Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Life Worthy of Your Calling; Setting Goals- Ephesians 4:1

"Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God." (4:1)

Shaun and I had a conversation like this with our oldest son just yesterday. We explained to him that he couldn't just sit and wait for life to happen to him. If he wants something, if he has a goal in mind and it's worth achieving, then there is a lot of work that goes along with it. He will have to push his way through the hard stuff to get to that goal.

Then I leaned down and looked him in the eye (because he was sitting, people, otherwise I would have had to get on a CHAIR to look him in the eye) and told him, from one semi-lazy person to another, from one "I'd rather eat cake and watch movies all day" person to another- you have to do the hard work if you want to see success in your life.

And then I realized that I was no longer speaking to him. I was talking to myself. I have a lot of dreams for my life and haven't done all of the hard work to make them happen. Yes, God is primarily behind all the dreams and will make them happen in his time, but I need to do some of the work too. I can't, for example, wish to become a famous author but never write a book. There is work involved in reaching your goals.

I did a Google search and came upon an article from Forbes that outlines the six steps you need to take to reach your goal. I think they're good ones and so I'd like to briefly mention them here. Here's a link to that article if you'd like to read more details from the author: http://www.forbes.com/sites/glassheel/2013/03/14/6-ways-to-achieve-any-goal/#3d2f1723338b

1. Put your goal on a vision board- The idea of this is that you can SEE a representation of your goal right there in front of you. You don't have to have an actual board. You can hang up a pair of jeans you hope to get back into or a picture of a beach that you hope to visit. Anything that will remind you of your goal for you.

*I'm actually editing this post to add this for you. One of the best ways to make your goal visible is to find verses in the Bible that will encourage you and copy them down. Memorize them. Put them up on the bathroom mirror to remind you. 

2. Tell people- This one is so huge. If you tell other people that you are writing a book or trying to lose weight or learning to jog or any number of other things, you are more likely to do it. There are people who are holding you accountable to your goal, even if they don't really know it. ;) It's also a great idea to assemble a support team of people to ask you about your goal. That's what we do with my son as his parents- we support him and remind him of his goals, we help him get back on track. It's also what I did with my middle kid by agreeing to do a 5K with him in the future.

3. Make it into smaller pieces- Sometimes our goals are just too big. You can't actually achieve it because it just looks too huge for you to handle and so you give up. But if that goal is broken into pieces, it's more achievable.

For example, say you want to start eating better. If you go with that goal out of the gates, you're going to fail almost gauranteed. But if you break it up into smaller pieces, you can totally do it. You can start by cutting out soda and juice, replacing them with water. You can take out sugar or processed food or both. You can increase the number of fruits or vegetables you eat each day. You can replace your breakfast cereal with overnight oats. You get the idea. Before you know it, you really ARE eating better but you did it one step at a time.

4. Come up with a date that you can aim for- One of my goals is to run a 5K with my middle son. Now, I've broken that goal up into smaller goals for myself- running a mile without stopping, running 2 miles without stopping, running on hilly terrain with few breaks, etc. But we have a date in mind. Next summer, we plan to run a 5K together. In the meantime, I'll keep achieving the smaller, more attainable goals so that by the time that we get to next summer, I'm ready for the big goal. Ultimately, my son wants to run a Marathon together. That's 23 miles, people. That looks impossible to me right now. But I know that eventually, we'll get there!

5. Be realistic- If you make a goal that is literally impossible, you will fail. If my goal as a writer is to have my first book be a New York Times Bestseller, I am likely going to be sadly disappointed. That takes many authors years to achieve. Some never do. But if my goal is to write my best in every book and to put out there what God wants me to say, I'll win every time. Make your goals something that could actually happen for you.

6. Commit to your goals for YOU with God by your side- Now this one isn't necessarily a Forbes authorized step. I'm adding God because without Him, there is no way your hitting those goals. What does he have in mind for you? Focus on Him and take each step to reach your goal even when it feels too hard. Commit to doing it. Make a plan and stick to that plan for yourself. But remember, your focus can't only be on your goal. Your focus has to be on Jesus WITH that goal. Tough? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

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