For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness (Psalm 33:4 ESV)
During the excitement of the New Year’s countdown, I began brainstorming what I wanted to do differently and mulled over several missed opportunities and incomplete projects. But as I welcomed the new year, the air around me sparked with the energy of hope, fresh starts, and the pursuit of goals. I was full of new ideas for writing books, finishing projects, and working with clients.
Like most of us, I’m planning to accomplish more this year. But despite our best intentions, sticking to our resolutions is often tricky. And we find ourselves confronted with missing our goals and unfinished projects we keep putting off until “one day.” It doesn’t matter if the resolution is to start a new hobby, organize, give up addictions, lose weight, or find the perfect relationship. It all comes down to having the proper focus and dedication.
Those who’ve fallen short in achieving goals are in good company. In a recent poll I read, the data determined that less than 16 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions keep them. Sadly, most people give up on their goals after one to six weeks of starting. We blame our follow-through on a lack of resources, time, or motivation when challenges and distractions interrupt our plans.
But what’s the real problem?
Here’s what I’ve discovered about myself and why I sometimes fail to achieve what I’d initially planned on doing:
· Resolutions are unrealistic: sometimes, the objectives are challenging and aren’t measurable.
· Lack of accountability: having peers and mentors helps me to stay accountable. When left to my own devices, I often lose interest and focus.
· No check-ins: I lose traction when I don’t review my progress consistently.
· Vague or little planning: if I don’t write the plan, vision, or goals, it becomes challenging to stay on track.
· Self-doubt: the more significant the dreams and goals, the more doubt I experience. Then I tend to focus on past failures. Avoiding concentrating on the negative is best suited for success. Being self-critical or doubtful doesn't help since it focuses all our attention and energy on "why can't I do this?"
· Comparison: Avoiding the struggle of measuring up to others saps our energy. Instead, work with people who elevate and encourage you.
· Fear: Even small victories should be celebrated because it helps us to overcome our fear. When we’re thankful, it motivates us to work harder for the larger goals. This also helps to combat anxiety and disillusionment.
What does God have to say about goal setting?
· For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness (Psalm 33:4 ESV)
· Whoever of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:33 KJV)
· Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19:21 NIV)
· Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap (Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV)
· A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9).
· For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
· The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the purposes of His heart to all generations (Psalm 33:11).
When Jesus came to earth, he was on a mission! He made it clear that to be a disciple, we need to be hyper-focused. He also surrounded himself with people possessed by their dreams, drive, and ambition to see the gospel preached and spread. During his short time on earth, Jesus was intent on living with daily purpose and limiting distractions. Whether or not people believe in Christianity, Jesus is singularly the most controversial and influential person who lived. Therefore, his example of leadership and accomplishment is incomprehensible and worth studying.
These Bible verses about goals and dreams will help motivate us to set God-centered goals. Before planning and setting goals, we must consult God by reading the Bible and seeking guidance through prayer. As we apply the scriptures to our lives, we can look to the example Jesus set during his time on earth. Doing this will help us realize that God knows what’s best for us.
Allowing God to guide our thoughts and plans will also help us align with his will and achieve goals and dreams we never thought possible. Let's set out to be faithful in the pursuit of our dreams!
Dear God, help me to stay focused on serving you. Please help me in all my God-given dreams and goals. Amen.
Your turn: Currently, I’m tweaking my vision board and planning for several new challenges. I’m working on a new monthly blog series for men called “The Man Cave.” I’m also preparing to teach at several conferences this year. What about you? I’d love you to share your plans, goals, and dreams for this new season. We would love to help you stay accountable!