With the start of a New Year we are bombarded with inboxes full of promo ads and stores lining up displays — both in an attempt to catch our attention and activate that desire in us to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new year. While the ads and displays can be overwhelming at times, the desire to make resolutions can be a positive thing.
I have always been a goal-driven person. The opportunity to stretch myself and expand my horizons as I set new goals for not only myself, but for my family and my marriage gets me excited! As I began thinking through and praying about new goals that I want to achieve in 2018, I became curious about what the actual definition of the word “goal” is. According to Wikipedia, a goal is “an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envisions, plans and commits to achieve. … A goal is roughly similar to a purpose or aim, the anticipated result which guides reaction, or an end, which is an object, either a physical object or an abstract object, that has intrinsic value.” After reading the definition of a goal, I reflected on what it takes to set and reach a goal, to attain something with “intrinsic value.” Here is what I came up with:
G – God First
O – Overcome Obstacles
A – Awareness of your strengths and weaknesses
L – Long-haul, commit to it!
GOD FIRST: If we want to achieve anything in life, we need to put God first. When we seek His will and follow His plan, we experience a sense of fulfillment and authentic joy. As you set new goals this year, pray about them. Ask God to inspire your heart to create them. Perhaps one of your goals is a common one of simply becoming physically healthier. Would God want you to work towards this? Probably! When you set your course of action though, be mindful of the decisions you make and the actions you take to be sure to set the process of achieving your goal on the right track. Never compromise your faith and integrity to accomplish a goal.
OVERCOME OBSTACLES: Sometimes the greatest obstacle that we need to overcome to achieve our goals is the failure to believe in ourselves. If you struggle with this, perhaps your first goal should be to commit to learning how to love yourself, so you can believe in yourself and discoverer the incredible potential you have to do amazing things with your life in cooperation with God’s grace. Have certain people, situations, fears or excuses prevented you from achieving specific goals in the past? Be mindful of these things as you seek to envision the completion of your goals. Do you lack motivation? If so, what DOES motivate you? Figure it out and go there! What exact obstacles do you need to overcome to make your goals and dreams become a reality this New Year? As you “plan and commit to achieve” your goals, take a good look at the territory you will be traveling through to accomplish them. Prepare yourself for the possible obstacles along the way.
AWARENESS OF YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES: The more we know ourselves, the greater tasks we can take on. When we are aware of what our strengths are, we can best utilize them to achieve our goals. Likewise, when we are mindful of our personal weaknesses, we can make sure the strategy we come up with for reaching the goal that we want to achieve, takes our weaknesses into account. On the other hand, perhaps one of your goals this year is to strengthen an area of weakness — that is a noble goal! God wants us to be the best version of ourselves and this can only be achieved by knowing who we are at the core and actively working on strengthening the areas of our lives that are weakest in virtue.
LONG-HAUL, COMMIT TO IT! – Setting goals is easy, but attaining them requires commitment, hard work and preparedness for the long-haul! Anyone who has successfully attained a goal will tell you that one of the key factors needed to reach your desired end, is being prepared for the journey before it even starts! To achieve a goal, you need to prepare physically, mentally and spiritually. Keep your eyes fixed on the finish line. Be realistic with your expectations so you do not set yourself up for failure, but rather for success!
Setting goals gives us HOPE for a fulfilling future and reaching them takes us to the next level of personal growth.