Posts Tagged ‘resolutions’

Resolutions: The Power of Plodding

February 12th, 2015 1 comment

turtle and hare

Here’s my final word on resolutions. Life is messy. Our best laid plans seldom happen, at least in the way we envisioned. Life, like algebra, is full of unknown variables. Trust me. I have eight children. I am an expert on managing chaos.

But chaos, uncertainty, mayhem or whatever you call it doesn’t mean we stop pursuing God-given goals. We press on. We plod ahead. We adjust our plans.

I love this reminder from the Apostle Paul:

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

Pursuing godly resolutions requires perseverance. And sometimes the best strategy is to plod on. I love what Jon Bloom has written:

Today is going to be a challenge.

You will not make perfect plans. You will not work your plans perfectly. You’ll find a bog of ambiguity that you’ll need to step through carefully. There will be detours and delays. There will be equipment failures. You will spin your wheels. There will be unexpected phone calls and undesired emails. Social media will keep poking you for attention. Your indwelling sin and others’ indwelling sin will throw you curveballs. There will be some swings and misses. Your creativity won’t flow like you want it to when you want it to. And when you actually get to the project that you’ve scheduled time for at the time you scheduled it for, you won’t feel like doing it.

So what will you do when faced with these challenges? Plod on.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. The older I get the more I admire those who have chosen to stay in the race. They don’t quit. They remain steady throughout life’s many challenges.

Their secret?

Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

In the end, you’ll be amazed at the ground you’ve covered and the goals you’ve achieved.

Plod on!

Resolutions: Make Your Goals SMARTER (3)

February 9th, 2015 3 comments

oreo cookie

In this blog series, we have been discussing how to rescue our dreams from the fog by making our goals SMARTER. Let’s discuss the final three characteristics necessary for bringing clarity to your resolutions.

• Time-bound

Good goals have timelines. They come with a deadline. Financial expert, Dave Ramsey, says a goal without a deadline is just a dream.

“I need to lose 20 pounds,” is a bad goal. Do you mean over the course of your life?

How about by the end of March? Now that’s a good goal.

I once had the privilege of touring the Chicago Board of Trade. The last minute before the closing bell is mayhem. Why? Because time is running out. There’s a sense of urgency. Deals must be made.

Deadlines create urgency. Urgency gets us moving forward.

• Exciting

Do your goals grip you? Are you excited to pursue them?

Every goal has what has been called the “messy middle.” After the honeymoon season wanes and you reach a few speed bumps in the pursuit of your goal, you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel.

What pushes you over the hump? Getting re-connected with the excitement of the original vision. Make sure your goals excite you!

• Relevant

Relevant goals are appropriate for the season you are in. Goals aren’t like Oreo cookies. When you open a package all the cookies are identical. Thankfully, human beings aren’t like Oreos!

We are all in different seasons of our lives.

Marion and I used to spend a couple of weeks each year leading teams on the mission field. We loved taking our children with us. It worked great when we had two kids. Not so great with 4 kids. And incredibly challenging with 8 children. It wasn’t the right season. Our focus needed to shift to the home front. We shifted our attention to making maximum impact in the lives of our children. We didn’t lose our passion for the nations. We were just entering a different season with new opportunities.

Know the season of life you are currently in and establish your goals accordingly.

Resolutions: Make Your Goals SMARTER (2)

February 4th, 2015 1 comment

unrealistic goals

In my last blog we discussed how to bring clarity to our dream by making our goals SMARTER.

For starters, make sure your goal is very specific. Specificity helps you to get your hands around it.

Next, make sure your goal is measurable. This involves attaching some numerical standards to your goal. Ten pounds of weight loss by April 1st. One chapter written a month. You get the point.

Let’s move on to cover two more important elements of effective goal setting.


We often shroud our goals under the cover of vague “to be” statements. For instance, I want to be a better father. That sounds so noble, so admirable and so fuzzy! What does that look like?

I want to be more consistent with my blog writing. That’s nice. But what does “be more consistent” mean? This goal is neither measurable or action – oriented.

It’s much more effective to begin each written goal with an action verb. Before you break into a cold sweat with traumatic memories of middle school English class, let me give you some examples of action verbs.

I will write two blog posts each week.

I will read 2 books a month.

I will run 3 miles a day.

Now back to “being a good father.” How do we translate this into action?

I will read a book to my children each night before bed.

I will pray with my son every night before tucking him into bed.

I will communicate my love for my daughter by writing a special note each week and placing it in her lunch box.

Action verbs help us “see” what the completed goal looks like.

A second problem with our goals is that they are often…


Our goals should push us beyond our current comfort zone, but not push us over the cliff. In other words, they must be doable. They need to be realistic.

I can dream of my performance in this year’s NBA All Star game but it’s simply delusional no matter how hard I try.

I get a little amused with the positive mental attitude, if-you-can-think-it-you-can-achieve it pep talk people. This “if you can dream it you can achieve it” preaching borders on blasphemy! We are not God. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think, but we don’t have the kind of power.

A better approach is to develop goals that push us out of our comfort zone without killing us!

Don’t go back to the health club for the first time in a year and do a three hour work out! You’ll be so sore the next day you won’t be able to move, let alone go back to the gym. A better goal would be to open the health club door, feel the surge of accomplishment and go home! You’ll be much more likely to return again if you take a realistic approach to your fitness.

Have you translated your desires into actionable goals?

Are your goals realistic? Are you challenged but not overwhelmed?