Finding Success in Achieving Your Goals
Updated: Aug 14, 2022
We like newness. The idea of a fresh start is something that usually excites us. It's one of those uniquely human characteristics, the crave to check off an accomplishment and embark on something new. The completion of a degree. New house upgrade. A feat of physical fitness. Talking about goals is one of my favorite topics. That fresh wave of motivation we feel when a new goal is formulated is not only exciting personally, but likewise when I get the chance to walk through the process with others.
If you're not one who thrives on a new ambition regularly, no worries- you don't have to be. Here's some transparency- though I do love a good checklist and enjoy the satisfaction of meeting a personal goal, I started writing this post last December to release for New Years. Here we are in July. So there's that. The important thing is that you take stock of what excites you and contributes to your continued growth, health, and wellbeing, and you're able to pursue those things.
How do we go about getting started?
Be SMART about setting goals
We fall short of reaching our goals for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, an unexpected plot twist prevents us from reaching a certain aspiration or shifts perspectives completely. Aside from events out of our control, one key to crushing our goals is to follow the principles of SMART.
Be clear and precise about what you're trying to accomplish. Don't just say you want to "workout more," have the goal that you'll go to the gym three days a week. This will help you with the 'M' as well.
Along the same lines of specificity, make sure your goal is something that can clearly be monitored and identified. Maybe you're hoping to save more money each month and set the goal to put aside $500. That's easily trackable and will help you mark progress.
Make sure what you're aiming for is realistic. I'm all for big dreams, but I'm not going to set a goal to climb Everest anytime soon. We want to push and challenge ourselves without setting ourselves up for failure.
This may seem obvious, but avoid aiming for a random far away target that doesn't coincide with your life direction. If it's career-related, take some time to evaluate what makes sense in the way of your occupational goals.
This is probably my biggest struggle- make a deadline for yourself! Don't keep your goals so open-ended and vague that you lose sight of the finish line and motivation fizzes out.
Tips to goal-crushing success
We probably all have a general awareness of the success rate of New Year's Resolutions. That initial burst of motivation on January 1 takes a rapid decline as we sail forward in the winter months, settling back into familiar and comfortable routines. Steady pursuit of a goal, especially a long term one, is HARD. Here are a few tips to success:
While this post is mainly geared toward the still-important, but maybe smaller and more practical goals of daily life, that doesn't mean you're not wrestling with something a little bigger than an aim to meal plan every Sunday or read 10 books this year. Maybe you've had a dream weighing on your heart for years, facing failures or closed doors and wonder what's next for you. Remember, you are more than what you do and you are NOT without purpose -even if the pieces don't seem to be falling into place the way you feel they should.
Shana Shutte, author for Focus on the Family, shares her own personal experiences of shifting visions for her life, stating:
"[In my experience...] God doesn’t give all the details at once while we are fulfilling our purpose. Instead, He often provides just enough information to help us move forward one step at a time. This helps our faith grow. This does not mean we shouldn’t set goals. Instead, it means we need to trust Him to lead us into the unknown, and that we may need to reevaluate and change our goals as He gives us more information. This is OK. It’s part of having a dynamic, collaborative and exciting relationship with Him. Can you imagine if we had the future all figured out? Life would not be as exciting."
I know it's a lot easier to read that quote if you're not wrestling with something heavy. But maybe it's something that needs to be read today.
The summer before wrapping up grad school, I was propelled by a desire to launch into missions overseas. I talked to the missions coordinator at my church and researched various organizations with growing excitement. While on a month-long excursion in Nepal with some of my fellow students, I romanticized the idea of returning to Southeast Asia after graduation. As it turns out, this didn't happen- or hasn't yet. As it also turns out, my future husband was on this same trip to Nepal, during which the course of our friendship changed and we were engaged later that summer. Before we even married, a work opportunity popped up in Thailand, a country near and dear to my heart. The door closed on this one, too. I was upset and confused by this at the time, but now think how many blessings would have been missed had we gone. Shana's reminder resonates with me- as He unveils more of the story our perspective, goals, and desires can change. And with the change comes the surprise and joy we couldn't make up if we tried.
Goals are good. Setting and reaching them is part of our design. It makes us action-oriented people who work hard and do great things in accordance with a great purpose for our lives. Take stock of your goals today. Do they excite and motivate you? Are they propelling you toward personal and spiritual growth and well-being? Have you surrendered them to Him, to shape and mold for your good? I challenge you to try laying them down and stepping back to marvel at what He can do.