When you set a goal or mission for yourself, how do you approach it? Do you set high expectations for yourself? Do you get discouraged if those expectations are not met?
Recently I began a six-week “challenge” to become “fit, firm and healthy.” I made a plan to help me accomplish this which involves getting up and going to the gym for a 5:30am group strength training class and eating much healthier.
After two weeks, I stepped onto the scale to measure my progress…
Let’s just say the measurable results were nothing to write home about.
I immediately felt discouraged.
Does an Arbitrary Goal Define Your Progress?
I had to make a decision at that moment. We all have a decision to make when we get discouraged.
Was I going to allow a number to define my progress?
Are we going to let an arbitrary goal or cultural expectation define our progress?
I made my decision. I refused to be discouraged. Because I knew that I was training and working toward my mission.
I quickly shifted from frustration and disappointment to celebrating my small wins.
I remembered my mission (I use that word instead of goal because I take it more seriously) is to be “fit, firm, strong and healthy.” This is a lifestyle change. Not a quick goal that’s reached so I can quickly return to my old unhealthy habits in a few weeks.
Changes like this - lifestyle changes - require unwavering faith and extraordinary effort. In other words, a commitment and partnership with God.
Focusing on what I didn’t accomplish and filling my mind with discouragement will distract me from my original goal. And it distracts me from God’s truth: that I am worthy, loved, and valued regardless of what I accomplish.
Focus on God's Work in You
A way to keep your mind focused on faith in God’s work in you and to keep you motivated is to celebrate.
Celebrate what you’ve done, no matter how small. Celebrate that you made a goal for yourself in the first place. That you’ve started to work towards your goal. That you believe the Lord will help you do it. That you have a support system of friends and family around you. That you’ve taken the first steps.
Nothing is too small to celebrate!
So what could I celebrate?
I know I’m getting stronger as I’m lifting slightly heavier weights.
My discipline for getting out of bed to exercise has significantly improved. (4:40am comes awfully early! Still working on that one!)
My eating habits are shifting away from fried to grilled or fresh, and my sugar consumption is down.
I’m drinking more water.
I’m feeling more fit. My sore muscles tell me I’m on my way to greater strength and, amazingly, my growing self-discipline is spreading to other areas of my life.
Not perfect, but better.
Why am I sharing my story with you? Because I want to remind you that progress toward any worthwhile goal is often painstakingly slow and even tedious. Don’t give up!
Be Motivated and Remember Why You Started
Remember why you made the goal in the first place!
Ask yourself what you would love about meeting your goal? Will it bring you more joy, peace, or energy? Why would you love it?
What would losing 10 pounds give you? What would saving more money provide? What would saying nicer things to yourself do for your confidence? Why would you love a clutter-free desk or car?
You see, when motivation wanes, you have to go back to WHY you want the specific results you are aspiring to.
And it really helps to have accountability with someone who is cheering you on.
I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. Jesus offers us abundant life. It’s up to us whether we will partner with Him and experience it.
There is no perfect. There’s only growth.
Grace is required, and God offers it in abundance. It’s time we also start giving grace to ourselves.
My motto is “Progress over perfection.” I may not be where I want to be yet, but thank God I’m not where I was.
What’s on your heart to improve in your life? However long it takes, today is your day to “just start.” Give yourself credit for each baby step. Get a coach (I’m available and ready to help).
And remember, don’t focus on the results, especially when you’re just getting started. Keep your eyes on who you’re becoming, and enjoy the journey.
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