Time For Change

So we’re wrapping up another year.  How are you today compared to last year, same time? Are you better in the ways you care about most? Are you a better spouse? Are you in better shape? Are you stronger financially? Are you a better church member? Are you a better brother or sister? Are you better at your career – job, business, etc?

 Perhaps you set out earlier this year to improve in some or all of these areas, only to find yourself pretty much back where you started. No improvement, just some regret and frustration at the lack of committed follow through for the change you’ve wanted. Maybe it just hasn’t hurt enough.

 A story I heard years ago goes something like this…

 A man walks into an old general store to pick up a few things.  As he is walking around he occasionally hears this low groaning sound.  As he approaches the counter, he sees the sound is coming from an old dog lying beside the counter.  He asks the owner what’s wrong with the dog, and the owner says, “Oh, that’s old Rex, and that’s just his spot.  He’s been lying there for years, and over time a nail has worn part way through the floor board.  The nail is jagging him as he lays there, and he’s constantly groaning about it”.  The man asks the obvious question, “Why doesn’t he just move to another spot?” The owner casually gives the same answer most of us could give, “Well, it does hurt him, but apparently not enough to do anything about it.”

 Can we relate?  What changes do we want to make, need to make, that we are not making because not changing doesn’t hurt enough?  The bigger question might be, when it does hurt enough, is it too late?  A buddy of mine always used to say, “Bloom where you are planted.”  So if we plant ourselves, by choice, in a place that causes some pain, yet we don’t change, then bloom there.  Or commit to change.

 How do we make these changes?  One way is to really imaging the reality we’ll have if we don’t make the changes we know we need.  If you’re a salesperson and you don’t make the calls, eventually the pipeline will dry up – and so will the bank account.  If you are a business owner and you don’t work on your business, you may find yourself out of business.  If you’re a husband and you don’t make time with your wife and your kids, you’ll miss out on the things that matter most and set a poor example for that next generation.  This honest visualization paints a vivid reality that may make the pain of change hurt LESS than the pain of staying the same.

 Another way is to ask someone to hold you accountable to the change you know you need.  Find someone you trust and respect, and who will follow through on the tough job of accountability.  Tell them the change you will make and create a system of accountability with them.  I’ve sometimes done this with my kids.  Trust me; it’s very hard to carve out a creative excuse with my kids knowing it’s also teaching them how to live.

 For next year, picture what you don’t want and let that help to focus your goal for change and why it matters.  Then, find that person you respect and ask for the gift of accountability. Sometimes that person can help you find the nail you didn’t know was there.