You’ve Set a Goal, Now What? 

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As Much as You Can Plan, Plan

When you’re starting off anything new it’s good to not only set a goal but set a plan on how you can actually achieve the goal. A plan can be broken down into a daily guide, weekly guide or even a monthly guide depending on what the original goal is.

Yes, you’ve decided what goal you’d like to reach, why you’d like to achieve it, when you’d like to achieve. Now it’s time to establish the “how” behind reaching your goal. How are you going to make it happen? It’s time to make a plan. We use planning in every other area of our lives for anything that is important to us. We plan for our vacation. We plan our weddings. We plan.

Why is a plan so essential to keeping and achieving your goal?

From Ideas to Action Items: yes you might have ideas in your head but a plan takes the fluffy ideas and turns them into tangible action items. When you formulate a plan, write down all of the ideas that come to mind. Allow yourself to be free and jot down everything. Once you’ve written them down, narrow down the ideas to a more concise and feasible list. From this list, you can develop your precise action items. Be specific and arrange the importance of each of the action items, when applicable.

A plan actually takes those ideas and sets an agenda. No longer are they just ideas, they have shifted to action items.

Keep a Tangible Reminder: once you’ve created a plan, take the time to post it in a visible place that you’ll see on a daily basis. Don’t just keep a digital file, print a copy and post it to serve as an actual tangible reminder every time you see it.

creating a plan on paper is a tangible reminder to keep you focused on your goal. No longer is it just a lofty dream, it becomes something real. 

Let Your Plan be Your Compass & Guide: There will be days when you ask yourself why you do what you do? There will be days that it will be more difficult to stay on track. But be encouraged. a plan is a guide. It tells you what you should be working on and also helps you plan for what’s coming up next. Although it’s not perfect, a plan serves as a directional compass especially on the days when you feel especially lost.

A Good Reminder: a plan serves as a good reminder. It doesn’t let you forget what you said you wanted to do 3 months ago. Sure, you can schedule training sessions or even have meetings once a week with your academic advisor but the plan itself serves as an actual reminder.

Include a Realistic Timeline: every good plan must incorporate a timeline. A timeline helps you decide what you will accomplish and when. It can be a simple as a monthly calendar marked with daily action items or it can be a simple

Create accountability: whether it’s another person or a reward system for yourself accountability is a great way of staying on track. When you know that you have to report your progress to another person or when there is a risk involved we are more likely to stay committed to the plan.

Be intentional: a plan just doesn’t happen. It comes from committing to be intentional about taking small steps to achieve your end goal. That means, don’t just wait until you have time, make time.

Track Your Progress: How’s it going, really? Measuring your progress is paramount in the planning process. Be visual. The truth of the matter is most of us like to see a visual indicator that helps us understand where we are, where we were and where we’re going. This visual stimulus is a great way to keep yourself encouraged especially when the plan gets old.

Tracking your progress is a great reminder that you’re not where you once were and you’re on your way to success.

Stay in the Race

eyx2waq4oji-agberto-guimaraes.jpgLife is a race worth running. We are all alive but are you running your race or are you just standing on the sidelines watching it pass you by?

Know the Course: What makes you come alive? What job would you do for free? What do you find yourself thinking about everyday? Our passions are not far from us. They are the things that stay on our minds, captivate our hearts and resonate in our souls. We must not only know what we’re passionate about but we must also be intentionable about the course we want to take. The course is not just about you. Align yourself with something greater than yourself

Stay on Course: Sometimes the road can seem long, flat and boring. Sometimes it is hilly, slippery and you can’t see the other side. Whatever part of the road you’re on, remember that it’s just a season. This is not the road you will always remain on so just keep moving along at a steady pace staying faithful to the course before you.

Don’t Be Discouraged By Obstacles: Obstacles are bound to come along the way but do not be dismayed or discouraged by the obstacles. The obstacles are what make you stronger, teach you to adapt and gradually improve your reflexes.

Pick it Up: There’s always an opportunity to refine yourself and become better. If you’ve been steadily running the race for a long time, it might be time to pick up the pace again. Learn a new skill set within your field, connect with colleagues that are where you want to be someday, look for opportunities to mentor the next generation.

Check Your Heart Rate: It’s always good to know where you stand. Don’t forget to check your heart rate. Is your heart open or is it bound up in worry, stress and unforgiveness? Check your heart rate to ensure that it’s beating in step with the future you desire.

Don’t Let Your Mind Get Derailed by a Delay

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“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.” – Isaiah 26: 3-4

Derailed. There’s nothing worse than a delay. Especially when you’re on the road to a place you really need to get to, or a delay in a dream that you’ve been praying for, or a prayer gone long unanswered. Delays meet us all along the way of life and challenge our thought patterns, our character and our faith.

The question is not whether or not we will experience a delay it’s a matter of when and how. So what do you do when you’re met with a delay? It seems as if God has not heard your prayer. Or if He has, it seems as if He’s uninterested. It seems as if the delay is just an obstacle or a barrier keeping you from where you need to get to in the first place.

It is even more frustrating if it feels like you’re doing all the right things, then what? What about then? When we encounter a delay, it’s time to really taste and see that the Lord is good and He is good all the time. And yet, if we were honest, many of us freak out at even a glimpse of a delay. We pout, complain, put up a fit; pretty much like a spoiled toddler who has no idea of the wonderous things God has in store for their life.

While we may not always have control over the delays in our life, we do have control of our attitude and how we will choose to respond to the delays. As difficult as it may be, God’s grace enables us to not be overcome by the delay but to be overcomers.

So how do we keep our minds from getting derailed by a delay?

1.) Bring it to God in Prayer: we must get more acquainted with seeking God more. Praying without ceasing. Be honest with God, pour your heart out to him and tell him how you feel. There’s no need to sugar coat anything with him because He sees and knows our hearts so we
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
Philippians 4:8 are free to be 100% honest with him. Also, practice being still before God and allow Him to speak and minister to your soul. Prayer is not a monologue but rather a dialogue, so give Him room to speak to you.

2.) Align Your Thinking With the Word of God: whatever thoughts are coming into your mind, immediately align them with the word of God. For example, if you feel alone and forgotten, that is a lie. God has promised never to leave you nor forsake you (see Deuteronomy 31:8). If you feel like there is no hope for the future, that is a lie because God has promised that He has a plan and a purpose for our life (see Jeremiah 29:11). If you feel anxious, cast down the anxiety by doing exactly what the Word of God says before you try anything else. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In everything that we face, we must be diligent about aligning our thoughts with the word of God. If it doesn’t match up, cast it out. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:5” That means that we have the power through Jesus to take control of our thoughts. They no longer have to control us but any thought that sets itself against God’s word, we can cast out of our minds by the blood of Jesus.

3.) Delays Do Not Always Mean No: many times, we misunderstand a delay as an unanswered prayer or as a ‘no’ to a desire on our hearts. But delays don’t always mean a ‘no.’ For example, when there’s a delay at the local bakery, they’re still baking your loaf of bread, it’s just taking a bit longer than you expected but when it’s ready it will be hot, fresh, and just for you. We understand delays that we can see the reason why but when we can’t, it is then that we must set our heels in to trusting God. The delay is often times preparation for what is yet to come. God is a good Father. He doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle, nor does He give us gifts before we’re ready. He is always working on us to sanctify us and make us more like Jesus. Hold tight in the midst of delay and submit yourself as a vessel to the Father and watch what He does with your life.

4.) What are you doing with the Delay? It’s a good question to ask yourself from time to time in the middle of a delay. If you’re unemployed and the delay is for a job, then at the end of that season when you do get a job and you look back on the waiting, what will you have done during the waiting. Sure, you were aggressively job hunting but were you a pleasant person to be around, did your faith get stronger, did you learn a new skill, did you spend time serving others? In the middle of a delay, we have the option to decide how we’re going to use it. True, we don’t always know the duration of the delay but we can still practice good stewardship with the time we are given.

If you’re in the midst of a delay right now, take heart. You are loved unconditionally, just as you are by God. He sees you, He loves you and He has a plan for your life. Put all of your hope in Him. He will never disappoint.

The Rest Note is NOT the End of the Song

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Life is like a song. There are many notes, some high and some low, that will fill our lives. And our lives are not complete without these much needed rest notes. We often misinterpret the rest notes as our “defeat,” or the end of our story but we are not looking at the rest notes through the eyes of the composer. When the composer includes rest notes into the song, it is an act of kindness and a way to beautify the musical piece. He allows the song to have a “breakdown” or decrescendo only in order for to build it back up in a way that it never sounded or looked before.

If you’re in the middle of a season of undesired “rest” where it seems as if nothing is happening, it seems as if your efforts are not paying off, it seems as if what you’re doing is not making a positive difference — hold tight. Your song is not over. This is just a pause and if viewed correctly you will be ready for the next new exciting notes that will follow immediately after.

Here’s what I know to be true about “Rest” Notes in the Song of Our Life:

There is a Reason for the Rest: we may not know or understand why, but we can trust in faith that God has a reason for our season of rest. He has a purpose for our lives and for every season of our lives. Even if we don’t understand, we can draw nearer still to our loving Heavenly Father who sees us and understands.

God is making something beautiful out of us. He is the ultimate composer; making melodies more beautiful than we could ever dream.

Rest is the Preparation: we must not discount the importance of rest in the preparation process. We consider preparation to be the “doing, doing, doing” but there also must be those intervals of rest in order to complete the preparation process.

Peace in the Middle of the Rest: it’s amazing how sometimes when we have a period of undesired or unexpected rest (unemployment, waiting to hear back from a university, etc.) how we will throw ourselves into a bit of endless worry or anxiety. The worry and the anxiety never solves anything. It only makes things worse and it’s an act of disobedience because God has already told us in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” What a beautiful promise and remedy we have for our anxiety. We can be at peace even in the middle of the rest.

Something Big Always Follows the Rest: If you’re in the middle of a season of undesired “rest” and you’ve been seeking the Lord but it feels like nothing is happening or changing, hold tight. At any moment, the rest will come to an end and the musical notes will sound triumphantly unlike ever before.

Uncharted Territory: Why a Movement Begins in Your Heart and Not Your Mind

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Movements around the world don’t just happen. They are centered around a cause, belief system or injustice. They have the power to not only change one particular cause but they have the power to change history and furthermore our perceptions and beliefs. But movements are more than a matter of the mind, they’re a matter of the heart, fueled by emotional reactions.

1.) We are wired to follow love: the things we love we are willing to do anything for. We work as hard as we can, we sacrifice everything, we devote ourselves fully all in a spirit of joy because of what we love. When love is the starting point of any movement, we are compelled to act on behalf of the object of our affection. We don’t have to convince ourselves, we do it willingly out of love and with love. If you are serving a cause from a place of love then the input and output should be love.

2.) It’s a decision initiated by passion but sustained by commitment and selfless devotion: we all have causes and people we are passionate about. But enough ‘long, hard days’ will make you second guess even your deepest passions. In order to keep the passion alive it must be sustained by commitment and selfless devotion. The focus is not on how much you have received but rather focuses on how much you can give. It is passion that is fueled by love and supported by discipline to choose each day to continue, prosper and thrive.

3.) True Love Knows No Fear, because fear based love is not love at all. If a passion begins from a point of love and then transitions to your mind then it eliminates the fear obstacle. The passion is not pursued out of fear but out of a sincere desire to serve the cause or person.

4.) What Resonates in Your Heart Will Haunt the Logic of Your Mind: whether we admit it or not, all human beings have a view of “right” and “wrong.” When we choose not to speak up on behalf of what is right, do the right thing or follow right course we are resisting truth. This resistance of truth threatens justice for the sake of comfort. We should always never left the comforts of this world keep us from doing the right thing.