Thanks largely to my Dad, I am a goal-setter. Many New Year’s Days, each of us kids would be sent off to separate corners of the house in order to make a list of goals.
I am also, by and large, a goal keeper. Being a goal keeper, I have a few secrets for how to make goals that are “keep-able.”
Some goal advice I have shared with you before: Ask the Lord what goals He wants you to set, make sure they are measurable (not vague and lofty), and revisit your goals weekly.
But what’s the motivation behind your goals? If your goals are simply good ideas or things you feel you should do, it is likely they will be hard to stick to. Knowing why you want to accomplish a goal will go a long way toward making your goals something you are willing to commit to – and recommit to over and over again when you get weary.
Personally, I have an “imaginary life” that I have hoped would miraculously appear at some point down the road. I’ve been adulting long enough now to realize that the “imaginary life” won’t become real life unless I choose to make steps toward it. I have learned to take elements from my “imaginary life” and make them goals for my life. In essence, I have made my “imaginary life” a template for my goals and the motivation for keeping my goals.
As a rather superficial and simple example: If, in my “imaginary life” I am well-read, then I make being well-read a goal, instead of a wish. So if my goal is to be well-read, I begin to break that down into smaller and smaller bites. My goal is to read twelve books per year. That’s a big goal, considering my busy life. If I want to read twelve books in a year, I can’t wait until November to get started on it! I have to break that goal down further to: I want to read one book per month. And if my book has 240 pages, that means I should be shooting for about 60 pages per week.
Even with all this breaking down of my goals into bite-sized pieces, I must keep my motivation before me: I want to be well-read.
If, in my “imaginary life,” I have blossoming friendships and get together routinely with friends, I must make that a goal. And worthy though it is, like most things, it will become a victim of the tyranny of the urgent if I don’t break that down into bite-sized bits of plans. That means that I generally try to have coffee with one friend per week.
If I want to write a book, I need to break that down into individual, bite-sized tasks that I can place on actual calendar pages and work toward. It won’t just happen.
But no matter how important or fundamental a goal may be, the motivation for them comes from keeping the end product before our eyes. It comes from imagining our later years and having accomplished them and knowing we used our time wisely.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12