One of the reasons it’s difficult to reach a goal or change at all is because usually a change we make for our own lives somehow effects those around us…
My husband and I have been married for 10 years now and for every January that we have been together, we have sat down and taken inventory of our lives together and separately. I am going to make this short and practical hoping that it will give you some ideas to try these next few months…specifically if you have to have a conversation with someone and tell them “I’m changing.”
Many times we meet people become great friends and then over time they change. If we don’t consciously pay attention to those we love, we will wake up one day and realize the one we love we don’t know, and possibly don’t like anymore. Creating space in our relationships to “be different from who we used to be” has been the most freeing thing and also keeps us connected in a disconnected culture. Trev and I have had to work on this though, I can say “I’ve changed my mind about something” and my husband doesn’t get confused anymore. I’ve learned to be brave and say “I’ve been thinking about…” and my Trevin’s favorite line is “What do you think about…?” It’s how we begin to tell each other “I want to change.”
This month is an “extra” safe month for us in our communication towards each other. No keeping score. All forgiveness and all repentance is on the table, love and courage only! Technically, yes, these should be our focus all year, but creating awareness of these is what I’m actually trying to say. If we don’t start out this way, then we won’t finish the year that way either.
Being clear though what happens in these safe zones is tears, anger, confusion, fights, and the passion from inside and our stubbornness to make sure both of us are hopeful and excited about the future and facing any battles together instead of battling each other. It’s also a bunch of communication to clear up any miscommunication about how we communicate. Is that not confusing, or what?! Anyways… Here is what we talk about:
Finances -I.e. Airbnb, my book, work life, grocery budget, bills, goals, trips, etc.
Sex -Is it safe, respectful, pure, and fun? How often? Have our bodies changed as we’ve gotten older? What’s new and what’s still good? TMI?! 😉
Our friendship with each other -The fun we have, the time we spend, Our tone when we talk to each other, how we prefer each other, etc.
Projects -Remodels, starting a blog, or cleaning out the garage.
Calendar -Vacations/holidays, our anniversary, birthdays, ministry events/trips.
Our kids -Emotional, mental, academic, spiritual, social and physical development; and how our lives effect theirs.
Our Eating and Exercising
Dreams and Ideas
Now before I get into How to tell someone “I’m Changing” Here is how Trevin and I decide what to change!
Starts with a question.
“What did we like about last years – insert topic from above – ?” -or- “What do you think about (blank)? Do you like the “status/health” of it?”
We have to be mature, honest and brave and if there are any conflicts or points of disagreements, we apologize and forgive right there. Selfishness can’t rule here. No secrets. All cards are on the table and pride is not invited to this conversation.
Practically speaking: This conversation isn’t fancy, no special dinners or snacks, just us in our sweats with our laptops, journals or phones after the kids have gone to bed. Well, thats not entirely true – I do make french press which is always special to me. 😉 And this conversation usually always happens within the first week of January.
We schedule a time to pray and fast. (Usually about 2-3 weeks.) to ask God for a solution to those disagreements and the areas we would like to grow in. We take this time to do extra research and have conversations with those who have more experience than we do! (Say our mortgage broker, a contractor, a pediatrician, a teacher, etc.)
At the end of the prayer and fasting season, we ask the same questions and this time we come up with a solution, using the facts we have gather and the direction from God we received through prayer and fasting. These become our goals to accomplish in 2019. We only set about 6 goals at the most and usually we accomplish 4 of them each year. Note: The goals we don’t accomplish don’t bug us, usually we try to add them to next years list.
In that second conversation we look at each goal (there is only about six) and we talk about how we will reach them. We both write it down and put it in our schedules. We create to-do lists, so we know who is doing what and together over time we make progress and reach these goals. This second conversation usually happens at the very end of January.
During the year, when we experience hurdles or something unexpected, we talk again and discuss what goals we should “put on the shelf” and we discuss what goals we should adjust but continue even though life is hard. Usually we are both pretty quick to admit when we need the other persons help. We’ve both made it clear we want each other’s help when we ask for it.
If team work is the key to unlock a door.
Forgiveness turns the key and trust open’s it.
Now that you can figure out what to change here is How To Tell Someone “I’m Changing…”
1. Set up a time to meet them for coffee or set time aside later in the week.
2. Until you meet, think about how you plan to say, what you are saying! (Consider how this person might respond. Is there a better way to say it?)
3. When you meet understand there are two kinds of people: 1. People who want to hang out and catch up then talk about the main thing, and 2. People who want to talk about the main thing, first thing. Consider what kind of person you are and what kind of person they are and adapt!
4. Start with a question: “How do you feel about your current situation/thoughts?”
5. Listen with eye contact, take notes if that makes the conversational more meaningful, or if you want to remember something specifically mentioned.
6. Respond so they know you have heard their perspective.
7a. If there is an area you agree lead with that and tell them “I want to change…this part of me.”
7b. If it’s an area of disagreement, apologize for not carrying your end of the bargain, and/or then share your concern and tell them “I want to change…this part of me.”
8. Understand, they may completely hate that you want to change. Don’t be afraid but allow them time to process after you meet, and allow you space to keep your thoughts clear, especially if your emotions are hurt. Keep your conversation between yourself and a mentor rather than gossiping or posting online. Keep your conversation open between you and that individual, talk again, try to find resolution. If you can’t, that happens. It’s okay but still…..
9. Stick to your word, and grow for the change! Growth will make some people uncomfortable and not everyone will see your side, in-fact count on it. But don’t let misunderstanding keep you from growing, especially if it is an area that you believe the Holy Spirit is asking you to step out in faith for.
You will have to do your best, to keep your “head down” meaning, not look for drama, gossiping or rehearsing what hurt you. Choosing forgiveness and trusting the Lord develops strength in your character that is key to the foundation for your growth. It’s all apart of the change process. I hope this helps you have conversations with co-workers, roommates, adult/teen children and spouses!
You can change if you want to and as you believe the Holy Spirit is leading you too! Comment below and tell me what area in your life are you wanting to grow in? I’ll say a prayer of strength for you, because YOU are #goals! Cheers to new you!!! 2 Cor 5:17