“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
Shoulders slumped, I sighed deeply as I stepped off the scales. The chill of the mid-February morning caused a shiver to run down my back. But it wasn’t just the weather. There was a cold feeling of hopelessness deep in the pit of my stomach. Sipping my hot coffee, I wondered once again why I couldn’t seem to keep any of my New Year’s resolutions. I had planned to lose weight, write more…I was the living breathing definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
You know the routine, don’t you? Set a resolution, see very little or no results by February, give up. Resolve to do better next year. Please tell me I’m not the only one on this resolution roller coaster!
In 2015, I was determined to do things differently. Oh, I made resolutions. But I called them goals. And – horror of horrors – I prayed about them and wrote them down. Nothing like being accountable to God, amen? Kinda makes it hard to cheat. Of course, He is grace filled!
Put God in charge of your work,
then what you’ve planned will take place. Proverbs 16:3 MSG
I also began adhering to the SMART Goal process of establishing and keeping goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. Writing my goals helped me to be SMART about them. When the goals were only in my head, they were vague. I had to be specific when I wrote them. They had to be measurable, so that I could tell if I was reaching the goal.
Looking at my goals on paper, I could see that I had very high expectations of myself. I wanted to lose ten pounds, and I planned to do it in two months. Sounds achievable, doesn’t it? Perhaps so, if I would run a half marathon each week and starve myself! I realized that weight loss is much slower for someone my age.
Normally at this stage, I would throw in the towel and give up. How about you? Instead, I did something different. I gave myself a little grace and adjusted my timeline. This rule follower became a little more flexible. And, I began celebrating the new habits I was creating: moderate exercise one or two times a week, and healthy eating habits. I didn’t lose weight as fast as I wanted to, but I felt so much better because I was becoming healthier.
The relevant portion of my SMART goals was what kept me going. It helped me to remember WHY I had set the goal. WHY did I want to lose weight? My first thought was that I wanted to look really, really good. Don’t we all? But remember this: beauty is fleeting (Psalm 37:4-5). I had to dig a little deeper and check my motives. If it was to look good, I could starve myself a week or two, look good for a few weeks, then binge away.
As I examined my motives, I realized that I really wanted to be healthy going into my sixties. I wanted to have more energy, so that I can serve God with gusto! And, yes, I wanted my clothes to fit properly and be comfortable. Remembering my “Why” has helped me cut back on portions, say no to desserts, and has kept me on track with my health.
Here are a few guidelines to get you started on goal setting this year. Or, if you’re like me, to get you RE-started!
1. Write down your goals
2. Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound)
3. Remember your “Why?”
4. Press on!
There are many websites with wonderful goal setting information. Here are a few of my favorites:
What goals have you set for 2016? What is your plan to achieve them? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Grace be with you,
Great, helpful post. Thank you Ellen! We all need to cast off the guilt of not perfectly achieving our goals and celebrate the progress instead. Sometimes that progress is more on the inside than what others can see and that is just as important as the outside progress!
Christa, my sweet Louisiana friend! You inspire me toward progress with your Do A New Thing blog and attitude! Thank you!
Betsy de Cruz says
You’re encouraging me today, Ellen. I had a really busy holiday season, so I feel a bit behind on goal setting. One of the things I want to do is brainstorm a more effective writing schedule. Your post is just the encouragement I need to stop letting that slide and get to it today.
Betsy, I’m behind, too! I think I wrote this post to preach to myself!! I also want a more effective writing schedule, and effective writing time! Quality words are a goal this year, each time I sit down. Thank you for all your encouragement!
Julie Lefebure says
Hi friend! A timely post for the new year. As always, I enjoy stopping over and reading your beautiful words. God bless you today and in the year ahead. Much love!
Hello Julie! I’m so glad you stopping by today! Thank you for you encouragement!
Sabra Penley says
Remembering the WHY! Yes! This is so important. And it’s so easy to forget. Especially when temptations come along. Thanks, Ellen, for an encouraging post. May God bless you with success!
Oh, Sabra! Those temptations do come along! And it’s so hard to get back into the “grove” of healthy eating and regular writing after the holidays! Remembering why makes it a bit easier! So appreciate you and all your encouraging words!
Hi Ellen! Oh, I’m right in there with you my friend. Last year I lost most of the weight I wanted, but that was because of my very effective “Fall down the stairs and be in a cast for three months” diet. Not recommended, believe me.
I’ll be working on the regained weight this year. I want this year to be the time of my life, to the best of my ability. Let’s do that together!
I can totally relate, my friend! Recent weight gain has left me feeling defeated, especially when the doctor tells me it’s harder to lose unwanted weight when you get older! (Who me? Older?) I am taking advice from you today to slow down the pace and reevaluate my motives. Thanks for the needed encouragement:)
Really, I’m with you – we are NOT older!!! It surely helped me to look at it as weight loss versus healthy living. I’m trying to live healthier, which makes me feel so much better! So glad you stopped by today!
Hello Ceil! Wow, what a way to lose weight! But at least there was a blessing in being in a cast for so long 🙂 Yes, we are in this together! So glad you stopped by – I’ve been a but MIA with end of year things. It’s good to “see” you!!
Crystal Storms says
Ellen, first off, congratulations on working toward your goal of a healthier you! I’m a natural goal setter and have learned to be a goal finisher by doing some of the things you suggest: keeping my goals smart, reminding myself of the “why,” and seeking God for His plan for my life. I would also add reviewing your goals at least weekly to help stay focused.
Thank you, friend, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday. : )
Hello Crystal! Happy new year to you, my sweet friend! So glad Intentional Tuesday is back! I like to idea of reviewing goals weekly, thank you for that! Blessings to you today and always!
Great post Ellen! I have changed it up for myself this year. I learned all about SMART goals from 20+ years in sales and marketing . So this year I have decided to change things a little and focus on one word this year. I have been praying and God has revealed the word for me. I am both excited to see how God works through me in 2016! Thank you for sharing what god put on your heart. I found your site via purposeful faith. May God bless you and yours in all your endeavors in 2016!
Welcome Horace! So good to see you! I’ve also chosen a word for the year – have been doing this since before it was popular. It helps keep me focused for the year. Would you be willing to share your word 🙂 Thank you for visiting. Blessings to you today!
Gayl Wright says
Ellen, I love your suggestions for goal setting. They sound doable. It makes sense that if we know the why of our goals it will make it easier to reach them. Writing them down helps to remember. Thanks for sharing your process! God bless you and enable you to continue to celebrate small victories!
Hi there Gayle! So glad you stopped by. Thank you for all your encouragement! Blessings to you today, my friend!
Myra Hutcheson says
I love the inspiration and simple reminder to remember my WHY. I needed that today!
Thank you Myra! So glad you stopped in today!