If you do a quick scroll through Facebook or Instagram at the beginning of January you see the good intentions many of us have when a New Year approaches. We’re so excited to have another opportunity to do things better than we did last year or the years before. To fulfill our goals – and we feel unstoppable!
As February approaches, all that momentum we took up in Jan seems like a far-away dream. We can’t even remember what got us so excited to do some of these things in the first place. We slowly begin to talk ourselves out of some of our dreams. By the time June rolls in, we’re feeling weighed down and we already can’t wait for the New Year to try again.
I don’t know about you, but I got tired of this endless cycle. I wanted to build the momentum from the beginning of each year and not lose it altogether.
I’m still on the journey of understanding how to do this, but there are a few key pointers that have helped me in the last couple of years to keep focused on the dreams planted in my heart by God. I wanted to share them to encourage someone who wants to keep moving forward in 2018. The key pointers you can expect to read up on in this post are:
- Keep going back to God
- Focus on being rather than doing
- Live in each moment
- Have accountability
- Expect to fail
- Remember to chill
Keep Going Back To God
I would like to encourage us to spend more time in the year receiving clarity from God about what He desires for our lives as the months roll along. God tends to give instructions step by step and desires for us to continually rely on Him as we go. This is the foundation for the fulfilment of your goals. A person who builds their dreams on the Rock, will stand the tests of discouragement, doubt, anxiety, rejection, and loss to push through to their end goal (Matthew 7:24-27). This is because God’s word is as good as done (Numbers 23:19).
The truth is that our feelings can be extremely strong that they feel right but they cannot be trusted (Jeremiah 17:9). Even though you felt extremely confident about what God wanted you to do at the beginning of the year, He may need you to change gears or direction to get to that end goal. As you go through 2018 and begin to doubt that you can do/become what God said, it’s not your feelings that will keep you focused. It’s the words of God.
“Life rooted in God stands firm.” – Proverbs 12:3
Focus On Being Rather Than Doing
In the last couple of years, I’ve been led to understand that we mostly set goals of what we want to do rather than who we should be. We are focused on behaviour modification which won’t cut it because we are inherently sinful. Our sinfulness flows for generations back to our very first parents – Adam and Eve.
So by making the things we want to stop/start doing our focal point, we’re trying to reverse our conditions with actions. We’re trying to heal a heart-break with a bandage on our chest. Instead, as you go through 2018 try to understand who God wants you to be in this New Year. He may want you to be kinder or more excellent in your ways. Maybe He wants you to be more self-controlled.
In understanding who you’re being called to be, the motivation to fulfil your goals becomes more intrinsic and longer lasting. Knowing the kind of person you should be more readily reveals what you must do to become her. And most important, goals that aim to make you better for the benefit of others are the ones you will most likely stick through unlike goals for self-fulfilment/self-gratification.
“Do your resolutions bring you personal satisfaction/self-esteem but no positive impact on those around you? You may need to review them.”
Live In Each Moment
You have probably written down the things you’d like to achieve in 2018 already, so you’ve got the big picture. If you haven’t and would like some assistance with that, you can check out my posts on reflecting and looking ahead for the New Year.
The thing that tends to choke us most is looking at our dreams/goals in the long-run and worrying about the major things we need to do to get there. It is good to consistently look at your end goal to keep you motivated, but it is not best to live there. Focus on the 24 hours before you.
Nothing helps you to do this more than knowing the One who sees exactly where He’s asked you to be by the end of 2018 and what it will entail every single day of the year to get there. Wake up each morning and spend time with God, letting Him take control of your day. Leave the end results in His Hands and focus on what you can do in this minute/hour/day. This will help you to preserve your energy and to keep you going in the year.
Whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed, take a moment to literally breath and ask, “What can I do right now?” Focus on that and leave the end results to God.
“It is good to consistently look at your end goal to keep you motivated, but it is not best to live there.”
We are becoming a generation that avoids accountability. What is accountability? It’s being answerable for our decisions/actions. It is taking responsibility for what we said we will do. And thing is, today we are a generation that does what they want when they want.
Unfortunately, that mind-set won’t get us to fulfil our dreams. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. For a long time I refused to keep myself accountable because I was afraid of failure and of having to actually do what I said. But then I realized that I was shooting myself in the foot. So I asked God to send the right people in my life who want to see me succeed and who will be sure to lovingly but directly remind me of the things I said I want to do.
Your goals/dreams for the year are important. I strongly believe that. And because of this, they deserve intentionality and deserve to be safe-guarded. You can do this by having a few honest people who believe in you to keep you answerable. Just share the main things you want to do within a certain time-frame, and ask them to keep checking up on you.
“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.” – Unknown
Expect to Fail
I like to always encourage my coaching clients to remember that in the pursuit of their goals, they must expect to face failure and to feel discouraged. There is no-one who has achieved their dreams in life without facing adversity – not even Jesus Christ Himself. He had to die to fulfill His God-given purpose (Mark 10:45).
So, be prepared for things to sometimes not go your way as the year progresses. It will help you to more readily bounce back. Decide now to choose to learn from your moments of failure and discouragement and you’ll be surprised with how much you grow. You’ll surpass your expectations.
Remember to Chill
I don’t know about you, but I can get so driven to do something that it becomes a schlep. It’s in my personality and hey maybe this isn’t your struggle – more power to you! But to those like me, be intentional about taking time off from your dreams/goals.
Hang out with friends and family. Do the things that make you laugh and bring you joy. That’s part of becoming who God called you to be. Learn yourself by spending moments shutting off from the “serious” things of life. Being able to disconnect and rest re-energizes you to keep going as the year goes.
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:30-31
I sincerely hope these pointers have got you thinking about how you can intentionally work through your desires for this year. Remember the proverb which says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. So unless we put our plans and promises to action, they are useless. God has deposited some beautiful promises and purposes in your heart. Don’t let them go to waste.
I wish you an intentional, fulfilling and God-directed 2018 sis! You deserve nothing less. If you’d like to remain motivated and encouraged as the year goes, please do follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where you’ll receive daily messages to encourage you. We cannot fulfill our dreams on our own but we must support and lift each other up in Christ. We’d love for you to join our movement.
Let me know if you have any other suggestions of how we can keep our head in the game throughout this year! We came to win, and win we shall in Jesus’ Name!