Each New Year brings the chance to start over. For some people they set goals and make New Year resolutions, but less than half of people who make New Year Resolutions actually fulfill them. If their goals are really important things they want to do, have, achieve or become, why is it that when they decide what they want (in every area of their lives) they don't get it?
Everyone can come up with a list of reasons why they didn't achieve what they wanted, but we have to learn to think of solutions to our problems, not finding someone or something to blame. This year, stop the cycle of resolving to make change, but then not following through. In this post, I'll give you some tips to help you avoid making the mistakes that prevent many people from achieving their goals (and keep their resolutions) in every area of life.
1. Your Goals MUST Be Yours
Decide what you want to accomplish (in every area of life). Don't be concerned about what others want for you. Follow (the desires of) your heart. Goals must be those things you really want to become, do, have or achieve (in every area of life) not a list of things you have made up to impress or please other people.
Tip: If the goal or dream doesn't come from your heart you could become unwilling to make sacrifices (e.g. sacrificing pleasure time), pay the price, or put forth the necessary effort required to achieve it. You will begin to feel forced to take action to reach your goals and this attitude can prevent you from reaching it. So, ensure that what you want to accomplish comes from your heart.
2. Write Your Goals (or New Year Resolutions) Down
One of the reasons many people don't reach their goals is simply because they are not written down either on paper (in a goal journal) or using a computer or Smartphone). Your goals (and New Year resolutions) MUST be written down in a way that is clear, easy to follow, and provides all the information you need at a glance. Whether you have a short-term, medium-term, or long-term goal, one of the keys to achieving them is to regularly review your goals/dreams each day so that you don't forget them (especially when it is going to take a long time to see results).
Tip: Reviewing your goals can only be done if they are written down.
If you need some guidance on how to put your goals down on paper in a way that is easy to follow, and provides all the information you need at a glance, let me provide some tips to help you:
i. Make a list of what you want to accomplish (do, have, achieve, become) in every area of life.
Here are the key areas of life: Business, Financial, Career, Physical, Health, Family, Social, Relationships, Personal, Fun, Adventure, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, and Ethical. You can add some areas of life when you think of them. As mentioned above make sure these things come from your heart, and be very specific.
Tip: Give no thought at this stage how you can afford it or how you'll ever achieve it. If you try to figure out the why's, when's, and how's (this is excessive reasoning), you will constrict and limit your beliefs in your ability to achieve them and possibly give up on the dream.
Looking too far into the future or trying to see all the steps, in the beginning, can make any goal can seem impossible to achieve. When God puts a dream in your heart He WILL make a way, even where there seems to be no way, and direct your steps. That’s what He is doing in my life right now!
ii. Come Up with Reasons Why You Want to Accomplish Your Goal
Write down as many as you can. And keep in mind that reading the reasons why you want to achieve your goal is an effective way to strengthen your motivation. So, read this list when your motivation is low or when you feel like giving up.
iii. Identify the Obstacles on Your Path
List everything that is preventing you from achieving your goal (in every area of life). This is very important. Only by writing down the reasons why you don't have it now will it crystallize your thinking and cause you to start thinking of solutions.
* Keep in mind that anyone who has accomplished what you want to accomplish had to surmount their own obstacles.
iv. Start Thinking of Solutions
Keep on seeking and you will find. (See Matthew 7:7-8). This means God expects us to keep on seeking the solutions to our problems (in every area of life). When you keep on asking you will receive (at the appointed day).
Beside each problem you write down, leave some space to insert the solution. Believe that every problem has a solution. Take time out to contemplate. Inquire within - listen to what God says within you. Only by silent contemplation can you learn to listen to the voice of God's Spirit in you that will guide you in the right direction every time. He will give you ideas so illuminating that success in whatever you are doing is a certainty.
Tip: Use solitude to put the pieces of the problem together. Taking time to think each day will help you to listen for ideas, advice, and the direction to take. So organize your life in a way that gives you enough time to think (preferably each day).
v. Develop a Plan of Action
Think about the steps you need to take to reach your goals (in every area of life). Keep learning and increasing in knowledge because lack of knowledge will prevent you from reaching your goals (in every area of life).
Tip: Before you devise a plan of action to take you to where you want to go (in every area of life) it is important that you point out the main obstacles you will encounter and how to overcome them.
That's why I recommend that you identify the obstacles to surmount before you start creating a plan of action. Also, listing these obstacles will give you a good idea about the order of the steps to take.
vi. Set Deadlines for Your Goals
Your deadlines must be realistic based on your goals. They don't have to be exact, but should be your best guess. The key is to give yourself enough time to accomplish what you've set out to do.
Keep in mind that deadlines must be handled with mature understanding. You can set and change them. They can be readjusted and reset similar to a plane's expected time of arrival having encountered bad weather.
Okay…this is a basic outline on how goals should look like when written down on paper (or whatever you use to set goals). Let’s continue…
Another thing you can do to ensure that you achieve your goals and keep your resolutions is to…
3. Overcome the Fear of Change
Attitude is a reflection of the person inside and if we want our world to change for the better then we must change first. To move forward (in every area of life) change cannot be avoided.
The truth is change (in every area of life) is uncomfortable and it is often met with some form of internal resistance. The comfort zone throws all kinds of resistance against it. However, we can control our future and direct change (in every area of our lives) by to having written goals we are committed to. The instant this is done the fear of change starts to dissipate as we become accustomed to goal-directed change. This is another reason why you should ensure that you develop the habit of writing your goals down (in every area of life) and be committed to them until they are achieved.
4. Remember Your "Reasons Why
A goal must make you excited and if there are no reasons to get excited then you should state your goal correctly. Sometimes people aren't short of goals but they are short of reasons why they want to achieve their goals. So, for each goal (in every area of life) write down why it is so important to you that you achieve it. This list is, in fact, a list of all the benefits to gain. When you see all the benefits and rewards you will receive from reaching your goal it should release the strong emotion we call desire. And when desire to get what you want (in every area of life) is harnessed it is sheer POWER.
5. Be Patient with Yourself and Your Goals
Stop shying away from tasks that are difficult and time-consuming because establishing goals and wants in a way that is clear and easy to follow is hard work. It requires concentrated effort and sometimes hours or days to refine. Also, keep in mind that we cannot force things to happen before they are meant to—and that can leave us feeling stuck and frustrated. During these "dry seasons" remember that just because you don't seem to be moving forward, doesn't mean that there's no movement "behind the scenes" in your life.
Resolve to keep moving forward, even if you're not seeing the results you desire (in every area of life), and keep reminding yourself (with your own words) that at the appointed day God will provide what you need to achieve your goals and dreams.
6. Set Goals with Realistic Expectations
This means being realistic not only in the outcomes, but also in the time factor. For some of your goals, the time frames won't matter as much and will really be up to you. While others will have an expiration date because of age, health, etc.
The problem is that when many people don't get the outcomes they anticipated before the deadlines they set, because they were unrealistic or not God's appointed time, they abort the whole mission.
Tip: Never be a slave to a deadline; always be a master. Deadlines can be set and changed.
7. Create a Plan of Action
Regardless of what you want to achieve (in every area of life) you must have a plan. As I mentioned before, establishing goals and wants in a way that is easy to follow is hard work. It takes hours or days to refine.
Since you’ll need time to plan, I urge you to work out how much time you spend reading the newspaper, mindlessly surfing the Internet, social networking, watching the adverts on television or watching violent programs each night. Then, limit your television-watching time to the programs that will help you to achieve a goal, limit social networking time to few minutes a day, and focus on one thing at a time when surfing the Internet. Once this is done, you'll have more time to invest in your planning time. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
To create a plan of action you can execute, breakdown your big goal into smaller manageable tasks. For each goal, write down the steps you need to take (based on the information you've gathered) to reach your goal. You can use these steps as a way to review your goals and to gauge your progress.
8. Finish What You Started
The instant you commit yourself to something is the instant you start achieving it. And until there is commitment, there will always be a way to avoid doing what is essential to achieve your goals (in every area of life).
With all the distractions surrounding us each day, it is very easy to go off course. These distractions can do anything to tempt you from being the individual you have planned to be, or tempt you off your path. What they cannot do, however, is get onto your path and stop you. All they can do is distract you onto theirs.
Tip: Leaving the path to your dreams is always your choice. So get rid of distractions and be determined to finish what you started (in every area of your life).
9. Take Action
Failing to take action wins the award for many not achieving their goals (and keeping their New Year resolutions). Your written plan with its "action steps to take" will tell you what you have to do to reach your goals (in every area of life), do it! If it means learning a new skill, learn it. If it means doing something you have never done before, do it! If it means "getting out of the boat", well... get out! If it means stepping out in faith, when you know it is what God’s put in your heart to do, well... step out! Why?
Because boldness comes from knowing that God is with you wherever you go, and one of the keys to developing the courage to pursue the dreams and desires of your heart is knowing that He will provide what you need to achieve it (along the way). I know how challenging it can be to take the first step when we don’t know how and/or when it will happen. Let me illustrate with my story.
God changed the direction of my life (when I was in college), and asked me to do something different. This happened during my final year in college and it is a long story for some other time. In the beginning, I was worried about what I didn't have: the money, skills, knowledge, computers and so on. The truth is I was starting out with absolutely nothing to pursue a BIG dream. It was very discouraging and many negative voices in my head where giving me all the reasons why my dream could not become a reality. Also, I faced opposition and rejection from some friends and family members who told me I was wasting my time pursuing an "unrealistic dream". They put more pressure on me to quit (and do what they wanted me to do) but I refused to obey. Remember, we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
I must admit that the only reason I hoped for better days (when I was in difficult circumstances) and a breakthrough (when I didn't see a way) was because I was leaning on God, not my circumstances. He assured me that He will provide what I need when I need it the most. Back then, I was still growing spiritually (studying the Bible and listening to biblical teachings every day from practical bible teacher, and my spiritual mentor, Joyce Meyer). The truth is God used Joyce Meyer to help me during those difficult years. He knew what was ahead of me because of what He was telling me to do and made sure He put the right mentors across my path, and Joyce Meyer was one of them. I became a serious student of His Word, fed my Spirit each day for many years and in due season I began to see the changes in my life. God also gave me practical wisdom and spiritual understanding.
There was no way in the natural back then so I had to trust Him and keep on doing what I was told to do (because He can make a way where there is no way). To walk by faith you have to believe (that He will make a way) and fix your thoughts on God alone. That is one of the keys to overcoming doubt (in every area of life).
Today, about five years later, almost 99% of what I need has been provided! All the “insurmountable” obstacles have been removed. He ordained someone to provide what I need (a divine connection), I have gained more knowledge and sharpened many skills. I'm not there yet, but I have come a long way (over 997 miles covered, if you know what I mean). I sometimes wonder why He didn't tell me when He will provide what I need because the waiting was long and there were many opportunities to quit during those silent years but that’s what staying in faith is all about.
I really just can't stop thinking about the courage I had to develop to pursue my dream (doing things I never thought I could do) and all those difficult years when I had to stay strong, overcome doubt, believe that the dream is possible, and not quit.
The reason I tell you this is to let you know that when God puts a dream in your heart, He will provide what you need when He knows is the right time. You need to learn how to hear from Him, and also learn to love solitude, taking time out to think, contemplate, and inquire within to get instructions as to the timing and direction you should take. So, I urge you to develop a strong desire to become a spiritually mature person. This is very important.
Now, the truth is that there are many more goal-achievement principles to share with you, but writing all of them down, in one post, will make it very long. The good news is that many other goal-achievement principles are on this blog. In fact, over 99% of the posts on this blog are written to help you achieve your goals (and keep your New Year resolutions)...so I urge you to read other posts. :)
Keep in Mind
- Your goals MUST be yours (do not set goals (or make New Year resolutions) just to impress others when they ask you about your goals.
- . Write your goals and New Year resolutions down (in a way that is easy to follow and provides all the information you need at a glance).
- Overcome the Fear of Change
- Remember your "reasons why"
- Be patient with yourself and your goals
- Set goals with realistic expectations
- Create a plan of action.
- Finish what you started.
- Take action
To Your Success,
Thank you for reading. Take care. —Gerard Ndzebir