Goals and Perfection

Every time I embark on a journey to achieve goals I have set for myself, I end up getting discouraged by imperfection. Multiple times in the last week I have become very aware of this fact; for instance one night, I was very tired by 8pm. I put my little daughter to bed, and I mentally insisted that I not go to bed and rest, but that I instead go downstairs and clean up the kitchen, vacuum the dining room, finish a meal plan and store list, then come back upstairs and clean the bathroom.

Now, when I am exhausted, I have a really hard time staying on task and focusing. By working on my goals, I’m hoping to improve my abilities in this area, however, growth does take time. Last night, all I managed to finish was getting the kitchen wiped down, the meal plan and the store list. Considering that those three things took me over three hours, I realize that I probably did have time to fit in a little more. But, I was constantly distracted, going back and forth to the computer, “jotting” ideas down and adding meals between sinks of dishes.

I was so discouraged because I just wondered how long would it be before I would be able to magically “get it all done”. I knew that I had not managed my time perfectly, but I also knew that I had made the attempt and I had accomplished the most important things on my list. I wondered “When is enough, enough?”. I pondered that question a little bit, but my head was foggy and could not come up with an answer. Even now, with clearer head, I wonder the same thing. When is enough, enough? How do I decide?

I have not come up with a way to draw a clear line in the sand about when enough is enough. I know there are times when I do need to get up and try to do better. I know that there are also times when I just need to accept some grace. I just do not always know how to tell the difference.

More than anything, what I really want is to be able to enjoy my family. I am writing all of this on my husband’s day off while he sleeps in because he worked all night last night. But when he and my daughter wake up, I want to be relaxed when I am with them. When I am pursuing perfection, I am anything but relaxed. My insides feel like a hamster running on a wheel getting nowhere and it drives me almost to insanity.

The solution is not to stop pursuing goals all together, but rather to pursue goals in God’s strength and resting on His grace. There will be times when I do not quite achieve my goals, and in those times, I need to be not frustrated, but rather, I need to be at peace, trusting in God’s ability to make all things work together. After all, God is far more interested in my heart attitude than He is in what my hands can accomplish.

 

Other’s Thoughts on Goals

I read two different blog posts talking about goals today. I wanted to share them and record my thoughts on each.

The first one was “The Wrong Bullseye” by Laura Parker and posted on the (in)courage blog. Laura spoke about the difference between our goals and desires versus the holy desires and goals that God has for us. She spoke about how we may want to get out of a store very quickly, but a goal of being more Christ-like should be our focus. This goal of being more Christ-like, and I would add Spirit-filled, is a willingness to be patient when the cashier moves at a snails pace or when the customer can’t find the change. For me, this post was a reminder to take a deep breath when my goals get interrupted. I need to remember that the most important part of my life is becoming more like my Savior.

The second blog post I read was a more personal evaluation of goals on the Money Saving Mom blog (written by Crystal Paine). I was rather awestruck by her list of goals that she was accomplishing this year! Quite honestly, I was even a little envious that she was successfully meeting the vast majority of her goals. But in a rare moment of reasonableness, I realized that she is years ahead of where I am in my life. I realized that the fact that I am attempting to continue to follow through on my goals is enough! I may not be on target with my goals, but I have not given up on them yet! I also realized that I am practicing intentionality, goal-setting, perseverance, and a host of other traits that will help me to achieve goals in the future. If I let Crystal’s post discourage me, then I will never get where she is right now. I’ll never be that successful! But, if I can look at her post and be inspired to keep on keeping on, I will be successful someday! So today, I choose to be inspired!

How I make my New Year’s Resolutions

Two kinds of people live in this world. Those who use the word want correctly, and those who say want when they really mean wish. You see, a lot of people say “I want to do that” or “I want to be like that” or some form thereof. However, most of those people never take action on what they wish to attain. I propose that those people only wish they could have the outcome without all the work to realize their goal. People who truly want something will chase after it, do the work and make any changes necessary.

I have had to evaluate all of my New Years Resolutions in this way. Do I really want what I wrote down? Or is it simply a wish? When I went through and began the process of making action steps to be paired with each resolution, I would often come to an action step that about which I was hesitant. I would contemplate the original resolution; do I really want that result? Is this action really necessary to achieve that result.

I have always said I wanted to learn 7 languages in my lifetime. This year, I decided that I wanted to start learning Spanish. When I was thinking about how I would go about learning Spanish, I came up on the opportunity to meet up with a group within 20 miles of my house in order to speak Spanish. While I know this type of thing is essential for learning the language, I really balked at the thought of going and speaking Spanish, a language I barely know, among strangers. So I thought about it. Is learning languages something I really want or is it just a wish for the ability without the will for the work involved?

So, how do I make my New Year’s Resolutions? First off, I have a few go-to categories that I always have some sort of resolution. The first one is any type of resolution regarding my walk with God. The second category of my resolutions is always nutrition and fitness. I evaluate each of those areas of my life and see what kind of action I can take in those areas. Then, I tend to pick different things that I want to do or to improve in my life and make a goal from there. I do try to follow the SMART acronym when I am making goals and planning how to carry them out.

Another thing that I am changing this year that I am going to do in order to help me carry out my resolutions is simply to re-evaluate where I am at in my particular goals and plan for specific steps that month.

Lastly, I try to look at my goals and see if they really matter in light of eternity. I know that this world and the things in it will pass away. I want my life to focus on things that make an eternal impact. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 says:

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

When I was growing up, the pastor of our church talked about how we can use our lives to build with wood, hay and stubble, or with gold, silver and precious stones. So, when I make my resolutions, I want to keep those verses in mind. I want to be building with gold, silver and precious stones so I can receive a reward.