*Comment if you can find Asher in the video…
It’s the New Year, which means the gym’s going to get a lot busier.
Doesn’t it seem like everyone has some form of fitness goal? I love that people want to get healthier, but I also hate how crowded my gym gets.
The good news is by the middle of February, most of these fitness enthusiasts will be back at home, playing video games and eating lots of cake. Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but you get the idea.
All joking aside, I want to share a few thoughts on how to create meaningful goals, so you don’t end up back on the sofa with a mouthful of cake.
Looking back to this time last year, I can remember making a decision that completely changed my 2017: I wrote down my goals.
Fun fact: You are 42% more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down.
Before 2017, I would set goals, but not write them down. Of course, I’d pray and ask God to help me reach my goals, but that was about all the effort I put into making them happen. I was lazy and just expected God to give me what I wanted since I had prayed that one time.
But toward the end of 2016, God showed me the power of a thought—after all, every breakthrough is just one thought or idea away. Think about that . . . the next new business, cure for a disease, new ministry, etc., is just one thought away.
So, I decided it was time to take action. I reached out to Addison because he seemed to know a thing or two about this stuff. He walked me through a process of extracting and articulating my goals. I then found two big whiteboards and wrote out five goals I wanted to accomplish in 2017. Goals like: work myself into a leadership position, put on ten pounds of muscle, and build a youth/young adult ministry at Messenger.
Below each of these goals, I included a list of recurring, practical actions that would move me closer to hitting my goals. What I’ve realized is that too many people have the vision, the “big picture” idea, but they never do the practical things to accomplish it. After finishing my lists, I wrote out at the top of my boards, “God, give me an idea.”
December 30, 2016 came around and I was feeling fresh, full of vision and excited to jump into 2017. I felt like I could fly, so I took off for the gym to play basketball. But things didn’t go too well . . . No, I didn’t lose. Of course I came away with the W. But I did land on someone’s foot and broke my ankle.
So I started 2017 with a cast on my foot. I also found myself spending way too much time visiting concerned medical personnel and missing invaluable time in the gym. I mean, it’s hard to do squats when you can barely walk.
I was getting discouraged. Pretty much all I could think about was how unrealistic and unattainable my goals now seemed. And while I could justify every reason to stay discouraged, I was determined to reach my goals. I had clear goals written out that I knew were from God, and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. Instead of sitting around in pain and unproductivity, I took that time to grow and better myself. I read book after book, watched numerous sermons and leadership videos, and went to the gym as much as I could—even though I could only work out my upper body.
As you pursue your goals, there are going to be unexpected things thrown your way. But this is when you get to develop the grit and tenacity to push through and reach your goals.
You may be thinking, so how do I actually go about setting meaningful goals? Here’s a simple acronym that will help:
S: Specific. You need to know what your goal is and whether you succeed in hitting it. Ambiguous goals like “get healthy” won’t get you anywhere. What actions are you going to take to get healthy?
M: Measureable. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Create a way to track your progress toward your goals.
A: Attainable. Your goals should stretch you, but they need to be attainable. I want to make a trillion dollars by selling ice cream to snowmen is not an attainable goal.
R: Realistic. Turn your big goals into small, realistic actions. Things that will create momentum for you. Nothing great is ever accomplished by a single, grandiose action. Commit to the small steps. “Little by little,” writes Tolkien, “one travels far.”
T: Time. Every goal should be given a timeframe. Time constraints move us to action and help us defeat the procrastination monster.
By the end of 2017, I had accomplished three of my five big goals (I didn’t get married or have kids).
All because of the intentional steps I took in the beginning of the year.
If you follow these steps, you’ll actually reach your goals instead of getting smacked in the face by them. Happy New Year!