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I read recently the results of an American survey that outlined less than 5% of people set goals, write them down and track their progress.
This surprised me somewhat so I ran my own small poll amongst some loved ones, which essentially validated those results. I typically am a goal setter and will sit down at the beginning of a year to map out a series of goals. For some reason or another I didn’t do a very good job of this last year. Life was meant to be all about starting out again in a new city, Melbourne. This didn’t eventuate after many dreams, much effort and commuting especially by my wife.
When I spend insufficient time on documenting and tracking goals, like last year, I don’t make as much progress. And this particularly applies to my writing.
So I’ve made a conscious effort of spending quality time in these first weeks of 2016 on both reflecting back on 2015 and establishing goals for this year. We should do this with the Lord. We’re all probably familiar with Proverbs 16:3:
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (NIV)
Sometimes we can read this to believe God will establish what we want. But as my pastor said recently when referring to this verse, the Lord’s likely to mess with our plans for a while and then He’ll tell you what He wants and what He doesn’t want you to do. And then, and only then, will the Lord establish them.
But the first steps are both giving our goals to God and also listening to Him.
Goals often fall out of our dreams. For example, I want to be a published author? Some people will call this a dream, others a goal. God wants to hear our dreams. The exciting thing is we can’t out dream God so it’s a great place to be in when we’re meditating with Him on what our dreams and goals can be for any given year.
Our dreams will remain forever just that, dreams, unless we engage specific activity to propel them forward. Many of us aren’t working to publisher deadlines rather self-imposed ones and because we’re all busy it’s easy for our writing to take a back seat at times. We’re all familiar with the old adage what get’s scheduled gets done so I find it important to schedule specific time each day to achieve that goal.
Three of my writing goals for this year are:
- Complete the edit of my work-in-progress by 31 January 2016
- Complete the draft of one 50-page short story by 30 June 2016
- Complete one writing craft e-course by 31 March 2016
I consider it important to write specific goals that are time-bound otherwise I will put them off. Yes, stuff comes up which may make it difficult to achieve but put a line in the sand now and deal with the stuff if it happens.
Holding on too Tight
God loves to interrupt us. Whether it’s in our prayer times, in asking us to do something we wouldn’t expect, or something big or small unexpectedly occurs, like the mid-year change I mentioned above. He’ll do that with our writing plans too. Susan’s post last Monday is a great example of it.
And remember these comforting and convicting words from the Lord:
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NKJV)
Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Angelguard won the Selah Award for Speculative Fiction in 2014. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter