Most people have goals. Or at least most people have an idea of where they'd like to be - mostly somewhere ahead of where they are now. Me? I'd like to have enough money to be able to buy what me and my family want, travel where we want, eat what we want, live how we want, all the while having the same job I have now. I'd like to speak at Afresh on the weekends and pour into a team who pours into others, making a global impact of good on behalf of God. I'd like to write a few more books, speak at influential venues monthly, and be in great shape. But hey, that's just me. I bet you have some type of ideal goal in mind for you as well - and that's a good thing! The question becomes, how do we get there?
I'm learning that if we aren't intentional, we'll always have the same ambitions and dreams, because we never actually reach them. I'm 32. I hope that when I'm 36, I've reached some of my goals and now have some new ones too. Reaching dreams and goals never happens by accident. It's very intentional. The goal is progress; I will be 1% better today than I was yesterday. That means that in just 3 1/2 months, I'll be 100% better than I was yesterday and 300% better in one year!
Knowing my ambitions, the better question to ask is: who do I need to be today in order to go where I want tomorrow? I often think I need major changes for major results, but the truth is that large leaps are created by small steps. Small consistency is the key to large success. So what habits do I need to begin in order to reach my goal? What are some characteristics a person who is living my dream has?
If I want to be in great shape, maybe I can start by doing 10 pushups, 10 squats, and 10 sit ups each day. Every week I can increase that number by 1, 2, 5, or even 10; and after 6 months, I could be doing up to 135 pushups, squats, and sit ups each day. Sooner or later my small habits will have created the goal I was trying to reach: I'll be in great shape!
If I want to write a book, I can start by writing one sentence per day. After a few weeks I can increase it to a paragraph a day. After a few months, a chapter a day. If I wrote just a chapter a week, I could write 2 to 3 books a year! Every goal is made up of small daily habits that become who we are, everyday getting 1% better because of those habits.
If I want to have a deep prayer life, I can start by thanking God and the beginning and end of each day. Every week I can expand that gratitude into praying for others, and before you know it, I will be in deep conversation with God naturally throughout the day because of my small consistency.
I am so guilty of wanting to start something when the current season is over. I'm currently on vacation and I thought to myself, "On Monday when I'm back home, I'll start to write again." And I stopped myself, knowing that if I didn't write today, it would just delay my end goal that much more and become easier to push aside. I wanted to push exercising off until next week, but I instead started with some small habits today that were not just achievable, but enjoyable. And you know what? I felt really good about myself afterward, knowing I am 1% better today than yesterday.
So how about you? Who do you want to be? Where do you want to be? What are your goals and dreams? What small habits can you start today that will lead you where you want to be in the future?
Don't put off your first steps toward the future you. The truth is you are already creating the future you by everything you are currently doing, so take control and mold your life into what you want it to be. And you don't have to go it alone - God is with you and for you, and there is a world of people cheering you on in pursuit of their own dreams. Together, we can accomplish so much!