What dreams are burning inside of you, ready to become reality?
What unmet goals do you still have because you don’t know where to start?
I know where you are; I’ve been there.
Unable to move.
And then I learned how to break down goals into bite-sized pieces. I learned how not to let myself make excuses while allowing for “life” to happen (ie-illness, injury, rejection). And I learned how to give God the lead in the process.
Goal setting is a skill
Before I continue, let me remind you, goal setting is a skill. And skills are learned. They take time and effort to refine and perfect. But the effort is worth it because the most critical component to goal setting is COMPLETING THE GOAL!
Many people have asked me how I set goals, break them down, and work to achieve them. These precious people have dreams, burning desires, God-ordained callings, and milestones they want to reach—but they’ve never been taught HOW to go about it.
So if you’re like me, and them, I’ll share what I’ve learned. I’ll use my current lifestyle and career goals (becoming more fit and publishing) as examples. I’ll also share what I’ve learned along the way to help shorten your learning curve—hopefully.
Before I break a goal down :
- I determine what the goal is and what kind of goal it is
- The process is a little different for each type of goal
- Lifestyle changes are slightly different from career/education goals
- I bring it to God in prayer and continually pray about it (see part 1)
- I lay everything at His feet
- I ask for wisdom on how to best break everything down
- I determine my current knowledge about the goal
- I may need to do a little research to identify any mile markers and their order
- I want to be sure I don’t go on assumptions but on facts
- I grab a calendar
- I create an end date or see if one already exists
- I determine the current date and how much time I have to complete the goal
- I share my goal with someone who will keep me accountable
This is the point where specific types of goals come into play. Because as I stated earlier, different types of goals are approached a little differently.
Lifestyle Changes (example: My fitness goals):
Most LifeStyle Goals are multi-faceted; with many components to them. I’ve learned to break those elements out into mini-goals and attack them individually as part of the whole. Meaning, get one change in place, as part of my routine, and then add the next one, and then the next, etc. If I make too many changes at once, I get overwhelmed and quit before the magic starts to happen.
As I admitted in my post about joining my gym, Importance of Community, I needed to overcome my laziness and pride before I would be able to succeed. So I confessed those sins to Jesus and received His forgiveness. I didn’t what unconfessed Shinto stand in my way of doing something I know God wanted me to do.
Then I asked Him to help me find the right gym for me. This is critical! You must find a gym/workout program that is right for you. You may like to go, pop in your earbuds, workout, and leave. You may want a gym with a pool or basketball court or racquet courts. You may prefer working out in your living room—that takes more commitment than I have. My point: find something that’s right for you and stick with it!
Before I went to my first workout:
- I wrote down my goals
- To become stronger and more fit
- To be leaner and have more energy
- To gain muscle and lose fat (lose weight).
- I didn’t write down a specific weight amount; I was more concerned with the body fat: muscle ratio
- I would rather weigh more, have more muscle, and be stronger than be lighter, flabby, and weak.
- To make better food choices
- To use my WalkTop more when writing
- To drink more water
- To add in running (half marathon this year?)
- Collected various forms of data (importance of this; Part 2)
- I stepped on the scale
- I took 8 different body measurements:
- Top of chest, under the armpits
- Chest, bra strap region
- Waist, 1 inch above the belly button
- Snapped a before-picture.
First I looked at my goals and prioritized them. I suggest starting with exercise because once that is part of your routine and a healthy habit, the rest are much easier to implement. For example, when I’m consistently working out I make better food choices and drink more water, but I don’t start tracking either until after I’ve been working out for a few weeks.
I’ve also learned to workout as if I’m doing it for God. I know I need to take care of His creation, my body, and honor Him with it. I pray before I leave for the gym and I ask Him to help me control cravings and my eating through the day (I have a wicked sweet tooth). I offer my workout and eating habits as holy sacrifices of time, energy, and dedication.
If I miss a day, overeat, etc. I refuse to beat myself up. Instead, I choose to make better choices the next day and keep on going in a positive direction. This is not always easy. But it is important to give yourself grace.
When God first called me to write, I was certain I wasn’t going to publish anything—EVER, EVER, EVER! I had NO desire to publish my work, did I mention, EVER?
Then one day while writing, I asked Him what the purpose was for all the research and writing I was doing. How can I make it more useful to my mentees? Then He whispered to my heart; we are going to publish. I promptly responded by vomiting into my trash can. I told Him it wasn’t too late to change His mind and choose someone else. I still wasn’t convinced He has the right girl.
But God is God, and He put planted the desire in my heart. And He’s been cultivating it ever since, so I’m doing all I can to make it bear fruit.
My first action step was to research the publishing world.
I quickly learned it’s a whole other dimension I knew existed, but didn’t know how it worked. The more I researched, the enormity of it terrified me. But I kept going. I kept researching. I kept reading. And eventually, my fears quieted and my intimidation lessened (notice, they didn’t disappear). My insecurities on the other hand were in full force.
Then I heard the University of Northwestern in Roseville, MN, was holding its first Christian Writers Conference in July 2017! Talk about a game changer. I signed up, not knowing anything, and went with one goal in mind—TO GAIN INFORMATION. And I did. And it opened my eyes and gave me confidence to proceed.
The information helped me refine my other goals and create actions steps for 2018.
I’m attending the conference again this July 13-14 and plan to do others as well. But NCWC is my primary goal of the Summer. I’m also participating in the JumpStart program before the conference starts to gain more knowledge as to the next steps—meeting agents and finding one to represent me to publishers.
I registered for the conference in mid-November, and in December I started making a list of the things I want and need to have done before July. (This is in conjunction with keeping my family spinning, mentoring, discipling, Compel training, blogging, and maintaining a website.)
- Write my book proposal; have it ready to be submitted
- Write Weeks 1-4 of the Bible study with 1-3 or 1-5 days of homework for each week
- Write a query letter to send to agents
- Create new business cards
- Create a one-page intro
- Create an elevator pitch for my Bible Study ideas
I’m sure I’m missing something here, but these are the basics. Like with my fitness goals, I prioritized them and started plotting them out on paper. I looked at where I am now and what still needs to be done.
- Then I bought a planner
- I’m using The Christian Planner because of the various tools they include in their planner
- I started in July and worked my way back to now, penciling in when things need to be done on the month-view calendar
- This leaves the weekly days open for my TO-DO lists with the mile markers as headers
- I ignore their morning, afternoon, and evening headings for the individual days in favor of Website/blog, book, family.
- And I keep everything color coordinated because it makes it easier to see what’s what (and I really love using colorful pens).
- I cross things off as I complete them
- I summarize my week and what I accomplished to make it easier for writing my Newsletters to my subscribers and to remind myselfI either need to step it up or take a breath, I’m doing well. (See what’s included in my Newsletters here)
Just remember life happens. Things might derail your progress but ask God to help you get back on track and keep going. Don’t give up! Let Him be glorified in the process and watch your faith grow.
The biggest thing I can add is, know what your goal is. Research it. Make a list of mile markers and break them down as to what needs to happen for them to be met. Then put these on a calendar/planner to help keep you focused and accountable. SAHRE YOUR GOAL WITH OTHERS! This is crucial. The prayer support in priceless, and so is the accountability.
I believe in you. You can do it! I hope this helps.