So here we are once again, at the dawn of a new year. I get drawn into the elation of new adventures, future change, and renewed freshness, but in the same breath also like the permanence of some things as they are.
According to some stats on new years, 45% of us will make some sort of resolution to move from how we are to how we desire to be. Things like losing weight, getting organized, spending less and saving more, enjoying life, and staying fit.
So if you take 100 people, only about 45 are resolving to make some sort of change to their life as the calendar changes over. And I’ve read that of those 45, only about 8 actually see that change come to fruition. So what happened to the other 37 people? I’d like to know, because I have been part of that group too many times.
Did you know the process of moving from good intentions to no change actually has a name?
It is a Greek term meaning “lacking command.” It means I act against my better judgment because of a weak will. Hmmm. I wonder if my insurance covers this.
It all started with some new shirts
Christmas is a always a good time to add to my wardrobe…and subtract from my wardrobe. I used to just squeeze new clothes in my closet. Hey, what’s one more shirt? Pretty soon, though, I feel like I am playing Jenga and if I pull out a piece of clothing too quickly, my closet is going to explode into a sea of cotton shrapnel. So this Christmas I got three new shirts and a couple of sweaters. One of the early conversations I had with my wife and girls was, “OK, new clothes in means I have to get rid of some things. Please help me!”
And so it became a family affair. My wife and two daughters lying on the bed while I cautiously entered my walk-in closet. As we began, I noticed something. With them assisting me in the process, I felt empowered. Like this was a team thing. And suddenly my “get rid of three shirts” turned into, “Alright family, I’m feeling like a clothes purge needs to happen. Let’s do this!”
Operation Apparel Committee was in full swing.
Shirts, pants, t-shirts. No cotton stone was left unturned. Fifteen year-old shirts…gone. Ten year-old full corduroy pants…gone.
Statements of “NO DAD, that shirt looks great on you – keep that.” Or their laughter as I tried on something whose day had passed. It all helped.
I was on a roll. And when the proverbial dust had settled, almost 40 articles of clothing were gone. FOR-TY. Talk about a feeling of freedom and renewal.
The value of bringing others into my change
I tell this story because I noticed something quite remarkable. I could have never done this on my own. I had three people who cared about me who I brought into an area of needed change. I could have entered my closet myself and been challenged over which shirts to trade out. But having my partners right there made the process not only easier, but entirely more successful.
I did the work, but their support provided the catalyst for not only in the right now, but a platform for future success.
The Huffington Post cites three ways to move from resolution to change. The first is to keep the goal simple and have one main thing to chase. The second is to make it measurable so you can see where you are and where you need to be. And the third?
Finally, and maybe most importantly, get someone to help hold you accountable.
So why is this? Nothing too profound, only that we are wired for community. We were created to model the relational nature of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The problem is that, in our Western mindset, we have been made to believe that “pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps” is how change happens.
Unfortunately, the solo gig of how to change just does not work very well. And that is because it was never meant to.
My desired change that I want to see this coming year has to be grounded in my transparency with others around me. My wife. And a small group of dudes around me.
I take hope that in my resolutions that never come to pass, the biggest point in question is not if I should change. I need change, whether in getting more productive or transforming my character to look more like Jesus. The problem is in my how. I simply am not managing change in the right way. And part of having changed thinking that leads to changed action is putting the right people around me who are going to lovingly and consistently press into my life.
And don’t get me wrong – without a changed heart nothing will last longterm. And most importantly, in my own brokenness, God must do that work. But God uses us with each other to move us to a correct heart posture so that true change can happen.
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:16)
So as you enter this new year, though there are lots of great tricks of the trade in goal setting and change, remember that bringing another person into that process is a critical component of getting to your desired end.