“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,