sure we are willing to do what it takes. Today I had lunch at a meeting. It was a buffet. I overdid it again! Argh! I think: “Why can’t I stop doing that?” Part of me thinks that I DO want to stop overeating, but not sure I want to do it that bad when all that food is in front of me.

      And then accountability – what an incredible picture you described of that. Being humble enough to ask for help is huge!

      Thanks again for sharing!