4 Tips For Making Better Goals

1 Corinthians 10.31I have noticed a lot of similarities between the September back-to-school rush, and New Year’s Day. Except instead of resolutions, in the fall most people set new goals, or try to readjust their schedules to take advantage of a new season.

This is an excellent idea, and the perfect time to do it.

In a psalm written by Moses, he tells us to understand the value of our days, and be as wise as we can with what we do with each day God has given us (Psalm 90:12).

The Apostle Paul echoes these thoughts:

Be very careful, then, how do you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

One way for us to make the most of every day is to wisely set some goals. Here are four tips that I’ve discovered to help me.

(1) The fewer the goals, the better.

Craig Groeschel said, “To do more things, do less things better.” I totally agree. I would suggest limiting yourself to just 1-2 goals at a time. Then put these one or two goals on your calendar first. In other words: Don’t prioritize your schedule, but schedule your priorities.

(2) Don’t fall into the sacred/secular trap.

So many people—even Christians—think that there are spiritual goals and non-spiritual goals. But the Bible says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Every goal you set is a spiritual goal, because every goal should help you live your life wisely, in a way that honors and glorifies God.

(3) Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.

You may have heard these before, but I really like to use them. Make your goals:

  • Specific—not “I want to eat better” but “I want to eat two servings of fruits or vegetables each day.”
  • Measurable—have a way to track your progress toward your goal. How many pages did you read? how many calories did you eat? how many minutes did you work out?
  • Achievable—don’t set a goal to run 5 miles a day if you’ve only been a couch potato. Ramp your goals up little by little in a way that’s achievable for you.
  • Relevant—I like to ask a “so that?” question about each of my goals in make sure it’s moving me forward. “I want to exercise for 20 minute three times per week, so that my blood pressure comes down, so that I can live medicine-free, so that I can….” I think you get the idea. Keep going to make sure your goal is relevant for your life.
  • Time to review—set a date to revisit your goals and see if you need to adjust anything.

(4) Make a “stop doing” list.

You cannot do everything, so focus on the important, not the urgent. And remember not everything can stay on your calendar. For instance, if you want to read more in the evenings, you may have to eliminate some TV time; if you want to exercise in the mornings, you may have to eliminate that second cup of coffee.

Just a couple of verses after Moses challenges us to make the most of every day God has given us, he asks God for His helpMay the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for usyes, establish the work of our hands.

May God give you wisdom as you make new goals, and may He bless the work of your hands as you implement your new strategies.

23 Other Quotes From “15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth”

15 Invaluable Laws of GrowthJohn Maxwell is extremely well-read! It is obviously that he uses many sources to sharpen and refine the teaching principles he shares in his books. I recently finished reading 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth, and as usual, Dr. Maxwell shared several quotes from others which I found very highlighter-worthy. Here are a few of them…

“What great accomplishments we’d have in the world if everybody had done what they intended to do.” —Frank Clark

“A mistake is simply another way of doing things.” —Warren Bennis

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” —Jim Rohn

“Can there be a more insidious word? Later, as in ‘I’ll do it later.’ Or, ‘Later, I’ll have time to write that book that’s been on my mind for the past five years.’ Or, ‘I know I need to straighten out my finances… I’ll do it later.’ ‘Later’ is one of those dream-killers, one of the countless obstacles we put up to derail our chances of success. The diet that starts ‘tomorrow,’ the job hunt that happens ‘eventually,’ the pursuit of the life dream that begins ‘someday’ combine with other self-imposed roadblocks and lock us on autopilot.’ —Jennifer Reed

“No one can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself.” —James Russell Lowell

“Probably the most honest self-made man ever was the one we heard say: ‘I got to the top the hard way—fighting my own laziness and ignorance every step of the way.’ —James Thom

“It’s impossible to consistently behave in a manner inconsistent with how we see ourselves. We can do very few things in a positive way if we feel negative about ourselves.” —Zig Ziglar

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” —Peter Drucker

“The wise man questions himself, the fool others.” —Henri Arnold

“The successful person has the habit of doing the things that failures don’t like to do. The successful person doesn’t like doing them either, but his dislike is subordinated to the strength of his purpose.” —E. M. Gray

“Where many people go wrong in trying to reach their goals is in constantly looking for the big hit, the homerun, the magic answer that suddenly transforms their dreams into reality. The problem is that the big hit never comes without a great deal of little hits first. Success in most things comes not from some gigantic stroke of fate, but from simple, incremental progress.” —Andrew Wood

“A bad habit never goes away by itself. It’s always an undo-it-your self project.” —Abigail Van Buren

“The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart, and Bach all settled down, day after day, to the job at hand. They didn’t waste time waiting for inspiration.” —Ernest Newman

“Do not wait for a change of environment before you act. Cause a change of environment through action. You can act upon your present environment so as to cause yourself to be transferred to a better environment.” —Wallace D. Wattles

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a plan of action and follow it to the end requires some of the same courage which a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men to win them.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” —Les Brown

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.” —Jim Rohn

“An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.” —Sydney J. Harris

“Every problem introduces a person to himself.” —John McDonnell

“Experience isn’t really the best teacher but it sure does serve as the best excuse for not trying to do the same silly thing again.” —Frank Hughes

“You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere.” —Charles F. Kettering

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” —James Baldwin

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” —William Penn

You can read my book review of 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth and its companion book JumpStart Your Growth by clicking here.

To read quotes from John Maxwell in 15 Invaluable Laws, click here.

P.S. And watch for more quotes coming soon!

10 Quotes From “Inspire To Be Great”

Inspire To Be GreatThe news show 60 Minutes described Zig Ziglar as “a legend in the industry—the Bill Gates, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison of enthusiasm.” Truer words were never spoken! Zig is a fabulous motivator (you can read my review of Inspire To Be Great by clicking here). Here are some of my favorite quotes from this book.

“People often tell me that motivation doesn’t last, and I tell them that bathing doesn’t either. That’s why I recommend it daily.”

“To avoid procrastination, write your schedule out the night before, including precisely when you are going to start.”

“People with integrity are more successful, because with integrity you do the right thing, and there is no guilt attached to you. With integrity, you have nothing to fear because you have nothing to hide.”

“The greatest good we can do for anyone is not to share our wealth with them, but rather to reveal their own wealth to them.”

“It’s not what you’ve got; it’s what you use that makes a difference.”

“Never say anything negative about yourself. If we don’t see ourselves as ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ [Psalm 139:14], who will?”

“When your goals are clearly defined and intelligently set, you have, in essence, taken a major step toward programming your left brain. That frees your right brain to be its creative best.”

“Among the things you can give and still keep are: your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.”

“Failure is an event, not a person. So regardless of what happens to you along the way, you must keep on going and doing the right thing in the right way. Then the event becomes a reality of a changed life.”

“Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.”

Coasting

When I was in the 6th grade my school was at the end of a dead-end street, which was at the top of a not-too-steep hill. Coming home from school we would try to see how far we could coast on our bikes before we had to start pedaling. We’d pedal really hard across the parking lot, and then start coasting as we hit the top of the hill. I think my record was nearly four blocks!

Coasting is so much fun! It’s easy and exciting, and involves no work at all. Your legs are never tired at the end of a long coasting spree.

But you can only coast downhill. (Well, okay, I guess you might be able to coast for a short distance on level ground, but not nearly as far.)

Downhill might be fun on a bike, but it’s a lousy way to live. Solomon wrote —

The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to the grave. (Proverbs 15:24)

Coasting is easy, but it’s taking you in the wrong direction.

Coasting doesn’t cause any muscle pain, but it doesn’t build any muscle strength either.

Coasting is fun for awhile, but the longer you coast, the harder the journey back.

Save coasting for your bike rides, but in your life be very cautious of coasting too long.

  • Keep learning new things.
  • Keep reading challenging things.
  • Keep growing in new areas.
  • Keep setting stretching goals.
  • Keep forgiving.
  • Keep strengthening relationships.
  • Keep climbing higher and higher.

It may be work to climb to the top, but the view is incredible!

Little By Little

I’ve found a great group of guys to play basketball with in Cedar Springs. I love early morning basketball, because I feel like it gets my day started right.

I have been playing with this group for a little over two months. Prior to this, I hadn’t played full-court basketball in quite awhile, so when I started up again, it was amazing how quickly I was out of breath … and how many turnovers I had … and how off my shot was. Just a few months of not playing, and everything deteriorated.

But I hung in there. And yesterday it dawned on me, “Hey, I can run a little longer before I get winded. And my shot is getting a little better too.”

I didn’t see a dramatic overnight improvement. In fact, I only see real improvement if I compare my game in mid-November with my game in mid-September.

This is an important concept to remember in anything we do: little by little keep moving forward. The little steps you take everyday add up.

  • Start with just 5 minutes of exercise, and slowly increase it.
  • Read a book for just a few minutes each day, then a few minutes more.
  • Pray for a couple of minutes before you go to bed tonight, then a couple minutes more.
  • Quit smoking for just an afternoon, then try an hour or two more.

Little by little you are increasing your capacity to do greater things. Don’t try for cold turkey or overnight success or immediate results. Little by little will help you get there.

Ready? What little thing can you do today?

Goals & Strategies

I’m in the midst of a fascinating biography about General George S. Patton (my review is coming soon). As I wrote yesterday, I love borrowing the brains of other great men and women, and adding some of their finer attributes to my life.

Years after Patton had died, his son donated his father’s books to the West Point Military Academy. It was then that a notation in Patton’s own hand was discovered on the last page of his Elements Of Strategy textbook. He wrote: “End of last lesson in Engineering. Last lesson as a Cadet, thank God.” But then on the back cover he had also written —

Qualities of a Great General

1.  Tactically aggressive (loves a fight)

2.  Strength of character

3.  Steadiness of purpose

4.  Acceptance of responsibility

5.  Energy

6.  Good health and strength

George Patton

Cadet

April 29, 1909

Here’s what I love: he wrote this down years before he was ever given the command of anything! He put his goals and strategies in writing, and dedicated himself wholeheartedly to achieving them. And achieve he did!

Years ago I took some time to write down a similar challenge for myself. Reading this about Patton reminded me that I haven’t reviewed my list in awhile, and it was high time for me to reacquaint myself with those goals and strategies.

What about you?

Do you know where you want to go?

Do you know what it will take to get there?

Have you written down those goals and strategies?

Final Words

I’m working on a message for a funeral that I will speak at tomorrow. It’s very humbling to think that a family has chosen me to say the final words about their loved one. How do I accurately sum up someone’s life in just a few minutes?

This process always gets me thinking about what final words I would want to have said about my life. I have three passages in the Bible that I would love to have said about me —

He had no great joy than knowing his family all walks in the truth. (3 John 4)

He always took the spiritual truths that he heard and taught and entrusted them to reliable people who were also qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)

He fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

What about you? What final words do you want people to say at the end of your life?

Stephen Covey wisely advises us to begin with the end in mind. See your goal — your final words — clearly fixed in your mind now, then live to fulfill it.

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