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Stick With It

In our instant/have it now society it is sometimes difficult for me to work at something long enough to make it happen.

We have become so spoiled by microwave ovens and on-demand television and movie stations that waiting for something we want has become something we ‘re not used to.

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We’ve heard it said the most rewarding things in life take work and I believe that’s true. They take practice and persistence. Becoming good at something requires us to keep at it even when we don’t feel like we are making progress and especially sticking with it when it’s not easy.

I don’t know about you but I struggle a lot with chasing after dreams I have because they take too long to come true. Do you share my struggle?

I was thinking today about a couple of dreams/goals I have for my life. They seem so far away and actually quite unreachable. When I’m honest with myself though I realize that in my quest to get to the goal line I can’t seem to be content with the mile-markers along the way I forget that each mile-marker gets me one step closer to the finish line.

Sometimes I find myself becoming so frustrated and discontented that I actually turn around and go back toward the starting line. It seems silly to put that into words for anyone to read, but that’s the reality I face.

This morning I was getting down on myself in this department, feeling like I can’t see anything through to the end or wait for the fruition of what I’m working on when in the midst of my pity party I started looking through the seed catalog.

I love to garden and know if I plant seeds properly, water and weed them and keep the woodchucks and other varmints away I will be rewarded by luscious fruits, vegetables and beautiful flowers. I will patiently wait all spring and summer, tending the gardens to reap the reward at the end.

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Suddenly I was encouraged and admonished at the same time!!

Why does it work with gardening when it doesn’t seem that way with other things in my life? Because I have experience in gardening! I know from my past how things will turn out in the end. That’s not to say it has always been easy. I have ruined plants with too much water, watched them shrivel up and die from a lack of water, and stunted their growth by allowing weeds to choke them out. But I learned from each error in order to become more successful the next time.

I know that I have to stick with it.

Sometimes we don’t know what a goal is going to look like exactly. It can be hard to chase a dream because we don’t have a clear or complete picture of what it will look like when it comes to fruition. And oh it can be hard for me to chase after something when I don’t know what I’m going to end up with in the end!

I’m encouraged when I think of Moses and Joshua. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt to a land God promised was filled with milk and honey. Moses had never seen that land but he believed what God said was good and true. He continued leading a tribe of ungrateful, complaining people around in the desert for 40 years, trusting that what was ahead of them was good.

When Moses died, Joshua took over. They were at the edge of the Promised Land but still were not sure of what was ahead of them. He must have been filled with all kinds of emotions from excitement to fear as he met with the Lord. These are the words God had for Joshua:

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

We may not feel like we are on the way to take over a new land but when we are chasing a dream that God has put in our hearts that is exactly what we’re doing. And I believe He gives us the same promise as Joshua to be with us wherever we go.

As we begin a new week, join me in sticking with it….whatever your it may be. Even if we can’t see the finish line, move toward the next mile-marker and not away from it for our own promise is waiting to be fulfilled.

blessings and peace to you today!
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.

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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

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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

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Words Worth Remembering

I have hidden Your Word in my heart
that I might not sin against You.

Psalm 119:11

As Christians God’s Word is one of the most important tools we have. It is what we base our words, actions and hopefully our thoughts on. His Word provides wisdom, comfort, and direction. The Bible is a gift from God to help us know His desires for our lives and as a tool to share Him with others.

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Unfortunately we don’t always have a Bible with us and even when we do there isn’t always time to look up an appropriate verse for the situation. I have been challenged by how few verses I have hidden in my heart and one of my goals for the coming year is to put more there. My goal is to memorize a verse every week of 2013 and to understand the context of each verse and how it can apply to my life and the lives of others.

I’m inviting you to join me!

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Early each weekend I will post a verse to memorize along with some context and perhaps a few personal thoughts. I’d love it if each of you would add your thoughts and if you are familiar with the verse perhaps how the verse has helped you along life’s way.

The older I get the more difficult I find it to memorize things so if anyone has suggestions or methods as we go along please share those too.

I’m excited to think that at this time next year I will know over 50 new verses! I really hope you’ll join me!

blessings and peace to you!
Paula