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Feature Article: Mastering & Sustaining Personal Change

Suzanne Recommends:

Inspirational Women's Garden Club

  • Mastering & Sustaining Personal Change, Wed, Jan 16, 7 pm EST

Mastering & Sustaining Personal Change

It's a brand-new year! This is one of my favorite times of year as it's the perfect time for a new beginning - a time to set goals, to make personal changes, to begin to create the life we want. You may want to lose weight this year, to find a spouse, to have a child, to follow a dream, or to make changes in your character that are transformational! The good news is that God in in the business of change, and He stands ready and willing to help you!

Yet as much as you may want to change and grow in these various areas, change is difficult. It's like riding a bike uphill - the process of making the decision to change is very easy. But sustaining the change when the going gets tough is what becomes difficult.

What does it take to make these changes? I've discovered there are a few keys to victory, which enable us to not only master a personal change, but also to sustain it over time. Let's look at these principles together to help you find encouragement for your personal situation as you strive to master & sustain personal change.

  1. We need to decide and maintain this positive mindset.

    First, you have to decide. Do you really want this goal? What are you willing to overcome to get it? Have you counted the cost of this goal? Would God want this for you? These are hard questions to answer, yet upon reflection, you'll discover whether or not you're really willing to make the commitment to follow this particular dream in your life.

    I remember an illustration once of someone who was asked if they thought their new business would succeed, and to rank their confidence on a scale of 1-10. The person responded with a "4." The coach encouraged them, saying, "How would your performance be different if you just gave yourself permission for a time to be a "10?" The person agreed that his performance would likely improve dramatically if he truly believed his business would succeed at a "10."

    The apostle Paul wrote in the book of Philippians, from jail no less, to encourage the believers at Philippi: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Phil. 4:8). We can follow this guidance - making a decision and staying positive about our commitment to it.

  2. Recognize we can't do it alone.

    It's impossible to make changes alone - without the support of those around us. This is a life-long principle for us. From infants whose first developmental task is to bond with their parents before exploring the world around them, likewise, those who seek great personal change need a strong support structure. Whether you're seeking a new educational goal, to lose weight, to manage your violent temper - whatever that change is - it will require a strong support system in place for support, encouragement and accountability.

    I've always enjoyed listening to New Life Live, which is a radio call-in Christian counseling program. A key theme that goes through all of the exhortations to those who call in is the support structure that is required to change. People need safe people, relationships and structures in their lives in order to take the great risks required to bring about substantive life change.

    How do we do this?

    There are several ways - one of which is to get a coach! A personal coach is someone who is there to assist you in making these transformational life changes. They help provide a structure for change by providing regular support, encouragement and accountability.

    We can put systems into place. Perhaps you're someone who is not skilled administratively, or whose time is better spent in other ways. You can put systems and processes into place to help support you in the areas you're not strong, or to allow you to leverage your time most effectively.

    We can look for those to help us - either people and relationships, resources, or information. There are several people that fall into this category for me: my husband, Gil; my professors in the Dallas D.Min. program; my prayer partners; my business advisors; partners in the Lifeforming Leadership team; and others from whom I have learned in the past and learn continually. Help is out there for us; we only need to avail ourselves of it.

    Ecc. 4:9-10 tells us: " Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Make sure you have people around who can "help you up!"

  3. Realize the changes we want to make need to become a lifestyle for us.

    Your life is a marathon, not a sprint, and many of the tremendous changes you'll undertake will require dramatic changes in your lifestyle. But we can take "baby steps" in the process. As you all know, my husband and I have recently become parents. Well, this is quite a change in lifestyle for us! But thankfully, we get to learn in baby steps - we don't have to raise a teenager tomorrow, but will have years raising our child through the various challenges he'll face at every age. Hopefully, as we gain experience in each season, we will be more prepared for the next one!

    Perhaps you've felt as you read this article that you don't need or want to make any personal changes, and that you're content with your life exactly how it is! But for those of us who do want to change, here are some principles from God's Word to help us live victoriously as we make substantive life changes to reach our dreams and desires.

Keys to Victory along the Journey

  • Make the decision and keep a positive mindset.

  • Ask God and others to help you. And remember Phil 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

  • Create a lifestyle of change, recognizing that the changes you seek to make will likely require a total re-vamp of your lifestyle. Be committed to make the changes required to reach your dreams!

Joy and Strength has a wonderful devotional (from January 25) that includes my favorite Bible passage.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil 4:13).

"Let him take hold of my strength" (Isa. 27:5)

We are conscious of our own weakness and of the strength of evil; but not of the third force, stronger than either ourselves or the power of evil, which is at our disposal if we will draw upon it. What is needed is a deliberate and whole-hearted realization that we are in Christ, and Christ is in us by His Spirit; an unconditional surrender of faith to Him; a practice, which grows more natural by exercise, of remembering and deliberately drawing by faith upon His strength in the moments of temptation and not merely upon our own resources. "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I will do thus and thus." So we too may form, like St. Paul, the habit of victory.
(Charles Gore)

    If you would like to hear more topics like these, please join us for the January "Inspirational Women's Garden Club" event this Wednesday, January 16, at 7 p.m. EST. For more information, contact Suzanne at We'd love to have you join us and bring a friend, too!

January Coaching Special

With enrollment this month in the Inspirational Women's Garden Club, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at I'd love to help you.

Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.

Many prayers and blessings to you all,

Leadership Tips and Relationship Tips are monthly e-zines written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.


Suzanne Martinez
SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 9172
Reston, VA 20195-9172

Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2008.

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Leadership & Relationship Tips
January 2008
Vol. I, Issue 14

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Upcoming Garden Club Teleseminars

Interested in joining the Inspirational Women's Garden Club?

It's a monthly get-together via telephone of women to network, build relationships with one another, and to discuss the Relationship Tips monthly topic.

Our next Inspirational Women's Garden Club event is:

Wed, January 16, 7 pm EST.

Our topic will be Mastering & Sustaining Personal Change.

If you'd like more information about the Garden Club or to enroll, please go to Inspirational Women's Garden Club. You may hear a sample audio class at FREE Gift and FREE Handout. Hope you'll join us!

Becoming a Woman of Godly Character

Our words reflect our hearts and character. In the CD, "Becoming a Woman of Godly Character," Suzanne provides answers to common questions women ask and encourages you in your walk with Christ.

She'll also teach you qualities of a godly woman and the process whereby God changes you throughout your life to make you more like Christ.

Click here to order your copy...

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

In this four-week study guide, Suzanne leads you to simple, but powerful, tools to reverse the effects of the curse and transform your relationships in amazing ways.

As you learn and incorporate these three simple "power tools" into your relationships, you'll find you rediscover joy and fulfillment in your relationships in a new and fresh way.

Click here to order your copy!

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Would you Like to Hear Recent Garden Club Messages?

Developing Patience through Your Difficulties (April 2007)

Celebrating the Goodness of God in your Life (May 2007)

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety (June 2007)

Finding Rest for Your Soul (July 2007)

Conquering Bitterness through the Power of Forgiveness (August 2007)

Resolving Conflict and Healing Patterns from the Past (September 2007)

Pink and Blue: Secrets to Translating Male/Female Communication to Achieve Meaningful Love and Work (October 2007)

Depending on God to Live Victoriously Despite Our Circumstances (November 2007)

Persevering Prayer that Leads to Hope and a Victorious Life (December 2007)

If you'd like to hear recent messages on audio CD or to give copies as gifts to friends, contact Suzanne at (703) 282-2325 to order your copies. Copies will also be available in the shop very soon!

Inspiring Devotionals

Has your relationship with Christ lost its fervor? Have you gotten caught up in the stresses of life? Is your time with the Lord placed on the back burner?

These two devotionals will help renew your focus on Christ, gain strength for the trials you face, and enable you to give praise to God amidst whatever difficulties you encounter.

For a sample of Joy and Strength, see the final paragraphs of "Finding the Secrets to Contentment in Every Season of Life" at the left.



Shop here to obtain your own copy.

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About Suzanne

Suzanne France Martinez
Founder & Principal

During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting.

Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.

Copyright © 2006-2008 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC.