7 Steps to Making Positive Changes In Your Life

The new year is upon us, and for many people, they are excited about making resolutions dealing with everything from weight loss to saving more money.  It’s admirable to wake up one day and decide that you want something different in your life…but how you go about it makes all the difference between success and failure, says Grant Hasty, CEO of Renewed Life Christian Counseling Center.

As a Counselor, Hasty has met with many people who were disappointed when their goals were not met right away.  “It’s basic human nature to want to better ourselves, but in these times of ‘instant gratification,’ people are not patient enough to wait for those changes and improvements to take place.”

Whether your goal is to find a new career or improve your communication skills with your spouse or significant other, if you follow these seven simple steps the process will be easier, less stressful and more likely to be successful.

  1. Name It To Claim It – In other words, write down your goals, and “be specific.”  Don’t just say, “I want to lose twenty pounds by bathing suit season.”  Instead, come up with the steps you will need to meet that goal of losing weight.  For example, you will come up with a plan that includes a combination of healthy eating, more exercise and lifestyle changes that you will need in order to see real progress. The more specific the plan the easier it is to follow.
  1. Keep a Positive Attitude – With the right attitude, your chances of success are very high!  In life, your attitude determines how far you can go, no matter what your goal.  With a positive attitude, you recognize that obstacles may interfere on a temporary basis, but you can overcome them and continue on your journey.
  1. Have a Support System in Place – While it may be possible to do it alone, it is better to do it with a support system in place.  In other words, who can assist you and be your “cheerleader” along the way?  Sometimes an encouraging word from a friend who also sees the value in the changes you are trying to make can be a big help. Make sure you set times to celebrate your successes along the way with your “cheerleader.” Those celebrations go a long way to keep the motivation and the relationship between you and your “cheerleader” positive and productive.
  1. Get Professional Help When You Need It –  For example, a registered dietitian can make your diet healthier while still allowing you to eat some of the foods you enjoy.  A personal trainer can help you design an exercise program that works for you and your schedule.  A counselor can help you overcome challenges and reduce stress, no matter what goal you have chosen.
  1. List your Obstacles – Most professional and Olympic athletes know a key to a good plan is to identify and clarify all things that will get in your way to achieving your goal.  If you know going out with the guys for wings and a game will throw you off your plan, label it as an obstacle and steer clear of it. If you know your obstacles, you can steer clear of them or make plans to overcome them.
  1. List the Benefits – Have a clear list of the benefits of your resolution and goals posted somewhere that you will see it often. When we focus on the benefits we will receive instead of the hard work necessary to achieve our goals it makes the process much easier to stay motivated. Try to list at least 3 benefits to focus on that will keep you going to the end.
  1. Don’t forget to ask God for help – God loves it when we desire to improve ourselves.  A prayer for strength and perseverance is something most find very helpful when trying to make changes in our lives. 1 Corinthians 9:24 says “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”  Prayer can help us to run in a way that we might win.

If you are ready to make some positive changes in your life, take a deep breath, write down your goals, see the benefits and have the confidence to make them happen.

Communication is the Key to a Successful Marriage

A recent poll of 100 mental health professionals found that communication problems were cited as the most common factor that led to divorce (65 percent), followed by couples’ inability to resolve conflict (43 percent).  Those statistics are no surprise to Grant R. Hasty, CEO, Counselor and founder of Renewed Life Christian Counseling Center.

“In my years of counseling married couples, communication problems are at the top of the list,” he says.  “Often times people are quick to forget the vows they made on their wedding day.  When you stand before God and promise to love, honor and cherish your spouse until death do you part, that should mean something.”

Hasty believes that when men and women realize they communicate differently, they are making an important first step in learning how to resolve conflict and understand each other’s feelings.  “Women will use verbal and nonverbal language, while men will most often just use their words.  The secret is to understand how your spouse communicates, and listen carefully to what they are really trying to say.”

When couples realize that no one is perfect and there will always be a disagreement or two down the road, it makes the communication and understanding process go 100 percent smoother.  “One of the most powerful concepts I have see in changing the way couples communicate is understanding soft emotions vs hard emotions.  If a couple commits to never using the hard emotions and only soft emotions in ALL their communication, even when they disagree it will transform their marriage,” says Hasty.

Hasty offers some tips for married couples to help them learn to communicate more effectively:

  • Listen to each other – When your spouse is talking, make sure you give them your undivided attention (and put down that Smartphone!).
  • Keep calm – Only use soft emotions of kindness, gentleness, show love, patience, peace. Never use hard emotions for there is no reason to yell, rant and rave when you are having a disagreement with your spouse.  This will just lead to the other person responding in the same manner, both will become defensive  and in a few moments, chaos will continue to escalate.
  • Think of the other person – Whenever you are having a disagreement, try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes for a few minutes. Often times this will help you understand where your spouse is coming from, and what they need from you.
  • Make sure you are on the same page – Often times when there is a disagreement between married couples, they assume their spouse understands what they are trying to convey. But in reality, the exact opposite may occur.  If you do not understand what your spouse is trying to say, calmly ask them to please clarify it.
  • Use a different communication method – Some people find it easier to write down their feelings and frustrations than verbalizing them. If that is the case, take a few moments and send an e-mail or write a note to your spouse.  In some cases this makes the entire communication process a breeze!
  • Take five – Or ten, or fifteen minutes and walk away. Time-outs are good. Make sure you time out has a clear time-in. If you find yourself getting nowhere and you are frustrating each other, take a break.  Revisit the communication issue when each of you has had time to think and breathe.

“Effective communication is essential for a successful marriage,” says Hasty.  When you learn how to communicate, everyone is a winner.”


Renewed Life Christian Counseling Center exists as a ministry to provide professional, faith-based, Christian counseling to all of Delaware and surrounding states in order to address mental, emotional, and spiritual health needs.  They are trained to provide counseling services to children and their families in need of help around all school needs. They believe that solid professional mental health practices, integrated with clear Biblical Christian principles, will help people be restored to healthy relationships with God, self and others. It is their mission to help people live out the meaningful abundant life that God has designed for them to live weather at home, school or in place of employment.  For additional information, please visit rlccc.org or call 302-464-0515.

Renewed Life Christian Counseling Center: A Decade of Service

As a pastor for 18 years, Grant Hasty felt that most Christian counseling he had been exposed to did not fully understand or incorporate solid medical mental health knowledge and concepts along with Biblical principles.  He strongly believed that the people in Delaware needed this, and that it should be staffed with counselors who are trained and understand Biblical principles, and who have licensed mental health degrees. “My goal was to have counselors who would come alongside people right where they are and help them in their time of need with the compassion of Christ,” he said.

Grant has accomplished that goal, and this year marks a decade of service that his nonprofit agency, Renewed Life Christian Counseling Center (RLCCC), has been serving Delaware and Maryland residents.

“I wanted to create a counseling center that has a passion for God, a passion for teens and their families, and a passion for healthy marriages,” he said.  Grant also wanted to create a counseling center that would impact the local church by helping them with counseling that Pastors do not have the time or training to address.

He holds a Master of Divinity degree and is an ordained pastor. In addition, he also has a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in Mental Health and Chemical Dependency, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).  Before launching RLCCC, Grant spent eighteen years in full-time ministry as a Pastor of Student and Family Ministries. He has served in four different churches ranging in size from 300 to over 5000 members

RLCCC has seen an increase in the number of people suffering from depression, anxiety, ADHD and addictions, including gambling and pornography.  “Problems with the economy, combined with the increase of instability in the world in so many areas over the past few years have driven many people to seek professional counseling,” he said.  In addition, his agency also sees a good number of people having trouble coping in difficult situations such as work environments, loss of employment, loss of loved ones, school problems and divorce issues.

Grant is known for his use of a whole-person approach that considers the emo­tional, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual needs of people by helping them to gain new insights and skills while deepening their understanding of God. He is dedicated to helping people live out the meaningful abundant life that God has designed for them.

In addition to seeing clients himself, Grant also has three professionally trained counselors on staff: Ruth Burton, LCSW; Lou Anne Pasquarella, LPCMH; and Heather Baker, LPCMH, NCC.

RLCCC has two locations: Brandywine Valley Baptist Church 7 Mount Lebanon Road in Wilmington, and Cornerstone United Methodist Church 3135 Summit Bridge Road in Bear.  For additional information, please visit rlccc.org or call 302-464-0515.

Holiday Stress and Young Children

The holiday season is upon us, and for many people that means decorating the house, baking cookies and shopping at the mall. The sound of Christmas music can be heard everywhere you turn. But if you listen carefully, you’ll hear more than just Bing Crosby dreaming of a white Christmas. Those other sounds you hear are children who are suffering from stress associated with the holiday season.

”Families want their holidays to be special and happy for everyone, especially the children,” says Grant R. Hasty, Founder and Counselor and owner of Renewed Life Christian Counseling Center.  “But what many parents fail to remember is that the holiday season can be a time of hustle and bustle — and a never-ending whirlwind of stress for their children.”

Think about it. Because children are especially vulnerable at this time of the year, it’s important to remember that they need to find some time to relax and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. “But how can parents expect children to relax when they are running around like crazy, shopping, baking, decorating, and becoming stressed at the thought of blowing the holiday budget after just one trip to the mall,” says Hasty.

He says you can help your children beat the holiday stress beast by following these tips:

  • Limit TV and video games — It’s very easy at this time of the year to allow the TV and video games to become the baby sitter. But children who are stressed need some type of physical activity or exercise.
  • Remember routines — For parents of small children, this is especially good advice. During the holidays children will find their routines disrupted. They are often dragged along on shopping expeditions or taken to events over which they have no control. And when a routine is broken, stress can result.
  • Nutrition — Ever notice the lines at the fast food restaurants as it gets closer to the holidays? They are getting longer because parents typically are too busy to go home and cook a nutritious meal. And factor in all of those sugary holiday treats, and you end up with a stressed out, hungry family. Plan at least one healthy meal as a family everyday. And don’t forget to toss in a healthy snack while you’re visiting the mall.
  • Family traditions — Many people fail to underestimate how important traditions are to themselves and their children. Family traditions offer great comfort and security for children when everything in their lives is being disrupted by the holiday season. Perhaps your family would enjoy creating an Advent calendar together, or baking cookies and delivering them to a local nursing home or soup kitchen. Serving together in some compactly is a great way to show your Christmas spirit.
  • Attitude check — Both children and their parents need to have an attitude check before the holiday season begins. Take a deep breath, and have everyone in the family pledge to make the holiday season a time of joy and peace. Remind everyone that with the right attitude, that goal can be met. Remember the reason for this season, the birth of Christ bringing peace and good will to everyone.
  • Rest and relaxation — Everyone, especially children, needs to take a “time out” over the holiday season to rest and relax. For parents of younger children this is especially good advice, because a well-rested child will be much happier on a trip to the mall than one who is in desperate need of a nap. Schedule some R & R time for everyone in the family.  While relaxing be sure to read the Christmas story together as a family from the Bible in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 2:1-35
  • Laugh — Laughter is still the best way to beat stress and change everyone’s mood from bad to good. Take time to read the comics to your children, or find a holiday joke book with family humor at your bookstore or library.

The holiday season doesn’t have to be a time of stress and exhaustion. Make sure you do your part to make the most wonderful time of the year live up to its reputation. You and your children will be glad you did.