Throw a pebble in the water and what do you see?
A ripple effect, caused by one small change.
Just as the pebble dropped into a pool causes a ripple effect, one small change in your life can produce an ever-widening ripple of energy spreading outward. Some changes are welcomed, like the birth of a new baby. Other changes are unexpected and negative, like a sudden illness or a job loss. As much as we resist, though, some changes are necessary in order for us to learn and grow.
Change sometimes requires a leap of faith if we are to see desired results. We often hold back because of fear, we think it’s going to be too complicated, or take too much work. However, if we look at change as a vehicle to grow and improve, some changes can lead us to an abundantly blessed life. In fact, it could be the difference between life happening TO you and YOU happening to your life.
Highlight Reel: YOU!
Think back on the past five years of your life, like it was a YouTube video and you could rewind it back to watch it over again. How much change have you gone through? In my video you’d see changes in my family, my finances, my job description, the car I’m driving, and even my address. If you told me all of that was ahead of me five years ago, I would have been just plain overwhelmed, but if we look at life as a series of small changes, and use that fact to our advantage, things are somehow more manageable, and definitely much more attainable.
One Small Change, See Big Gains
So how do we start to use change to our benefit? First, let’s recognize what’s going right. Sometimes we are so busy with the day-to-day matters of life that we forget how far we’ve come. So look back at your video and appreciate where you’ve been and what accomplishments you’ve made to date. Then, when you’re ready to press play again, pick an area of your life where you want to see improvements – whether that’s your health, your finances, productivity, or some other thing – and try some of the strategies below to help you move forward:
“When you take dancing lessons, you learn steps and you learn steps and you learn steps. It can go on for a long time. And then one day, you just learn to dance, and it is so different.” – Bill Austin
Your Health –
- Curb unhealthy snacking: Keep healthy foods in sight and in reach, and get those pre-packaged snacks out of your house (or your desk drawer).
- Stay hydrated: Carry a bottle of water with you and you’ll always have a way to fill up. You can even use your smart phone or some other system to set reminders.
- Portion control: Plan your meals ahead of time, being aware of correct portion sizes. You can use a program like the 21 Day Fix or something similar. After all, even healthy food is not good if you go overboard.
- Use your dinner table: Eat as a family as often as possible, around the table instead of the TV. This allows for quality family time and conversation, and keeps the fast food drive-thru routine to a minimum.
Your Well-being –
- De-stress: Listen more, speak less, read daily, play some music, play with your kids .. be intentional about relaxing at the end of a long day.
- Feeling blah? Try changing your routine. Alter your route to work or school, add a different workout routine to your schedule, make a new friend, get a new haircut, or eat a new food you’ve never tried.
- Alone time: Take time to appreciate your blessings in a calm atmosphere where you can put the noise of the day aside. This might be a time of prayer, meditation, or just going for a walk.
Your Financial Fitness –
- Grab a pen: Write down your anticipated spending on everything you can think of for the month, before that month begins. Then when your paycheck comes in, keep to your written plan and you’ll be less likely to overspend.
- Use cash: Give yourself a realistic “allowance” based on a budget (see “Grab a pen” above), and spend only the money you have in your wallet. Leftovers at the end can be used to pay down debt, throw into savings, or bless someone else. If this works for a month, try it again!
- Avoid splurges: Rather than aimless window shopping at the mall, venture out to stores only with a list (and cash) in hand. For big purchases, try waiting a day to see if the urge to buy is just as strong tomorrow.
Your Productivity –
- Gain some time: Set your alarm a 1/2 hour earlier and go to bed a 1/2 hour earlier, and gain a whole 60 minutes more time in your day! Just remember to make it productive or you’ll waste it.
- Avoid multi-tasking: Make a checklist for your day, either immediately upon waking, or when you sit down at your desk before turning on your computer, or even before bed the night before. Prioritize what MUST be done, what you would LIKE to get done, and what can WAIT until later. Do one thing at a time. Don’t try to be superwoman/man.
Whew! Even looking at these suggestions can overwhelm me! Remember, though, these are just suggestions, and not meant to be done all at once. Choose ONE area to try for your one small change. Take one step at a time, set one goal at a time, and you’ll see the small changes start to take effect. Recognize that change takes adjustment, and change takes time, but know that YOU are in control of making your YouTube video for your life. Like the pebble in the pond, your actions create the outward changes that will affect the direction and the energy of your life. The question is, how big of a ripple will you make?
For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
In this thing with you, to your success and beyond,