There is nothing more powerful than a focused life. The more focused your life is the more impact it will have. Goals are extremely important in life, as is the action on our part it takes to reach them, but too few of us set goals in life. And when we do, we usually overestimate what we can get done in a year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years.
You will always need a dream in your life. You will always need a vision in your life. No matter how old you are, whether you’re retired or not, you need a goal, a dream, a vision. Because if you don’t have a dream you’re not living; you’re just existing. You’re just drifting. Without a dream you drift.
To focus your life and reach your biggest goals, there are at least nine actions you need to take.
1. Determine your present position.
You can’t figure out where you want to go until you know where you already are. You’ve got to know your present position, your current condition. You have to know where you are right now.
Where am I now financially? Where am I now emotionally? Where am I now in my career or ministry? Where am I now relationally? Where am I now spiritually? What’s my GPS right now?
Then you want to ask yourself the question, What would I like to change? As long as you’re alive, as long as you’re breathing, as long as your heart is pumping blood you need a dream.
2. Describe exactly what you want.
I suggest you actually write it down on paper. What do I want to accomplish in the next ten years? Don’t be vague. Vague goals are never accomplished. The more specific you are the better. Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. And it needs to be clear. It needs to be concise. It needs to be compelling.
To do that you have to ask four questions:
- Whom do I want to BE?
- What do I want to DO?
- What do I want to HAVE?
- WHY do I want it?
At Saddleback, we’ve set enormous, huge goals for our church in every decade—in the eighties, in the nineties, in the two thousands and now in the two thousand tens. And every time we’ve set these enormous goals, we’ve had no idea how we were going to accomplish them. God has shown us the ‘how’ once we understood the ‘why.’
Never confuse decision making with problem solving. If you try to solve every problem first, you’ll never get ahead; you’ll never move forward.
3. Find a promise from God.
At this step you don’t focus on your problems. There will be problems in reaching your goal. You focus on the promises, not the problems. Otherwise you’re just filled with fear.
Dozens of times in Scripture, God says “I’ll be with you. I’ll be with you. I’m going to be with you everywhere you go.” You may not feel God’s presence but there is never a time in your life when God is not with you. You need to plug in to that power. You need to realize what is a reality, and the reality is you are never alone. God is already in the future. He already knows everything that’s going to happen. He’s already been there. He’s not surprised or shocked. God is with you every moment of your day. You’re just not tuned in.
The size of your God will determine the size of your goal. If you’ve got a puny (view of) God you’re going to have puny goals. If you’ve got a big God you’re going to have big goals. It’s not me putting faith in myself; it’s me putting my faith in God and his promises. And his promises say ask for anything!
4. Ask God for help.
Is it ok to pray for success? Obviously. What’s the alternative? “God, make me a failure.” Of course God wants you to be all he made you to be. Of course God wants you to develop the talents He’s given you. Of course God wants to bless you so you can be a blessing to other people. When your success helps others and when your success honors God, you’d better be praying for it!
The Bible says this in Hebrews 4, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. [in other words when we pray] There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us [remember ask God to help you] when we need it.” So you need to pray.
Are you praying about your goals? Are you praying about your dreams? Are you praying about your vision? Are you talking to God about them? Your prayer reveals two things. First, it reveals how serious you are about your dreams. If you’re not asking God for this to happen in your life, you don’t really care about it that much. It’s not a real deep desire. It’s just a whim. It also reveals how much you’re depending on God. If you never pray about it, you’re depending only on yourself.
In the second part of this article, I’m going to address the other five actions for reaching your goals, and it starts with sizing up the barriers.
Start thinking and praying through your goals now!
photo credit: Jeremy Brooks