Alright, I can’t have a fitness blog without having a post about goals. Goals are crucial to having a healthy life. They tell you a lot about who you are now and who you want to become or accomplish in the future. In this post, we will covering basic goal setting principles, but (there’s a twist to this.we will also be looking at the goal setting process as a Christian. There’s a slight nuance to it. So hold onto your media device, and let’s get started.
A goal ” is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envisions, plans and commits to achieve” (Locke). A goal needs to follow a basic 5 principled rule called SMART. It needs to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time based. There are tons of blogs and articles that go in depth about these things and I don’t care to compete this the flooded market, but when you are trying to set a goal there’s an extra step that we as Christians should consider. We need to ask does God desire this goal? This is an important question because you might be setting a goal that God doesn’t desire or doesn’t desire in the time table that you have set, which would conclude with your efforts to be unfruitful. If God isn’t for the goal you set, you may achieve it but it will be a striving hard-pressed endeavor. There won’t be peace and a deep sense of joy throughout the journey. My weight loss journey started in strife. I tried to accomplish my goal in my own power and time. I strived the entire time with no fruitful results. I am reading a study right now and it said “goal pursuit can often be exhausting and effortful. Indeed, Baumeister, Vohs, and Tice (2007) characterize goal pursuit, especially for self-regulatory goals, as so effortful as to be depleting. Often, despite good intentions, we lack the motivation to pursue the goals we set for ourselves. For instance, depriving oneself of a desired object can be very demotivating, and after a time one just gives up” (Patrick and Hagtvedt). How interesting. Maybe this lines up with God’s desiring a different goal or time line…maybe.
So my advice for goal setting is pray and wait for peace. I know some of you hate this advice. It is one of the hardest things to do, especially if you are a “get it done” kind of person (like me). But it is better to be painfully patient then demotivated and give up.
After you set your goal and you feel peace about it, it’s time for the action plan. How do you plan to accomplish this? This is where wisdom of what is realistic for you is important. Many people have great goals but their action plan is completely not their style. For instance, don’t make an action plan that says you will wake up every morning at 5:00 am, if you are not a morning person. That’s making things unreasonably difficult. Your action plan should consist of slow and gradual adjustments. Try to do one thing every week that you know you can do for at least a year. If your goal is to be more active and you are not, start with walking 5 minutes three days a week. Then build 5 more minutes. It’s ok for your action plan to be that slow, it will be more likely to last through the long haul. This is also a time to pray for the Lord to give you wisdom in how to execute this goal. He knows what will work for you because he created you. Also if God is for this goal, he will help you execute it.
Lastly you need to stick to your goals. If you have a slowly building action plan, it will help you stick to accomplishing your goal. Proverbs 21:5 says (in the context of working on a proud heart) “the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” Do a little bit at a time and do it diligently.
I would like to conclude with this important piece of advice, WRITE THE GOAL DOWN and LOOK AT IT OFTEN. Multiple studies have shown that writing down a goal will improve you execution of that goal. It keeps you focused.
So ladies and gentlemen, let us continue to improve by using goals and action steps, but let us not do it in our own power and timing. Pray and focus on the goals and timeline God wants. He might surprise you on what he wants to work on. It is a humbling honor to write to you. Thank you for reading.
Patrick, Vanessa M., and Henrik Hagtvedt. ““I Don’t” versus “I Can’t”: When Empowered Refusal Motivates Goal-Directed Behavior.” Journal of Consumer Research 39, no. 2 (2012): 371-81. doi:10.1086/663212