Thursday, July 30, 2015

4 Ways To Refresh Your Goals

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” - Proverbs 16:3

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Flashback: It’s New Year’s Eve. I spent the last two to three weeks planning and brainstorming new goals for a new year. It’s usually one of my favorite times of the year: the promise of a clean slate and a chance to start over.

And that was especially so for this New Year’s. I was hopeful that I’d make great strides forward spiritually, mentally, physically and relationally. And now I had a list of goals to strive for that would help me closer to where I wanted to be. It was gonna be awesome!

Fast forward a few months: I glance up at that list for probably the first time in two or three months and I cringe looking over it. It was like making awkward eye contact with that person you were once great friends with but you’ve been avoiding for them, making excuse after excuse for not making it out to T.G.I. Fridays for endless appetizers.

There’s good news, though: summer is the perfect time to revisit some of those dusty goals. Summer is our halftime. Katy Perry and Left Shark are out on the field performing a few songs while we sit in the locker room, take a breather and make adjustments for the second half.

Maybe the first half didn’t go as you hoped it did: There were some changes at work that you had to navigate through. Your car betrayed you and you had throw money at it or on a new car, putting a huge dent on your financial plans. Or, let’s be real, sometimes we just don’t feel like following through on some of those goals.

If you’re on that "It’s-The-Middle-Of-The-Year-And-I’m-Way-Off-Track" island with me, we don’t have to toss all of our goals into the dumpster with last year’s goals.

Whether you have three goals or 57 of them (if that’s you, you should probably trim that list a bit -- more on that later), go down your list and consider these four options for each goal. Hopefully it'll help you get your goals, and you, back on track:

OPTION 1: Recalibrate The Goal

I think there were a few goals I jotted down at the beginning of the year under the influence of a venti-sized Cafe Americano from Starbucks, unfiltered optimism and a dose of over-eagerness.

Yeah, it’s good to aim high and push yourself, but then sometimes we think we’re going to get to the moon on a rocket made out of cardboard, crazy glue and paper clips.

If I’ve never regularly jogged before, setting a goal of running 10 miles every single week is probably a little too much for me to handle right now. I’ll try, fail, undoubtedly get frustrated and, after a while, I’ll give up entirely.

So I reset the goal to two miles per week instead. Build up a routine, meet the goal, rack up a small victory and then work your way up. Soon, I'll move up to three miles a week, and then four and so on.

Then there were other goals where I kept it safe, however, and didn’t stretch myself. It was an easy target and I probably wasn’t as ambitious as I could have been. If I aim for the same low hanging fruit again and again, I’ll never see growth or progress in any area of my life. My goals have to make me feel at least a little bit uncomfortable.

Sometimes when we set out goals, we don’t really know what we’re doing. We underestimate ourselves and our capability of reaching our goals while we stretch ourselves a little too much in others. Sometimes we just need to make an adjustment here or there.

OPTION 2: Recommit To The Goal

Then there are goals that don’t necessarily need an adjustment, but instead require us to recommit ourselves to achieving them.

They are the goals that are still worth fighting for, but for some reason got left behind. Maybe it was laziness or things got busy. Maybe we just tossed them into a drawer, lost the key and forgot about them. Whatever it was, it's not too late to get back on it.

The best way to recommit to a goal? Bring someone else in on it. Have someone -- a friend, a spouse, a family member or a mentor -- there to hold you accountable to your recommitment to a goal. Even better yet, have them join you in chasing after it.

Whatever it was, if it’s still worth fighting for and it’s still important to you, get back in the ring.

OPTION 3: Replace The Goal

Priorities change. Circumstances change, too. Some things that were important a few months ago might not be anymore.

Maybe your relationship status changed over the last few months. Or you've switched careers. Or maybe you’re moving to a new state where you might not have the same friends or the same community you’ve been surrounded with over the last few years.

Some goals are meant to be written in with a pencil, not etched permanently in stone. We have to be flexible, changing and replacing our old goals with new ones according to changing circumstances.

And if there are some goals you've already accomplished, awesome! Replace that one with a follow-up goal.

OPTION 4: Remove The Goal -- At Least For Now

If your list of goals reads like a short novel, you might need to cut some of them out altogether.

A lot of times, the reasons why I don’t achieve a lot of my goals is because there are just too many of them. We only have a limited amount of time and energy to use to pursue things, and when we stretch ourselves too thin we lose our focus and end up not doing much at all.

We have to be strategic, and there are situations that call for trimming down and removing some things from the equation. But removing a goal doesn’t mean erasing it from existence.

King Solomon wrote in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Removing a goal from your list doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad goal. It just might mean it might not be the time for it right now.

So maybe you’ve made a goal to purchase a new car by the end of the year and made another goal to cut your debt by a certain amount. Both are good, worthy goals to chase. But you only have so much money coming in. You might be better off attacking one of those goals like mako shark chasing a seal decoy on Shark Week and leaving the other for another day.

There’s still a whole second half of footba-- er, I mean ‘half of the year’ left to accomplish what you set out to do. A whole half of the year to get closer to becoming more financially stable, to feed your faith, to reboot your dreams. Don’t give up on your goals just yet.

1 comment :

  1. Great post and list! I know that many lovers have the problems especially if they are together for a long time! I found a good article where you can read good advice how to refresh your life! Read it too, this words can inspire you!