A favorite ecclesiastical leader of mine once said, "Just do it." A sneaker company adopted these words for a slogan because of their great impact. Just do it. These words can start you on your way to positive changes in your life. Is there something you've wanted to fix for a long time? A bad habit that needs to stop? A good habit that needs to start? A need for more education? A few pounds to lose? Just do it. It's that simple.
How to get started:
Pray to make certain
Once you've made a decision, pray and ask if it is the right one. Chances are, if it's something that has been bothering you, it is right. Promptings and impressions are often God's way of nudging you in the right direction.
Enlist heavenly help
Once you get the approval you need, ask for strength and wisdom in making it happen. Knowing that heavenly help is on your side in the form of the Holy Spirit, loved ones cheering you on and the encouragement of God and Jesus Christ, you are unstoppable. Remember your cheering section when you get discouraged.
Formulate a plan
If it's something as challenging as stopping smoking, decide if you are just going to quit cold turkey, use tools available such as gum or patches, or substitute something else for cigarettes. Make a plan and work it. If it's something like praying more or studying the scriptures with your family, get them involved and just do it together.
Set a date
For you, that may be this moment; right here, right now. Or, if it is something that requires a little more planning, set a doable date and work toward it. Remember that simply deciding to make the change is the beginning of actually doing it.
Enlist a partner
Being accountable to someone makes you much more likely to succeed. Choose someone who will champion your cause, check in on you regularly, counsel you if you slip and sing your praises when you accomplish your goal.
If you have a bad day, relapse, or forget, don't give up. Just vow to do better. But not the next day. From that moment of realization on. Sometimes it's easy to have the attitude, "Well, I've blown my diet, so I'll start again tomorrow," or "I had a cigarette, so what's the point?" Two wrongs don't make a right. Neither do four wrongs. If you get back on track at the moment you realize you've gotten off, it will be much less tempting to stay off the track.
Break a big goal into small goals
Sometimes it helps if you break the goal up into increments. Do it for one week, one month, or one hour at a time. Give yourself a pat on the back, put a star on a chart, or give a prayer of thanks for each increment you've accomplished.
Give yourself a treat periodically for sticking with your new habit or staying away from a bad one. Ask your partner to join you in the celebration. Share with family to be a good example on what you can accomplish and let them know how you did it.
Now that you've gotten this far, what's next? Step it up.
I had another ecclesiastical leader who shared this message. We can always step up our game. He was referring to the good habits of one's faith: praying daily, studying scriptures daily, paying tithing, living the commandments, etc. He challenged everyone to build upon the things we are doing well. If we were faithful in our prayers, add scripture study. If we did not covet, step it up to not bearing false witness. If we paid our tithing, step it up to add a little extra. Just do it, then do better. We can all step up our game.
Get where you want to be by just doing it and then stepping it up. Life is amazing and gets even better when we conquer self-mastery.