How did your exercises go last week? Did they help you clarify your reasons for wanting to make this change in your life? Did they help you better define the change?
Remember, we are still building our foundation! Do not start working on making the change right now. I know your enthusiasm is growing. I’m excited too! However, I want you to have the things in place we are going to do this week before you start. If you start building the house, when the foundation is not finished, you are destined to have some very weak places and some problems you could have avoided. If this happens you may feel like a failure, when it was not even time to start yet.
The following seven exercises can be done all at once, in a few sittings, or daily. Let’s finish our foundation!
Exercise #8 — Writing Your Obituary
Today you are going to write two obituaries. They do not have to be several pages long. Just give an overall perspective.
First, go back to Exercise #3 from last week. Look at the costs and the benefits of NOT making the change. Write what your obituary might say if you do not make the change you are planning to make. How were the last 10 years of your life before your death? Do you have regrets? Are you happy? Were there missed opportunities?
Second, look at the costs and benefits from Exercise #3 of making the change. Write the obituary you may have if you do make this change. Are you happy? Do you have regrets? What was your life like the last 10 years before your death? Are you glad you had done the hard work to make this change? Are there opportunities you had because you made this change? Did you accomplish something because of making the change?
Now journal about these two obituaries. Does this give you any new ideas or perspective on change? Any motivation gained?
Exercise #9 — Brainstorming!
Today’s lesson will take 15 minutes. In a blank space in your journal, write every single option to make this change which comes to mind as a possibility for how you could make the life change you want to make. Nothing is off the table. Even something you do not like, or do not think you will do, write it down. Seeing all the ideas may spark an entirely new idea you never thought of before. Write down anything that could move you toward your goal. (For example, if your goal is to run a 13.1K in next year, some ways to help you meet your goal could be: take the stairs at work, park further from buildings, bike to work, get a trainer, change your diet, run 6 days a week, etc.)
Set your timer…. And… GO!
Exercise #10 — Are you almost ready?
Get out your journal and write on the following questions:
- Do you have the knowledge you need to make this change? If no, what questions do you have? How can you find out more about making this change and your options? Books? Library? Internet? YouTube? Other persons you know who have made a similar change? Are there any professionals you could consult?
- What actions are you going to take to get answers to your questions?
- Does the change you want to make involve anyone else? Will it affect anyone else? If so, how do they feel about this? Will they be supportive? Are they willing to also make this change? Would they be willing to also fill out this guide? You cannot change someone else, and they may not want to participate. How will you balance this? How will you address this with them?
- Do you need anything else to support your decision to change? (e.g. health professional, counselor, funds, transportation, child care)
- If there is anything else you need to support your decision for change, how will you address this need?
Most people are able to make changes better if they have support. Who is in your support system? Who will support your decision to make this change? Choose three people who you can share your plans with and ask for support.
For each person, consider these questions:
- Does this person put pressure on you? (If this person pressures you, can they be a good support?)
- What is their preferred way to be contacted?
- How often can I contact this person? May be something to ask.
- Are they willing?
Exercise #11 — Making a Plan
Do you still want to make this change? Are you ready to start making a plan?
In Exercise #5 you wrote down things that worked and things which did not for you in the past. In Exercise #10 you brainstormed anything and everything. Today you are going to write down the 5 options from all these options which you think are doable and would move you toward your goal. These do not have to be the hardest options. They may be the easiest smallest changes you can make to move toward your goal. For each of these five options, write down three benefits and three costs of the option.
Now, of these options do you think you will have the most success with? Depending on the change you want to make, you may need to use more than one of these options. However, do not make it complicated. The most successful changes consist of small changes, perhaps only one at a time.
Write about how you will implement this change. Be specific. Time? Day(s)? Who with?
Exercise #12 — Be careful what you say, you might hear yourself
Most of us have a conversation going constantly with ourselves. What is your conversation like? Today take your journal and write down the thoughts you are having about this upcoming change. What are your beliefs about this change? Are you calling yourself names? Putting yourself down? Write about it.
What we say to ourselves is very important. If you are constantly telling yourself you cannot do this, your are too weak, or you are a failure, do you really think that is going to help you be successful? If your best friend was trying to make this change, would you talk to them that way?
What I want you to do now is change those statements to the ones you are going to start saying. Change starts in our minds. Practice your new self-talk every day. When you catch yourself saying an old statement say, “Ooops! That was the old way. I am doing this the new way.” Then state the new way you are talking to you.
Here are a few examples of how to change some statements:
|I am so stupid, I do everything wrong.||I am an intelligent person who makes occasional mistakes.|
|I am not worth the effort.||Jesus died for me, so I am worth the effort.
(Saying you are not worth the effort is a bit of a slap in the face to Jesus, don’t you think?)
|This is too hard.||Change is challenging, and I am up for the challenge.|
|I cannot do it.||God gave me the power to choose and I can make that choice.|
|I have to do this!||I want to do this.|
|I am a loser.||I made a mistake.|
Exercise #13 — Looking at the Future
After you make this change, write about how you are going to feel one year from now. You were successful, although you may have had some bumps. What opportunities have you had due to making this change? If it was a change which affects your health, how do you feel? How are you sleeping? How is your mood? Have you received benefits for making the change? Financial benefits? Has it had a positive affect on your family, your community, your world? Are you happy you made the effort? Are you proud of yourself?
Next, I want you to write three power statements about making this change which show how important it is to you. These will be very individual to you. One sentence statements which supports the change. This could have to do with the values you named as your most important values in exercise #1. A few examples could be: “I am happy because I am able to spend more time with my family since cutting back on ______,” “I am happy I get to make choices to save money and improve my situation,” “My creator made my body to be strong and healthy, it feels good to take care of it,” or “I love to exercise my power to choose.”
Words are important. Make these statements positive. You do not “have” to make this change. You decided you “wanted” to.
Exercise #14 — God and Our Goals
I believe God inspires us to change and be the best we can be. He wants the best for us. We also want to give Him our best. I think it is very exciting to know God will support us in our goals and dreams. As you begin to make the change you have been thinking about, think about this verse, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3 NIV Write a letter to God. Tell Him what your plans are. Ask for His help and guidance. Commit your plans to Him.
Until Next Week…
It is time to make the change. These exercises are being published with February 16 in mind as the start date. However, perhaps you did not find this in time or February 16 you have something go on which will not allow change that day. Choose your date. Make it soon, but make it doable. Next week we will talk more about change and ways to support change in your life. If you have a mishap with your path to change, we will be addressing that as well. Just stick with us, 365 days from now you will be glad you did!
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