(This is blog five in a series of eight, taken from Lesson 5, “Discover Your One-of-a-Kind Genius Zone and Set Your Current Top Life Goals” in Happy School, Where Women Learn the Secrets to Overcome Discouragement and Worry. You can access all 8 blogs in Lesson 5 HERE at JulieNGordon.com.)
Many people are proficient at setting goals, but it’s a whole other ballgame to be proficient at achieving goals.
If you haven’t already done so, please write out your current top four to six life goals in your journal. Remember to begin with the end in mind and write out the goals you want to accomplish in the next 10, 20, or 30 years.
After you are clear on your top four to six goals, it’s time to formulate a plan. Businesses pay business coaches thousands of dollars to say, “Show me your plan!” Many of us unknowingly string together wasted days, instead of living intentionally with goals and a plan.
Goals are the end product, and your plan is the yellow brick road to get there. No one accomplishes their goal when they merely declare, “I want to lose 50 pounds.” You must have a plan. Maybe you want to start a non-profit ministry. Maybe you’ve decided you want to homeschool your kids. These things don’t appear out of thin air; there must be a plan.
So take your goals and make a plan.
Another important aspect in achieving goals is the stunning quality of having the willingness to prepare. Intuitively we know this truth as we do it all the time. If we have a wedding, we spend months preparing. Have you ever paid attention to the amount of studying and preparation a law student puts in to take the Bar exam? And as you know, women spend an insane amount of time preparing for Christmas each year. Actually, we are rock stars at preparing for many things.
But when it comes to our life goals, we wing it. We say, “Que sera, sera.” (Whatever will be, will be.)
Preparation is such an important concept in life. A helpful tip is to plan the next day the night before. This habit itself helps you to be marvelously productive. You put specific work to be done in your day’s schedule like it’s an appointment. This is how you get things done—being exceedingly intentional.
For example, health is a very important subject around my house. Therefore, I know what food I am going to fix for most of the week, and especially for the day. I don’t just show up, and because nothing is prepped, eat chocolate chips. There is spinach to be washed, cabbage to be chopped, chicken to be thawed. I don’t wait until I’m ravenous to prepare because you know as well as I do if I get to that point, healthy eating isn’t going to happen. Every day you lay bricks and then one day you will have built a cathedral (or in this case, a thin healthy body.)
Beware that every goal is going to have a difficult aspect to it. Many business coaches call conquering these difficult aspects, “Eating Frogs.” Maybe it’s research you need to do or merely an unpleasant task you need to accomplish. Whatever it is, determine to Eat Your Frogs while you still have Willpower Points in your day. As we said last week, Willpower Points are like a bowl of nuts, and when they’re used up, they’re gone.
Know that in 100 percent of your goals, you will encounter obstacles and opposition. I find it hilarious when people say, “My goal is difficult, waa, waa.” Uh, yes. It wouldn’t be a goal if it wasn’t hard. None of us have the goal of eating ice cream because that’s easy. The great missionary, Hudson Taylor, is quoted as saying, “Impossible. Difficult. Done.” He knew how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.
One obstacle you will definitely face when trying to reach your goals is procrastination. Some experts call this resistance. Oh my, how this one trips me up! I often hear my Lower Self trying to get out of Eating a Frog. She whispers, “Wouldn’t this be a good time to organize your closet?
Isn’t this a good time to call that friend that you’ve been meaning to call? Shouldn’t you get online and see if the tennis shoes you want are on sale?”
It’s quite a remarkable and unparalleled dance to say no to your Lower Self (Lesson 4 in Happy School) and, at the same time, learn to make yourself follow your plan and do the things you know you should. Mega-successful former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry, said he makes men do what they don’t want to do so they can achieve the dreams of their lives.
There’s a lot of talk about people being brilliant and genius. Being brilliant and genius is as common as March winds and April showers. What is rare and breathtaking is a person with serious goals and vision using discipline to hammer away at their goals.
Success in reaching your goals is not an accident. It is an outcome of discipline, perseverance, and virtue. Working on your plan and overcoming resistance is extraordinarily powerful to reaching your goals. Everyone wants to be successful, but no one wants to do the work. The bridge between wishing and accomplishing is discipline.
Start with a modest goal. Eight years ago, I had so much resistance and procrastination that I could only make myself write one hour a day. Now I’m writing four hours many days. You can grow in your ability to work on your goals. Just get started.
I want to warn you though. After you get clear on your Genius Zone and get concrete goals from the Lord (this can be wildly exciting), you’ll still experience days when you’ll wonder if you heard right, as your goals do not seem to be taking off. This morning is a great example. I got up at 5:30 a.m. and in the dark, I heard the negative Parade over a couple major WMDs. But I know how to corner that pesky Lower Self. “Get some coffee, your Bible study, and your journal and you can whack this thing.”
Of course, that is exactly what happened. The Word convicted me of some sin, my journal reminded me of how to refute my Parade, and soon, I was whistling, bearing down on my goals. This is why it’s so necessary to be clear and hear from the Lord on your purpose, your calling, and your goals, so when the dark, foggy, overcast days appear, you’ll know this is part of it and continue to plow. If you are not clear on your goals and calling, you will bail when times get hard or when you can’t see much progress on your goals. This is when you have to persevere. Spend the needed daily time in prayer, talking to the Lord, asking Him what He wants you to do.
Persevering through the darkness and dryness is only possible if you are clear on your calling and goals.
During the terrors of Nazi Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, author of The Cost of Discipleship, escaped to France and was safe with his sister. But because he had a calling and a purpose from the Lord, he went back into Nazi Germany to try to help, ultimately sacrificing his own life. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall and heard what he and the Lord talked about during his time in France. These people who walk so closely with the Lord are my heroes.
Listen well. Persevere in your calling even when the way is dark. Remember: Impossible. Difficult. Done.
Blog #6 out of 8 is next and is entitled An Amazing Room to Move Into When WMDs (What’s Missing and Disappointing) Descend. You can access all 8 blogs in this series now HERE at JulieNGordon.com.
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