Targeting for Change – January 19, 2012
As you know from “Finding the path….to healthy eating” after much debate my husband and I selected Weight Watchers as the food plan to begin the healthy eating portion of our journey. Well I am not a spokes person for the company but I do really like it. Anyway, they have something they call “Target of Change” which I’m sure many of you have seen before but I think is so profound. I’ve built a model of the diagram below and the idea is that as you are learning new behaviors with food you change from the outside circle to the inside over time. For instance the first area to sustain real change is your environment, then attitudes, then behavior, then beliefs, and then ultimately your identity.
I think this concept applies to many areas of life not just changes in food. Let me give you a real life example of what I mean. My husband and I have been married for about 6 ½ years now. Well through the wondrous world of Facebook I had reconnected with a childhood friend. My identity to my long lost childhood friend was Jennifer Pitcher which is for the sake of this example my pre-marriage identity (aka maiden name). As she and I exchanged phone numbers to reconnect I presented myself with a text as my current identity Jennifer Pina. She didn’t recognize that name Pina and there was momentary confusion. My marriage identity change was very similar to this target. Notice the correlations to each stage that I have made below.
Environment: As a new bride a moved from my apartment into my spouse’s apartment. Not only does that move represent a physical environment change but a cultural environment change. My apartment was set up in a certain way, we (my roommate Miss Connie & I) had decorations, routines, and schedules that all encompass the “culture” we created as roommates. Big shout out to Miss Connie to being the best roommate EVER until my husband of courseJ. Environment change includes physical, relational, cultural, etc.
Attitudes: I remember a few months into being married I needed an attitude adjustment. I was single for 28 years and was used to doing things my own way. I had to learn to compromise, to be unselfish, share, and love unconditionally. This was not an instant change but over time my “single” attitudes grew and matured into respectful, loving, and wifely attitudes.
Behavior: When you first get married you have to learn each other’s routines and habits. I am a morning person and my husband is a night owl. Over time we have evolved and compromised. I stay up later than I would in my single days and he gets up earlier than he would have pre-marriage. Our holiday behaviors changes as we share time with family rotating Christmas’. These behaviors did not evolve over night; they were birthed out of hard work, much discussion and great compromise.
Beliefs: As young passionate Christ followers and newlyweds my husband and I would debate over many different topics. Our intellectual compatibility has always been a fulfilling part of our relationship. It’s interesting to me how over time I can see how we have both softened some of our stances on various topics. I understand why the target has beliefs as one of the inner most areas of change because this is one that definitely takes the longest.
Identity: Identity represents the core of who we are. It is shaped by our family background, our history & experiences, our beliefs about life, our faith, our expectations, our habits, and much more. My identity transformation from a single person to a married person was so easy feet. I am no different from any other married person. It has taken time, work, communication, patience, blood, sweat, & tears! Transforming an identity doesn’t happen overnight, it is a lifelong process.
Can you see how this target of change can apply to SO many areas of life? Think about the transformation that takes place when someone surrenders their life to Christ and begins a walk as a Christ follower. Everyone told me when I became a wife and when I became a Christ follower that life would not always be easy, that there would be difficulties & triumphs, that making that choice does not mean a life of luxurious living. People have said that my transformation would take time, a lot of hard work, and a lot of intentional choices to prioritize my relationship. Well my journey and transformation to getting healthy is exactly the same process. I am encouraged by the fact that I can see as a wife and a Christ follower that my identity after years of effort HAS in fact changed. I have hope on this journey to getting healthy that as I stay connected to my Lord, stay on the plan he has chosen, put in the blood, sweat and tears that my identity will change into a healthy, whole, & fit person! I look forward to the day when I no longer see myself as an overweight, out of shape, unhealthy, and out of control woman. My identity is already evolving even as I type these words.
I am a very visual person so I actually have this target hanging on my refrigerator. This visual reminds me that just as it was when I was a new bride, this change in my life will be gradual. It begins on the outside and works itself all the way to the core of my being. It gives me a great starting point which is my environment. Steps along the way to gage my progress, i.e.: attitudes, behavior, and beliefs. Ultimately reminds me of the hope I have in the Lord as I allow him into this place of my life He will and is over time changing my identity. I look forward to the day when I will present myself in my new identity and my pre-journey identity of obesity and unhealthy living will just be a memory.
Questions for you if you choose to accept them….
1. When you look at that target what do you see?
2. I mentioned examples of marriage & faith; do you see other examples relevant to this change?
3. Does this target challenge you as it has with me?
4. When you think about the changes you are working on what steps have you taken toward change in your environment? Attitudes? etc.?
5. I mention my hope in my faith for my identity change. What gives you hope in your journey of change?