Part 6 in a series on Designing a Meaningful Life
- Step 1: Start Where You Are
- Step 2: Explore Your Gravel Pit
- Step 3: Become an Architect
- Step 4: Develop a Vision
- Step 5: Develop a Design
Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:
Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.
“For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
– Matthew 25:29
Step 6 – Activating Your Plan
In Step 5 you reviewed the different areas of your life and wrote down the concerns and changes you wanted to make.
Look over your list. Which area will you work on first?
When you choose a goal to work on, ask yourself whether you have all the information you need to activate that goal.
- Have you defined specifically what you want the outcome to be and why it is important to you?
- What other goal(s) may be linked to the one you have chosen? For example, if your goal is to dimmish conflict, an associated one might be to build a better relationship. Also involved is learning how to communicate effectively.
It’s hard to make changes without support.
You might have the support of a loyal friend, but it can be helpful to associate with others who have worked on similar issues.
- Are there support groups at your local senior center or church?
- Joining a local community group focused on similar interests such as a gardening or book club, are good ways to meet new people.
- Perhaps joining a service organization that offers volunteer work to people in need.
- Develop that relationship with God. Check in with Him every day.
Whenever you make changes, finances are usually an integral component. Knowing more precisely what your spending habits and financial needs are can make it easier to choose how you spend your money. Start small with adjustments and then later establish a primary goal to develop a budget you can stick with.
Here is where all your hard work of preparation will pay off. If you haven’t gathered all the information you need or do not have a good description of what you want, you will lose motivation. Too often we start with a bang and then lose enthusiasm.
Wishful thinking to focused resolve
There is a difference between wishful thinking and a focused resolve.
Wishes are desires, but you don’t not want them badly enough to make them happen. It’s like driving around the countryside with no destination in mind. We often spend a lifetime driving through life the same way; enjoying the moment without any plans for the future.
Setting goals is like taking a map and developing a roadmap with a plan of action that will take you on the routes needed to get to your destination. Until you purposefully turn your desires into goals, they will just remain wishes.
Choose an area to start
Return to the list of areas in your life along with the concerns you have in each.
- Are you prepared to work and make the changes that will benefit you both in the short term and long term?
- Are you prepared to spend the time, energy, and money to make it happen?
- Ask yourself how you would feel if you didn’t make these important goals?
In September of 2013, a 64-year-old woman completed her goal of swimming 110 miles, from Cuba to Florida. It was a lifelong dream and this was her fifth try. But she stuck with her goal. As she emerged from the water, she said to the reporters, “Never give up.” She continued to train until she made her goal come true. Wow!
How often do we give up and believe we have no options?
How often do we believe we are too old, too poor, too uneducated? How often do we convince ourselves that it is too hard or requires too much sacrifice? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to give up.
Goals are for people who want to make things happen – who want to take charge of their lives. If you lack confidence, go through the process of making and completing some small goals. That can motivate you to tackle bigger ones.
- Set a goal that is specific, measurable, realistic, and attainable. State it as an action.
- Designate a time to begin and when you want to finish.
- Define each of the steps needed to accomplish it.
- Write down anything that might deter you – any obstacles you currently face or might encounter while working on your goal. How will you deal with each?
- Evaluate your progress. Are modifications or corrections needed?
- Make a commitment. Sign and date it.
- Turn your goal statement into affirmations you repeat every day.
While working on a goal, if you believe it isn’t right for you, give yourself permission to alter, restructure or eliminate it.
Making a commitment does not mean you have to continue with a goal that won’t be useful.
A commitment is motivation to complete those goals that are right for you. Reward yourself on each of your steps – both for what you achieved and the time and energy you spent.
You are making goals to improve your life.
Keep that foremost in your thoughts each day. It will help motivate you when you get discouraged. You have determined their importance. You are in charge. While it may sound daunting, setting goals and taking charge of our lives is liberating.
Freedom is the ability to choose our direction. Responsibility is our ability to respond to life.
You can look for and ask for help if needed. When you are willing to work through adversity, roadblocks, and any obstacles because you understand how important this is for your life, the blessings will be enormous!
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