Why does starting a new habit have to be so hard, and why does it have to take so much time? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could simply “resolve” to be better and then bam new habit?
January 1st found me crumbling in the corner in near hysterics. I was overwhelmed with cleaning and organizing for my sweet little girl’s first birthday party. I’d claimed 2016 as the year I’d turn my house into a haven. And there I was on January 1st, and it was still a mess. What is wrong with me?
This is my year to do scary things—why am I still the same anxious, awkward person I was on December31st?
Ridiculous, right? But how many of us “resolve” to be better and then the very next day struggle and wonder what is wrong with us?
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5 Tips for Tackling Your Goals
1. Don’t forget your “why!”
Starting a new habit (or getting rid of an old one) is not easy. Duh, right? We must know why we wanted to change in the first place. It’s not enough to make a plan. Our plan must include a purpose.
2. Change takes time.
As much as we know this, we still desire for change to happen overnight. It’s why those get-rich-quick schemes are tempting, and why even though we know it’s not healthy we fall victim to lose-15lbs-in-2-weeks ads.
But real lasting change takes time, especially if we are working on a heart and soul change.
Don’t expect perfection on Day 1.
3. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.
Sobering, right? We want to believe it will be easy to change. We simply make the decision, create a plan, and off we go on this amazing transformation. The bad news is is that it’s not that easy.
The good news is that your past is merely a predictor. Your future behavior is not set in stone. And even if the world told you it is, nothing is impossible with God. Nothing. But it does mean that we will need to rely heavily on God to make true, long-lasting change.
4. Small faithful changes last longer than huge, drastic ones. (Most of the time.)
If we attempt to make numerous drastic changes all at once, we will likely burn out. Most habits experts recommend choosing just a couple of small changes to master before adding anything else.
Small, doable steps are where to start.
(Unless you are of the personality type that can only do huge drastic changes. Then by all means, do what works best for you!)
5. Grace upon grace upon grace.
God is not done with us. The Holy Spirit is constantly refining us to become more like Jesus and less like our broken human nature. Here’s the deal, friend:
God does NOT expect or require perfection. You changing is not how you get into heaven. You are perfectly loved as is.
And there’s grace for all of it. It’s by grace you are changed. It’s by grace you are forgiven. It’s by grace we live and breathe and love. He’s got enough grace for you. Promise.
So what’s next, right?
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite resources: Grace Goals.
I wrote the above post about January 1st, 2016. I had made a list of goals based on guilt and what I thought I “should be doing.” I needed to be a better homemaker, wife, mom, Christian, friend, etc…
It was a list of condemnation.
Arabah Joy’s Grace Goals have helped me turn my to-do list from shame to joy in relying on God’s strength and refining power.
Friend, I know that is quite the statement. But when she says this way to set goals and achieve change is revolutionary, she isn’t kidding.
How many times have you…
- set goals or started a new habit without praying about it first?
- asked God what He wants you to work on?
- dug into your real motivation behind your goals?
- moved in grace and love?
If those questions stung a little bit, you’re not alone. Before I went through Grace Goals, I was right there with you. But now I know that no goal is worth accomplishing if God’s not in it.
I’m writing this in November 2016. And through the grace of God this is what I’ve accomplished this year:
- Found and cultivated multiple friendships.
- Found a church home. (Something I’ve been wanting to do for half a decade!).
- The Unabashed Life has had growth that has exceeded my expectations.
- Learned to see myself and my body as God does.
My heart has deeply desired each of these for YEARS.
Sweet friend, do you want to see the deep desires of your heart fulfilled within God’s plan? (Who would say no to that question, right?) Please do yourself a favor and check out Grace Goals! And then do the work.