When teaching a goal workshop, the first questions I directed my attendees to ask themselves were:
1 1. How juicy is the goal for you? Is it juicy like a freshly picked Cuban mango, or is it dry like a grocery store green banana? If it’s not ‘juicy’ enough, or you do not understand your ‘why’ behind your goal, you may quit when you hit those obstacles, or the ‘murky middle’ when everything seems at a stand-still.
2. 2. Do your goals line up with your core values? For example, if having dinner nightly with your family is a core value, however your goal impedes on this time, can you adjust the goal to work in those dinners? A goal that does not line-up with core values can result in physical and/or emotional burn out, and regret (from abandonment by your family for example).
Let’s camp-out on the ‘why’ for a moment. Not the why of making goals, but the ‘why’ behind our goals. The ‘why’ of writing that blog week after week when you’re not even sure it is being read. The ‘why’ that is behind those 5am mornings when you drag yourself out of bed to write those first quiet hours of your day before kids, work, school, all those other activities of ‘real life.’ The ‘why’ when that rejection letter comes, that review that leaves you trembling, or that grammatical error you notice after you submitted to that magazine you’ve been trying to break into for awhile, and finally got the nerve to hit the ‘send’ button in your browser. Or even the ‘why’ when we take our breaks to rejuvenate, rest, and wait for God’s timing and direction to take that next step. Sometimes this waiting can be so much harder than the doing!
Oh, my goodness! Why do we do this to ourselves?
This is the time, my friends, why I believe it is so important to have our ‘why’ written down whether in a Life Plan we created, guided by books such as Living Forward by Michael Hyatt, Intentional Living by John C Maxwell, or my personal favourite, Storybrand-Creating Your Life Plan by Donald Millar.
Your ‘why’ too can be just one statement answering the question, “Why do I write?” My answer to,“Why do I write?”
I write stories to help me understand life, to show others that they are not alone in their struggles, and to inspire hope through a new perspective.
It’s a statement that I am constantly tweaking as I gain more life experience and my faith life grows deeper. Our Life Plan may be written down, however there is always a new piece of paper, a pen and pencil, tools we can use to edit and change our goals. Often I’ve been challenged by statements such as ‘goals and intentions do not leave room for God in your day.’
I must admit I am still prayerfully asking God to guide me to answer this question!
However, I do believe this is also where question number two becomes prevalent. Our goals must line-up to our core values. And then intentionally we will live out those core values through our goals. I believe that our God is a trustworthy God. When in Him, He will set our paths straight. There is no need to be afraid to set goals and take a step. He is our guide and will pivot us, or prune away the vine that is not producing fruit if the direction we take is not of Him. So why be afraid to set a goal, to be intentional about your day?
God is good and His ways will prevail. We just have to willing to move so He can work out His plan for us.
I hope you are chomping down on a big, juicy, sweet mango today!
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
John 15: 5-8, The Message