Don’t Stop Believing!!

We’ve spent time looking at goals, making them S.M.A.R.T. and not being afraid to make them big…turning our dreams into goals to watch them come true. Confidence abounds as we look ahead at our clean slate believing we can accomplish what we set our minds to.

As exciting as making goals and resolutions can be the newness quickly wears off and the fun turns to monotony as it sinks in that this is going to be work. That is when many of us just give up. In fact, it is so common to give up resolutions that January 17th is declared “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day”.

So what’s a person to do?

dream-believe

In the words of the band Journey – “don’t stop believing! — hold on to that feeling”

But how?

We need to be intentional in maintaining our focus. By setting aside time at least once a week to refocus on our goals – how we’re coming and where we need to tweak things we keep them before us and keep it real, so to speak.

1st – Use Scripture to Defeat The Enemy
Post scripture around your home, in your car, at your workplace — wherever it will remind you. Write it on index cards, print it out on the computer or make it fancy. The method doesn’t matter, just get it in front of you. When you can’t bring it to mind it will be there in front of you.

Change it up each week. Here are a few to get you started:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:8

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
Ephesians 3:16

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

2nd – Keep It In Front of You
Whether you use a vision board like I mentioned in a previous post (find it here: https://pauladavispeace.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=901&action=edit) or another method, keep your goals in front of you. I used to use a 3-ring binder exclusively for my goals but found that I didn’t look at it! I still have that binder for the S.M.A.R.T. goal sheets I use but now I also keep photos and notes in a place where I’ll see them every day. They remind me not to give up or hide the goals away where I lose sight of them.

3rd – Track Your Progress
I have a calendar where I mark every day that I exercise. I found some bright feet stickers and put one on every day I work-out. There is actually a little thrill when I put that sticker on, but even more encouraging when I glance at it and see consistency. The calendar also kick-starts me when I see too many blank days, reminding me that I need to get with it again.

calendar

If you’re working a losing pounds, perhaps a count-down scale posted where you will see it. Write the number on the scale each week. When it’s lower you will smile each day you see it. If it went up it will push you to work harder to see it go down again.

Whatever you do, don’t give up!!

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

blessings and peace to you as you keep reaching for your goals…
Paula

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Are Your Goals S.M.A.R.T. ?

So you’ve got dreams, and you want to turn them into goals and see them come to life.

But goals can be intimidating. If they’re big goals they may seem unreachable or even impossible. You may want to quit before you even get started.

This is why your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.

Now I’m not suggesting that your goals have an IQ or that they are good or bad. S.M.A.R.T. is a formula of sorts that not only helps you reach your goals, but also determine if your goals are realistic — reachable!

Here’s the formula:

SMARTReally, this formula isn’t any different from making a “To-Do” list.

For example, when you list things you want to accomplish in a weekend most likely they meet each of these criteria.

Let’s look at them in a little more detail:

SPECIFICAnswer the six “W” Questions
*Who:      Who is involved? 
*What:     What do I want to accomplish? 
*Where:    Identify a location. 
*When:     Establish a time frame. 
*Which:    Identify requirements and constraints. 
*Why:      Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of   accomplishing the goal.

MEASURABLEEstablish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.
Ask Yourself:
How will I know when it is accomplished?

ATTAINABLE
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true.

You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them.

You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

REALISTICTo be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.

A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. 

TIME-BOUNDA goal should be grounded within a time frame.

With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency.

A “To-Do” List consists of specific tasks that can realistically be accomplished in a day, weekend, etc.

List

Grander goals usually require a longer time-period and may need a few smaller goals to reach them.

Let me share with you one of my grand goals for this year – to lose 54 pounds by the end of the year. Now we’ll break it down:

Specific – 54 pounds, or approx 1 pound/week
Measurable – Measure by weighing-in every week
Attainable – By changing eating habits and increasing exercise.
Realistic – The number fits within a healthy weight for my body-type so it is realistic.
Time-Bound – The ultimate time-frame is 12 months and the smaller time-frame is 1 pound/week or 5 pounds/month

This is not an easy goal and the big number looks very difficult to attain. Breaking it down to weekly/monthly goals makes it less intimidating and by keeping my eyes on the smaller ‘prize’ will make me more likely to stick with it.

To help me reach this huge goal I am also setting goals related to exercise, spiritual ‘fitness’ and encouragement to compliment it.

I actually believe there is a piece missing in the S.M.A.R.T. formula and think we need to make our goals S.M.A.R.T.eR

The R is for Reward

Sometimes reaching the ultimate goal is not reward enough and we need some encouragement along the way. Rewarding ourselves for sticking to the new disciplines required to reach our goals and encourage us along the way.

I have developed a goal worksheet that I use when setting goals. If you’d like a copy, comment here, or e-mail me at pauladavispeace.com. I’ll be glad to share them.

Goals can be fun to make and when they are attainable (even with some hard work sometimes) we are more likely to find success.

What are your goals for the year? Share them here, or at my author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pauladavispeace

There I will provide tips for sticking with our goals and encouragement that I find along the way.  Together we can accomplish our goals and bring more peace to our puzzle called life.

blessings & peace to you!
Paula

Dreaming About Goals?

Are you a goal-setter or a dreamer?

I believe we can be both…and I dare propose that we all NEED to be both.

The dictionary defines a goal as:
1. the end toward which effort is directed (aim)
2. the terminal point of a race

Sometimes we set goals because there is something we need to get done and plot out a plan to get there. While this may be necessary we risk these goals closely resembling chores. They aren’t a joy to work on and while we may have a sense of completion at the end it’s not satisfying if we don’t have a passion for it.

Dreams can provide vision for our goals. Sure there are some dreams that you can’t achieve with goals. I dream of meeting and marrying a Godly husband. I can’t goal-plan to make that a reality. It’s a dream that can only come true with the Lord’s help.

However many dreams can be achieved by attaching them to a goal. If the dream is potent, it also provides the motivation to prevail through the obstacles to the goals. When we lose sight of the goal-line the passion of our desires push us on to reach deeper inside of ourselves to keep going.

So where do we start?

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  Proverbs 19:20-21

Before you begin turning your dreams into goals, pray about it. Allow the Lord to reveal if your dreams line up with His plans for you. When you get the ‘go-ahead’, plot out your goal(s).

1. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.  I am going to dedicate a post to S.M.A.R.T. goals in another day or two, but briefly, each goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound. If a goal doesn’t meet each of these requirements it needs to be adjusted.

2. Find accountability partners. These are people who you ask to hold you to your goals, to cheer you on and perhaps push you a little when you lose your focus. It can be one person, or different people for each goal. You decide how often you report to them and rely on them.

3. Visualize your goals. In the next post I will share with you a goal planning tool to take you step-by-step along your goal path. But another great tool is a vision board. This year I’m incorporating an idea from Clare at Peak313 Fitness for a daily visual of my dreams/goals. Check it out here: http://peak313.com/featured/2014-dream-it-do-it-vision-board-health/

2014 "Dream it.Do it." Vision Board:Week 1- Health | peak313.com

Clare has some wonderful ideas for fitness and health that speaks to real people – even people like me with a ways to go to have a healthy lifestyle. While I’ve never met her she inspires me daily. I’m thankful the Lord directed me to her site!

I’ve given you a lot to think about here and a place to get started. Jot down some ideas and inspiration and watch for the S.M.A.R.T. post in another day or two.

What are your goals for 2014? If you haven’t set any yet, consider doing so, even just one or two. Setting specific goals will help you to look back at the close of the year and see how you’ve grown as a person and seen some of your dreams come true.

Blessings and peace to you as you consider your goals!
Paula

Habits Are Hard

Happy 2014 no verse

It’s the time of year for resolutions. As 2014 dawns do you find yourself resolving to change things in this brand new year? I’ve been thinking about resolutions and how they are closely related to our habits. We resolve to lose weight, save more money, be kinder to those around us…there are so many common resolutions.

So we begin the year with good intentions and dive head-first into all the things we feel we need to change.

And then most of us fall on our faces a few weeks later.

fall face

But WHY?

Because our resolutions are directly related to our habits. And habits are hard.

Old/Bad habits are hard to break

New/Better habits are hard to make.

It’s really not as easy as writing something down on paper and declaring you will do it. It is said that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 21 days to break a habit. Intention and practice are required just like when we learn a new skill or hobby. Most of us could not pick up knitting needles and make a scarf in a couple of hours but experienced knitters can. Without winning the lottery or receiving a big inheritance people must work at building up a savings account. It comes by practicing restraint and saying “no” when we’d like to say yes more often.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19

The good news is we can change. We just need to remember to crawl before we walk, and walk before we run. Setting the right goals are important and we’ll discuss that in the next post. But if you’re anxious to get started on a few you’ve already set remember these tips:

  • Ease into something new. If you don’t exercise regularly don’t attempt to get up every morning and work out for an hour. Start with 3 or 4 days of exercise and when you’ve conquered that add another day or two.
  • When/if you mess up just pick up where you left off. Don’t throw in the towel in February because you haven’t done as well as you hoped. Looking back to see SOME progress is better than no progress at all because you gave up partway through.
  • Find someone to cheer you on. You don’t have to broadcast your goals/desires/resolutions for everyone if you don’t want to, but having someone to cheer you on and keep you on track can be essential for success. We should all have a cheerleader as well as a drill sergeant and a shoulder to cry on.

Happy New Year to you all! I pray this year holds more blessings than you can count.

Are you making resolutions this year? If so, will you share them with us?

In my next post we’ll look at setting goals and planning for the year ahead.

blessings and peace to you!
Paula