We’ve all heard the term “overnight success.” There are hundreds of stories of athletes and musicians and artists who seemed to blow up out of nowhere.

Here’s a story you may or may not have heard before…

She lost her mother to MS at just 15 years old. Her book was rejected over and over again. When it was finally picked up, they printed only 500 copies and made her use a pen name because boys wouldn’t want to buy a book written by a woman. She made only $1,800 from the book which was her life’s work.

This woman was J.K Rowling. With 500 million copies worldwide, she is now one of the most well-known, successful authors of all time.
Not the overnight success story we’re used to, right? It would be so easy to give up in her situation. To throw in the towel and say it is not meant to be.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you’ve failed by default” –J.K. Rowling

How many names and stories do we not know because someone gave in to the first failure?

A new year is a great time to reflect on the past and look forward to new goals. In fact, the Bible describes the importance of looking forward to change and growth.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

When reflecting on previous goals and setting new goals, it is important to consider your mindset. Mindset by Carol Dweck studies how our brain is able to make and break habits due to our perspective on failure and change. She describes the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

The fixed mindset is that intelligence, abilities, and talents are inherently stable and unchangeable over time. People with this mindset avoid change, fear failure, consider all feedback to be negative criticism, and see others’ successes as a threat to their own.
The growth mindset is that people’s most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. People with this mindset are optimistic in the face of difficulty and inspired by the successes of others.

We all have a bit of both mindsets, but there tends to be a more dominant one in each of us. Reflect on your mindset over the past year and what you would like it to be going into the new year. Moving into that growth mindset leads us to a more mature perspective.

Maturation is the expectation of every disciple of Jesus.
It is expected of you to grow, change, and progress through your walk with Christ.

It is easy to correlate aging with maturity, but I’m sure we all know an example or two of how untrue that is. Additionally, Hebrews 5: 12 describes that exact situation, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!”
Transforming, changing, and growing are not limited to those who have more life experience. These processes apply to every single person.

If you want to experience life-altering transformation and growth, it’s going to involve a radical reshaping of your mind.
To begin working on that change, reflect on these 3 questions:

1. Where do I want to be at the end of 2023?

Create a clear mental picture of the destination. Imagine the different aspects of your life: financial, relational, spiritual, professional, etc. Are they in alignment with where you want to be in December?
The only variable that really matters in terms of if we grow or not is not a “you out there” issue but a “me right here” issue. You can sabotage yourself better than anyone you know can. But take heart, you are not alone in this life change. Jesus says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
You are going to fail along the way. But because of Christ, failure isn’t fatal and growth is always possible. No matter what you’ve done, you’re not done.
It is time to leave conformity behind. Conformity is the norm in every aspect of life, whether we recognize it or not.

2. What new set of directions will get me there?

These directions are the habits, people, narratives we believe, education, social media, and all external influencers in our lives. Consider who and what influences you. This requires ruthless suspicion of yourself. Dig deep into what influences you and why.
Have these influencers been the loudest voice in your life, like a hijacked GPS telling you not to move forward because you aren’t enough and you aren’t capable of change? Name those competing voices and cut off the path their want you to take.

Good news, you’re already on your way to transformation. 2 Corinthians 3:18, “We all…are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord.” When you confess your faith in Christ, you are being transformed and renewed by partnership with God.

3. Who will help keep me on track?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2. The “you” in the second part of that verse is plural, more like “y’all.” There is no successful transformation on your own.
A 2021 Gallup Survey showed that 1 in 5 Americans do not have a close social connection. The standard for the “social connection” was anyone you have turned to for help in the past 6 months. 1 in 5 people, that’s 20% of people who are alone!

Who will be with you in the nitty gritty of life? Do you have a core community to lean into for support and accountability? If not, or if you want more, we have several groups available for every stage of life. Paul’s letters are full of the names of the people who helped him stay on course.
Who do you need to distance yourself from to move closer to your goals? This may be in-person or online. Tip: Take 10 minutes to purge your social media. Unfollow, unfriend, mute, and delete all the voices that are a barrier to your success.

No matter our age, no matter our stage of life, there is always room for growth because maturity is the target if we want to reach our goals.

If you think you don’t need to grow or you’re okay with the status quo, persistence and community will show you opportunity and success. Chase transformation to chase success.

There is no overnight success. It is day-in, day-out partnership with the Lord.