Guest Post by Laci Bean
If you’re anything like me then setting a goal is the easy part. You can set goals right and left, but when it comes to actually achieving them… well, that’s a different story. Over the years I have set more goals than I can count and the amount of them that I actually accomplished is embarrassingly low.
I grew up in a house that lived in survival mode. My parents worked their butts off just to make ends meet, we lived paycheck to paycheck, we didn’t do vacations, and we weren’t pushed to go after our dreams. I think mostly because my parents couldn’t afford the cost of four kids trying to chase their dreams. We all know things in life aren’t free, and chasing your dreams is no exception to the rule. As an adult I get it. I have a friend who has four kids and recently we were talking about how much it cost to put their kids in all their different activities. You have horse riding lessons, swim lessons, gymnastics, dance, and so much more. That stuff adds up fast and for a family that’s living paycheck to paycheck means that it’s just not in the budget.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents dearly and I’m super grateful for everything they did and have done for me. They gave me a childhood 10x better than anything they could have wished or hoped for. They walked through many hard trials as children, but they rose above it and did their best in raising my siblings and I, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
My point in telling you about my childhood is so you understand where my failure to reach my goals came from. Since I was never taught to reach outside the box or how to pick myself back up after failure meant that when I set a goal I either dropped it with little effort put forth or when I failed, I just gave up altogether.
Over the years of setting goal after goal after goal with little to no success I started to learn a few things that lead me to actually achieving my goals regularly. I’m not just talking small goals like drinking more water each day or praying more. I mean those big goals, the ones that give you butterflies each and every time you think about them.
It doesn’t matter what goal you have or how long it will take to accomplish it, these four simple tips are the same ones I follow with each and every one of the goals I set and eventually they lead me to success. So here they are!
Tip 1: Focus on one area of your life at a time.
How many times has New Year’s come around and you make your New Year’s Resolution list full of all your goals for the year. They may go something like this; work out 3 times a week, lose 20 pounds, start eating healthy, build the savings account up to $1,000, read through the Bible, go on a date with my spouse each month, spend more time together as a family, and go on a vacation.
Now let’s fast forward to the end of the year. How did you do? Did you accomplish all your goals? What about just one or two? Most of the time the answer is no, and the reason why is because you have set too many goals for yourself at one time.
I love Rachel Hollis’s analogy about setting too many goals at once. (If you don’t know who she is look her up and read her books. She is amazingly inspirational.) She compares it to being on a soccer field with multiple balls lined up and each ball is a goal you have set for yourself. Every day you only have so much energy and time to kick your soccer balls towards the goal. If you have a bunch of balls lined up, you can only kick each of them a couple inches every day. If you only have one ball, then you can focus all your energy and time on it and gain a lot more distance each day.
So, stop making a laundry list of goals and instead focus on one area. If your biggest goal is to lose weight, then make your goal something like; I want to lose 45 pounds. For example, my one and only goal for 2018 was to start my own blog. I knew it was a big goal and I was determined to reach it, so I didn’t add any other goals to my list.
Tip 2: Write it down daily.
This may seem ridiculous but honestly this is the most important tip and should not, I repeat SHOULD NOT be skipped. Every day take 5 minutes and write your goal down. An even better thing to do is to write it down as if it already happened. Instead of saying, “I will lose 45 pounds” write, “I have reached my goal weight and have more energy than ever before.”
Writing it down as if it already happened helps you envision the reality of your dreams and keeps it at the forefront of your mind. Doing this helps motivate you to stay on track, so weeks or months don’t go by without you taking one step closer to your goal.
Tip 3: Break your goal into bite size pieces.
Every goal should have steps, this way it becomes more manageable and not so overwhelming to you. If your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight then break it up into 3, 4, or 5-pound increments. If your goal is to start your dream business, then break it up into steps that you can accomplish each week. If your goal is to read through the Bible, then break it up into daily segments.
Tip 4: Give yourself grace.
Sometimes life happens when we least expect it and can throw a wrench in our plans. It stinks but its life, it happens to all of us. The most important thing you can do during these times is to just ride the wave and give yourself grace. Yep you read that right. Give yourself grace. It’s so easy for us to extend grace to others but for some reason it’s not the same case when it comes to ourselves. We start to nit-pick and berate instead of extending ourselves that same grace. Life happens, and seasons change. Don’t let it be what stands in your way for your goal.
Recently I got the exciting news that we will be adding another baby to our family next year. As excited as we were it didn’t stop the debilitating morning sickness from hitting. For some reason my morning sickness gets worse with each kid and this one put me through the ringer. I was out for weeks and there were many days in there that I lived in my chair or bed. I lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time and for over a week I was only keeping down less than 1,000 calories per day. It was a very hard season.
During this time, I didn’t write any blog posts, send out any newsletters, or even update my social media accounts. Before I started implementing these tips I would have let this season consume me. I would have been so upset with myself that I didn’t stay on track I would’ve let it be the reason I threw in the towel.
Luckily, I’m not the same person anymore. Now I look at seasons like this as an opportunity to extend myself some grace just like Jesus does. I see it for what it truly is, just a season. A small frame of time that will pass before you know it. I don’t give it power or authority in my life or let it be the thing that stands between me and my goal. I embrace it for what it is and just let it pass. Once the season is over I jump right back into accomplishing my goal as if no time has passed. I don’t try to make up lost time, I just keep moving forward. Progress is progress no matter how long it takes you.
There’s no reason to let your past failures keep you from setting new goals and chasing after your dreams. Sometimes we just need a little help and guidance. My hope is that these four tips motivate you to start setting goals and help you to achieve them. If you’re the type of person that likes to be continually inspired then check out my recent post, “10 Bible Verses to Help You Chase Your Dreams.” It comes with a free set of Bible verse printables, so you can post them around your house or even slip them in your Bible. That way, no matter what, you get a little dose of encouragement throughout each and every day.
Laci Bean is a mom, wife, photographer, Harry Potter fanatic, and lover of Jesus. She’s one of those people you just know you’ll become good friends with. Her mission is to help moms grow deeper roots in order to not get swept away when the hurricane winds of everyday life hit hard.
You can find her contagious smile over at The Deeply Rooted Mom. She also has a marriage challenge so do yourself a favor and follow up our “Wife for the Win” marriage challenge with her 5 Day Marriage Challenge. Sign up on her homepage banner & keep those flames burning bright! 😉
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