Every January we start a new year – a new beginning – making goals we think we will keep but seldom do. I am no exception.
As I thought about what I want to accomplish by the end of 2019, I reflected on past times when I had succeeded with my goals. What did I do that made the difference from success and those times when I wasn’t successful?
I came up with two things that seem to be a motivating factor. One was having a “need” or necessity that became a driving force. And the other was when I made goals that I was passionate about.
“Needs” require attention so we can survive. Such times might include health problems or major financial concerns. When I needed a new hip, pain dictated paying attention and following through with surgery and physical therapy. After the death of my husband, financial concerns precipitated the sale of my home, decisions as to where to live, and what I could afford.
Creating purpose and meaning for our lives is also crucial. Losses compel us to re-think what is important. As a licensed therapist, I love teaching, working with people, and creating workshops and retreats. Both passion and needs became the driving force for the creation of a website, blogging, speaking and writing where I could interact with people, share information and life strategies.
While both passion and needs can be motivating factors, without specifically defined goals that direct their outcome, they can become sidetracked. Health and fitness require a permanent central focus in our lives. Without good health, we will neither have the energy or well being to achieve other goals.
Belief in yourself is another critical factor; belief that you can do it. While we may need more education or training, without a positive belief in our abilities we will sabotage our efforts. When struggling with my life-changing goals, I had to believe that I could build a house by myself. Later, I had to believe that I could perfect my writing skills to blog and publish, resulting in the publication of my first book and a second one ready for publication. Despite doubts and anxieties, with the help of God, I was able to affirm my abilities to do both what needed doing and what I had a passion to do.
This year, I want to take my goals to a new level. To be attainable they need to be realistic. Larger over-arching goals require a series of steps to accomplish. Reflection on past goal completion can reveal what is necessary to complete them successfully. Daily affirmations are needed to motivate and encourage success. When we are unable to maintain motivation and perseverance our goals end up on the garbage heap Recognizing stumbling blocks and planning ways to overcome them is a necessity.
Successful goals are those where the process of moving towards them becomes a life-changing and character building process. It is the journey of creating a roadmap, navigating detours and roadblocks and redesigning as need be as we go along. It is on that journey where we see unexpected, dazzling sunsets, panoramic vistas of exciting new opportunities and the reassurance that God is there with us every step of the way.
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