PATTERNS, Principles and Life Skills


The following outlines the foundation upon which Next Wise Choice operates. We begin with PATTERNS of living. In order for change to be maintained, we need to practice good PATTERNS of self-care. We find that people struggling with destructive behaviors will always lack in one or more of these areas.

P – Prayer
A – Attention to coping mechanisms & mental health
T – Tend to physical health
T – Time management
E – Exercise
R – Re-charge
N – Nutrition
S – Sleep


We’ve categorized elements of change to eight basic principles. Each principle builds upon the others and have multiple areas of focus within them.

Principle 1 – Beliefs Drive Behavior Behind every behavior are underlying beliefs. We have many beliefs that are often in conflict with the surface beliefs we think are running our lives…but aren’t. As stated in Romans 7 by the apostle Paul, we have a war raging in our mind. Belief systems gain strength over time. Identifying, challenging and replacing these beliefs is critical for lasting change. (Proverbs 23:7 As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.)

Principle 2 – Sowing & Reaping Every choice comes with natural consequences – some good and some bad. Learn how seemingly insignificant choices add up and impact our major goals. (Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.) 

Principle 3 – Willingness Ending destructive behaviors is more than wanting it. The willingness to end old behaviors and adopt new ones, the willingness to hear the truth, and the willingness to be consistent regardless of distractions is critical to lasting change. But willpower alone will not accomplish this. Learn how to take responsibility for things you once thought you had no control over.  (James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. You must do what it says.)

Principle 4 – Values Our values reflect who or what influences us. They are internal qualities that are important to our daily decision-making. We look carefully at those influences and consider them as authorities in our lives. What happens when we face competing values? Who or what has authority to drive my choices? (Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.)

Principle 5 – Character  Our character reflects externally what we value internally. Learn how values come alive and become the character by which others know you by. Discover the conflicts between inward values and outward character. (Proverbs 10:9 – Whoever walks in integrity (good character) walks securely. But he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.)

Principle 6 – Identity Who we believe we are has a significant impact on our behaviors. Most people engaged in destructive behaviors rarely have confidence they have value. In addition, they most often give authority to others to determine their identity which becomes a moving target. Establishing who we are on the Word of God and how He see’s us is the only stable source we have to tell us about ourselves. (1 Peter 1:23 – I am God’s child for I am born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, which lives and abides forever.)

Principle 7 – Relationships We cannot engage in destructive behaviors and maintain healthy relationships. In order to succeed in destruction we must dis-engage with healthy supports. We are hard-wired for relationships yet it’s wounds from relationships that has caused the most damage. The hard fact is that engaging in healthy relationships is the number one identifier for adopting positive change. Facing the fear of relationships requires many new skills. (Proverbs 13:20 – He who walks with the wise grows wise but a companion of fools suffers harm.)

Principle 8 – Vision & Goals If we don’t know where we’re going, we’ll never recognize if we made it. Having a reason to get up in the morning is what keeps us moving forward toward a particular direction. Few people make personal, professional or spiritual vision statements or set goals. Fewer people reach them. We make choices every day to either manage life as it’s thrown to us or to take ownership of directing our path in partnership with God. (Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.)


Life skills is the practical implementation of what we learn. It’s like learning to write with the other hand. If we don’t practice, no amount of education in an area will help us change. Life skills training occurs in many areas such as financial management, communication, problem solving and more. It is helpful to have coaches and cheerleaders when learning and growing life skills. Coaches teach and push us beyond what we thought we could do. Cheerleaders encourage us along the way. Most people are one or the other so make sure you surround yourself with both.

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