Of course I want to change. I want to believe I am a better friend, better father, better husband, better person today than I was a year ago. And I want to believe I’ll be able to say the same every year for the rest of my life. This side of heaven, there will always be room for improvement.
But wanting change isn’t enough. The world is full of chronic wishers; people who want—to get in shape, change careers, become less angry, find God, fix a bad relationship, break a habit, redefine priorities—but who never accomplish what they wish for. Why? Because change is hard. It requires us to do something that is not comfortable and we usually find it easier to repeat the same old familiar patterns, regardless of how unhealthy they may be.
What does it take to go from wishing to doing? Healthy risks. A healthy risk is any action taken for the purpose of personal or relational growth despite a strong sense of uncertainty, vulnerability, or fear. So, one measure of how much you’re changing is by looking at how often you risk doing something that is outside your comfort zone. If you’re not taking healthy risk, then you’re probably not experiencing real change.
Are you up for a challenge? Think of one significant shift you would like to make in a relationship. Perhaps you would like to be more encouraging in the workplace. Maybe you want to become more empathetic in the way you listen to your spouse, or more honest with your boss, or more passionate in your involvement with a group. Whatever stirs in your heart, focus on it and try to think of one specific, new action that would be hard for you to do, but would move you toward who you want to be.
Now… take the risk.