How Do You Know if Change is Needed?

How Do You Know if Change is Needed?

The word change can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. Change can deal with anything from relationships, faith issues, parenting choices to weight loss. Unfortunately, too often we don’t make change until we are in a crisis and it’s always more difficult when in crisis.

Paul and Janice waited 11 years to get any counseling on their high-maintenance marriage. I told them I wish I could have spent time with them at the beginning of their relationship. I don’t think they would have chosen divorce.

Tom decided to lose weight and change his lifestyle after he was diagnosed with diabetes and had a “heart event.”

Kara moved to a cohabitation relationship with her boyfriend hoping it would draw him toward marriage. Four years later, she is unhappy with the arrangement but feels stuck in a broken relationship.

How Do You Know When Change is Needed?

Usually all you have to do is search your heart, but sometimes you do need to look at some signs and symptoms to know for sure. Here are 3 signs or symptoms to look at when change is needed:

  • You keep asking “is this it?”

The grass may not always be greener on the other side, but if you aren’t happy about your situation there is only one person who can change it, and that is YOU. Sometimes there is a reason for our restlessness or that nagging feeling that you can do something more with your life. A woman once said to me, “I’m trying to be content in my bad marriage.” I think she was suffering from faulty thinking. If you have a bad marriage then do what you can to make the change to enhance your marriage relationship.

  • You are not “purpose driven.”

Some people are incredibly purposeful, almost from the beginning of their lives, while others slowly find meaning and purpose. But if you don’t have a sense of purpose, it’s hard to find meaning in life. It is always a worthy investment of your time to find your mission in life. Your mission doesn’t have to be a vocation as much as what drives you to make the best decisions possible. What is blocking you from finding your mission and purpose?

  • You self-soothe or medicate in unhealthy ways

No doubt about it, people who medicate their pain or self-soothe through drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography or other maladaptive behaviors are making a very poor choice and must change. Someone once asked me, “which comes first the change of behavior, or excessive drinking?” My answer was simple, quit using alcohol as a way of medicating your pain and then you have a shot at changing. It’s very difficult to change your behavior if you are still self-soothing and medicating in unhealthy ways.

I hope you won’t be like any of these people. If change is needed, don’t wait. Do whatever it takes to get moving in a healthy direction. I do realize it’s harder than it looks on paper. In conclusion, here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Change happens best when you have support and accountability.
  • Change happens best when you have a plan.
  • God is the creator of the Universe and He also cares about your personal welfare. Don’t neglect Him as you approach a lifestyle change.

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 20 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, Closer, and Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; three sons-in-law, Steve and Matt, and Andy; and three grandchildren, James, Charlotte and Huxley.

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