Goals for Goals
December 31. This day is typically followed by January 1.
For many people January is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings. For others it is just a reminder of failed New Year’s resolutions. Remember how last year you were going to lose those 30 pounds by Valentine’s Day? Or when you vowed to be more organized, exercise 7 days a week or read your Bible daily? What went wrong? Why is it so difficult to keep the goals we set each new year?
No need to panic! The good news is that this year CAN be different. I’m not here to analyze all the reasons why we fail to keep promises to ourselves, but I do believe there are 2 common threads woven throughout failed resolutions: unrealistic goals and a narrow approach. To combat these we can start with 2 goals before embarking on the journey of setting New Year’s Resolutions.
Goal Number 1: Set realistic goals.
While this one may sound painfully apparent, think about why your goals have failed in the past. There is a good chance they were not realistic. We absolutely should have high expectations of ourselves, but they should be reasonable.
Goal Number 2: Attack goals from all angles.
The second thread is not having a well-rounded approach to achieving the goal. For example, wanting to lose 30 pounds may be an excellent, even realistic goal. But simply saying, “I will never eat sweets again” just isn’t going to cut it (or cut the weight). Most achieved goals are the product from a shift in almost every area of life.
Let’s take weight loss as an example.
What is it going to take to lose those 30 pounds?
- Well, for starters you must exercise. Obviously. This may look like getting up at 5:00am to hit the gym, which means going to bed earlier. All you night owls may prefer to do your workout on the way home from the office. If you have children this may mean arranging for someone else to pick them up from school or coordinating with your spouse.
- Exercise is vital but only counts for at most about an hour a day. What are you doing the other 23 hours? What you put in your body plays a HUGE role in weight and overall health. Healthy eating does not have to be difficult but may be an adjustment at the beginning. This also calls for planning ahead in order to prevent going to a fast food restaurant because nothing is ready for dinner. Eating nutritiously does not happen by accident. You must put in the effort eat on purpose.
- Mental and emotional health are 2 ingredients that go hand in hand. How often do we evaluate how we are doing mentally and emotionally? This doesn’t happen very often! If you are on an emotional roller coaster, there is no wonder why it is difficult to keep the goals you have set. What we dwell on matters. Being mentally and emotionally healthy looks differently for everyone. For some this means carving out 15 to 20 minutes a day to spend alone in silence. For others this may mean having coffee with friends or reading a good book. Take time to discover what this looks like for you and make time for it.
- Lastly, and definitely most importantly, spiritual health is key. If you are not connecting with God the rest of life is for not. And chances are if your spiritual life is not in order the rest of your life is probably a wreck as well. It is imperative to take time to commune with your Creator daily. Remember the “seek first his kingdom” thing? Yeah, it’s pretty much vital to our well-being. The beautiful truth is that everything else will fall into place when you are seeking God above all else. This does not mean that life will be perfect or you will be rich or healthy all the time. It does mean that he will give you everything you need. The Lord rewards those who diligently seek Him.
So that’s it!
Easier said than done, right? You can achieve your goals this year but they must be realistic and attacked from all angles. Stop making excuses and start achieving your goals!