Kat Mills on setting realistic targets for change and the best way to go about achieving them.

Kat Mills
Kat Mills

Firstly, I want to wish you a very Happy New Year! Where does the time go - it's 2019 already!

I find the new year beautiful and calming. It feels like a fresh slate, and it is always a good time to reflect on the year just gone and to look at making positive changes in the next year.

Many times I have stumbled when setting myself unrealistic expectations. It's normally a long list of amazingly healthy and optimistic resolutions of the drastic changes I will make in my life. Within a couple of weeks, I can't keep it up and then fall back into the same unhealthy habits and think, "Well maybe next year!" I have decided to approach it differently this time.

Over the last year I have been working hard on a musical project called 'Work in Progress', and it has given me a lot of food for thought.

It's always great to look at ways we can improve our health, be more thoughtful and break bad habits, but when we go about it in a whirlwind of frenzy it is hard to see long-lasting results.

I think it is so important to realise that it's a journey and that we are 'works in progress'. We need to learn how to enjoy the process instead of living for the mirage of perfection.

As 2019 begins I look back over 2018 and I am really pleased with how far I have come and all the things I have overcome.

In March, I flew to America and overcame many obstacles and challenges that in the past would have held me back.

In June, I finally got diagnosed with Autism and ADHD and only now am I getting the support, understanding and help I need. I am on the right medication and am starting to have more of an idea of how I work, what areas I need extra help in, and how to embrace the gifts within me.

I have been working hard at developing my song writing skills and have been trying to be a lot more aware of how I come across, how to interact more effectively with people and how to communicate in a way they will understand.

I have made some small but lasting changes to my diet and am losing weight in a slow, but steady and maintainable way.

It's important that we take time to see the positives and rejoice and celebrate those things we have been able to achieve and realise how far we have come, even in just a year. It's only from this perspective that we can then look ahead without fear or shame, but instead be excited of the things to come.

Of course, I feel I still have a long way to go with my weight, and to be better at interacting socially, at pacing myself and being more organised! What I don't need to do is to see that as one big scary, unachievable list, but instead break it down into small achievable hurdles.

I remember as a child staying in the Lake District regularly with my family. My dad would drive us up into the hills, pick which looked the biggest and then announce we were going to climb it. We complained and dragged our heels and looked miserable about the whole experience.

The way dad got us to conquer the task was to set little targets. He carried our water in his backpack and would often say that at the next large boulder we would take a drink and rest and then continue to the next target. Slowly we would make our way until suddenly we would look down and realise how far we had come and eventually realise that we had reached the peak and had conquered what felt impossible. We had focused on the one leading the way and chasing after the refreshments bag rather than on the height of the mountain.

Remembering this story has reinforced that I need to take things step by step and not do them alone. Just as my dad led my family to the peaks of the Lake District, God leads me through the journey of my life.

My trip to America last year taught me that God can help me overcome my weaknesses and change me from merely surviving to thriving.

I don't have to be limited by my weaknesses when I rely on His strength!

I hope that this new year you would know that you don't have to do it alone and that there is one who can strengthen you, fill you with peace and guide you in all you do. God knows you by name and loves you.

Praying that you have such a blessed 2019! CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.