Simple growth is about removing barriers to creating and keeping habits and commitments that will lead to personal change.
Significant change can be overwhelming. We see the chasm between where we are and where we want to be and give up before we start.
Making a change or growing personally requires four things:
- A clear starting point
- A preferred future
- A plan
A Clear Starting Point
A clear starting point means two things:
- a time and place to start the pursuit of change and
- an honesty about current reality.
If I want to lose weight, then I should decide when and where I’m starting my exercise program. There needs to be an initial line in the sand.
I also need to stand on a scale and take stock of where my weight is.
What the scale says might be upsetting, but we won’t grow what we don’t measure. And we can’t measure without a baseline.
A Preferred Future
It’s not enough to know where you’re starting. You also should set a destination point.
In most of our pursuits, a preferred future will not mean an ‘end point.’ A destination doesn’t necessarily mean a moment in time when you can take your foot completely off the gas.
It’s a description of the ideal situation.
For instance, if one of my growth areas is to be a better husband, then my destination or preferred future might look like this:
- My wife knows and experiences my love for her in my words and deeds.
- My wife feels safe and secure with me.
- My wife and I enjoy fun, new experiences (etc.)
I will never be ‘done’ with those things, but they still represent a preferred future. And knowing these characteristics of the marriage will inform my actions and give me clues on how to set up a plan.
I won’t move from my starting point to my preferred future without a plan. But the plan should not be complicated.
The plan demystifies and bridges the chasm between the current reality and the preferred future.
A plan is our chief weapon against overwhelm. All that is needed for the plan is the identification of a single action.
For example, if I want to lose weight, my planning can be as simple as committing to a 20 minute walk every morning. I don’t need to kill myself about food. I don’t need to get a trainer. I don’t need to find a CrossFit gym and start posting pictures of myself pushing monster truck tires.
I need to simply pick one small keystone discipline or habit. There’s a good chance that one simple discipline will actually lead to other disciplines to support it.
Willingness captures what we often call self-discipline, and makes it more forgiving.
If we lack self-discipline we consider it a character flaw. We either have it or we don’t. If we don’t, we give up.
But if we focus on being wiling, then we graciously challenge ourselves to pursue the change we’re seeking.
Willingness means that we are open to enlisting help. We will start over after failing. We are willing to pivot and try a new approach. And we are willing to get up early, turn off the TV, seek accountability, and do whatever it takes to see the change happen.
Simple Growth is Not Easy
To sum it up, simple growth as it will be pursued and discussed in this blog, is about taking consistent, intentional steps from a current reality toward a preferred future.
It isn’t easy. Simplicity means that we don’t get to hide behind venn diagrams and flow charts and complicated goal systems. Those things are complicated, but they are easy because they distract us from action.
Simple growth requires action. Simple action. Daily. Before you know it, the simple actions taken daily will have the appearance of massive action and effective change.
Questions (answer in the comments):
- Where do you struggle with personal growth and change?
- What has worked for you?
- Do you prefer simple, consistent steps, or massive, one-time action?