Though I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I realize that this time of year helps some people to set lingering passions into action. For this reason, I’ve decided to start a series, Living On Purpose, that will help you to get things done in 2013, and hopefully for the rest of your life.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you will wander. There is nothing worse than looking up and not being able to remember what you did for the last hour, week, month, or year. When you set specific and realistic goals for yourself, you will begin to effectively utilize your time in order to obtain them. You’ll find that boredom quickly removes itself from your emotional vocabulary when you’re living on purpose.
1. Outline Your Goals
Write a detailed list of everything you want to accomplish this week, this month, this semester, and this year. Attach the list to a wall that you subconsciously view every day. Even if you do not look at your list all the time, once your goals are on paper, they will find their way into your day-to-day activities. In your moments of non-productivity, refer back to it and get yourself on track.
2. Set Realistic Deadlines
No, you most likely cannot write a book in a week. Especially if you are working two jobs, taking 18 units, and value sleep. Get to know yourself, identify what motivates you, and plan accordingly. Establish a work schedule that is dictated by YOU and stick to it. You no longer have time to waste hours on Facebook or to simply “hang out” with friends. Everything you do should be relevant to at least one of your goals.
Once you set your deadlines, you have to maintain them. Once you make the first postponement, what’s to stop you from doing it again? Instead of declaring that you work for yourself, imagine that God is your supervisor…because He is. Would you respect His due dates the same way you treat yours? Of course, life happens and certain circumstances may force you to adjust your plans, but don’t allow yourself to entertain excuses.
3. Establish Accountability
It is hard to convince yourself that you need to get it together. When somebody has to tell me that I’m slacking, I know it’s real. Find 1-2 people that you love and respect to serve as your accountability partners. You need people who love you enough to encourage you, but who are bold enough not to accept your excuses.
Avoid telling everyone about your plans. Dream killers are real and you don’t want your ideas to die before they are birthed. You also don’t want to prematurely publish a plan that you aren’t going to seriously pursue. It’s okay to bounce ideas off of your accountability partners, but remember that God’s opinion is the only one that ultimately matters.
4. Do the Work!
Future building is fun until it’s time to DO what you have so eloquently outlined. It is not enough to believe that “God’s going to handle it” if you haven’t shown Him that you’re capable of the diligence and hard work that your dream requires. Faith without works is dead.
5. Follow God
If you want to be successful, you must learn how to seek the Lord and heed His voice. Success is not to be confused with money and powerful relationships. True success is knowing that you’re in God’s will and that Heaven is on your side. Without the peace you need to rest at night, all of your accomplishments are meaningless. Unfortunately, God is not going to send you a PDF file of the moves He wants you to make in the next year. When you dig into His Word, however, you will be able to discern between the opportunities that fit into your purpose and the offers that you need to decline. There is no cut and dry way to hear from God. You have to commit to a personal relationship with Him and trust that He will meet you there.
The time is always now! Although your next breath isn’t promised, we can find hope in knowing that the current moment is still here. What or who are you waiting for? Your purpose belongs to you. No one else can do what God designed YOU to do. Get to it!