Here we are 43 days into a brand new year. It is about this time, of any given year, that most people have completely sobered up from their #NewYearNewMe high. It’s the time of year when reality kicks most people in the butt, and they wonder, “Am I really able to achieve ALL of these goals I set in one year?” Or, “Do I really have what it takes,” or the all too common question, “Am I really enough?” This is the time when most people start to get into their own heads – worrying, stressing, and doubting. And, I’m not talking about those who haphazardly entered this new year, I am talking about the people who did the work! They spent the entire month of December, investing time, money, and energy into creating the Vision Board, writing the Vision statement, and deciding on their” buzz word” for the year. They’ve purchased the planner, filled it up with goals and plans galore, but NOW WHAT?!!!!!!!
Whether you crossed into 2018 with a well- organized plan in hand, or you stumbled into this new year frantically scribbling down a few obligatory resolutions, I want you to do a self check-up before you give up!
Why > How
(Why is GREATER than How)
The first thing I want you to check is your “WHY.” When it comes to moving forward with your goals, your “WHY” is essential because it will determine your commitment level. If you don’t have a “WHY” or if your “WHY” is shallow or self-centered, your commitment will likely be inconsistent. Your “WHY” is the reason behind the goal. Once you write down your initial response to the question “WHY”, I recommend you ask the question and respond to it at least 3-5 more times before settling on your “WHY” for a particular goal.
For example, a goal I had was to complete Rick Warren’s, Purpose Driven Life, which consists of 42 daily readings, in the first 42 days of 2018.
- Why? Because I’ve tried at least 2 other times and did not finish.
- Why? Because I am passionate about Purpose, and I want to consistently live purposely.
- Why? Because I want God to be pleased with my everyday actions, reactions, and interactions with others, and I believe the teaching in the book will give me practical ways to do so.
See? That first answer was fine, but it was me-focused, basically I was saying, I just want to conquer this because I have tried and failed too many times! That is certainly not enough to finish! My second answer is stronger because it starts to tap into my “passion”, but it’s too vague. The last answer is best because it pulls in my faith, it incorporates pleasing God, serving others well, plus it creates expectation for action/s from myself! Each day over the first 42 days of this year, I approached my reading expecting to learn a life-principle that would strengthen my faith, help me focus less on myself and more on how I honored God’s Word, and how my actions toward others demonstrated that I value them. I truly believe the strength of that Why is what fueled me to the finish line, and allowed me to continuously activate my faith along the way.
Similarly, your “Why” must create expectation for you to attach your faith, each time you engage in accomplishing your goal, and it cannot be totally you-focused! A shallow “why” will not carry you the distance! So, your first step is to reassess and possibly put some substance behind your “Why.”
CAUTION: If you can’t answer the question 3-5 times, this may be an indication that the goal itself is shallow, and is consuming your focus rather than fueling your purpose.
Why you should surrender the “HOW”…
The second thing I strongly recommend is surrendering the How. Most likely, the main reason you are backing off of your goals is because you are worried, stressed, and fearful about “HOW.” Trouble is, many times people skip past the “WHY” and move immediately into the “HOW.” They ask themselves and others questions like, “How will I fund this vision?” ; “How will I know who I am called to?” or “How will I meet the right people to partner with?” In most cases, each “How” question strips the excitement away from achieving the goal, until you begin to believe your goal is just too big for you!
The good news is, your goal is NOT too big for you, you just have to refrain from trying to control a part of the process that you have not been given responsibility over. As a Christ-follower, it is essential that you learn to release the “HOW” to God. The Bible refers to you as , “Co-workers with God” (I Corinthians 3:9). This is good news because this means the “how” is not dependent upon you. You have the God who created EVERYTHING, and who knows EVERYBODY partnering with you!. This means God has a role and you have a role. Many times little progress is made because we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by the “How” and much of the unfolding of the how is in God’s hands to fulfill, and He will do His part!.
Many years ago I was introduced to a series by Bishop Joseph Garlington entitled, “Get The How Out Of Here.” This message was literally life changing for me! It was the beginning of me discovering the power of trusting God with my “Hows.” God already knows “How” He’s going to allow your obedience to fuel your purpose, open doors for you, put you in front of the “right” people, and ultimately, lead you to success. He even knows how your mistakes are going to eventually work FOR your good, so trust Him fully and obey Him completely!
Keep It Simple!
After you establish your “Why” and you surrender the “Hows” to your Heavenly Father, the final step is simplification! it’s time for you to simplify! Chances are, you are trying to do too much at one time! I encourage you to go back to your goals, and first determine the frequency that you need to engage with each of them. You’ll need to determine if you need to engage, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, etc. This will help you determine your “checkpoints,” checkpoints are progress reviews to keep yourself on track.
Determining your frequency will also de-clutter your day-to-day. So for an example, if you determine that you only need to engage with, said goal, weekly, select the day of the week that you will pour into that goal with intentionality, and once you engage on that one day per week, set that goal to the side until the following week, which will free you up to focus on other goals/strategies.
Once you have established the frequency, you’ll need to put focus into what specific action/s you will take during the time you are giving that goal center stage.
Simplifying will help you build structure around yourself, and will ultimately build your confidence. Can I tell you a secret?
You can’t need to engage with all of your goals daily, that is a recipe for burn out!!
I only have 1 goal that requires my attention daily, everything else has a different frequency schedule, this has limited that overwhelmed feeling that has resulted in me quitting time after time in the past. I am realizing that in the past, I made living purposely more difficult than it had to be, and that always led to frustration and discouragement!
I hope this post is encouraging! I hope you realize you’re at a pivotal time in your journey for this year because this is when you must choose, are you going to SHOW UP, or GIVE UP? I hope you choose to show up for those goals that have substance, and ditch the superficial me-centric ones that may be serving as a distraction and crowding out your focus from the goals that are centered around pleasing God and serving the people He has called you to.
I recommend you begin your “Check up” today by:
1) Determining/ Clarifying your “Why” ! Remember, if that “Why” is shallow, either strengthen it, or recognize that you may need to ditch the goal it’s attached to.
2) Release the How! How is a burden too big for you to carry! Release it to God and trust Him to carry out His role in your purpose! Please note, this is not necessarily a one-time thing, you may have to do this many times.
3) Simplify! Keep it simple! As anyone apart of a sport’s team will tell you, “A win is a win”, no matter if it’s by 1 point or 100! Take some small deliberate steps of faith to establish some “wins” , the more you keep your “self promises” the more confident you will become!
4) Be Flexible! Living our lives to please God will require us to make adjustments regularly. Keep your prayer life active, and be willing to adjust quickly.
Yesterday, I completed Purpose Driven Life! I engaged in the process daily for the past 42 days. I walked away with a crystal clear blueprint, and I am convinced that dedicating that time to really learn about and focus on God’s 5 purposes for my life will result in me being a better Daughter to God, a better steward of the things He has entrusted to me, and a better servant to those He has called me to!
Again, I hope this is helpful! Please let me know your thoughts, either below in the comments or you can Email Me.
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Until Next time, keep your hope LIVING!