New things are always exciting. Or so you think at first. A New Year in some way feels like a fresh start – an opportunity to make developments and initiate change. Seeing your next year as a blank slate is incredibly important, I believe, in not wasting your life – but it’s very easy to make plans without thinking deeper beyond our aspirations to the reality of what we are still carrying from the year before.
People love new – until they realize that it requires them to change. Because no matter how different your situation is – you might be changing location, jobs, relationship, diet or routine – you are still YOU. You still have the same hangups and hurts, frustrations and habits, brokenness and tendencies. In order to make a fresh start I believe there needs to be a commitment to not only look at what you are going to do differently, but also be honest about where you have been.
Avoidance will keep in caterpillar phase
Yes – you know that cheesy ‘transformation’ butterfly metaphor. I don’t even feel the need to expound on it. But I do believe in the concept of metamorphosis – we can completely change and transform. I have personally seen myself transform emotionally, spiritually and even physically over the last year and am very happy to observe myself becoming someone I desire to be. But that doesn’t come without a cost. There is always a cocoon phase. There is always a time where you will be required to face yourself – introspectively looking at yourself without any guises.
I tell many guys who I am doing life with that the bravest thing they could ever do is acknowledge and face their issues head-on. You can win battles, be the biggest guy in the gym, the smartest person in your class or the most aspirational story of heroism on the outside, but history has taught us that it is what is inside of us that will ultimately determine whether we can change permanently – with lasting effect.
I know coming out of an 11-year addiction that you can try to change your habits, your geographical location, your routine and your friend groups, but in the end if you don’t face the reason why you are looking for fulfillment in external places, you will not be able to change and progress in your life.
Patience is key
On a lighter note – one area that I really wanted to change this past year was in my health and fitness. I was consistently battling sickness and eating whatever was available rather than really thinking about it. The problem was – I had a very deep insecurity when it came to how I looked. (Girls – it’s not only you who struggle with self-image problems. In fact, I think it may be more prevalent in guys these days.) Throughout most of my life I found myself not measuring up to the aesthetic standard I saw as ‘manly’ – from my favorite superheroes to those celebrated in the media. There were many other serious reasons why I was so insecure, but this was one that had kept me out of the gym (I still hate how guys seem to be comparing themselves to each other all the time) and in a place where I had decided to rather cope with defeat instead of making progress.
If you are wanting to move on in life and truly change, you need to play a long game. You need to see beyond the immediate decision to a desire that will span decades. The only way you will consistently stay motivated in your daily decisions is having a conviction beyond your plausible and possible reality. You need to be patient and focussed. When it comes to health, being debt-free and my personal relationship with God, I have had the goal to improve consistently. The finish line is far away, but consciously looking at where you’re heading every time you are confronted with the temptation to stay the same will place gravitational momentum on your future instead of the past.
Changing by yourself takes a whole lot of willpower and normally ends with disappointment when you become tired or weak. Change within a community lightens that load – as you are allowing other people to support you in those times. But even that has its flaws – because when you find yourself alone and vulnerable there is nowhere to turn for support. Until you allow God to be present in your life. God sees everything and knows everything. He is always with you and wants to partner with you. He’s after a relationship that will encourage and grow you. If you would like to have that kind of supernatural companionship – that will strengthen you in times of weakness and regret – click on the link below to find out more.