Thursday, January 23, 2014

10 steps to fulfill your growth plan

I regularly meet with a small group of men in a discipleship huddle. We recently created personal growth plans. One of the men admitted that he had not even looked at his plan between meetings. So, he had not made the kind of progress he hoped for. We could all identify with him.

We decided to spend some time making a list of things we could do to turn our intentions into actions. What if we were assigned the task of leading a seminar on the topic “How to take steps to fulfill your goals”? Below is a compilation of ideas that we developed to help us actually accomplish the goals on our growth plans. Perhaps this list will stimulate your thinking and living.

1. Pray regularly through your list.
As you incorporate your goals into your prayer life, you will be seeking divine help for accomplishing your goals. In addition, prayer for your goals means that you will be reviewing your goals regularly. Finally, you will also be allowing the Lord to speak to you about the goals. Keep asking Him is these are His goals for you. Be open to the fact that He may want you to delete, add, change, or tweak your goals.

2. Review your goals daily.
It’s vital that you keep your goals in front of you. Put them in prominent places so that you see them at home and at work (and even, perhaps, in your car). Whenever possible, create a tangible, visual portrayal of your goals that will serve to inspire you.

3. Share your goals.
Go public! But be sure to share your goals with the kind of friends and family members who will truly encourage you. Ask them to pray for you. It’s important that your accountability is the kind that will help you remember that God doesn’t love you more when you meet a goal and less when you don’t. Your accountability partners should be spiritually mature people who will help you focus on the unconditional acceptance, security, and forgiveness that you already have in Christ. Remember: guilt doesn’t produce change; grace does.

4. Revise your goals weekly (1-2 hours), monthly (3-4 hours), and quarterly (1-2 days).
As you go and grow through the year, your circumstances will be changing. Your goals should change and morph, too. Make adjustments. Hold your goals loosely while you hold Christ firmly.

5. Remember the purpose of your goals.
The goals aren’t the goal. Transformation is the goal. We have been called into deeper fellowship with Jesus. We have been called to become increasingly like Christ. We have been called to be holy as He is holy. As you focus on the purpose of you goals (such as finding more joy in the Lord), you may find that some of the means to your ultimate end will change.

6. Focus on the 20% that will give you 80% of the value.
This is the “Pareto principle,” also known as “the 80–20 rule” or “the law of the vital few.” For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It’s named it after an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who developed the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. When it comes to your goals, which ones will give you the greatest impact? Make sure you focus there.

7. Make adjustments to your lifestyle to incorporate your goals into daily “to do” lists.
Ask yourself, “What are the short-term changes that I need to make that will allow me the time and resources to accomplish these goals?” Remember that if you add something new into your life, you will have to give up something else. You will have to actively manage your resources – your time, talent, and treasure – to accomplish your goals.

8. Take action and watch your feelings follow.
Often we won’t feel like taking steps to accomplish a goal. Anger, doubt, fear, depression, and guilt can leave us stuck in inactivity. But when we take a step toward accomplishing a goal, then our feelings will begin to change. The angry person becomes peaceful. Doubt turns into trust. Fear is conquered by courage. Depression is overcome by joy. Guilt gives way to grace. Be a plodder. Take the next step. Ultimately, fulfilling goals happens best when we surrender to God, crucify our flesh, take up our cross, and follow Jesus.

9. Live for an audience of One.
Fulfilling your goals is not about pleasing family members or friends. It isn’t even about pleasing yourself. What others think doesn’t really matter. What you think about you doesn’t really matter. It’s what God thinks that matters. Live for Him. Please Him. Someone said, “If you displease God, it doesn’t really matter who you please. But if you please God, it doesn’t really matter who you displease.” And never forget that in Christ you are already pleasing to Him! Because of Christ’s work in your behalf, God doesn’t dwell on your failure to reach your goals the way you do. So, relax, and rejoice, and you’ll actually start to meet more and more of your goals.

10. Celebrate your successes.
Too often after a win we just dutifully move on to the next task. We don’t take time to truly celebrate. When a benchmark has been met, we need to learn to throw a party! Celebrating after meeting a milestone is a reward that fosters further accomplishments. It’s also a way to make sure you are giving glory and thanks to the One who helped you reach the goal.

Question: What would you add to this list? 

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