Hello! Hope you all are having a wonderful start to your 2014! I’m still getting used to writing 14 instead of 13 – it always takes me a little while to adjust. So, after further consideration of my list of goals for this coming year, I’ve come to the conclusion that some of them are quite lofty. In fact, I’ve already failed at several of them. Ha. But you know what? I’m okay with that. I realize that I am only human, and that I will never be perfect at everything. I will fail time and time again, and yet, I have learned to be okay with that. Because God teaches me just as much through the failures as he does through the successes. The successes are undoubtedly more fun, but the failures are most definitely necessary.
Now, this is NOT me giving up on any of my goals. No, no, no. Quite the opposite actually. See, there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting lofty, seemingly unobtainable and highly unrealistic goals. The loftier our goals, the more we are forced to rely on God’s power and grace to see them through to completion. If we set simple goals, ones that are easily obtainable and not far out of reach, how would we learn to stretch ourselves? How would we learn to rely on God’s strength in our lives? How would we ever grow? I don’t think we would. Big goals are so important.
However, I also don’t believe that we can just sit on our couches asking God to do all the hard work for us. That’s just not how he works – it’s always a joint effort. He wants us to contribute to the relationship, to the goal achieving, and to the outcome of our lives in general. He is in control, but he has also given us a free will to make our own decisions, and determine what goals we want to pursue. So, with that being said, how do we even begin to go about accomplishing those lofty, scary goals we may have set on January 1st?
By breaking them down into small, manageable chunks.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very good at this. I set big goals, can see the big picture/ end result, but staying motivated in the meantime is what really gets me. It’s not that I’m a lazy or unmotivated person. I think it’s more the fact that patience doesn’t always come easy for me. And it’s hard for me to commit to something when I’m not sure I will succeed in the end.
I know that sounds ridiculous. I mean, nothing in life is guaranteed. But somehow, that is the thought that always ends up keeping me from taking the first steps toward achieve my goals. What if I spend countless hours on a project only to see it fail? What if my dreams turn out to be ridiculous? What happens if I do succeed? What then? I guess that’s the part where total reliance on God and his ultimate plan for my life come in. I need to trust that he will point me in the right direction and lead me along the way. I need to stop doubting him and remember that he will always support me. What seems completely unobtainable and impossible to me is one hundred percent possible through his strength and power in my life. And when I look back after all is said and done, even if I failed countless times, I’ll finally realize that I was able to accomplish what I did only through his power working in me. He will receive all the glory for my accomplishments, whatever they may be. Because there is no way I could have done those things one my own. Total reliance on him will be what made my dreams possible.
So, back to those big goals. In order to ever check them off the list, I need to make actionable steps towards achieving them – and that only happens when I break them down into small chunks.
For example, this year I really want to run a half marathon. Well, that’s nice. But I can’t just wake up tomorrow, enter a race and go do it. I mean, I guess I could. But I would be in rough shape afterwards – if I was even able to finish, which is doubtful.
I’ve had some injuries in the past, am prone to shin splints, and despite my best effort, have a hard time not over pronating and heel striking when I run. I’m working on fixing those things, but I have an extremely flat arch in my foot, so it takes longer to adjust to a completely unnatural and different way of running. So, in order to accomplish my goal and still be able to walk afterwards, I need to come up with a plan. As of now, I’m planning on training for a 10k (6 mile) run first, and once that is under my belt, slowly begin to tackle the half marathon. I may not end up running the big one until the fall, but I’ll be doing so with injury free legs, and hopefully the promise of being able to run another one in the future.
Or, let’s see, another one of my goals this year is to write 1,000 words a day with the end goal of becoming a better writer. Well, let’s just say that one hasn’t been going so well. It sounds like a manageable, broken-down-into-tiny-chunks kind of goal, yet for some reason it eludes me. The problem? Saying I’ll write 1,000 words is an entirely different concept than actually scheduling the time to do it. Scheduling. In order to make this goal become a reality, I need to start scheduling a designated time to write each day. It doesn’t always have to be the same time, although that might help at first. It just has to be a time – a time solely designated for writing. And until I am able to diligently adhere to my writing schedule, nothing is going to be written. I’m still working on figuring out the best time to make this goal a reality – whether that be early in the morning, right after work, or late at night – but I’m getting there. Hey, I actually just hit 1,000 words a few minutes ago in this very article, so I guess I’m done for the day 🙂
But in all seriousness, the act of setting those small goals, while keeping the big picture in the back of your mind, is what will keep you on the path to success. Those small goals, along with lots of motivation, determination, and complete reliance on God, will lead you to accomplish those big, sometimes scary, long term goals. You can do it! Don’t give up!
What are some small goals you need to set today in order to achieve the big goals you have for the future?