I love this time of year when we are turning the corner to a new season – a fresh start, a renewal of mind, body, and spirit. The upcoming uncharted territory makes me giddy with a sensation of endless possibilities.
In the journey of pursuing myself – the way that God has intricately and creatively designed my entire being – the new year gives me a time to reflect on the past and set new goals for the future.
Psalm 37:4 tells us to take delight in the Lord and he will give us the desires of our heart. What is your passion? What have you always dreamed about? Is there a burning desire that you have let simmer far too long? That nagging idea that you just can’t get out of your head – the one that you’ve been sitting on because you think you’re not good enough or it’s too late – yes, that could be the desire that the Lord has given you. It’s a precious gift and should not be given over to waste.
Not sure where to start when setting your own goals once you’ve decided to pursue yourself? My advice is to keep it simple and ask yourself these three questions:
- Is the goal something that you want to invest your time and money to achieve? Reaching a goal can be costly and time consuming. Does the accomplishment warrant the sacrifice of time away from family and friends, a dip in your bank account, and/or the emotional toll it may take? If you answered no, then it may be beneficial to seek a new goal.
- How much time do you need to succeed? I usually set 4 goals a year, not an overwhelming number but enough to keep me engaged. God has wired me to be highly competitive* and my goals usually center around a physical challenge. I’ll use my 2016 goals as an example.
- For instant gratification, I set a time frame of 2-4 weeks. (no skipping runs for one month – I use this one to help set up healthy habits)
- The 6 month goal combats boredom. (run a 5K in under 26 minutes)
- For long term engagement, I choose a goal that requires a year to complete. (run 2016 miles in the year 2016)
- My “impossible” goal is a target that I deem just outside my skill set. This fuels me to work harder throughout the year. When I set my sights on the “impossible” goal, the other 3 goals are easily attained. (place in the top 10 in my age group in a 5k – I actually placed 4th)
- How will you be held accountable for accomplishing your goals? Don’t take the time to set and plan goals if you don’t have an accountability system in place. I am blessed to have my Pursue Yourself community to encourage me, hold my hand, and push me forward. I would not be where I am today without these amazing women.
One more piece of advice – don’t hold on to these plans too tightly. In your heart you plan your course, but the Lord establishes your steps. (Proverbs 16:9). Life happens and there is nothing you can do about it. The only thing you can control is the way to react to life’s ups and downs. It’s ok to start over. It’s actually a good thing to fail. It’s your journey. How are you going to use goals to pursue yourself?
*Side note – I’m aware that having a highly competitive nature is not necessarily seen as a gift from God. I’ve been made painfully aware of that my entire life. But I’ve learned that a competitive spirit tempered with gentleness and self-control can produce just the right disposition to be an extraordinary Business Manager/Administrator. (But that’s for another post.)