There something about a new year that gives us hope of a new beginning. It is amazing how inspiring the sidereal year has become for us. We make decisions during this time and though most do not last, some have been able to change the trajectory of their lives by sticking with the simple choice to experience change. I do not believe in the new year new me
bullcrap, but, I do agree that we should all take inventory of our lives on a daily basis and make changes where necessary. What I found difficult in the past was maintaining good habits, you know, that power to do what you desire or willingness to be what who you want to be. These five traits have helped me manifest change in areas where I have sought them the most.
Proverbs 24: 6 MSG
” … Strategic planning is key to warfare; to win, you need a lot of good counsel.”
Building a strategy is key; it the equivalent to creating a road map. It involves brainstorming on an action plan in a personal, clear and realistic manner. It is easy to get lost in the big picture, being strategic focuses on the pieces that bring the picture together. Like when I set out to cut my student loans in half in 2016, my strategy was to first create a budget, then tally what I owed against what I brought in, take inventory of my expenses and make cuts on non-pressing issues. Once I realized that was not enough to meet my monthly pay-off-student-debt-in-two-years target, I had to increase income by working twice as hard than was necessary to meet my plan. I am still doing this today but 12 months in, it is working! I think it worked because the action plan was clear, precise and I made strides to get to where I wanted to be. This changed my goal from a wish to a manifestation in my life.
2. Be Intentional
Before creating an action plan towards any goal, determine what the reward will be. If this reward is pleasing to you, then hold it up in your mind as the end point you want to attain. This will keep you wanting and likely make it easier for you to achieve your goal. After you’ve created your action plan, the next step is to start carrying out the very specific steps you’ve brainstormed on especially when you do not feel like it. Practice makes perfect. Prior to 2016, I participated in group mission trips but never planned and carried out one by myself. With the Lord’s leading I carefully mapped out my solo mission trip to a village in Cameroon last year and that turned out to be the life changing peak experience of my year! I experienced spiritual, personal and professional growth through that trip alone. The same thing happened with the aggressive debt repayment plan. My first few large debt repayments were difficult, I did not want to work any harder than I typically did, sometimes I was even torn between other responsibilities and debt repayment, but I was committed and I am still
slaying behind that plow. Deliberate action is a sign of true discipline and maturity, particularly when it involves sacrifice. Trust yourself and stick to your plan even when you meet resistance.
3. Be Accountable
” Two are better than one … For if they fall one will lift up another. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.”
The 3rd step to getting what you want is to find people who are like-minded and keep accountability with them. When I chose to “work out more in 2016”, I certainly did not get intense with working out until I found a gym buddy who pushed me
and very well near trained me (Go Suzanne!). This was also true when I needed a spiritual accountability partner to pull through a 21-day fast in preparation for the new year in 2016. We were able to keep each other stirred up (Go Yoyo!). As the proverb goes; Iron does indeed sharpen iron. This works with preparing to pass a major exam, raising godly children, growing your relationship with God or even making healthier food or lifestyle choices.
Another thing to do is to study the lives of people who are where you want to be, learn about the character traits that got them there, read about them or speak directly with them. Mentorship facilitates your life. If you plan on being an entrepreneur, designer or whatever career you choose to pursue-speak with someone in the field. It is always easier to learn from other people’s mistakes.
4. Be Visual
Fortunately, we are visual beings and there are several studies in psychology that purport this idea. Until you can see your goal in your mind, only then can you truly manifest it. There are several ways to do this but they all involve writing it down FIRST! Write your goals down! Useful tools can include hosting a vision board party, journaling your ideas and certainly using them as prayer points. Whatever you do, keep that written idea within eyesight. You have to see it to keep the dream alive in your mind.Pray yourself into it, psych yourself into it, speak words of positivity and inspiration over your life, make declarations and affirmations that bring you closer to carrying out your action plan, say them out loud and deliberately, discuss them with your accountability partner, write them down and post them where you can see daily (next to the bathroom mirror).
5. Be IT
IT = whatever dreams/aspirations/desires/wants. Speak as though you are already living out your goals. I admire Trent Shelton’s vigor to inspire millennials and he always says to “Live It, BE IT, breathe IT”. I think this sums it all up. Be what you choose to see in your life. Be what you wrote down in your journal. Stand firm in what you believe, and you should believe in your ability to be the best version of who God created you to be. If you do not have the self-confidence to carry out your purpose it wouldn’t work. Go forth and make your life great again.