Goals are motivating. Change is hard.
So how do we stay strong and press on until we achieve? How do we keep our resolutions from getting lost in the busyness of a new year?
What I have found to be the most helpful thing when trying to stay motivated to make a change in my life is to have someone walking alongside me – encouraging me and cheering me on, participating in my journey with me.
Each day at Serenity’s Steps, we see women fighting to make changes in their lives. Changes that seem nearly impossible after a life of trauma, poverty, struggle and survival-mode decision making.
While we must all take ownership of the things we want to change, we cannot do it alone. This is why we at Serenity’s Steps put so much emphasis on doing life together through authentic relationship, on walking alongside our women as they work to make hard changes.
This is why we need help too.
Knowing of my acute need for community, I’ve come up with a short list of 3 relationships I’m going to work to strengthen this year. I hope you’ll join me!
1. Build relationships with people who have wisdom and guidance to offer.
The wisest person is the one who is not afraid to keep learning, no matter how much he or she knows. We should be intentional about looking for people who have already been down the road we are now traveling. Whether our goals or struggles are spiritual, emotional, mental or physical, seeking mentors to walk with us and encourage us along the way means the difference between giving up and growing as a person.
2. Intentionally invest in people you would rather overlook.
Let’s be honest, our desires are frequently based in discontentment. We are often tempted not to invest in other people because we know we are already busy, have people we would rather spend time with or maybe we just plain find the idea of giving of our time and love to “needy” people exhausting. However, when we go out of our way to get to know and give back to people we wouldn’t normally spend time with, our eyes are opened. We learn their story, we become grateful for what we have, and we become grateful for the things that person teaches us simply because their life experience is different than ours.
3. Actively participate in your current close relationships.
Relationships that have been around forever are typically those that we ignore first when we’re feeling too busy, too tired or too selfish. Our spouse, children, siblings, parents, best friends and church family often get left to the wayside when life gets hectic because “they know I love them!” Our nearest and dearest do know we love them, just like we know they love us, but we can take it a step further. I recently found out that a friend who has built into me for years was going through a tough time and no one was there for her to even ask her how she was doing. People were so used to taking from her giving spirit, that they forgot she needed to be reminded that they care about her too. Be active and present, even in the little things in your close relationships. Small kindnesses add up to make a huge difference.
This New Year, I am resolving to work on strengthening these three areas of relationship in my life. I know that with a network of caring, wise and honest people around me, making changes and reaching goals will be that much easier, because I have a strong framework of interdependent support. Will you resolve to strengthen your relationships too?
By Kate McGaughey