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Resolutions: Make Your Goals SMARTER

February 2nd, 2015 3 comments

first down1
In the world of goal setting we often hear of the need for SMART goals. SMART goals move us from the realm of foggy dreams into clarity by capturing our goals in a simple, manageable way. Blogger, Michael Hyatt, challenged his readers to take smart goals and make them even SMARTER! I’ll use his acronym for the next few blogs to highlight the characteristics of good goal setting.

SMARTER goals begin by being:

Specific

One of my goals for 2015 is to write my first book. For years my friends have been encouraging to write. So I have decided to make this a priority. But “write a book” is not a goal. It’s more akin to a hope or dream. It’s big and foggy. If I think about it long enough, it can actually be very terrifying, overwhelming and paralyzing. Where do I start? How do I eat this big elephant called “book?”

This is where specificity comes to my assistance. A specific goal would be: Set aside each Friday evening from 9:00-11:00pm to write. Complete one chapter per month.

Now I can do that. I still have to actually work the plan but I now have the specific goal of a chapter a month and a specific time dedicated each week to write.

SMARTER goals are also…

Measurable

Yesterday over 100 million viewers tuned in to watch the Super Bowl. Believe it or not, we can all learn a lot about setting great goals from the game of football.

One of the rules of the gridiron is that you get four downs to make ten yards of progress. Your goal isn’t “to score a touchdown.” That’s the overarching goal. Touchdowns don’t generally happen in one play. They are made from what are called “first downs.” We measure our progress in ten yard chunks of progress.

How do you know when you get a first down? They bring out a chain to measure your progress.

Our church family wants to be a part of reaching our community with the good news of Jesus Christ. But how will we know when we have achieved that goal?

We won’t. It’s not measurable.

We decided a measurable goal would be to see 400 people give their lives to Christ over the course of the next 12 months. We can even break that goal down into monthly faith goals, much like the ten yard increments in the game of football.

If it’s not measurable you’ll never know if you hit the target.

Are your goals specific?

Are your goals measurable?

Resolutions: Bringing Clarity to Your Dreams

January 28th, 2015 2 comments

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As a pastor, I have the incredible privilege of communicating God’s Word to an audience multiple times each week. When it comes to preaching, or communication in general, there’s an old adage that rings eternally true: A mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew.

In other words, if the one speaking is foggy about what he is trying to say, you can stand assured that the audience will be totally confused!

The same is true when it comes to setting meaningful goals for our lives. If our goals are foggy from the outset, our chances of realizing those dreams will be slim.

So how do we rid our goals of fog?

The prophet, Habakkuk, offered some timeless advice seven centuries before the birth of Christ:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.”
Habakkuk 2:2, ESV

He said, “Write it down and make it plain!”

Research shows that by just writing your goals down we stand a significantly higher probability of achieving them.

Sometimes the simple act of putting our thoughts on paper, in writing, helps to crystallize our goals.

Have you paused long enough at the beginning of this New Year to actually write down some goals you’d like to accomplish?

If you haven’t there’s no time like now. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and start dreaming.

Write it down! Make it plain! Start pursuing your dreams!

In the posts that will follow, we’ll highlight ways to make sure your dreams are clear.

Resolutions: Get Rid of the Fog

January 27th, 2015 No comments

clear vision

Have you ever felt like your life was being lived in dense fog? I prayed with a young man after the service on Sunday who could certainly relate. He confessed that he didn’t really know who he was or where his life was going. His dreams were lost in the fog.

Imagine how silly it would be to find yourself driving down the Interstate when all of the sudden you see a 747 in the lane ahead of you! You’d immediately ask, “What is that plane doing on the highway?” It’s completely out of place. That plane is made to fly hundreds of miles an hour. On the interstate, it cannot keep up with the traffic!

That’s a picture of what happens when we live in the fog. Our dreams have the power to make us fly fast and far. But when there’s dense fog in the area, the plane is left motoring around the runway or completely stalled at the gate. Until you get rid of the fog, your life will never take off.

If we fail to address the fog, two things will happen:

1. Fog will cloud your confidence.

When we know where we are going and we know how to get there we operate in a spirit of confidence. On the other hand, when we can’t see clearly and we aren’t sure what to do, our stress level increases. We often get edgy and irritable. Many times, those around us, our friends, family or colleagues, feel the heat from our frustration with life.

Clarity, on the other hand, creates certainty; and certainty leads to action. When people get clear they get going.

2. Fog creates stress.

It has been said that 85% of the stress we live with is due to either paralyzing indecision or feeling like our lives are out of control. Life is full of choices. Some choices are easy, like what to eat for lunch. Others are much more difficult. Nevertheless, a decision must be made.

So what do we do?

Often we become paralyzed and do nothing. Unfortunately, our indecision only compounds the problem. As long as we choose to ignore the situation we simply allow the dark cloud of stress to hover over our heads.

Sometimes things get so bad we simply feel like our lives are out of control. We feel like a car without brakes flying down a mountain road as our velocity increases and our ability to control the vehicle vanishes.

Can you relate?

Do you have some fog in your life right now?

What causes the fog?

Is it due to indecision or feeling out of control?

What is the most pressing situation begging for a decision or action on your part?

Make it a priority. Watch the fog begin to lift.

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