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New year brings with it new lifestyle goals | Faithful Living
While much of the nation contends with the inconveniences of extreme cold, many of us have been drawn outside this week by the sunshine and mild temperatures. If you are a gardener, no doubt you’ve ventured out to assess your flower beds and garden plots. I’m seeing a mess of spent annuals. I’m also seeing great promise, fueled by last year’s seed catalogues.
It’s what a mild winter and lengthening days can bring to our lives. It’s also what happens when we accept the gifts a new year offers us. What a sweet experience it can be to dream and create new plans. It’s why gym memberships swell and Weight Watchers offers free memberships. Deep within ourselves is the desire to move forward, make improvements and experience some change.
Why, then, is change so difficult when we long for it? What do we have to do, what new habits must we embrace, to truly enjoy lasting change?
Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., and author of the best-seller “The Purpose Driven Life,” has written a new book that tackles these questions and more.
Warren says he has written this book to guide people toward living healthier lives so they can use the gifts of renewed energy and alertness to make other changes they long for.
Warren’s success has gifted him with fame. But he also knows about profound, untouchable loss. A young adult son, who battled mightily with profound mental illness, committed suicide last year. Warren says the loss was so painful he soothed himself for a time with food, taking up old eating habits. Much of the weight he had lost in previous years quickly piled back on. He experienced lethargy and foggy thinking.
Then his friends circled round him, encouraging a return to what he had been doing. Out of these experiences and research has come “The Daniel Plan.”
Warren contends that five elements must come into play for lasting change to take place.
First, build your life based on truth.
Second, make wise choices. Arm yourself with good information about food and exercise and make wise choices every meal, every day.
Third, be willing to think in new ways and create a new mind-set. To do so will reward you with new emotions and motivations to change.
n Fourth, invite God’s spirit into your life. Rather than focusing on self-control, consider what it means to partner with God’s spirit to live in healthy, productive ways.
Fifth, involve yourself in honest community. Team with people who have similar goals, and they will not only hold you more accountable but also be your greatest supporters.
The truth of the matter is this: we can spend our lifetimes searching for the perfect church or we can discover love and forgiveness by becoming part of a local congregation.