“Most people think it takes a long time to change. It doesn’t. Change is immediate! Instantaneous! It may take a long time to decide to change…but change happens in a heartbeat!”

“When it’s time to change, then it’s time to change. Don’t fight the tide, come along for the ride, don’t you see? When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange who you are into what you’re going to be.”

“Come gather ’round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown, and accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you is worth savin’,  then you better start swimmin’  or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changin’. ”

Change…it can be the most exhilarating or the most excruciating process. Change can define or deflate us…it’s all a matter of choice. We can’t change an event, but we can change our reaction to it. It’s never too late to change your perspective, your mind, your attitude….We can’t ever undo something we did or said, but we can do something about it.

The notion of change in both big and small things has been weighing on my heart and mind. I find myself rejuvenated by it. New Year’s Day is perhaps one of my favorite days of the whole year. A fresh start…a clean slate…a new opportunity to be who you truly want to be.

So, whether you want to change a relationship, your weight, your marriage, your interactions with your kids, your activity level….start now. Purpose in your heart to change. I have a few tips to help you on your journey this year that have helped me.

1. Make your goals VISUAL – On the bulletin board above my work desk, (a place I spend a lot of time), I have our 5 year goal sheet displayed. Each year, my husband and I work together to vision plan for the next five years. We set goals in a variety of categories…(Ours are, Lindner Photographic (our business), David, Bekki, Family, Marriage, Financial, Home, Worship Ministry Catalyst (my husband’s website), and Chasing Supermom.) We start with the current year, marking down the goals we have for each category. Then, we forecast our dreams and vision for each category together for the next five years. We think about things like when we might be able to pay off a student loan, or when we could take a vacation…when we will add onto the deck…how many clients we want to shoot for, etc. I look at that spreadsheet EVERY DAY. It is nearly impossible for me to forget what my goals for the year are. They are right in front of me, holding me accountable. This process has been a great experience for us. We love to plan and dream together, and perhaps the most fun is sitting down at the close of a year, and talking about the goals we did and did not meet. We get to celebrate our accomplishments and problem-solve our deficiencies. We get to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and then do something about it.

2. Make your goals MEASURABLE and SPECIFIC. Don’t give yourself overly broad goals such as, “Be a better mother.” How do you ever measure that? There are no steps, no expectations….You are setting yourself up to feel as though you failed when you state a broad goal. Rather, aim for something very specific and measurable such as, “Read to my kids 15 minutes a day 5x a week.” With a goal like that, you know absolutely whether or not you are accomplishing it. (and you’re still working towards being a better mother.)

2 1/2 . Leave the broad things to God – Pray about the big, broad things. Ask God for what you can’t do yourself…

3. Understand that some things are out of your control – Life can and will throw you curve balls. You will not be able to control everything that comes at you. Circumstances will occur that will hinder you from accomplishing your goals. For example, last year we were aiming to pay off our credit card this year. However, when we sat down to goal plan at the close of 2009, we had no way of knowing that my husband’s salary would be cut in half this year, thereby making it impossible to pay off the credit card this year. You can’t beat yourself up for things out of your control. Will we meet that goal? Nope. Can we sit down and re-evaluate? You bet. Things change…your goals need to as well. Roll with the punches and re-work your goals as life happens.

4. Get accountability – Tell someone what your goals are, and have them keep you accountable. Try to establish a firm accountability partner, who is willing to be open and vulnerable with you as well. (Accountability doesn’t work one way…you need full trust for it to work.) Be HONEST with them, letting them know how you are genuinely doing with meeting your goals. I have accountability for one of my goals right now, and am seeking someone to meet with for the rest. Knowing you will have someone checking in on you will motivate you to do the things you have decided are important!

My hope and prayer for all of you is that you will embrace change, and will do some goal/vision planning of your own. Today is a gift…a chance to start over and re-invent yourself and your life. Blessings to you in this new year of opportunity.