It hit me the other day that there’s only four months left in 2013. That means, there’s only four months left to complete my goals for 2013.
I’ve made some progress in almost every goal I set, but I still have a lot of work to do if I want to accomplish everything. I’m thinking of one goal in particular — memorizing 4 chapters of the Bible. It’s almost September, and I’ve only memorized one chapter so far. That means I need to learn three chapters in four months! I need to get busy!
What about you? Are you making steady progress? Or did life get busy and distract you somewhere along the way? Have you lost sight of what you wanted to accomplish this year, or are you hanging on to the idea that it will happen on its own, somehow?
It’s okay if you’ve hiccuped. It’s okay if you stopped working on your goals for a few months… as long as you get back to them! Think of it like a race…
In a marathon, it’s not so much how you start the race that matters, as it is how you finish. You can start fast and furious, but slow to a crawl halfway through and never quite make it past the finish line. Or, you can start slow and steady, but catch a second wind a few miles from the end, and stumble across that finish line with pride in your accomplishment.
It’s the same with your goals. Maybe you started the year with great intentions and lofty aspirations, enthusiastic about the possibilities. But how you started the year won’t make much difference in what you actually accomplish. It’s how you end that matters.
So, how can we finish this year better than we started? How can we redeem the next four months?
Let’s consider my goal of memorizing Scripture… maybe you have a similar goal you can think about. I started the year with a good goal and good intentions. And then life got crazy busy and I stopped working towards that goal. But if I jump back into things now, and make some serious progress over the next four months, then all is not lost.
Choose to make your goal a priority.
That’s right, it’s a choice. For instance, with the Scripture memorization — I need to consciously decide to want to accomplish this goal. I need to decide that it’s worth accomplishing, that the benefits of memorizing four chapters will outweigh the time and effort it takes to do the work. I need to purpose in my heart that I will strive to complete this goal, despite distractions and interruptions and natural laziness.
Ask yourself: Is this goal worth the hard work it requires? Do I really want to apply myself to making this happen, to the exclusion of something else? Will this help me redeem the time for God’s glory?
Choose to find tools to help.
Look for tools to help you accomplish your goal. For me, that means find a phone app that will remind me to work on memorizing Scripture each day. That means finding an accountability partner. For you, that might include investing in a day planner or time-tracking software or fitness-tracking tools. Ask others for suggestions. Find friends who will keep you accountable.
Ask yourself: What would make it easier to work towards this goal? How much time/money am I willing to invest in reaching this goal? Where can I find tools to help?
Choose to practice faithfully.
Yes, another choice. If memorizing four chapters is truly important to me, then I need to decide ahead of time to work at it, whether I feel like it or not. However, unlike simply making something a priority, this requires a daily decision to practice discipline. This is the nitty-gritty, pass-or-fail choice. You can wholeheartedly proclaim that something is a priority; you can invest in the best tools to help you accomplish it; but if you don’t actually jump in and do it, you’ll never reach that goal.
Ask yourself: How will I determine to consistently work towards my goal? What can I use for motivation — and how will I respond whenever I get off track?
I got off track with my Scripture memorization this past summer. But I am making the choice — and making it publicly, no less — to jump back into it and work towards reaching my goal. Will I complete all four chapter by the end of December? Who knows… But if I start working now, I’ll certainly get closer to those goals than if I just keep ignoring them!
What goals have you stopped working towards? How can you jump back on the wagon? Do you need to find some tools to motivate and encourage you? Ask for suggestions in the comments… I’m sure someone else has been there, done that, and can help you out!
And consider whether accountability would help you make consistent progress. If so, send me a message. I’m part of a small group that has made a big difference, and you’d be welcome to join!