The Challenge of Change Day 5

Prayer and Accountability

While today will end my series on the challenge of change, the real work continues in the weeks ahead. There are times that we’ll get weary and want to give up.  Remember the value of prayer.  Call on God for strength and encouragement. Invite a friend to be praying for you or consider praying together.

Accountability is a huge component of long term success as well.  Find an accountability partner who you can report your progress to.  Ideally, this person would also check in periodically with you.  I also encourage you to grab your calendar and pick one day a month for the next six months to check in with yourself on how you’re doing on your goal. Simply write “goal check-up” on the dates – it will serve as a reminder to get back on track if the busyness of life derails you.    

I pray for success along your journey, but also patience and grace. I heard the perfect quote last night from Steven Furtick. “Jesus saves me all at once, but He changes me little by little.”  Peace and blessings!

Day 4: Incentives and Rewards

You’re doing great!  I know this can be hard work so hopefully you’ll be encouraged by today’s topic. 

Incentives. Rewards. Like the sound of that?

These are important elements in behavior change, especially when you don’t experience immediate positive outcomes for the changes you’re making.  Because some behaviors have a longer time period before you can claim a payoff, incentives and rewards help encourage and energize you along the way.

We all have a budget. Please know that incentives and rewards don’t have to cost money.  It could be something as simple as taking a walk, earning computer or tv time, taking a bubble bath, or reading a book.  If you have some money to invest in the process, you can pick whatever fits within your budget to motivate you – a pedicure, a weekend getaway, the movies, etc.

Give some thought to this.  You may want to build in a combination of small and large incentives.  Something small may help you get to the certain goal when you reward yourself with something larger.  The important thing is that you have a plan. This way, you know what you’ll be rewarded with at each step. 

One caveat: Don’t reward yourself with something that will serve as a temptation or something that will derail your efforts to achieve the goal. 

Lastly, I hope you’ll be creative and have fun with this.  This is the good stuff so don’t skip this step.  And, I love to hear what you’re doing for rewards so feel free to share any ideas.

The Challenge of Change: Day 3 – Overcoming Barriers and Obstacles

Change is hard. We want to be successful so we need to plan for success. As part of that, we need to identify and prepare for obstacles along the way.  Examining reasons behind the behavior can give clues to some potential barriers to change. So, I encourage you to start by considering the reason for the behavior.  For example, as I thought about reasons that I procrastinate I came up with several contributing factors:

  • An “I don’t feel like it” attitude (with a hint of laziness served on the side)
  • Little perceived consequence for delaying what needs to be done
  • Fear – fear of initiating what needs to be done for the task, fear of the response, fear of failure, etc.
  • Desire for comfort – see item one

I’m sure there are other reasons, but you get the idea.  I realize this isn’t the fun part. No one likes looking at shortcomings. But, honesty is critical here if we want lasting change.

Once you have you have your reasons identified, it’s helpful to rescript your thinking.  This is part of overcoming barriers because your thoughts can be a significant barrier.  If you think your individual food choices aren’t really that important and you’re trying to change your eating, you’re going to struggle. Likewise, if I don’t see the significance of the tasks I need to accomplish, I’ll struggle to make them a priority.

Take time to brainstorm barriers and new responses.  I struggle to get up early in the morning which interferes with my goals.  So, I need to make sure I go to bed early enough to get adequate sleep.  I know that I struggle with “I don’t feel like it right now” so I need to rescript my thinking to something along these lines: I can do this even if I don’t feel like it.  I’ll be glad later because I’ll have time to play a game with my kids instead of working on it then. 

Hopefully you get the idea.  This can be a difficult and often overlooked part of the process.  But, it’s critical for long term success.  I pray that you’ll dig deep today so you’ll be ready for tomorrow’s discussion of incentives and rewards.