How to Set Goals and Accomplish Them

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This post originally appeared on The Blog of Manly.

Since we’re now at the end of January and the luster of New Years Resolutions has begun to wear off, I felt like its time to share some ideas on how to set goals and keep them.

Resolutions are just that, goals. They are hopes for the future. In December we look at our lives, the things we don’t like about them and set a goal to change that specific area of our lives.

No one makes a resolution to get into more debt or add 30 pounds (at least not that I have met).

Here are ___ ways to set goals, keep them and accomplish them.

  1. Be realistic. If your goal is to lose weight, losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks isn’t likely or realistic. Possible if you just stop eating but that sounds miserable. The excitement of what could be is easy to get caught up in, but the reality that you will all of a sudden get up at 5am 4 days a week when you have been struggling to get up by 7am isn’t realistic.
  2. Set goals you want to keep. I have had friends set a goal and they are miserable. Now, sometimes our goals will have some pain. When I lost 130 pounds, it wasn’t fun to change my eating habits, but the short term pain was worth it. The same goes for debt. It will require some pain to get out of debt. You have to walk a fine line here. If it is too painful, you will not want to keep it. This is why our goals are often more of a process than a quick fix.
  3. Make them measurable. Don’t make a goal: to lose weight, get out of debt or read my bible more. Those aren’t measurable. How much weight? How much debt? How much more will you read your bible? Make them measurable so you can see how you are doing.
  4. Have a plan. Once you have your goal, you need a plan. If its weight loss, what will you do? If its debt, how will you get there? What are the steps? If its bible reading, what plan are you using? No goal is reached without a plan.
  5. Get some accountability. Equally important is accountability. One of the things I did when I weighed 285 pounds and started mountain biking was I bought some bike shorts that were too small and embarrassing to wear. This gave me accountability to keep riding. Your accountability might be a spouse or a friend, but it needs to be someone that can actually push you. Maybe you need to go public with your goal and invite people to help you stay on track.
  6. Remove barriers to your goals. Your goals have barriers, that’s why you have to set goals in the first place. It might be waking up, food, credit cards, working too late or wasting time on Facebook. Whatever it is that is going to keep you from accomplishing it, remove it. Get rid of the ice cream, credit cards, move your alarm clock so you have to get out of bed. Whatever it is, do it. Life is too short to be miserable and not accomplish your goals.
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Links for Your Weekend Reading

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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My latest post on The Blog of Manly: How to set goals and accomplish them.

Since we’re now into January and the luster of New Years Resolutions has begun to wear off, I felt like its time to share some ideas on how to set goals and keep them. Resolutions are just that, goals. They are hopes for the future. In December we look at our lives, the things we don’t like about them and set a goal to change that specific area of our lives.

The title makes it clear someone is really important—and that someone is you. God is Not Mad at You, Reposition Yourself, Your Best Life Now, Become a Better You, It’s Your Time… I’m noticing a trend here. Someone’s a pretty big deal, and apparently that someone is me. I feel so much better now. It’s advice that could easily be confused with the message from a fortune cookie.

Brian Howard on How to free up 8 hours in your week.

11 traits of churches that will impact the future.

To reach a changing culture, the church needs to change. Rapidly. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t need to change the message. Just the method. One is sacred. The other is not. What isn’t as clear is what the future church will look like, and what kind of characteristics will mark those churches. However, I think a few trends are becoming clear. Not all of these might be correct, but I think the following eleven traits describe the kind of churches that will have a significant impact a decade from now.

Ron Edmondson on 7 ways a wife is injuring her husband without even knowing it.

It’s an emotional injury. Sometimes those are the worst kind of hurts. The person doing the injuring: His wife. And she…most likely…doesn’t even know she’s doing it.

What one pastor would like to ask President Obama concerning abortion.

Let your husband love you. Great words for wives and moms.

I get it. The kids have been climbing on you all day. One or both of your boobs have been exposed 87% of the day and you’re sick of being clawed at, sucked on, licked, punched, kicked, pulled, snotted on, cried on, spit up on, pooped on, and peed on. You’ve wiped butts and noses and counters and walls all day. You’ve battled attitudes and arched backs and Dora the Explorer since dawn and you’re tired. So. So. Tired. I know. I really really do.

Taylor Gahm on The Gift of Inadequacy (This has a warning on language but the ideas he shares are really good)

More NFL Lip Reading (so funny)
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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Jason Johnson on 5 things Christians should stop staying.

We mean well, don’t we? But sometimes our attempts to say something spiritual actually come out unbiblical, or at a minimum, not very helpful. Here’s the 5 I hear the most…

David Romano on God, gays and advice.

As a Christian walking away from the homosexual lifestyle, I have some do’s and don’ts I’d like you to keep in mind when addressing this issue.

Tim Challies on Mobility, Pornography and Privacy.

Did you buy your children an iPod or iPhone or other mobile device for Christmas? You just bought them the major porn-consumption device. So what are you going to do to protect them from it? One of the most popular articles I wrote in 2013 concerned The Porn-Free Family. I will be returning to the subject in the new year, but for now, I want to point out an important fact: Most of our attempts to block pornography and to use accountability software are effective only or primarily on desktop devices.

5 ways to relax on your Christmas break.

So you’re off for Christmas, but some of you for sure are going to have a hard time winding down. I know I do. Being a driven kind of person, the idea of doing nothing but resting is unsettling for me. But rather than secretly doing email while your family isn’t looking, pacing the house because you can’t sit still or being agitated most of the time, there is an alternative.

Brian Howard on How to remember 2013 and set goals for 2014.

Welcome to the day after Christmas! Each year between Christmas and New Years I walk through a simple exercise to help me think through the past year and plan for the coming year.  I originally learned this exercise from David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, and have customized it over the years. My wife and I both walk through it, and I use it with those I coach as well. Allocating an hour or two over the next week to walk through this exercise will help you to start the new year well.

Jon Acuff on The empty shelf challenge.

Empty a shelf in your house somewhere. Every book you read from now until December 31, 2014 goes on the shelf. (Waiting until January 1st to do something awesome is stupid and fake.) At the end of the year, I guarantee you will have read more than you did in 2013. Best of all, you’re scientifically more likely to accomplish something when you have people working on it with you.

Justin Taylor on How to read the whole bible in 2014.

Do you want to read the whole Bible? The average person reads 200 to 250 words per minute; there are about 775,000 words in the Bible; therefore it takes less than 10 minutes a day to read the whole Bible in a year.

This Weekend @ Revolution || Spiritual Warfare

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This week, we are wrapping up our series Image is Everything and looking at Ephesians 6:10 – 24 and talking about spiritual warfare and the battle that rages in our world and our hearts. Here’s what’s happening:

  • There are two serious dangers one can fall in to regarding Spiritual warfare: Under-recognition or overly obsessed fear. According to scripture we are in a serious battle with a very real enemy, Satan and his demons, who are seeking to destroy the people and the work of God. But he is not an equal to the one we serve. Jesus has promised ultimate victory and laid out the way his followers are to defend against such serious opposition. He has absolute power and authority, demonstrated in his sacrificial death and victorious resurrection.  Jesus calls his followers to walk each day in light of the reality of who he is and what he has accomplished.
  • Next week, on January 13th, we are kicking off a brand new series on the book of Ecclesiastes called Meaning.
  • There’s still time to give to our Christmas Offering recently and I’m really excited about the response so far. For more information on what it is going to and how you can be involved, go here.
  • If you haven’t “Liked” the Revolution Fan Page on Facebook, do so now. It is one of the ways we communicate and pass on resources for sermons and other ways to help serve you in your spiritual growth.

This is definitely a week you don’t want to miss at Revolution Church. So, bring someone with you (you never know when a simple invite will make an eternal difference).

Remember, we meet at 8300 E. Speedway Blvd. at 10am.

Sermon Recap || Moving Forward

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Do you feel let down during the week between Christmas and the New Year? Christmas is such a fun time of the year. The presents, time with family, the parties, the endless lists of things to do, and the food. You’re exhausted, a little heavier, a little more in debt and the good college bowl games haven’t begun yet.

This is the week when people begin to reflect on the previous year and think toward the coming year. We think about what has happened, the things that went wrong in 2012, some are disappointed the world didn’t end while others are excited for a new year. Many churches will begin a new series in January on the topic of purpose and meaning, trying to help people wrestle with how 2013 will be different and better than 2012. You can see what we’ll be preaching on at Revolution Church in January here.

On Christmas Eve at my church, I shared from Ephesians 2:8 – 10 which says,

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Here are 3 things to help you as you prepare for the New Year.

1. Life is a gift. Grace is a hard topic to wrap our minds around. As a follower of Jesus, we know that we’ve been given grace. We sing about it, rest in it; share it with others as a means of helping them find their hope in Jesus. Yet, for many people once they start following Jesus, grace becomes something they seek to earn, or at least, they work to keep it. It’s like paying someone back for the Christmas gift they got you, “Thanks for the gift card to my favorite restaurant, here’s $50 for your trouble.” This past year was a gift and the coming year is a gift.

2. Life is not a result of something you did. For some of us, the past year was a banner year, one for the record books. For others, the New Year can’t get here fast enough. The changing of the page, seeing a new date at the end brings hope that maybe life can be different. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2, the great things you did, they are not a result of your works. They are a result of Jesus. If the past year was a year you will remember forever because of something great, take a minute to thank Jesus for it. It’s his gift to you. Rest in that. Know that He could’ve done that without you, yet, he chose to do it through you. Maybe the past year was rough, if so, keep reading.

3. You are still accountable, even though God does it and plans it.  No matter what the past year held for you, no matter what the coming year has in store, God still holds us accountable, but plans and allows it to happen. I often tell my church, “I love the sovereignty of God, that nothing happens without God’s direction or permission. Yet, when life is hard, that’s the first thing I doubt about God.” You may read accountable, and feel the hammer of this past year and think, “I knew God would punish me.” The writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 12 that God loves us, therefore, as His children, He disciples us for our good, not for our demise. That’s why Paul starts with grace is a gift. A gift we only have to receive. Once received, we are able to live and trust in the plans that God has for us, plans that “He prepared beforehand.”

That phrase goes back to Ephesians 1:4 where we’re told that God chose followers of Jesus “before the foundations of the world.” That’s part of the gift, God planned our the passions we have, the goals we have, the things we would accomplish that would bring Him the most glory and us the most joy, He planned those things before creating anything.

The question that answers is “How much does God love and care for me?” Enough to save you, rescue you, plan your good works for you joy and His glory before creating you, before the foundations of the world. Enough that on this week between Christmas and New Years, as you reflect on the past year and look ahead, stop and thank God for the gift of last year. The high’s and the low’s. The moments you’d like to relive and the most that you would maybe rather forget. Those moments are gifts from God. Moments to grow us, to help us become who God created us to be, to live the lives He intends for us to live.

What I’ve Learned from Being Married for 10 Years

Katie and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this past weekend. Last night we went out to celebrate together and we’re talking through the last 10 years, what we’ve learned, where we’ve come from. I thought I’d share some of the things we’ve learned in no particular order:

  1. Deal with your baggage quickly. You will bring baggage into your marriage. Past relationships, your parents marriage, hurt, abuse. Deal with it as quickly as possible. Don’t push it under a rug or pretend it isn’t there, it is.
  2. Set goals. When we got married, we made 5 year goals. At year 5, we worked on 10. Now, we are working through goals for 15 and til the day we die. Things like: what do we want our kids to know (discipleship plan), financial goals, places we’d like to travel, health we’d like to have. If you don’t have goals, you don’t get anywhere in your marriage, at least, not anywhere worth going. It also clarifies what is important in your marriage. Because some of our goals cost money, that dictates things in our marriage.
  3. Fight for oneness. When you argue, and you will. Couples who say they don’t are lying. So, when you fight, fight for oneness. Don’t fight to win, because then you lose.
  4. Set each other up to win. Too many couples seem set on making their spouse lose. In their career, at home, in their marriage. Instead, set them up to win. Encourage them, cheer them on louder than anyone else.
  5. Define your roles. The bible is clear about what roles we are to live in as men and women in marriage (Ephesians 5, Titus 2, 1 Peter 3). Read those passages, discuss them, decide how you will live them out in your marriage.
  6. Decide you will die before leaving. I think too many couples fail because divorce is always an option, it’s always there. I had a mentor tell me, “Stay married even if it kills you.” To survive in marriage, you will need that kind of certainty.
  7. Know how your spouse hears I love you. Your spouse has different emotional needs than you do, a different love language. Learn it, speak it, meet it. If you don’t, someone else will.
  8. Stay pure. Porn, romance novels, fantasy worlds. These will kill your marriage. I’ve sat across from too many couples who thought these things weren’t a big deal, they will destroy your marriage.
  9. Find your identity in Christ, not your spouse. Your spouse did not die on the cross and rise from the dead for you, Jesus did. Your spouse cannot be Jesus for you. Find your identity in Christ, nothing else will fulfill it. Grow closer to Christ and this makes all the difference in your marriage.
  10. Your kids come second. Don’t be the couple that says after 25 years of marriage, “we spent our whole marriage pouring into our kids, then they moved out and we don’t know each other, so we’re getting a divorce.” Your kids matter, spend time with them, but your spouse comes first. What this looks like changes with the seasons of your family, but they come first.
  11. Read about marriage. Everytime I preach on marriage someone will tell me, “I’d have a better marriage if I knew what you knew.” The way to grow in your marriage is to be around couples who have healthy marriages, ask them questions, but to read about marriage. Read at least 1 book a year on marriage. Think about it, you spend all this time being married, shouldn’t you know how to do it and grow in it?
  12. Dates and getaways. Have a weekly date night and get away at least once a year without kids. This shouldn’t be up for discussion. This one thing has done more good in our marriage than almost anything else, except for #9.

What would you add?

The Tension of Leadership

This morning I was meeting with some leaders at Revolution and we were talking about the tension of leadership. Leaders live in two worlds:  the one of reality, where their church or organization is, and the other is the one that is not yet, the world they are moving into.

To lead well, leaders must live where their churches are and they must lead them to where they are going. Which means they must have a strong grasp on reality and the present, as well as where they are going. Too many pastors seem to coast into the future, not sure where they are going, not sure how they will get there.

It is easy to spend too much time in either the present or the future and miss out. You can get too far ahead of your church which means you will have a difficult time getting into the future. You can spend too much time in the present and not see a vision for where you are going and get stuck in the details of just doing church.

It is a balance. It is the tension of leadership.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Tired, but a good tired
  • Tonight was the first night of 2 services
  • So cool to see how many people stepped up to make it happen
  • It is humbling to me all the people who work to make Revolution happen every week and the passion they have to help people in Tucson find their way back to God
  • I am blown away every week by the caliber of our leaders, we really do have the greatest leaders a church could ask for
  • It was a pretty intense sermon for me tonight, very personal and pastoral for me
  • It is heart breaking to know people who are making choices contrary to God’s word and you see how the story is going to end and you just want to stop them
  • That’s what I felt tonight
  • We ended the sermon with a really powerful sermon that you can see here
  • If you missed it, I’d really encourage you to watch it
  • I was challenged, being 31 and thinking that my life is so short, it doesn’t last forever and how my choices would be different if I lived with the reality of that and the reality that Zac said, “You may have already lived past the halfway point of your life”
  • Wow
  • In case you missed last night, you can listen to the message here
  • I will admit, I didn’t know how tonight would go and if anyone would be there since Arizona had a big basketball game overlapping both services
  • Awesome to see how God continues to grow our church
  • We had more people in the 1st service than we did when we launched
  • Excited about taking a retreat day this week and head up to Mt. Lemmon
  • A much needed thing to clear my head and keep my heart close to Jesus
  • If something in tonight’s message jumped out to you and you’d like to do some more reading on learning how to set goals and make plans in a Godly way and learn how to trust in the character of God and his sovereignty as the basis of those goals, check out these books:  Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny by Mark Batterson, The Holy Wild: Trusting in the Character of God by Mark Buchanan, and Chazown: Define Your Vision. Pursue Your Passion. Live Your Life on Purpose. by Craig Groeschel
  • Started reading a book last night that is really challenging me, great look at the inner life of a leader
  • Katie and I are heading up to The Crossing tomorrow night, the church we’re merging with to hang out with them and attend church
  • I’m really excited for Easter weekend when they join us
  • Hoping to wrap up the study guide for our next series this week
  • Really excited about spending 5 months preaching through the Old Testament
  • That’s all I got, barely keeping my eyes open

Do You Set Goals?

I often get asked by people about setting goals. It is kind of a funny thing, but many Christians and leaders think that it is wrong to set goals, at least when it comes to church. I think for some setting goals seems unspiritual. For me, I like goals because it gives me a direction to go, a way to gauge how I’m doing, etc. Too many people will start off the year and say, “I want to lose weight, get out debt” but won’t set a timeline or a plan to get there. Consequently, they won’t get there because it won’t just happen.

In case you are curious, here are my goals for 2011:

  • To complete our adoption.
  • To finish my weight loss journey and get below 160 (and stay there).
  • To read 50 books.
  • For Revolution to pass 350.
  • To begin plans to launch our first church plant or 2nd site out of Revolution.
  • To continue dating Katie every week.
  • To get away with Katie for several days without kids.
  • Preach 44 times at Revolution (thus giving an opportunity to hear other voices).
  • Take 12 retreat days to be alone with God.
  • Take each of my kids on a daddy date once a month.

For Growth or In Response to Growth

Every church, every business and every leader operates from one of two perspectives when it comes to growth. They either lead, spend money, staff and make decisions for growth or in response to growth.

I have sat in meetings where we knew what needed to be done and then we get into the feasibility of that decision, the finances and resources of that decision. It is in this phase that it becomes clear where you fall. This doesn’t mean that if you make decisions for growth that you make stupid decisions or sell the farm, but it does mean that you take risks.

At the end of the day, the difference boils down to when you do something. If you plan, lead, staff and budget for growth, that means you do something before you are ready.

At Revolution, from the beginning we have made decisions to grow instead of response to growth. It has shaped us as a church and I pray that we never lose that. I think it is easy to move into maintenance mode and protecting what you already have when you start doing things in response to growth.

When Paul and Jennifer moved out here, we made that decision before we needed to. We were a church of 35 people with a budget of $800/week. It was a huge leap. We started small groups before experts say you should (they say to wait until you have at least 100 people so that you don’t become inward focused). We started Rev uP before we had any students. We moved to a new location before we needed to, in preparation for what we expect to happen.

This gets into vision. Do you have a vision? A goal? A plan for your church?

For leaders, this means you need to see what no one else sees. Leading and planning for growth, means you see a possibility, you believe something can and will happen before anyone else does. This vision rallies you and your team to move forward.

At the beginning of the year, we set a goal of being a church of 300 by the end of 2010 and since then we have made decisions to get there.

While it may not seem like a big deal or just semantics, it is a completely different way of leading. It is the difference between offense and defense, waiting and hoping vs. having a plan, a vision.