A Journey to Change

Photo by Kun Fotografi on Pexels.com

We all talk about living out our journey, but do we know what that means? Or, do we walk a journey that doesn’t have a defined end? Maybe we walk through that journey directionless and without purpose.

Can wandering define a journey?

I don’t think so.

A journey is defined as traveling from one place to another. We can certainly speak about an intangible journey, like a spiritual one. But a real journey must have a starting point and a place to land. A spiritual journey lands with a stronger relationship with God or significant spiritual growth in our life.

Obstacles Along the Way

Everyone on a journey encounters obstacles. Those obstacles can be both internal and external. The external blockades are often systemic of an internal battle within our soul.

I was recently in a person’s living room who had emotional ties to the objects in the room. This tie was an obstacle to the person growing and becoming successful.

The collected items were so numerous that I couldn’t find the couch to sit down on. Across the room where the TV was located, there were three 7’ walls of boxes between me and the buried digital equipment.

Instead of enjoying the comfortable couch and the large screen HGTV, the person sat in an upright dining room chair watching TV on their smartphone. The person was frustrated in their attempts to watch a show but not frustrated enough to get rid of the hoarded items.

The thing stopping this person’s progress is an internal belief system. They believe something about the items that once made them feel good. But today, they are frustrated and overwhelmed because keeping those items no longer serves them.

Unfortunately, no one can suggest that some items should be donated, sold, or trashed without detrimental ramifications. It is less painful for this person to live in a part of their home than letting go of the once-cherished items.

To help you get past your obstacles, whatever they might be, I’ll share the healthy steps I took that ensured my last journey was of value.

Select Your Single Focus

When we go on a journey, it’s essential to determine a single focus, so we aren’t overwhelmed when moving forward. This is especially true since moving forward means change—something few people enjoy.

Select one key point of growth to work on. Two won’t work. Depending on the internal and external obstacles you might face, more than one point of focus can hinder you from creating new healthy habits that support your journey.

Once you’ve selected your point of focus, determine what a 1% daily gain will look like. Yes, we’re only talking about 1%. Why? Because it is so simple to accomplish, you are guaranteed to succeed.

A few years ago, Forbes published an article about the science behind adopting habits. The report stated that there are only two reasons people fail to adopt new habits.

  • They don’t understand how to leverage the structure of habits (Trigger, Action, Reward)
  • They set themselves up for failure by doing too much too soon.

Start Small/Start Simple

The key to developing a habit is to start small. You start by doing one push-up per day instead of saying you want to do 50 push-ups a day. This allows you to become consistent and make the activity a natural part of your life.

After a couple of weeks, you can get it up to two push-ups per day. You will get to 50 push-ups per day. However, if you start with 50 push-ups per day, you’ll fail and not build the habit.

Examine Your Beliefs

Ask yourself questions to understand your beliefs.

  • What do you believe about this area of focus?
  • What do you believe about yourself in this area?
  • Why do you want to grow in this area of life?

Once you understand yourself better, determine the simplest next step you can take to move in the direction of your focus.

Seek Counsel for Knowledge and Accountability

The best counsel will come from someone who knows your heart and the direction of your life. This might include your God, spouse, and mentor. Make sure they help keep you focused on the promise you’ve made to yourself.

This is not a session filled with judgment. The goal is to have someone come alongside you that wants to see you succeed in your goals. This person might be able to inspire or motivate you to push through when things get tough.

You might even consider becoming an accountability partner with a like-minded person with similar goals. They would certainly understand the obstacles you face and empathize with you. But they will also know how important your goal is and encourage you forward despite those difficult moments we all face.

Let Go of Old Beliefs

Be honest with yourself. The old beliefs you hold to are most likely no longer serving your best interests. It’s time to face change and embrace new beliefs that will help you shine.

One day, I offered a neighborhood kid a piece of chocolate. He wouldn’t take it because he had shiny stones in his hand that he thought looked cool. He wasn’t willing to put the stones down to accept the chocolate.

I ate the chocolate as I watched him walk toward his house. He went inside, so I headed home. I heard the neighbor’s door bang open a few seconds later, and I turned around. The mother stepped outside and tossed the stones into the driveway. I saw the kid staring at me from the dining room window with tears in his eyes.

No matter what we’re handed, we can’t receive it until we let go of what does not serve our interests.

Practice New Habits for 60-Days

The key to building habits is consistency. Scientists have found that if you miss one day, your chances of building the habit drop a few percentage points. However, if you miss two days, your chances drop significantly. Missing three days is typically beyond repair.

Make sure your new habit building is super simple with little effort required. After it’s a habit, you can look for daily 1% increases. But do not do more than the trivial when creating the consistent habit; you want to be made permanent.

Let me know in the comments below what simple new habit you’ll start this week.

©2022 by CJ Powers