ICYMI: I mentioned in my previous post that while I don’t like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, I’m always game for setting new goals for myself. The start of the year is the perfect time to reflect on where you are in your life and dream about where you’d like to go. I’ve never considered myself very ambitious or really even much of a dreamer, though, so setting realistic goals that I actually wanted to achieve took me some time to figure out. And getting started can be so overwhelming! My keys to success: planning, people, and baby steps.
Now, please realize that what works for me, may not work for everybody. I’m an ISTJ on the Myer’s Briggs chart so I’m all about black and white, concrete details and lists. ALL THE LISTS. This is just how my brain functions.
But if you’re like Jake, you probably just have all these ideas and goals rolling around in your brain and sometimes writing them down makes them more real but basically, you’re good with them in your head. If that’s you, I think you’re awesome but I just can’t live like you.
Long story short, take this and run with it – you do you.
Step 1: Dream Big
There are no rules to Step 1 which is probably what I struggle with most. This is just creative brainstorming of things you’d like to see in your life – people you’d like to meet, places to go, things to do, what kind of person you’d like to see yourself become. Think in ideals for this step, no restrictions, no “buts” or “ifs” or conditions of any kind. Once you have a few good ideas, prioritize. What all can you realistically accomplish? What is most important that you accomplish? Remember, it’s crazy-hard to reach a goal that you don’t care about reaching. The best way to set a goal you can actually accomplish is if it’s something that’s really meaningful to you. Otherwise motivating yourself will to do something you’re not interested in will not be fun at all.
Step 2: Write It Out
There’s something unique about writing things down that solidifies things in our brains. When you see your goal on paper, it becomes real – it’s out there in the world, not just in your head. But to really make this step worthwhile, it helps to get specific. You did your big dreaming to come up with your goal, now narrow it down a little. Give it parameters, a time frame. What is it specifically you’d like to accomplish and how long will you give yourself to get there?
For instance, I mentioned that one of my goals in 2018 is to memorize more scripture. My specific goal when I wrote it out is to have Ephesians 1 memorized by my birthday (end of February). I got specific about what piece of the Bible I wanted to memorize and I set a realistic deadline for myself.
Step 3: Find Your Accountabilibuddy
Now that you’ve written out your goal, the next step is to speak it out loud. Tell a friend, tell your significant other, tell your parents, tell anyone, really. Talking about your goal will make it even more solidified in your brain, but the important part in this step is to ask someone to join you on this journey as your accountability partner.
We as humans are not meant to do things alone. We will fail every time we try to accomplish things in our own efforts because that’s just not how God designed us (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). We were designed for community and part of that is spurring each other on (Hebrews 10:24), carrying each other’s burdens (Galations 6:2), and holding each other accountable (Ephesians 4:25). Partner with someone who will not only hold you to your goal but walk with you on the journey to achieving it.
Step 4: It’s All About Baby Steps
Here’s where my ISTJ starts showing but this is super important! You have a big goal that you’ve written out and told everyone about… Now how do you get started? My answer: plan out some baby steps. Start thinking concretely – what needs to happen for this goal to be accomplished? What do I need to get started? What will I need along the way?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a better sense of direction and how to start. From there, you can make a plan to tackle your goal. I’ve found it easiest to make it part of my daily routine and keep my goal at the front of my mind, but depending on your goal, you might want to have weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with yourself to see your progress.
Continuing my scripture memorization example, there are several ways I could go about memorizing Ephesians 1, but I know from past experiences that a method that’s worked really well for me is the app Fighter Verses which has all sorts of quizzes, like games, specifically designed to help people memorize scripture in ways that work for them. My first baby step was downloading this app to my new phone. From there, I planned out smaller milestones I want to hit (specific verses memorized by specific calendar dates) and made it part of my daily routine to spend at least five minutes a day in the fighter verses app. Now my ambitious goal of memorizing an entire chapter of the Bible looks a lot smaller when it’s just five minutes a day!
Whatever your goal for 2018 might be, I hope this breakdown helps you tackle it. Just don’t forget to bring someone along with you. Sometimes goals can be harder to achieve than we think and we need the support, encouragement, and prayer of the people we’ve asked to join us on our journey. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need help.
And remember, you’re only baby steps away 🙂