31 Days of Calm: How to Make Change Stick {Day 5}

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How to Make Change Stick for Good. @ AVirtuousWoman.org #31days

31 Days of Calm in My Chaos

A few days ago, I received a phone call from a woman whose family my husband and I have been helping and working with for about 10 years. She was so excited and so happy and I’ve never heard her so focused on changing.

You see, for years {maybe even decades} her life has been a total mess.

I am so happy and excited for her. She really made my day! She talked about coming to church and plans she was making and even asked me about how to tithe.

I offered to come and pick her family up for church since they don’t have a car and promised we’d get together soon to talk more about some of the questions she had. When you’re in pastoral ministry, it’s really exciting to see change like this after so many years!

Anyway, we talked for about 45 minutes and as I hung up the phone, I had this sinking feeling. I told my girls that we needed to pray really hard for their family.

You see, the devil doesn’t want you to succeed.

[Tweet “The devil doesn’t want you to succeed. Find out how to have success today.”]

Less than sixteen hours later I arrived at their door and knocked. Her husband came out and apologized for not having called me. They’d been up all night with their little ones who had the stomach flu.

I wasn’t surprised. The Bible says:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 ESV

[Tweet “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”]

Whenever you make the decision to change for the better, you are going to face a battle.

  • If you’ve decided that your marriage needs work and you set to it, things will be especially challenging before they get better.
  • If you decide to wake up earlier to have your prayer time, you’ll be tempted to stay up late or get sick.
  • If you decide be more patient with your children they will be especially trying on your patience.

[Tweet “Whenever you decide to make a change for the better you are going to face a battle.”]

Satan knows we are weak. And it’s only the Lord’s strength that makes any change possible.

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 NIV

There is always hope! And it is possible for us to change our bad habits and create new healthy ones.

“All things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

[Tweet “”All things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27″]

3 Ways You Can Find Success Today

Here are three ways you can find success as you work toward making change in your life.

1. Pray about it. Of course, yesterday we talked about the importance of prayer. We need God working alongside us every moment! He is our strength!

2. Don’t get discouraged. So yesterday you blew up at your husband. Okay, well, yes that was wrong. BUT, today is a new day. Ask for forgiveness and strive to be more patient. God’s mercy is new every morning! Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes.

[Tweet “Slow progress is better than no progress.”]

3. Take baby steps. Slow progress is much better than no progress. This maybe one of the great mistakes we make. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. You’re sick of your life {or maybe just a part of it} and you want change – NOW.

That’s good. But you can’t change everything overnight. If you try, you are very likely to fail. Instead, set goals and work on one or two each week {or longer} until you feel success. Then, move onto the next one.

[Tweet “You can’t change your whole life overnight. Baby steps!”]

So, for instance, if you are using my New Year’s Plan of Action form, you would go ahead and write down your goals, things you want to see changed, etc. Write down what you will need to do to accomplish each item on your list. Then, work on the first goal. Then work on the second goal. Then work on the third.

New habits are hard to create, whereas bad habits are easy to keep doing.
Don’t try to revamp your whole life all at once. They say that it takes an average of 28 days to really form a new habit. That’s a whole month! Remember, baby steps!

[Tweet “New habits are hard to create; bad habits are easy to keep doing.”]

This week we’re going to be working on getting organized at home so we can enjoy the rest of our lives and lower our stress. Today, I’m starting in the kitchen. Do one thing each day to ensure success.

Today’s Goal: List 5 things you want to see changed over the next year. Make a plan of action – how will you work toward success?

What one thing do you most want to see changed at the end of the year?


Family Mission Statement page from This is My Life Planner @ AVirtuousWoman.org #planners #proverbs31 #moms

If you haven’t seen my new “This is My Life” Planners, you are in for a treat! Not only will this planner help you organize your day, there are goal setting worksheets to help you set your priorities and find more joy.

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  1. Please pray for me. I have been working on spending time with god every morning. Tomorrow will be a week. I have a horrible headache tonight and just don't feel so hot. I have also been doing little steps to create better routines for housework. This week has been dishes and I haven't missed a day of going to bed with a clean sink. Tonight I am stuck between working through the yuckies or not doing it. I don't want satan to win! But I need God's strength!!
      1. I got up and did the dishes. I also swept the kitchen. The best part... my dishwasher had standing water in it this morning. Nice try!? But, I just handwashed my dishes from breakfast instead!! I do feel better though. :) Thanks for the prayers!
      2. Melissa, Good for you! It's so cold today... my house is freezing ... well right now we've turned the stat down to 58 in an attempt to save some money. Anyway, I'm trying to getting up the courage to go into my cold kitchen and get the dishes done. {My dishwasher broke like almost two years ago... sigh.} Hope your dishwasher is okay. I hate handwashing dishes... and so do all of my kids.
  2. Comment kindly pray for me. I'm always very temperamental when having a disagreement with my husband. your day 7 message on 'how to make a successful change', really touched me.
  3. Thank you for sharing your story and hope. I have made some amazing changes in my life and have felt set free from so many things that have gripped my heart. Just as this happened anxiety & depression has set in. I haven't been able to figure out WHY. WHY now? When I read stumbled upon your post {after I searched: how to plan my LIFE} I was reminded that satan comes to kill, steal and destroy. He is pissed that I have allowed the truth to set my heart free. Thank you for this 31 day Calm series. I thankful for a sweet and gentle encouraging plan to TAKE back my life and work on things I need to work on. Thankful for Grace to do it. I am a wife. Mom of 3 little girls. Pastors wife. Room Mom. Friend. Neighbor. and some days I feel overwhelmed, unqualified for my life. This week God has been encouraging me to SIMPLIFY and narrow down what I do and learn to do them WELL. REALLY WELL. Even if its not my favorite thing.....embrace this season and ROCK IT OUT. Thanks for encouraging me and my heart. HUGS. HUGS. HUGS.
  4. I read your blog today and felt very inspired. I have been struggling with depression for a long timet but the past couple years have been the worst. I want to change my daily routine and live a happier healthier life.. I have children & want to be at my best for them. Thank you so much for posting this. Reading this I took screen shots to look at it when I'm having a hard time. I feel god wanted me to see this & I am very grateful I did. Have a beautifully blessed day & thank you again for giving me inspiration to make some much needed changes in my life. Sincerely, Gina Marciano
  5. HI Melissa, My name is Joyce. I'm married to my husband Ray for a few days shy of 27 years. We don't have any children but we do have a friend staying with us. Most days are a challenge for me to stay encouraged. The one thing I'd like to change and it is so hard for me is i'd like to be more out going. I want to be good at making conversation even with people I know especially with my friend and my husband. I often have a hard time making conversation and keeping the conversation going so much that i often am quiet or stop talking when my friend walks in the room. This irritates my friend and it makes her very angry. ( her mother wouldn't talk to her for a whole week.) Now she doesn't want my help and wants to eat alone. She has been helping us immensely not just financially but spiritually. Now she says she is not spending a penny on the home we live in and she's choosing not to help us financially any more. I don't know what where going to do for 2 months when a few loans are paid off. I'm trying to get disability so getting and keeping a job are not realistic. i'm on medication for my mental health. Thank you so much for listening to my rambling. Sincerely Joyce Chotkowski
    1. Joyce, I'm so sorry you're going through a difficult time. I tend to be pretty quiet. I write most of my words instead of speaking them! I would pray about it and try thinking of one or two things you could talk about each day. Even if for just a few minutes. Also, I would encourage you to take Meyers-Briggs personality test and then read up on your personality and look for ways to improve those things you can improve. But, ultimately, it's okay to be quiet. Take baby steps toward being more outgoing - doing something small each day. God will help you!