Last week I shared my only goal for 2017 — live my best life. Living your best life is more about the journey than the destination. That’s because, when we depart mortality, we reach the next stage of our progression rather than a finality.
Along the way, our changes mark our progress. Living your best life includes some changes. But you’ll find yourself stagnant with the passage of time without permanent change.
I recently lamented the lack of change in my life, especially over the past year. This experience led me to seek after my best life. I don’t want to find myself no better off at this same time next year. How do we change so that we don’t repeat making the same goals for ourselves each year?
Recently I’ve been investigating that question and discovered some amazing ideas supported by social science research. Many think of change as simply a matter of willpower. You don’t exercise or you eat junk food or you have a less meaningful career or floundering relationships because that’s what you choose. If only you were more determined, you could make whatever change you need.
But social science research offers a different story. You fail to make change permanent not for lack of will but rather for insufficient understanding and preparation. When you’re outnumbered by influences you don’t understand and for which you make no provision, the math simply works against you.
The first step towards making change permanent is to change the way you think. You need to discard false assumptions and adopt valid ones. No matter your resolve, it’s hard to win the day when you bring a knife to gun fight.
Fight fire with fire
Here a wonderful book entitled Change Anything by Kerry Patterson et. al. provides much assistance. Based in modern social science research, this book describes how leveraging six major influences promotes any positive change. Those who account for these six influences in their change efforts are ten times more likely to succeed.
Of course they would be. Instead of bringing a knife to a gun fight, they brought a gun — and not just a one-shot Derringer but something like an AR-15. Good preparation always promotes good performance.
Here’s a very brief synopsis of the six change influences:
The book details how you do all that and provides examples of application.
Get your Magnificent Seven
I highly recommend the methodology in this book, but I’m adding a seventh item. You need to partner with the Lord.
Social science has revealed influences underlying more permanent positive change. The restored gospel has also revealed change influences, most importantly the Atonement.
President Ezra Taft Benson once said the world would change men from the outside in, but Christ takes men and changes them from the inside out. When you partner with the Lord, He can reveal to you the specific guidance you need to change more effectively and efficiently.
I recently experienced this for myself. I brought the Lord a problem that concerned me greatly. As I discussed my concern with Him, an idea came to mind. Pursuing that idea replaced my concerns with faith and optimism in living my best life with confidence.
Do you want to be right where you are today in January 2018? Or do you want to make positive changes and live your best life? Understand the influences involved, partner with the Lord to leverage them to your advantage, and you can live your best life and more. You can change forever. And that will certainly bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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