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goal-setting-feature

Note: I’m late posting this article from Christmas Eve, but the message remains the same. I hope it helps you.

It’s Christmas Eve, 2017. Do you know what that means? It means that it’s almost January first!

I’m not a proponent of New Year’s Resolutions; not at all. Resolutions rarely work. I won’t bore you with all the scientific details, but there are actually physiological reasons for the failure of resolutions.

Resolutions rarely work because we stand up tall, square our shoulders, and declare to ourselves that we resolve that next year will be different because we resolve to accomplish something; and it’s usually the same something we declared last year. Then something happens. It’s called life. As life happens, those spoken resolutions fade into the blur of a fast-moving calendar and everything that comes with it. But for the most part, those resolutions are forgotten until December 31 of the next year.

I am a believer in having goals and that leading up to January is a good time to review, renew, and establish goals. What’s the difference? Honestly, I’m not totally sure; but hang in here with me.

I believe in establishing goals. Goals are life targets. However, there are problems with goals, too. Goals can be forgotten. I have an application on my devices called Evernote. The cool thing about Evernote is that you never lose anything you put into it. Word recognition makes it almost if not entirely impossible for anything to be lost. Scan a document in and it will recognize the words in that document. Simply type some words into the search bar and every note and document you have that includes that word will appear.

Recently in Evernote I typed “goals” into the search bar. Goals that I had typed into Evernote as far back as 2012 came to the surface. With those goals came some disappointment. I had typed them into a note and forgotten them. Why would I forget an important goal? Because life happened and, well, I forgot.

Why is it so easy to forget? Life! Looking back at my goals from 2012, I found one of my goals that I didn’t totally achieve but I didn’t forget it, either. I set a goal in 2012 to read fifty-two books. I do believe in reading, but fifty-two books is not a goal that I necessarily recommend. I didn’t forget that goal to read all of those books because it was always in front of me. Every day, my current book was there for me to pick up. On my desk there were always three or four books that were in the bullpen just waiting for their turn. As I started reading one book, I ordered another. I didn’t read fifty-two books in 2012, but I did read thirty-four, which is pretty good and most importantly, I never forgot the goal because it was in front of me.

Lately I’ve been thinking again about my goals and that 2012 goal to read fifty-two books. So, I’m approaching the year with a new, untested goal- tracking system. I bought myself a cheap journal. It’s one of the spiral bound type that almost looks like your typical high school composition book.

Here is the untested system.

First, I wrote my goals on the first two pages of the journal. Remember, some scientists say that the action of writing makes the information more concrete, mentally. Now every morning as I have my quiet time, I read from the Bible, pray, listen to a podcast, read a few pages from my current read, and I re-write my goals. That’s right! The plan is that everyday of this next year, I will rewrite my goals. I will also add notes such as, “goal completed” and “goal dropped”; or I may write a note to explain what I will do on that day to help myself achieve that goal. We’ll see how it goes.

W Clemet Stone said, “No matter how carefully you plan your goals, they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto.”

Finally, here are a few goal-setting pointers:
1. Write you goals down.
2. Read or rewrite your goals daily.
3. Be willing to edit your goal list. You may find that your priorities will change as the year goes by.
4. Act! Do something to make your goals a reality.

depressed

There’s a fascinating story in the Bible found in 2 Samuel 12:13-24.  It’s the story of a king who made a series of serious mistakes.  David was a great man, “a man after God’s heart.” Even great men make mistakes. Not only was David a great man, his mistakes were massive.

First: He stayed home from a battle he should have been part of.

Second: He allowed himself to look lustfully at another man’s wife (Bathsheba).

Third: He had sex with her.

As a result of the first three mistakes he found himself in a difficult position. Bathsheba is pregnant.

Fourth: He brings Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah home from the battle in the hopes that he would sleep with her and it would appear that the child was his.  Uriah refused to go into his house and lay in his own bed while his countrymen were at war.  Because he would not sleep with Bathsheba David made his fifth major mistake.

Fifth: He had Uriah killed so that others would not know the baby was not his.

David made five major mistakes, then he married Bathsheba and the child, a boy was born.

Later in the story David is confronted by Nathan concerning his sins and told that his son by Bathsheba would die.

In spite of all the sin, the agony and the guilt of the sin this boy represents a dream for David. Isn’t it the case that the boy represents the father? That the father lives vicariously through the son?

Now David has the dreadful news that his dream is dying and will die.  It makes me think of the dreams that I’ve had in my lifetime that didn’t survive and the question must be answered, what do I do when my dream dies? I’d like to use David’s story and try to answer that question.

First I must tell you to fight for your dream as long as it’s alive.  In verse 16 of 2 Samuel 12 it says that David fasted for seven days and pleaded with God for the child. But the boy, the dream died. This is where you find yourself in life sometime, Maybe not the death of child but the death of a dream nonetheless.  Now what? According to David’s story here is what you must do.

  1. Get Up! In verse 20 of 2Samuel 12 it says that David arose from the ground.  If you spend the rest of your life grieving over the loss of a dream you most assuredly will not ever accomplish anything else. You will not ever, enjoy life again. You must get up!
  2. Repent. If necessary, apologize to God and those in your life who may have been affected by failure in your life. 2 Samuel 12 says that after David arose that he “washed himself.”  Failure leaves a yucky feeling in the soul of a man. Don’t let that yucky feeling of failure stay in your life. Wash it out.
  3. Go after a fresh touch of God in your life.  The story says that David “anointed himself.” The oil of anointing in the Old Testament is a type of Holy Spirit. David’s story reminds us that the best place of healing and new dreams is found in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Change clothes. What? That’s right, change clothes. The garment represents the attitude. It’s still that way. Have you ever spent the day in pajama’s or just sloppy old clothes because you were down in the dumps? David had on clothes of mourning so he had to change. The changing of clothes represents the changing of your attitude. I want to encourage you today, change your attitude.

Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude!

Change from mourning to rejoicing. Change from defeat to a new. Whatever change that is necessary to move forward. Do it!

  1. Worship God. David did! In spite of his disappointment and pain he worshipped God.  Worship will get you into the presence of God. In His presence there is fullness of joy. In His presence there’s a new dream.
  2. Get your strength back. He ate. In other words, move on with life. Stop dragging around the corpse of a dead dream and move on. God’s got something for you to do.
  3. Get you a new dream.  In verse 24 it says “Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon.  David went to Bathsheba and got a new dream. A new son.

It may all sound a little preachy but that’s ok, I’m a preacher. The point is this. You only have one life to live for God. What will you do with it? Lay around a morn over yesterday or make the most of today. The choice is up to you.

Your comments are welcomed.

Follow this link to get a copy of my book, The Eye of A Needle.