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New Year, New You? Are You Ready for Change?

The new year is underway! One of the first things we usually do is reflect on the past year and decide what needs to be different in the new. Maybe you decided to lose those stubborn 10 pounds, quit smoking, limit social media, work on being more patient, etc. But change is not that easy, as I’m sure you’ve realized now that we’re a month into 2024.

Too often, we start the change process and quickly lose steam. Yuck, another failure. Then we think, “Why even bother? Why is this so hard?” Change might be desired, but readiness to change makes the difference. So, before we get any further into the year and you get frustrated and lose heart about your goals, like dieting for a healthier weight or limiting your screen time, ask two important questions.

How important is the change? Be honest. Are you doing this because someone else thinks you should or because you feel guilty? To assess the importance of a change, rate it on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being not important at all and 10 being the most important. If your rating is low (below a 5), you aren’t ready. Lack of importance means change is a low priority. It’s a setup for failure. For example, I asked a patient if he wanted to lose weight. He said, “Not really, but my wife wants me to.” The more we talked, the more he told me that weight loss was not an important issue for him. He wasn’t ready to give up comfort food with all the stress he was experiencing. He rated the importance as a 3.

How confident are you to make a change? The importance of a change may be high, but if you lack the confidence to make the change, it’s a setup for failure too. To assess your confidence, use that same 1 to 10 scale. If your confidence number is low, change will be hard to make. Let’s use our patient example again. Patient #2 tells me losing weight is a 9 out of 10 on the importance scale. He really wants to drop those pounds because he knows it is negatively affecting his health. But he rated his confidence in losing weight as a 3 out of 10. His reason for low confidence was due to his previous failed efforts to lose weight. He needed a plan for success that would help him to not fail again, and that plan included identifying all the barriers and challenges to weight loss. 

Whatever it is that you want to change, it needs to be important, and you need to feel confident to make it happen. Otherwise, you probably aren’t ready to make a change. One way to increase your readiness is to make a list of the pros and cons of making a change. The pros should outweigh the cons, and the cons need to be considered as they relate to your confidence.

And remember, pray and ask God to help you make this change and stick with it. You have the power of the Holy Spirit in you to help with confidence. God in us is a powerful change agent. If change is important, don’t get discouraged or give up. If confidence is your issue, enlist the power of the Holy Spirit along with a good plan to overcome the barriers to change. And remember, most people don’t change in a straight line, meaning there will be ups and downs related to that change. The key is to not give up. Identify what got in your way of success and try again.

For additional audio and visual resources to encourage your listeners, please visit and scroll to the “Radio Resources” section.