No, not that kind of shot!
I mean do you want to have another go/try/chance/opportunity at the thing you said you’d do in 2017?
Well firstly, let’s evaluate – how did January go for you?
Before we take steps to fix something, we have to know what’s wrong with it, so I want us to honestly assess the month of January in terms of the goals we set for ourselves.
Let us look at:
- What went well?
- What could have been better?
- Ways to improve.
We all walked into the New Year with dreams, goals, good intentions and aspirations, but we’re on day 32, and without a doubt, a lot has happened.
Some things you won’t have bargained for may have popped up and distracted you or thrown you off your tracks.
People (sometimes the closest ones to you) may have discouraged you and made you feel like ‘you will never change’.
Circumstances may have simply not permitted it.
Does this mean, we should just give up?
Let us be courageous, ignore what people have said, shake off our emotions, stop feeling sorry for ourselves and Try Again.
Let’s read Romans 6. This isn’t to say that we’re all trying to change from a particular sin, but let us take context from it.
It tells us that in becoming aware of something that isn’t right, we shouldn’t just continue in that way, hoping that we can enjoy God’s grace, despite doing what we know is wrong and requires a change. Rather, we must rid ourselves of it. We should desire to become a new creation, because Christ has enabled this by dying for us. He allows us to be saved from our old ways and no longer be a slave to sin, addiction or any bad habit that we may have had!
Equally for those of us who decided that this year we wanted to take up a positive task, the bible tells us not to get tired of doing good;
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
So we’re all on the same page about trying again, whether we’re trying to move away from something, or take on a new task/service – it doesn’t matter if January didn’t go to plan, we have the chance to start afresh. Right now!
Let’s head back to our evaluation questions.
What went well? When we’re looking at this question, let us look properly, because some of us are really hard on ourselves.
I want you to identify times when you achieved aspects of your goal or in fact succeeded in doing what you said you would do or not do (e.g. be on time to church, or not argue with a friend/parent/spouse). Acknowledge that you did well here, and expand on it… Look at the details of what happened in that instance to allow the occurrence of your desired outcome, make a note of it and then replicate it each time you get the chance. This way, you’re moving closer to consistently reaching your goals.
What could have been better? Pay attention to the fact that this doesn’t ask you for what was bad, because asking for what was bad simply points it out and leaves it in the air (#unhelpful).
However, when you’re looking at what could have been better, done better, said better etc, the idea is that you identify areas where you may have tried less, or fallen back into the old habit and again, you should explore why it could have happened. Then create practical steps that will help ensure that you avoid it happening again.
Example: I barged a woman on my way to university because I was in a rush, but my goal was to be more polite and calm when using public transport.
Going back, I’ll evaluate that I woke up late, and that was because I slept late the night before, so I was in a rush in the morning, which made me grumpy already, and meant that I was charging through the station and not in the mood to even apologise to someone I pushed.
Yes, this will take a good amount of thought-processing, but the idea is to eliminate things that will cause us to do what we don’t want to do. Or even prevent us from doing good.
Now, in expanding on what went well and what could have been better, we have already looked at some ways that we could improve on working towards our goals,
But let’s look at a few more key Ways to improve…
The first thing I want us to do is be serious about trying again.
In fact that may have been your issue from the start – that you didn’t really believe in what you were doing.
Well look, first step – take it seriously.
- Don’t premeditate failure
- Don’t create sub-standards for ‘just in case’
- And don’t make fun of it! – (Some of us make a joke of our goals, probably as a defence mechanism in case they don’t work out – that’s not good enough).
We must truly believe in what we want to do and in fact the best thing is to put God right at the centre of it, because the bible tells us that in whatever we plan, it is God that directs/establishes our footsteps;
“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”
In addition to this, we can ask for help and accountability from those around us (the right people), but above all, ask God for direction and guidance.
Ask Him to first clarify the vision/goal/dream/desire. Tell Him that you want to see it clearly, so you’re able to know exactly what you’re going to do with it.
When you get the answer, Write It Down… Write out your goal as you’ve been inspired to fulfil it.
In Habakkuk 2:2-3, God describes the power that there is in scribing a vision, He says two things that we can take and apply to writing our goals – when we write them clearly, we will know exactly what we want to do, and also though it may not happen immediately, we should have faith that it will certainly take place.
Therefore write it down clearly, put it somewhere you can see it.
Put it somewhere accessible so you can always refer back to it.
Also when resetting these goals, I want us to aspire to achieve the best version of it. So as I mentioned, no sub-standards, and no short-lived goals (e.g. I’ll see if I can give up smoking for a month first) – No, I want us to run with the biggest version of the vision, then intricately plan towards how we will get there step by step.
Rather than think small to start off with and then settle if things don’t work out, saying ‘It was only meant to be for a month anyway’,
Think big, then plan towards it, and with God as your guide, you will surely get there.
I mustn’t end this message without saying congratulations and well done to the people who have stuck to their New Year plans – I pray for a continued strength for you month after month, year after year, and I pray that whatever you have given up or taken up, will remain as it ought to be in order to always please the Most High God, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
One thing we should all remember is that even if today doesn’t go to plan, let us not wait until next month, or next year to give it another shot.
Each new day provides a new grace and a fresh opportunity for us to get it right.
So friend, please keep going with your dreams and visions, and no matter how long it takes, keep working hard to become the best version of you there is!
I’m rooting for you, and praying for you.
Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.