14 Mar Beginning the Journey of Change
A thousand mile journey begins with a single step. — Lao Tzu
Recently, I weighed myself. That was not a fun thing to do. I have allowed stress and vocational change to impact my eating and exercise habits for the past couple of years and the results are obvious. I am definitely unhappy with where I am physically. Now, I am left with just a couple of choices. I can remain here and head towards a reality TV special, “My 500lb Dan,” or I can take a step towards change and recovering my healthy lifestyle. And, since I don’t want to end up being cut out of my home in the future, I think I will choose the latter. I want to run again. I want to ride my mountain bike in places that I probably shouldn’t. I want to kick people in the head. Well, I can still do that last one in Taekwondo, but if I don’t make changes, that ability will soon disappear.
Your need for change may not revolve around your weight. It may have do with your work, family, or ministry. There are any number of things that it could be. Whatever area you need to see change in your life, it begins with a single step. It is never just a single step, but it must start with that one. When I ran my most recent marathon, I questioned my sanity. A marathon is around 55,000 steps. Leading up to that challenge, I had only run around 5 miles at any one time which is about 10,000 steps. That is a pretty significant difference. I didn’t think that I would finish the race that day. However, I had a friend named Brent that wasn’t going to let me stop. His encouragement and help made the impossible possible. In fact, without his encouragement, I would have just stayed at home on the couch. I would have never taken that first step.
What do you need to do to take that first step towards change in your journey? Here are five things to help…
- Assess Your Need. For me, it is easy. Too much weight on my frame equals an unhealthy Dan. Bad knees and a bad back are in my future if I don’t make a change. Genetics are not in my favor. So, for my future needs and current enjoyment of life, I need to make a change. You may not be where you want to be at work or in your current ministry. Is there a need for change? Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the tough questions.
- Find a Friend. Accountability is vital as we make change in our lives. Announcing your diet plan or exercise program on social media may not be your cup of tea, but it certainly let’s others know that you are hoping to see change in your life. While that is definitely one way to go, I would recommend finding an actual, real person that you can talk to. A friend, pastor, or coach are great options as you seek to make real change in your life. As I fought through my battle with food almost a decade ago, I had a brother and father that stood beside me and helped me make significant change in my life.
- Have a Plan. Now, I don’t mean have your entire journey mapped out, but I do mean that you need to have some idea of where you are headed. While in college, I attended a youth Bible conference at the Lake of the Ozarks Resort in Missouri. I left the house without a real clear idea of where I was headed. This was back before smartphones or even GPS. I knew it was north. I figured I would grab a map at a gas station and figure it out. Oh, the arrogance of youth… Hours later, I arrived, tired and mentally exhausted. The journey would have been much more pleasant if I had simply mapped out even the first steps. The only thing that saved me was that I knew where I was headed.
- Know Your Destination. Where do you see yourself at the end of your journey of change? I will never look like Brad Pitt or Harrison Ford, but I can be the best version of me. I need to lose some weight. Your end goal may look very different than mine. You may want to get a degree, earn your black belt, run a race, or achieve a new role at work. Whatever that goal is, keep it out in front of you. That destination can carry you through when you get mired in the work of change.
- Take the First Step. Leap. Run. Dive. All of those words work. To make change, it begins with one step and then another and then another. Don’t be afraid. Trust God and run towards the change He has for you.
The journey of change is different for everyone because we are headed to different places. However, there is one thing that is the same for all of us. We must take that first step. Our journeys may be long, but the first step gets us headed in the right direction. Let the adventure begin…