November 16, 2010

If You Don't Know Where You're Going, You Might End Up Somewhere Else

Okay, so maybe not all of Toby's song fits what I'm talking about today, but the line I borrowed the post title from certainly does.  And hey, if you know nothing else about me, know that I LOVE ME SOME TOBY!  Anytime I can slip a little of him in on you.....

If you don't know where you're going, you might end up somewhere else.  Have truer words ever been spoken?  I'm thinking not.  If you want to get somewhere or achieve something you have a goal (that's where you're going) or else you're just going to be wandering around loose like a halfwit hoping something randomly pops up, smacks you upside the head, and let's you know, THIS IS IT.  I don't know about you, but I can count on one hand how many times that's happened to me and still have a couple of fingers leftover.

You've got to decide what it is you want in life and set your goal, whether it's losing weight, getting that dream job, buying a house, or being a rodeo clown (hey, somebody has to want to be a rodeo clown).  Once you have a goal, you have to plan how to reach it.  Unfortunately, neither Google Maps nor MapQuest have your back on this one.  Life drops this one straight into your own lap.  It's a sink or swim, learn as you go kind of deal.  Now, you might get lucky and find yourself a good mentor or at least get some great advice, but ultimately YOU are the only one that can achieve your goals.

So, where do you start?  My personal starting point is prayer.  Life in general just seems to go a lot better when I ask God to go along with me and I feel more centered.  Beyond that, I'd like to recommend a book called 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, and Lane Jones.  The writers are all on ministry staff at North Point Community Church in Atlanta, GA, with Stanley being the founding pastor.

The book details the plan Stanley devised and used to grow North Point from a group of 6 people meeting in homes to a huge, thriving church.  I'm bringing it up here, because Stanley's plan works just as effectively when applied to your personal goals.  Basically, what you have to do once you've set a goal is keep on top of it.  Keep it at the forefront of your thoughts.  Evaluate all your choices and everything you do against that goal. 

Say you are trying to save money for a great vacation at the beach and need to cut back your expenses to do it.  You choose not to pack lunches from home during the work week, because you'd rather sleep in those extra minutes and it's just such a hassle.  Say lunch costs you $8-$10 per day.  That's around $50 per week or $200 per month. 

According to Stanley's plan you need to evaluate your lunch habit.  Ask yourself the question "Is this helping me achieve my vacation?"  For everything you do, you must ask the question.  You have to stay focused on the goal and keep it firmly in front of you.  That is the key to achieving it.

One other thing to consider....goals can and do change.  It's good to reevaluate regularly.  Maybe you will find your goal isn't the same today as it was yesterday and you have to replot your course.  That's okay.  Just as long as you have a goal in sight so you know where you're going.


Coffeypot said...

I believe the rule is to set a major goal and then set some smaller goals to reach as you go along. That way, as you accomplish each small one, you can check your progress toward the major goal. Sometimes adjustments have to be mad and the changes and adjustments can be made with the completion of the previous smaller goal Have I reached the goal of confusing you yet?

Anonymous said...

What a great post. I agree that in order to achieve things you must have a goal and a plan and I love that you start first by going to Him! That says so much about you!

Thank you for sharing. I am going to have to go and look up another new book now!

Stacy Lynn said...

Coffeypot...I'm always confused!'s a great book! Easy to read, too!


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