This week is when the shininess of all my goals for the next year starts to wear off. The excitement of picking up the next book, or learning the next verse, or reading the next chapter has started to fade. The daily grind has caught back up with me. The kids are schooling again, the house is crazy, and its easier to turn on Netflix than to read my kids a book.
Maybe you wish you hadn’t set goals. Then you wouldn’t feel guilty for not finishing them. I have had years where I met exactly none of my goals. Other years I did great. I started thinking about what the differences are, and I made a list of five things that happen when I finish my goals.
1. Start with realistic goals.
If the first two weeks of working on your New Year’s Resolutions have shown you that you bit off too much, you may need to adjust your goals. Sometimes I overestimate what is realistic for me to accomplish. The amount of time you have to spend on a goal may change. It may be that you didn’t realize how involved it would be.
Rather than giving up altogether, pray about adjusting your goal to be a more realistic goal. There’s no way I could read 100 books in a year. I see people with ginormous goals for reading, and while that sounds amazing, I know that is not my season of life. Instead of throwing up my hands and reading little or nothing, I’m shooting for a realistic number.
2. If you mess up, start over now.
I attended a weight loss meeting once with a friend. I didn’t need to lose weight at the time, but they loved their group so much and wanted me to meet some of the people. In retrospect it was kind of weird, but I heard the leader say something that really changed my perspective on meeting goals. She said ‘if you fail to eat healthy at a meal, start again with the next bite.’
In other words, if you are trying to eat healthy and you eat a whole pint of ice cream, don’t write off the day. Start from that bite forward to do better. I love that for every goal. If you have set the goal for yourself to have your quiet time every day, and you missed three days in a row, turn on the TV for the kids, let the dishes wait and go do it now.
At the end of the year you can look back and know that you tried your best and you can be proud of what you accomplished. If it wasn’t quite what you hoped for, you can set better goals next year.
3. Get up a little earlier.
I have never been a morning person. Getting up in the morning almost always feels like dragging myself out of a pit. It has gotten easier as I have made it a habit, but I will probably always wish I could sleep in. Getting up earlier may look different for you than for me. If you can only get up ten or fifteen minutes earlier, then do it. get your day started right and you will not feel so frazzled later in the day that you can’t do what you wanted to meet your goals.
4. Get yourself some accountability.
Talk about what you are doing. Get a friend who wants to commit to the same goal and encourage each other. I know of a mom who wanted to get up before her children everyday so that she could have a quiet time. She set her alarm for 30 minutes earlier, and she set an alarm outside her kids bedroom door for 25 minutes earlier. You can bet she made it everyday to that second alarm so that she was able to have her quiet time without waking them up.
If you are serious about a goal figure out what it would take to make you want to keep it beyond a shadow of a doubt, and then incorporate that circumstance into your life.
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5. Do a little everyday.
The key to accomplishing big goals is taking little steps. I want to make sure that I take some small step towards my goals each day. Little by little it adds up. I think the first time I really saw this for myself was when I first set the goal four years ago to read my twins a chapter book a month for an entire year. I carefully made a list of books and we began to read a little at mealtimes when they were eating.
As the year went on I got seriously overwhelmed. One of the books I chose was the Hobbit. I love Tolkien, but his 40 page chapters almost did me in. When I finished, taking two months instead of one, I changed the next book I was planning to read to a much shorter one. I finished our reading list early that year and added The Best Christmas Pageant Ever to our reading list. We read 13 instead of 12.
Whatever goals you have set for this year, give them over to God again today. If it is from him to accomplish something, then he will open your eyes to how to do it, and enable you to complete the task. Follow me on Instagram to see updates on my goals for this year!