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How to Get Out of Your Own Way to Change

Do you sometimes get the feeling you're taking one step forward and two steps back when trying to make changes in your life? Or, do you sometimes feel you're marking time, walking on a treadmill, not making progress on life goals you've set?

Remember the saying about being one's own best enemy?

That's me sometimes. How about you?

There are many ways we get in the way of ourselves, especially when trying to make changes in our life. To use a phrase from a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "let me count the ways."

There seems to be infinite number of ways we can self-sabotage our efforts.

Let's look at the flip side, ways you can GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY.

One. ACKNOWLEDGE and ACCEPT the fact you do get in your own way when trying to make changes in your life, whether they are small or significant.

Two. Get to know yourself. I mean, REALLY GET TO KNOW YOURSELF. Get to know the way you think. The way you react to challenges, setbacks, and even successes. Identify the changes you need to make in your thinking.

Three. Look OUTSIDE YOURSELF. A good way to get to know yourself is to look to others for their thoughts about how you act and react. Turn to someone you trust to give you an honest opinion.

Four. Look AROUND YOURSELF. What activities, people, and other circumstances contribute to your self-sabotage? Identify the changes you need to make in your life environment.

Five. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals and make a commitment to accomplish them. Prioritize. Prioritize, Prioritize. Then prioritize some more and prioritize meeting your goals. Ask yourself a simple question: "Is this relevant to my efforts to change?"

Six. Be creative in finding WORK-AROUNDS. We often get into routines, doing things the way we were taught without questioning the wisdom of those ways, even when those ways hinder our progress. Think outside the proverbial box.

Seven. Take MINI-BITES. How many times have you given up on making changes because the task seems overwhelming, too big to tackle? Break larger tasks down into smaller, achievable tasks.

Eight. MAKE A TO-DO LIST and follow it. Do the hardest things first. If you need a dose of motivation along the way, tackle an easier task and celebrate your success. Then move on.

Nine. JUST DO IT, as the athletic giant Nike preaches. If you tend to avoid making changes and procrastinate, identify what stands in your way and just do it despite fears of failure or even having success.

Ten. TAKE NOTES. Whether you're looking at yourself in a personal mirror, considering the comments of trusted others, or applying any of the above suggestions, chronicle what you learn. Keep a diary and review it occasionally as a way to gauge your progress and hold yourself accountable.

Finally. turn to the HELPER, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is available to each one of us as Christians, to be a real and necessary part of our lives as we try to make changes in our life and walk the Christian walk.

Can a person make changes in his or her life without God's assistance? Of course. But there is a big BUT. Making changes in one's life to bring it in compliance with God's holy and true will does require His assistance.

In God's Words

"Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable." (Joshua 1:9)

"Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable." (Psalm 119:105)

As Ephesians 4:22-24 reads, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

In the Words of Others

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Reinhold Niebuhr

"Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable." Denis Waitley

"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change." Carl Rogers


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