I know that many of you are so sick of just surviving that you want to jump in with both feet and change everything! 🙂 Good for you!! Before you hit the ground running, it’s worth it to take just a little time, thought and prayer to make sure you don’t fizzle out after a week or two.
In my journey from surviving to flourishing (and I’m not completely there quite yet!) I found that every time I got frustrated with how things were and made a snap decision to change, I failed. I hadn’t thought it all through, made my plans and really committed to it. My heart was in it at the moment, but there was no staying power to my changes.
How did I finally start making changes that lasted? These steps were key!
Start with Sleep and Prayer
If you are sleep-deprived, as most survival-mode people are, you cannot think as clearly as you need to be able to in order to make the best decisions. Look at your calendar and decide on a specific day in the near future (next weekend?) that you will set aside several hours for in-depth planning. Minimize your commitments over the few days beforehand, get to bed at a decent hour and sleep until you are rested, if possible. If you have to get up early or you have to care for a baby throughout the night, take a nap. Even 20 minutes each afternoon can help. Just get some rest and then…
Pray. Especially if you found while doing the exercise from the last post that what you have been saying are your priorities are actually very different from what really matters to you. Continuing with the illustration from last time (saying time with family, especially your children, is most important, but in reality you work outside the home when it’s not absolutely necessary for survival), this may take some extended prayer time to work through the issue. Face why you feel you “have to” work (if you really don’t have to- single mamas really do have to!) and pray, pray, pray. If there is any kind of disconnect between living the ideal version of your life and really loving the people in your life (instead of giving them the leftover dregs of your time and energy), deal with that before moving on. It could be a job, a hobby, computer/internet/smartphone time, another relationship, people-pleasing commitments or any number of things, but you have to face it if you want to really thrive and flourish.
Decide You WILL Make Progress
If you are half-hearted, you’ll fail. If you are negative and hopeless, you won’t make any real progress. You have to truly commit to changing in order to change. A person who says the want to quit smoking usually just keeps right on smoking. A person who says they wish they cold lose weight usually doesn’t. Talking about it, wishing for it and dreaming about it won’t pull you through the hard days. You have to really commit to it. You will stay stuck forever if you don’t truly commit to changing. I was stuck for nine years and it just got worse and worse. I would talk about slowing down, wish I could change things and regret the lost time with my kiddos, but that made no difference. Decide, right now, that you won’t stay stuck. It will be hard. Accept it. Get ready. Pray some more. This won’t be a quick fix. It is going to take time and you have to stay committed for the long haul, but it’s worth it!
When I decided that things had to change, I wasn’t really clear on what, how or when. These books were so encouraging and they really helped me get clear on the details. If you are wanting some inspiration, guidance and resources to go back to throughout your journey, check out my favorites!
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life, by Crystal Paine
Although I have to say that this sweet lady is far busier than I would want to be in my ideal vision, her step-by-step guide was the most helpful for me. Doing the exercises she had throughout the book, I really thought things through and got my priorities clear.
The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, by Lisa Terkeurst
I have to be honest that I kind of jumped around in this book. I normally would have read it straight through, but having just read the other book, I used it to fill in the gaps. It’s focused on making the best decisions you can and not over-committing. If saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way is why you are in survival mode, this book is for you.
Next, we’re going to make some solid plans, so get ready!