Joy Journey Day 4: Set Goals

Luke 14

28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Proverbs 15

22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

Proverbs 16

9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

Are you living a life of intention or just going through the motions.  Those who live with the most joy are those who take accountability for their lives by making a plan, charting a course and setting goals.  If you don’t have a plan for where you are going you are much more likely to end up in places you don’t really want to be.

I am a list maker and that has been one consistency in my life… my notebooks with the lists of what I want to get done each day.  I love the satisfaction of crossing off the things I have accomplished.  I also ponder at the beginning of the year on what one word I would like to focus on to improve my life for that year. For my business I am constantly setting and working on goals to offer new stories and downloads to help families teach their children the scriptures.  As a writer and speaker I create goals and challenges that help me reach out to the world in my attempt to help individuals find ways to better anchor in Christ and His teachings.  Goals are a very important part of my life.

I know personally how important it is to have a plan and to be setting goals.  There was one point in my life where I found myself in a very miserable place.  I had made some really poor choices that almost devastated my family and caused myself a huge setback in life.  It took a lot of time, introspection and work to get back to a place where I was truly happy again.  Part of my introspection revealed to me that it was the first time in my life I had not been using my lists or setting and assessing goals for myself.  Goal setting became a big part of my return to happiness.  I will never again have a time in my life where I am not charting a course and setting goals for myself.

Why is it important to set goals?  I completely agree with Mark Twain when he said, “Without dreams and goals there is no living, only merely existing, and that is not why we are here.”  We were sent to this earth for a purpose.  We are supposed to be working on becoming our very best self, striving to achieve the potential God sees inside of us.  We cannot possibly reach this potential if we are not living with intention, if we are just going through the motions.  Goals give us direction and clarity for what is most important in life. They help us determine where we want to end up and what we must do to get there.  They help focus our efforts and give us motivation to move towards self improvement.  They help us acquire knowledge and develop new skills and talents.  Goals help us manage our time and use it most effectively.  They help us live with real intent and achieve a higher quality of life.  When we have defined our own personal purpose, goals have an even more powerful affect on our lives and on the lives of those around us.

What does an effective goal look like?  There are four different categories of my life that I like to focus my goals in.  I feel like most goals that help us reach our full potential can be sorted into these four categories… Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual.  I am inserting a chart you can save to your computer and print if it will help for you to see your goals more visually.

Growth Chart

For a goal to be its most effective it needs to be a S.M.A.R.T. goal. 

Specific:  If a goal is vague it is not motivating, achievable or measurable.  You must be very specific about the goal you want to set.  If for instance, I wanted to learn how to play the piano rather than just say, “I want to be more musical.” I would say instead, “I am going to learn to play the piano.” That is more specific and more attainable.

Measurable:  A goal needs to have the ability to be measured so I know if I am making progress.  I could even make this goal more measurable by picking a specific song I am going to work on. I should be able to tell week by week through my practice efforts if I am getting closer to achieving my goal.

Achievable:  It is very important that we set goals that are difficult enough to challenge us so that there is actual improvement but not so difficult that it is impossible.  A goal that is impossible only causes us frustration and disappointment. It would be smarter in our scenario to pick a song like the birthday song rather than Fur Elise to start with.  We can always increase the difficulty of our goals as we increase our abilities.

Relevant: A goal needs to be relevant to the direction we want to be headed in.  If we want to be more musical than a goal to learn the piano, especially a particular song is a good way to move in that direction, it is relevant to the overall direction we want to be headed in.

Time Based: We must set a deadline for our goal for it to be effective.  There is a law referred to as Parkinson’s Law that states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion.” It is for exactly this reason that almost every one of us when we were in high school  stayed up until midnight to finish a report that was due the next day.  But we did get it done! And if it had been due the week before, we would have gotten done then too.  So setting a goal with a deadline is much more likely to be achieved then one that has no finish date.

Now that we know what a good goal looks like, how does one set a goal?

*Visualize the change you want to see.  What is the end result you are looking for?

*Decide how you will word your goal.

*Write it down.  You are much more likely to follow through with a goal that you have taken the time to write down.  (And at my age, more likely to actually remember it. Ha!) Then post your goal somewhere you will see it each day.  Then read it out loud each day.  This will help you stay focused on it.

*Tell someone about your goal.  Or tell 3 someones.  The more you talk about your goal the more likely you are to stay on track with it.  It helps tremendously to have accountability to someone else who will be checking on your progress.

*Make a plan.  Break your goal down into small measurable sections.  What will you do to work on it this week?  What will you do each day to move toward the weekly accomplishment? I love this saying, “Little by little, a little bit makes a lot!”

*Set a deadline.  Once you have decided when you want to have your goal accomplished, write it in the same place your goal is.

*Pick a reward for your goal.  Our brains are very trainable.  When they associate a reward with the accomplishment of a goal they become much more helpful in our achieving it.

*Act on your goal.  Be diligent.  Read and research where you need to for optimum success.  The more you learn about what you are doing the more successful you will be.  Be disciplined in pursuing your goal.  Remember that motivation comes and goes but discipline is what keeps us moving forward.

*Take a break.  Don’t burn yourself out.  Work on your goal for 6 days and then take a day off.  Let you brain breathe.  Do something relaxing and invigorating.  This allows us to come back to the goal with fresh eyes and an ability to see where we need to make adjustments.

*Partner with God:  This is perhaps the most important step.  I believe in a God who loves me passionately and wants to see me have success in my life, not just in my spiritual pursuits but in every good and worthy cause.  Not only does He want to see me succeed but He wants to help me.  If I have a goal in mind and I make Him my partner He can give me strength beyond my own endurance, inspiration when I draw a blank, and ideas when I need adjustments.  If I can’t come up with a goal, I am well aware of how much He absolutely loves the humble question, “Where do you think I need improvement in my life?”  My best and most successful goals have started with this question.

Soul Searching Question: What goal will you set today?

Song:

The Motions by Matthew West

Face to face with the author:

Gratitude Challenge Day 1: Intentional Appreciation

Thank you so much for joining me for our Gratitude Challenge. I’m so excited about this week! I am looking forward to sharing some things I have learned with you as well as feeling the lift that I know comes from focusing on gratitude. (Please forgive any typos I may have in these memes I created. My brain is pretty tired this morning.)

(See challenge at end of post.)

Today I want to focus on Intentional Appreciation. Our brains are such amazing things! They really do find what we are looking for, whether that is positive or negative. And if we don’t like the way we have been feeling or habits we have created our brains are capable of being retrained. We can literally change the neuropathways of our brains. These little pathways are like ruts that have been created through a field as we walk the same path over an over again. When we intentionally focus on new things, better things, we create a new pathway and eventually the old pathway will grow over and the new more positive thoughts will be as natural as the old negative ones were. So I challenge you today to be mindful of when you are thinking negatively and stop yourself in your tracks and think about something you are grateful for. Notice even the small blessings in your life, the things you typically take for granted. See if you can go the whole day without allowing a negative thought to last longer than a couple seconds before you recognize it and squash it.

Our Savior loves us so much and truly desires for us to be happy and to appreciate the many things He has blessed with. Many times in the scriptures Christ tells us to be of good cheer. I know that He desires our happiness. Not only is it something He wants for us, but we also best show our love for Him as we show gratitude for all that we have been blessed with. Neuropathways

Colossians 4:

2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving

Song: Gratitude by Elevation Worship

Today’s challenge:

Day 1 Challenge Video by Oléa:

Invitation to a Gratitude Challenge

On Monday I’m starting a gratitude challenge here! I love how we see what we look for in life and that we can palpably increase our happiness by focusing on what we have been blessed with! God is so good and we show our love for Him through our gratitude.

I will share scripture verses, songs, some of my thoughts and some action challenges for you to do to help you focus on gratitude for seven days.

Invite a friend and join me in Monday!

21 Day Walk with Christ Final Steps

Thank you so much for joining me on this walk with Christ as we prepared for this beautiful Easter day. I am so grateful for the many stories of Christ that we have in the Holy scriptures thanks to those who were faithful to record these experiences. I am so grateful for the power these stories add to my life as I take time to read and ponder on them. I am so grateful for the tools that we have been given to draw closer to our Savior, to build a personal relationship with Him. I am so blessed by an increased understanding of who Jesus is and of His nature, which grows each time I read the stories in the Gospels. I am most humbled by the knowledge that Jesus Christ loves me personally and yearns for a relationship with me. He has that same desire for each of us. He will gather us in His arms if we will allow it!

Song:

Come Unto Christ

Talk:

According To the Desire of our Hearts

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1996/10/according-to-the-desire-of-our-hearts?lang=eng

Soul Searching Question:

What will you do to continue your personal walk with Christ?

Note: A Special thank you to the many talented and inspired artists whose incredible works of art, music, or words added so much depth and beauty to this walk. No infringement of copyright was intended and I hope they will know how much the sharing of their gifts and talents contributed to our last 21 days.

Decisions For Which I’ve Been Grateful by Clayton M. Christensen

I learned so much from this talk, especially on the topic of real intent. After listening to it a few years ago I was able to look back on my life and recognize the truth of what He was saying. God does want to answer or prayers and share great knowledge with us but He first wants to see that we really do intend to do something with the answers, that we aren’t just asking out of mere curiosity. The most profound answers and insights I have gotten in my life were during times I really needed them! Times I desperately plead for them! Times I intended to use them to take the next step in my life! God knows our hearts and our intentions matter to Him!

https://video.byui.edu/media/Clayton+M.+Christensen+%22Decisions+For+Which+I%27ve+Been+Grateful%22/0_tdb0a80p/14336742