’Tis the season of gym memberships, low-carb diets, and good intentions. Once a year, in the grand tradition of the New Year’s resolution, we resolve to eat healthier and brush up on our Spanish. Read more books and watch less TV. Be a little more patient and a lot more forgiving. We order yoga mats online and wait for serenity and better muscle tone to arrive at our doorsteps in 2–4 business days.
Maybe, like me, you’re able to stick with it for a month or so. But soon the kale smoothies of January give way to the milkshakes of February, and our good intentions become our failed ambitions. We stow our yoga mats beneath our beds, fall back to our old habits, and sigh, “Someday I’ll change.”
Change Is Hard
We all want to grow and learn and be better today than we were yesterday. So why is change so hard? Personal growth is essential to God’s plan. The Savior asks us to become “even as [He is].” How can we ever reach that lofty goal when we fall short of even our more modest ones?
Here’s where I admit that I’m unqualified to give you advice. I have no triumphant personal stories to inspire you, no profound epiphanies to share. I’m just a guy trying to figure things out, same as you. But as I thought recently about what stands in the way of my own progress, a few ideas came to mind—impressions of simple things I can do to improve.
Maybe this is just me giving myself a pep talk. Or maybe you’ll find one or two ideas that can help you change for the better.
Ask for Direction
We forget sometimes, when making plans to improve, to check in with the One who made the plan. The scriptures promise that “he shall direct [our] paths” if only we will ask—but do we remember to ask?
He knows us—and our spiritual blind spots—better than anyone. If we humbly inquire, “What lack I yet?” then He can inspire us to consider paths that we may have overlooked but that lead to the most joy.