Have you ever tried to lose weight, acquire a skill, get more organized, overcome a fear, or some other desire that required a change in behavior? Can you think of a time when you reached a goal, but reverted back to your old ways? Have you ever achieved an outcome and actually sustained the results you wanted? What was the difference?
In fact, in any area of life where you’ve successfully grown or accomplished a goal, you’ve experienced each of these five steps outlined below – though it was likely on the subconscious level. As you become consciously aware of how to manage this process and apply it to every area you wish, you will experience the richness and fullness of life Jesus ordained for you.
As you review these principles, recall of a significant change you’ve made. See if you can identify what you were thinking at each step of the change process.
- Step One: Realization
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got” – Henry Ford.
Realization is the recognition that it’s time for an upgrade. It’s not simply trying the same old tactics with a little more discipline this time around. It’s the need for new and better ways of doing things. It’s the awareness that there’s more life to live and contribution to give. In areas of your life where you are not intentionally growing, you’re stagnating, at best, and dying, at worst. Realization is that readiness and posture for change.
- Step Two: Reflection
We live in a microwave society. We want instant touch and expect instant results. Consequently, most people rush into the change they want without ever taking time to understand what’s been holding them back in the first place! Though science tells us it’s the way we think that determines our outcomes in life, few people slow down long enough to think about what they think about. Most of us live on automatic pilot.
Socrates wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The Apostle Paul urged, “Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us” (Romans 12:3, NLT). Reflection is not designed to be self-consuming, but to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and observe your attitudes, emotions, expectations, and conversations in light of where you are (your current reality) and where you want to be (your vision or ideal state).
Statistics on goal-setting show that those who take time to write their goals and reflections on paper (rather than ambiguous impressions in their head) are, hands over, more successful at achieving the results they desire. Research from Virginia Tech reveals how few people actually goal-set for success:
- Over 75% of people don’t set goals for their lives.
- Less than 4% who do set goals actually write them down.
- Fewer still — less than 1% — review their goals on a regular basis.
- Those who write and review their goals earn nine times more than those who don’t.
- Step Three: Revelation
The outcomes you’re experiencing in any area of your life are the results of your best thinking at this moment. Therefore, the goal of self-reflection is to expose the root of ineffective thinking that’s not fulfilling, yet is driving your current behavior.
You’re looking for that AHA moment where you self-discover the origin of your beliefs and emotions that are holding you back from more. When did that idea or attitude begin? Did you put it there by intent, or was it the opinion of others that you unknowingly assimilated as your “truth?”
- Step Four: Revival
Wikipedia defines revival as the process of bringing somebody back to life, consciousness, or full strength; it’s a rekindling of something so it becomes standard or dominant once more.
Once you reveal the root of your ineffective thinking that used to be “normal” for you, you now create a more effective standard, a higher expectation, a new and better “normal” to launch you deeper and further into your destiny.
The fourth step of revival is the process of bringing you back to the life and heart of God’s intentions for you and His thoughts about you in that area. You align your beliefs, habits, attitudes, and expectations with the mind of Christ and what He has to say about you (1 Corinthians 2:16). Identifying new thoughts with the standard and mind of Christ always revives the full strength of your God-ordained destiny.
- Step Five: Renewal
A principle of human behavior is this: you always act and behave in accordance with the truth as you believe it to be….even if that “truth” doesn’t accurately or factually tell the whole story. These truths you possess and carry around in your subconscious mind don’t go away or change by themselves. They are your default-drive.
Renewal is the process of taking your revived identity and displacing old “lies” so you naturally behave like the “new you” God intends you to be. Rather than trying hard to be better, stronger, or more disciplined than you feel you are, renewal is the process of transforming your thinking (Romans 12:2) so you naturally act like you – it’s just at a new, more effective, and sanctified level.
Here’s an exercise to help you assess your readiness for change and begin the reflection process in the areas you choose to grow:
- Grab your Destiny Journal and label your page, “Destiny Assessment.”
- List all the areas that make up your life: spiritual, health, financial, family, social, job, recreational, parenting, marriage/dating, personal attributes (peace, kindness, joy, patience, etc.).
- Next to each category, place a numeric value, with 10 = high; 1 = low, that measures the degree to which you are living your God-given potential in that particular area.
- Prioritize the top 2-3 areas where you’d like to focus your attention toward growth. If you chose “personal attributes,” be specific about what attribute(s) you want to change or develop.
- Over the next two weeks, spend a few minutes each morning imagining what each target area would look like if you were living more of your potential. Once the picture is clear, write out a vivid description of what you would look like, act like, and feel like in your ideal state.