Belief Beyond Boundaries
A very important aspect to total mind, body, and soul transformation is personal wellness. Alone, wellness ties all 3 aspects together. A significant lack in mental or physical wellness is a detriment to well being in general as well as spiritual growth.
According to Dr. M. Swarbrick, in "A Wellness Approach" written in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, the author outlines 8 dimensions of wellness that we can point to in order to create potential goals that improve our personal wellness and satisfaction. You may also consider referring to these dimensions when approaching Degree #1: "Self Reflection".
Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships.
Satisfaction with current and future financial situations.
Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system.
Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life.
Personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one's work.
Recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition.
Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills.
Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being.
As a whole the "8 Degrees of Spiritual Transformation," which this blog wholly represents, includes topics to improve not only wellness, but also focuses on self reflection, acknowledgment, and finally actions that promote a fulfilled and purpose-driven spiritual life by expanding that which improves lives and clearing away that which does not. Using a goal oriented approach, the 8 Degrees of Transformation seeks to create outcomes that will significantly improve your life. Stick with me as we continue to explore many topics that support this mission.
You may recognize Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous quote, "The only thing to fear is fear itself." He spoke this during one of the most challenging times of our nation's history, The Great Depression. It was a dark time when the world seemed to be unraveling and hope seemed far away. It can be easy to let our current circumstances define us, and depending on our perception, these fears are created in our minds offering us nothing but limitation and lack. Fear is the ultimate destroyer of dreams. So how do we overcome it?
Commit to Your Vision
You need to sincerely ask yourself this question: "If I didn't reach my dream, because of an excuse or a fear I have, would I be okay with that?" If not, it may be time to reach down deep and find the courage you need to overcome your limitation. Will you pick up your cross?
"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." - 2 Timothy 1:7
Through Love You Can Do Great Things
Love overcomes fear. It is true that when we love something with our whole heart, what would normally seems like a challenge is suddenly transformed into a purpose through focused intention. There are countless stories of everyday people doing incredible feats out of a spirit of love they may not have had the capability of doing otherwise. It is when we transform our own dreams and ambitions into acts of service and love that we too can have access to this great power God has gifted to us. This, my friends, circumvents fear altogether.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.” - 1 John 4:18
So how do we cast out fear? LOVE! Although there are other tactics to simply dealing with fear such as preparation, understanding where our fears are coming from, and other mental work, it is truly our inner motivations and purpose that will drive us through it. When we forget our purpose, it is simply too easy for fear, insecurity, and distraction to creep in, diverting us from what we are here to do. I hope this brings you encouragement, friends. Have a good day!
If you watch football, you'll know that touchdowns don't come easy. It is a series of strategies, plays, and regular practice that all come together to successfully get the ball into the end zone to score a touchdown. The process isn't all that much different than in your own life, but knowing the process of winning in your goals will help you create an ongoing system of success. Let's break this down:
Have a Clear Objective
In order to have the best outcome, it is important to know what it is you're working toward. If your goal is to lose weight, what does this look like to you? Is it a specific weight? Is it how you feel? Be specific so you'll know when you've actually completed your goal. If your goal is to be more spiritual, break this down into clear actions such as reading the Bible, becoming an evangelist, attending a set number of volunteer sessions each week. This is where lists come in handy.
Create a List of Plays
Once you've gotten clear on what a winning game looks like regarding a goal, really committing to that vision in your mind. It's time to decide what strategies you can use to get to that outcome. Before embarking on any goal, always make a list of what strategies you'll employ. Don't worry if your list isn't completely full. You can add more strategies later. Let's say your goal is to find a new job, your starting list could look like this:
The key to successfully winning any game is practice. In goal work, the answer works the same. Regular, ongoing great habits and activity is key to winning! In the above example (finding a job), some great habits could be:
Strategize Your Plays
Games are best played with thoughtful strategies and so is goal work. Once you've created some lists and established what habits you can use, its time to determine the best place to start. In the above example (finding a job), you wouldn't necessarily start with sending out your resumes. You'd want to make sure your resume is up to date and that you know the latest trends in job hunting. You would then narrow down exactly where you'll send your resumes or what activities you will do on an ongoing basis so you can effectively deploy your strategy.
Methodically work toward the end zone
It takes focus, concentration, and careful consideration of the activities you employ on a regular basis in order to win the game. Through regular practice, diligence, and keeping an eye on your plays, you'll have all the tools you need to win the game. For more information on goal setting, check out my post, "The Core of Success - Goal Setting."
As you read through my blog posts, you may get the feeling like it can be truly hard to create a routine that supports all of the suggestions I've given so far. First, I want you to understand that this does not happen over night. For me, this has come with years of practice making slight changes to the way I use my time, little by little, step by step, with small adjustments being made on a regular basis. If all you start with is a time block of 15 minutes per day, that is a great start! You can adjust this as you slowly rearrange and change your level of effort over time.
With that said, you might be wondering how I organize and achieve all the things I've suggested. I use tools that help me stay focused throughout the week so I can make the most of the available free time I have. First, let's look at some of the digital tools I use to help keep me organized and focused and then a little bit about what my routine looks like each week.
The "Done" App
The most important tool I use is the Done App (not a paid promotion). Basically, I can program in any task or habit along with what my goal number for the week is. It then provides a colored bar that tells me what my progress is. I can then click on a habit in my list whenever I accomplish a task. Over the course of the week, I keep my eye on the progress of every goal or habit I have. You can accomplish the same thing with other apps or using your own online spreadsheets, but I personally like how this App feels and the level of intuitiveness it offers.
Timers and Alarms
I keep track of how much time I have been working on a task simply using the timer and alarm I have on my phone. This helps me with time blocking so I can either keep track of how much time I have been spending on a task while also limiting my time on other tasks. You can read more about time blocking in a previous post I wrote titled "The Power of Time Blocking" here.
Journals and Logs
Using journals and logs, I keep ongoing attention to various things like gratitude, bible reading, prayer, and wisdom. I use the Done App to ensure I've accomplished my entries each week or day. See my post titled "Journaling Your Way to Success here.
Weekly Preparation (First Day of the Week)
Goal Session - I look at my habits and goals and determine what needs to be improved, what I've accomplished, and what I need to adjust to become more effective with each goal if an adjustment needs to be made.
I review all the habits I have established, look at the ones I did not succeed in the previous week and make a mental commitment for the following week if necessary. I also have a point system that gives me points for each activity to give myself a measurable performance indicator I can use to gauge my performance over time. For more information on Habit Tracking, you can read this post titled "How to Track Habits" here.
Once I have looked at what I would like to accomplish for the week, I add all the items to my Task List (aka To-Do List). I use the "Tasks" program in Google. It allows me to store details and check off each item I accomplish throughout the week. Paired with Google's Email, you can move emails write into the Tasks program if needed as well.
On the first day of the week, I allocate any money I have saved from the previous week to various goals I am currently saving for. I do this by listing out all the items I want to save for in one column. In another column I record how much I've saved so far. Finally in the last column, I record how much I still need to save. Some examples of things you could save for include an emergency fund, home or car maintenance, travel, or big purchases.
I plan out my meals on the first day of the week to get it out of the way. For this, I simply think about what meals I want to have in the coming days, write them in an email I send to myself, place links to the recipes, and record the main ingredients I will need. The great part is, once this is done, it can also double as a shopping list.
On all the other days of the week, I simply keep checking off activities and habits from my To-Do List and Done App whenever I have time. These 2 tools work like my command center for things I want to achieve. I go in understanding that I will never achieve everything I am hoping to do, but the important part is having everything laid out in front of you in an easy-to-access location such as a phone or on your laptop in order to keep your motivation easy and strong.
I hope this is helpful to you! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below and I'd be glad to answer them. Have a great day!
Journaling is a great way to keep your mind on success. I employ journal writing on a daily basis for ongoing improvement. The good news is you don't need to be a great writer and sometimes it as simple as logging results or outcomes to give yourself a gauge on your ongoing progress. Let's look at some common goals and some logging or journaling ideas you can employ on your journey to success.
Habit journals are used to once per week to establish several things. I personally use this journal to write down habits I did not accomplish in full that previous week, meaning, I did not meet the minimum requirement of times accomplished (like weighing myself, reading a certain amount of chapters in a book, writing in a specific journal a number of times, etc.). I then look at my outstanding goals, think about what tasks I can work on, and determine what my focus will be for the week, adding or removing habits if necessary.
Bible Reading Journal
When I fill out my Bible Journal, I simply write a short note or two for each chapter I read. This helps me take each chapter's message to heart. The first time I read the Bible, I mainly focused on the names of the characters, who they are related to, and their lineage.
Losing Weight, Calorie, or exercise Journals
These journals can be used to reflect on your activity and foods eaten to establish a direction when it comes to how much food you consume, how much you exercise, and current weight. This helps compare your patterns over time to help better establish great health goals.
Taking time to write down what you are thankful for each day along with the "Why" as to why you are grateful is very helpful in providing a positive mindset. Over time, you will begin having more thoughts of gratitude throughout the day, raising your great vibes.
Prayer journals can be effective for seeing the results of your prayers over time while also allowing you to have a plan or strategy for your prayer. I divide each day's entries into categories that include:
For each category, you can make a few notes about what you'd like to pray that day. After that, you can divide your entries into multiple prayers or one long prayer. It's all up to you!
Wisdom Journal (aka Dream Journal)
The reason I call this a wisdom journal and not simply a dream journal is because I like to journal about every spiritual experience I have. Many times, these experiences work in and out of dream states, crossing over into real life. Sometimes receiving prophetic visions, signs, or experiences in real life act much like dreams and so I find these experiences even more important than a dream to take note of. I have had instances where I received wisdom pertaining to a dream years after I dreamed the dream so I find it very very important to be organized with this information.
These are just some examples of journals you can create, but almost anything you desire to take time out on a regular basis to mediate on, this is a great tool to have in your toolbox. Some journals I use daily, while some I only write in once or twice per week. The great thing about journals is they keep your mind focused in days like this where there are so many distractions. It forces you to put down the phone, turn off the television, and just take a time to focus. I hope this helps! Have a good day, friends!
The first degree in the 8 Degrees of Spiritual Transformation is Self Reflection. The reason I chose this as the first degree is due to the fact that in order to form a solid foundation for spiritual success, you should first address the things that can easily erode your foundation and your progress. Something to keep in mind, however, that all degrees should be practiced simultaneously. That is to say if you struggle in certain ways, you should still practice prayer, spirituality, good conduct, wellness etc. All degrees compliment each other, but if there are negative emotions, feelings of lack, health issues, or others, addressing these will only strengthen your progress in other areas. An example of this complimentary nature is how struggle can impact your faith or prayer life, but faith can also ease your struggle.
To help you prepare a strong foundation, I'd like to discuss with you today some of the ways that your foundation can be compromised from the start and how self reflection can assist with overcoming these challenges. I would then like to give some suggestions that can help.
Self reflection is very easy. It is simply understanding what your weaknesses are and also what your strengths are. As nice as it is to acknowledge our strengths, the hard part is acknowledging your weaknesses and admitting you need to change or find help. The silver lining is that as soon as you acknowledge what may be holding you back, the sooner you can begin living a fruitful life that glorifies God. So what are some of the things that hold people back from reaching their greater heights of potential?
Can I just say, first of all, fear is a liar. We all experience it, however. It represents the anxiety, past experience, and doubts we create in our mind about our abilities. You can overcome it. One trick to overcoming fear is this. Imagine the goal you want to accomplish as if you have already achieved it. Imagine the joy and overwhelming accomplishment you will feel when you finally get to where you are destined to go. Now ask yourself, is the situation that is causing you fear worth doing in order to take hold of your dreams? If yes, perhaps this is enough, however, if you still struggle with fear, you may want to do some research on how to practice overcoming the specific fear you have. An example of this is when I was younger, I had a dream of being a professional singer. In order to overcome my anxiety of singing in front of crowds, I regularly sang at karaoke nights for practice.
Self Doubt and Low Self Esteem
Self doubt and low self esteem affects everyone in different ways when it comes to accomplishing goals. Just as fear is a liar, these are additional fear mechanisms that are also great at making you feel like everyone you are competing with is better than you and that it isn't worth trying. This simply isn't true. If you truly feel like you are not qualified to reach your goal, this can be remedied by getting the qualifications or certifications you need. You only need to put in the effort. If, however, you have the same qualifications as other people and still feel like you are not good enough, then it may be time to ask yourself what is actually holding you back and address those concerns.
I can't say this loud enough. If you are not seeing the outcomes of your effort, it is almost always do to the fact that you need to "grow" by releasing self doubt, fear, and low self esteem.
Oftentimes, when you share ideas with friends and family, you may notice they bring up the fact that someone else is already doing it better. Stop listening to this. They are not in the same place as you and will never understand your vision and what you are trying to accomplish. One thing I try to remember is that I never have to be the best at everything to be very effective. Think about this. In every city, there are many restaurants serving delicious food. Of all the options, why would people still eat at low quality fast food places? They aren't the fastest, don't taste the best, and aren't even great at customer service. Some manage to absolutely thrive. This is because they managed to be good at something. The restaurant discovered a niche market and served its customers well in some way. You can do the same.
Depression, Anxiety, Negative Mindset, & Grief
Another factor that can affect some people's progress comes down to mental health. Thousands of people suffer with depression and/or anxiety, which can cause a lack of motivation, irrational fear, or even disability. If this is you, remember that there are a ton of ways to combat mental holdbacks. Spirituality, gratitude, exercise, counseling, medication, prayer, or coaching can all help. It's up to you where you would like to start, but wouldn't it be worth it if you could feel a sense of accomplishment from reaching your goals? In some cases, overcoming depression can be as simple as finding more order in your life and cutting back on energy sapping activity. For others, regular therapy can help a lot if lifestyle changes don't seem to help.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please visit the American Prevention for Suicide website for more resources.
Illness, Disability, or Health Concerns
If you are suffering illness or physical disability, it can be difficult to focus on anything else, let alone personal growth and development. Please don't hesitate to see a doctor if you suffer from something a doctor can assist with. For more chronic health issues, researching and implementing habits in your life that are proven to help may be a great avenue if it means the comfort you need in order to work on more fulfilling goals.
Anything that becomes an obsession whether it is alcohol, drugs, gambling, television, phone aps, pornography, excessive coping mechanisms, overeating, and even laziness can obliterate all attempts at improving yourself. Through awareness, support groups, self discipline, or a relationship with God, you can overcome any addiction that is holding you back. The first step, however, is simply the acknowledgment that you have a problem so you can begin researching and finding the help you need. From there, creating a goal-oriented lifestyle will help you reach the life you desire, a little at a time.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your life is to address relationships in your life that tear you down. If you experience abuse on a regular basis, whether it is physical, mental, or otherwise, it is very important to identify ways in which you can address this situation. People who are narcissistic, excessively controlling, jealous, manipulative, or abusive can cause another person, such as a spouse, friend, or even a coworker, to literally devote all their waking hours to serving the needs of the aggressor. Unfortunately, they will not break this cycle willingly so it is up to you to do this. Remember that you are valuable and deserve to live a life of free will in which you can operate for the glory of God. Through therapy, a strong support network, online resources, and determination, you can overcome this. If it is a friend or a relative you don't live with sometimes taking space is all that is needed.
If you or someone you know is being abused, you can call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline for more resources: 1-800-799-7233.
Guilt, Shame, and Sin
If you feel like you are not good enough to experience joy or achievement, because of what you did in the past, know that everyone has things they feel guilt and shame about. I often think about the Apostle Paul in this regard. After being someone who persecuted and even murdered Christians, Paul later became a follower of Christ and devoted that life to the Kingdom. After all he did, Jesus, himself, thought Paul was still worthy of his love and forgiveness. If instead Paul would have turned from Christ out of shame for what he had done, he would not have accomplished all that he did, becoming one of the most preeminent apostles that ever followed Jesus and his work establishing the early church. My suggestion for you is that if you feel in your heart that improving your life would be a good thing for yourself as well as for the other people in your life, it is time to claim that and begin the work needed.
Whenever I identify something that needs work, I always start the same way. I first state the goal I want to achieve, do a little research, and then make a list of solutions. I then convert those solutions into attainable tasks or sub-goals I can measurably achieve.
To put this all into context, reflecting and acknowledging weakness is encouraged for mostly one reason; it paves the way for us to feel better and do more with our lives, freeing ourselves of that which binds us. These heavy stones are attached to us held by a thin chain we can choose to cut if we are willing to look for the right tool for the job. Once we acknowledge these things, we can begin to make effective goals that serve the higher purpose we are here for. As Jesus tells us in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." - 2 Peter 1:5-8
I would like to take a moment and sum up some of the key things we've covered up to this point. So far you've read about the value of:
If you're looking for real quality and value in your life, the topics above are what truly drive this goal-oriented lifestyle I speak about. Using the 8 Degrees of Spiritual Transformation, which I discuss in "The Process of Transformation" (click the link to read more), you can formulate goals that reflect the most rewarding aspects of human experience.
So what now? Have you gotten started? Is there anything holding you back from beginning transformation? If so, let me know in the comments and I would be glad to assist you. Also let me know if there are any topics you'd like me to discuss further. Either way, keep reading for more valuable content. I appreciate all of you!
One of the most powerful habits you can integrate in your life is developing and adhering to a routine. While it is great to have a habit list, a road map of goals, and a solid foundation, having a planned routine helps by sort of automating the time factor of achieving goals. By setting up time blocks, you can achieve a routine that works well for you. Now, although time blocks may not help everyone in every situation, they can help for many habits, especially if you have a business or a lot of processes that you are working through each day. So what classifies as a time block?
A time block is a specified amount of time you work into your schedule to dedicate to a specific type of task. Even though I don't ascribe to time blocking my entire life, I do set aside specific times for some things. For instance, every day when I get home from work, I make it a habit to work on home maintenance or my task list for at least an hour and a half. This could be working on goals, checking emails, or doing home maintenance. It all kind of depends what needs to get done, but the point is, I have set aside time each day to look at what I need to get done by reviewing my task lists and current goals.
Some people may need more structure than I do, so they may set aside a time in the morning to focus on spiritual work, another time of the day to work on goals, while a separate time to work on home chores. If you own a business, you can use this technique to focus on specific activities throughout your day. For example, you might set aside 2 hours in the morning for customer communication, 2 hours for routine tasks, and 4 hours of sales calls. Sales calls could be further broken down into smaller time slots such as specific regions, customer types, or products for example. By allocating time to specific slots throughout your day, you take ownership of your time and are less likely to allow distraction to take over your day while also prioritizing how much time you intend on focusing on various tasks.
If you struggle with being productive, I highly suggest integrating time blocks into your schedule. If you can, take a moment to create a schedule of your activity for each day of the week. You could allocate time to exercise, skill building, maintenance work, Bible reading, or anything else that will help support your current goal work. I hope this helps allowing you to gain more control over your time.
If you find this information helpful, let me know your thoughts in the comments. Have a great day!
I've wrote a little bit this week and last week about finding your purpose. Last week, I wrote an article titled, Turn Your Dreams Into Action (Click Here) that addresses this a little big too. I hope you too are starting to see your own purpose as you work through my posts. That is really what life is all about isn't it? I want to ask you something, but before I do, remember that finding your purpose may not be something that changes the whole world and it doesn't have to be complicated. Your purpose can also change! Right now, my purpose is online evangelism and goal inspiration using this blog as my medium.
Have you thought about a purpose you could pick today and kind of just roll with for a few months and see if it becomes a passion? It really is a simple thing. No need to overthink it. I'll wait here and see what you come up with if you already haven't. Think about your skills or interests along with something that is very meaningful. Could you combine them? For instance, aside from this blog, I love to sing and have developed that skill to a degree. Bringing Christ into people's lives is also important to me. Perhaps, someday, my purpose will then be to serve Christ through music. How about you? Got something for me?
Now that hopefully you've come up with a couple ideas, think of a couple ways you could get involved. Could you spend one moment per week being involved with this? Whatever it is, try it for a few weeks. You don't even need to commit beyond that. This is your moment to try out a few new things. Even if you don't hit the moon, I promise you won't regret trying. Do me a favor and also if you haven't started a Goal Road Map, please do that. This is just a journal that keeps track of all your goals and aspirations. To remind yourself of your current purpose, please write that on your Goal Road Map now.
If this post has been helpful for you, please comment. Also feel free to share. Your support is always appreciated.
I absolutely love what goals can do for a person's life. I love the idea of taking thoughtful and purposeful time each and every day to make life just a little bit better and more productive than it was the day before. I look back on my own goal work and realize the small mountains I have moved and it leaves me in awe. One thing you may not see me talk as much about is wealth building and making money. Sure, making money is a goal many people have, but I feel like it is rife with complication when you consider what it takes to achieve "making money" and how shortsighted this can seem. What is the purpose? How does making money actually serve you? I would like to discuss how this mentality can actually harm you in ways, not only because you are putting the cart before the horse, but you are missing out on some key elements in the process that money can't buy.
Let's consider your purpose; the natural talents and skills that you have all working together to fulfill what is most meaningful to you as a person. Think global here. What do you see in the world that you'd like to change? This change can be your purpose. How many of us, however, quickly take a job so we can simply pay the bills? I'm guilty of this myself. After all, sometimes beggars can't be choosers.
If you're like many people today, after finding a job you are comfortable with, you find yourself asking, "now what?" Are you going to improve some skills and become more promotable? Maybe if you've already earned the skills, you start looking for a job that pays better after you've spent some time with your company? Does that bring you fulfillment? For some, this means making widgets in a factory to becoming the manger of workers who make widgets in a factory. Congratulations. The challenge is that even after you begin making more money you may still be struggling with finding fulfillment in your life, because now you may find you have even fewer hours in the day to work with. This is the problem with equating "making money" with fulfillment and success.
Keeping your eye on the money also short circuits a critical process: The value of finding fulfillment in wisdom through self-improvement. See, making money is just one fruit or product of the investments you've made in yourself in the past. It is but one reflection of what you've earned from your hard work. This is, once again, where having a purpose comes in handy. See if you're serving out a purpose, every action you take will be made out of passion; out of necessity and the power of will to see your vision come to fruition. Before money comes flowing in, think about the other fruits you are developing: Wisdom, patience, understanding, and fulfillment. It is through our purpose that we find these things.
I want you to think about your specific purpose again for a moment. Do you have one? You may have no idea what your purpose is! The truth is nobody can pick that purpose for you. You have free will and are free to choose anything you wish. You don't need to move mountains, just work toward doing something that would make your life feel more fulfilling. It is through the wisdom you gain through the successes and failures that will ultimately reveal your true calling.
If you haven't had a chance, I suggest writing down a few goals along with some simple subtasks to help you get started. If those subtasks seem daunting, break them down into even simpler tasks to make them even more achievable. Always take time to look at your list of goals each and every day, because there is something at stake: The life you've been dreaming of. Remember that money has very little to do with living out your passion. Have a great day, friends. I wish you many blessings in all your pursuits.
Psalm 49 (New International Version)
16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
when the splendor of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.
18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed--
and people praise you when you prosper--
19 they will join those who have gone before them,
who will never again see the light of life.
20 People who have wealth but lack understanding
are like the beasts that perish.