Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Making Change Stick

Recently I heard a great presentation by Dr. Henry Cloud an author, psychologist, executive coach and follower of Jesus.

It was on one of the biggest problems we have in our information overloaded society. Many times in our culture we know what to do, we simply don't do it. All of us have areas in our lives that match this problem. We know what to do, we even know how to do it, but we wake up a week or a month or a year later and realize we haven't done it. And when we reflect on why we don't do what we know we ought to do, we don't even know.

How do you get from what you want to do to reality. "The plan only works if you work the plan."
1. The plan
2. Works
3. IF YOU (let's focus on this part)

Anything without grace is doomed to failure. Grace is two words: Unmerited favour.
Unmerited means: You don't produce it, you don't come up with it, it doesn't come from you. It comes from the outside. Favour means: Something good. Help comes to me.

Problem: We know the standard. We fail at the standard. We get cleansed. We go mess up again. This is what the law does. Ceremonial cleansing. (Religions three point sermon: God is good, you are bad, try harder).

Grace actually gives you the power to go and act differently. Grace is better than a willpower program. You rarely fail in new ways, the old ones are working just fine.

Here are some ways you can take advantage of outside help to bring about change in your life.
1. Hang out with people who are doing the right things.
2. We offer them the structure. This is outside help.
3. Have a place you can process your hurts so you can be healed of the things that are the root causes of the problem behaviors. (Church, small group, prayer, counseling)
4. Have people/a friend that you can call at any time when you are struggling for encouragement and prayer.

Elements you can put into practice before you try a willpower program (a willpower program is "I'll try harder").
1. A grace motivation. - write your story into the future - take today's reality and what you are doing and play the movie forward - then ask yourself the question, do I like the conclusion? Do I like the picture I am painting?
2. Life only changes when you bring structure and discipline from the outside - what was once external becomes internal. You need a structure that makes you change your behaviour (whatever behavior it is, you are not going to change because you want to or plan to... you need a structure that makes you do it differently). ie. Your friend is coming over at 6:30 for a jog. or get a trainer or get consequences.
Here is an example of Henry Cloud''s structure:
     - on Monday I meet with 2 other people for accountability and sharing (you need a group of 3, committed to meeting and holding each other accountable for your mutual goal - this is an external discipline that that will help internalize your change)
     - on Thursday we have a non negotiable date night
     - on Sunday night we have couple small group
     - on Tuesday I have an appointment to meet with and spend time with my girls
     - on Wednesday I meet with a spiritual director (one on one) to talk about my journey
3. Have support and healing for the inner stuff that's driving you to medicate in these different ways.
4. Quarantine your weaknesses.  - your same old failure patterns WILL happen again. You must protect yourself by quarantining yourself from them.
5. Learn that the gift of grace is the gift of process. The question isn't if you have done it 100% immediately, the question is if you are moving in the right direction. Do a bit at a time and you will be amazed how far you go, one step at a time.

Philippians 2:12-13 "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."