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Grandiose Goals

13 Jan

Goal Posts

Photo thanks to Katie D, Flickr

Are you with me as one of the estimated majority who avoids making New Years Resolutions? I have found the tradition rather trite, but after a particularly relaxing time off work, I’ve found myself rethinking it.

There are reasons not to:

  • January is already a depressing month for other reasons (like having the long holidays behind you). The last thing you want is to pile on the guilt-trips.
  • There’s a notorious self-fulfilling-prophecy that New Years Resolutions are made to be broken.

This isn’t to say I don’t care about putting effort into positive change. For example, this past year, I worked pretty hard to figure out the “gluten question”. Which brings me to another reason I’ve avoided resolutions:

Having just one resolution is a bit lame, isn’t it?

Consider switching to a gluten-free diet. I’d like to suggest this is a pretty big deal. Just this one goal has presented challenges daily. And (for health reasons) there was no possibility of just taking a day off.

Here are just some of the challenges:

  • never eating a meal without paying close attention to the source of all ingredients.
  • logistical difficulty in attending a social function.
  • Showing true gratefulness and kindness whenever offered items of food that need to be refused

I have now been 100% gluten-free for four months and three weeks.

And I did everything wrong, as far as goal-setting goes.

Like:

  • When struggling two months into the research phase, I just went all out cold turkey – everyone knows that’s a recipe for letting yourself down.
  • I didn’t set a time-limit on the process
  • I didn’t even know if I had a problem with gluten when I started
  • According to my nutritionist, I was doing some of the medical tests back-to-front… but having got myself syched-up to do this, I still pressed on. (And to her credit, she is supporting me.)
  • I didn’t plan for it in advance: I took advantage of opportunities presenting themselves to me in my life, just then and there, that allowed for my progress to happen. God provided this all for me.

What am I trying to say with all this?

Fitting into the box of expectations isn’t the only way to succeed. If you feel you are not fitting that box – January 1 has already come and gone – and you haven’t decided on a resolution yet, that doesn’t mean it is too late for this year. You are not destined to waste time. You can be given an opportunity tomorrow to be grasped with both hands.

Isn’t there more to it?

Yes, you are right. I also want to encourage you that striving to make improvements in your life is a worthy cause. And diligently planning for it is not to be despised. Encouragement, that despite the drawbacks… despite the many ways we fallible humans can mess things up, setting goals can be a productive and worthwhile process to use to help ourselves improve.

As Proverbs so eloquently counseled “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.”

That courage thing

It is easy to get discouraged. I know… This is often touted as one of the worst times of year. It is daunting to set goals, hoping for future strength, when you know you don’t have any right now. And that’s ok. No-one is saying you have to set goals. But neither is anyone saying you can’t. However small.

Maybe you have a setback like illness, where you must cut back on your efforts in order to allow yourself to recover. It is important to correctly budget this to avoid weighing yourself down by guilt or failure. Recognising a smaller goal in such an instance can help keep you going psychologically, all the more neccessary when your poor brain is getting that beating from your bodily weakness. Try something simple like drinking your set amount of water for the day.

Where next?

There are good, wise methods to help you support yourself in how to achieve goals. If you’d like to research it, I’d suggest exploring the concepts of S.M.A.R.T. objectives, a common industry-standard nowadays.

I would also commend to you a thoughful addition by Michael Hyatt: this gets the blood pumping in your veins, to help you see the vision behind what you are doing.

..and a Happy New Year 2012!

I hope you are enjoying every minute lived-out to the glory of God. Diligently planned by us, as best we can, but ultimately, alone planned by God. If the two should collide, there needs be no cause for regret. Pray for grace, because it is grace alone that can make us truly content.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

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Posted by on Friday, January 13, 2012 in discipline, encouragement

 

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