Tag Archives: Goals

Goals That Never Happened

 

September is a month of change. Changes that we don’t have a lot of control over. Young children start Kindergarten and Grade One for the first time. Young adults begin college, some leaving home for the first time in their lives.

Mother natures brings change in the form of fall coloured leaves, garden vegetations; some dying, some just coming into season.

September is a great reminder that change is a part of life, some changes are pleasant and welcomed, others are not.

I live within walking distance to our provinces’ largest university. Each Fall I see a wave of teenagers with big dreams and goals of becoming something. I know they are at school to achieve something; a job, a title, status; something. No one enrolls in a four-year program with the intention of failing in life or going no where. School, whether it is grades K-12 or post-secondary is about achieving something.

My friend and I were thinking back to when we first started college and noted that none, not a single goal that we had at the beginning of this stage of life came true. Things changed significantly. Between then and now there were accidents, injuries, a change of academic interests, jobs we loved and jobs we hated, moving to different cities, and a host of different friends entered our lives.

We are taught to pursue our goals at any cost, to not give up, stay focused, and not fall off track; but I have to say, sometimes not pursuing and achieving our goals can be a good thing.

Goals can turn from healthy to destructive when the following happen:

Over focusing on one area of your life while neglecting other aspects of your life. Goals certainly require focus, but it’s also important to engage in other activities not related to your specific goal. Variety in life is important and fuels creativity. It also gives you a break from focusing exclusively on tasks related to your goal.

Engaging in unethical behaviour to meet and maintain a goal. A strong desire to meet a goal can lead to desperate actions. If you lie, cheat, steal, or hurt others you’ve gone too far. Your achievements should never involve bringing others down. Success can be obtained through honest means.

Jealousy towards those who have achieved what you are working towards. If you find yourself experiencing feelings of jealousy and envy towards others who have achieved what you want, then it’s important to stop and do some self-inventory and reflection. Envy is a sign that you are focusing more on others than yourself. One way to ward off these negative feelings is to admire the work of others. Let their work inspire and motive you in a positive and non-competitive manor. Learn from them instead of hating them.

Allowing your identity to be based on accomplishments towards your goals. We are more than our job title, hobbies, and achievements. We are well rounded people, we wear many hats: spouse, employee, parent, child, community member, etc. Our identity changes with time. The accomplishments you reach are only one aspect of who you are. People often “fail” at something while achieving a goal. If you have too much of your identity attached to your outcomes, any mistakes or mishaps can be taken too personally. Remember, failing at something doesn’t make you a failure.

I believe The Son of David was wrong when he said,

Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1: 2). There is meaning in our lives, there is meaning in the things we do. What matters is the meaning we give to it. This bitter sentiment is what happens when people place too much importance and focus on goal achievements.

Pursue goals, but don’t neglect to enjoy life!

 

 

 

 

 

Minimalism or Organization: What’s the Real Problem?

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

I’ve been aiming to become a minimalist for a few years and I have yet to get it right. I place too much value on the things I have and anxiety keeps me from throwing unnecessary items in the garbage (or not bringing them into the house in the first place).

In my mind I keep telling myself I need a trip to IKEA with a $4,000 budget and I’ll finally be a minimalist. I’ve convinced myself that I can’t possibly be a minimalist with out “minimalist” style furnishings. The truth is, I might actually be desiring large “minimalist” storage oriented furniture so I can hide all my clutter and not think about it.

Ikea Wardrobe

After much failed attempts at minimalism I realized I actually like having lots of stuff; what I don’t like is having large amounts of clutter.

I want to have 30 pairs of foot ware, but I don’t want all 30 of them at the front door.

I want to have 10 pairs of jeans, 40 shirts, and 90 pairs of dress pants to choose from; what I don’t want is laundry.

I’ve been going about minimalism all wrong, because my core issue wasn’t about how much belongings I had or any emotional attachments to what I did own. My actual core issue was learning how to organize what I had. I do have to work hard at decluttering on a regular basis, but organization, not minimalism is what I have to focus on.

I have a feeling this might be why some people have been failing at minimalism.

Making Changes: Things to Think About

When you decide to make changes in your life, it’s good to ask yourself some questions before moving forward:

-What is it you actually want to change? Name it.

-Why do you want to make these changes?

-What is happening in your life that has led to you wanting to make changes?

-Acknowledge any negative feelings you have about what you are hoping to change.

-Remember, change is step-by-step and is never instant.

-You’re not changing your entire life, you are changing something about your life. Change isn’t always meant to be an overhaul. Sometimes change is simple, yet effective.

-You’re not only changing your mindset, you are changing your behaviour. There is a difference, but sometimes it’s not easy for us to differentiate between the two.

 

Work for What You Want

(Picture Source: homemade life)

I recently signed up for a six-week community activity program. People can choose to join a team or register as an individual. The goal is to get Canadians to be more physically active. Participants can choose whatever activities they like so long as they commit to the minimum number of recommended hours of physical activity per week.

I sent an e-invite to an acquaintance from church. She declined. I’m not upset that she declined but the reasons this person gave for not wanting to participate were, in my opinion, excuse making. We all make excuses about something in our life: exercise, healthy eating, hours and quality of sleep, over or lack of commitment, etc. But where I draw the line with excuse making is when people want something they are not willing to work for.

If you want to be fit, you need to exercise. If you want to be a doctor, you need to attend medical school. If you want to be a hero, you need to do something extraordinary. If you want to be a winner you must compete in a competition. Some things are non-negotiable.

If you are not careful, excuses can become a source of pride and stubbornness. You eventually stubbornly refuse to do what is required and you pridefully convince yourself that you, unlike the others, don’t have to do what is necessary.

(Source: Biblical Counselling C.)

Some simple, yet still challenging ways to stop making excuses and accomplish and achieve what you need:

State verbally and in writing what you want.

e.g. I want to become an accountant.

State verbally and in writing what you need to do. What is it that must be done? These are non-negotiables.

I must attend school and training sessions because it is the only option for becoming a certified accountant. I have to pay for these classes, pass all of the mandatory courses and exams. I will them need to apply for jobs.

State verbally and in writing what will likely happen when you do all that is required, mandatory, and non-negotiable.

I will have the mandatory requirements for becoming a certified accountant and can apply for jobs as an accountant.

I get people to do this exercise so they understand that mandatory and necessary processes are not our enemies. They are not something to be dreaded or hated. There are people who have a tendency to misapply the words have to, need to, and mandatory to things that are not; and as a result they begin to see these words as something automatically bad.

None of us like being “told what to do”, but every single day you do something because you have been told to do so, are required to do so, or have been forced to do so.  What might some of these things be: stopping at a red light, feeding your children, paying your employees, not punching someone in the face even though you really feel like doing so.

Have to, need to, must, and mandatory can be words of freedom and bring accomplishment to our lives when we learn to adhere to them in proper circumstances. Don’t allow your dreams or goals to remain unaccomplished in your life because you couldn’t bring yourself to do what was non-negotiable.

Proverbs 18:12 “Before destruction one’s heart is haughty, but humility goes before honor.”

Proverbs 11:2 “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

QUESTIONS and REFLECTIONS:

How do you feel about the words “have to”, “need to”, “must”, and “mandatory”? Are there any emotions that you attach to these words?

What is your usual response and thoughts when you are told to do something you don’t want to do?

Take some time to meditate on a verse of your choice regarding stubbornness or pride. Ask God to reveal to you any area where instances of pride and stubbornness might be preventing you from doing things in your life that are necessary.

When doing so, remember to be gentle with yourself and remember that God reveals the wrongs in our lives to correct them and change them. He does so from his love, mercy, compassion, and kindness towards us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sacrifice-Mother Teresa

Sacrifice:

“The act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone” or “An act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god.” (Source: Webster’s Dictionary)

Thankfully, I’ve only experienced one of those two definitions for sacrifice. I’ll let you guess which one J.

The topic of sacrifice has been on my mind a lot these days. Lately I also seem to be having frequent conversations about sacrifice and achievements. I’m both saddened and surprised by the number of people I encounter who don’t seem to understand the concept of making sacrifices in order to do what you have to do in order to get what you want or need.

I’ve had to make many costly sacrifices in order to fulfill what I believe to be my calling in life. I’ve sacrificed my desire to live a lone without the frustration of having roommates. I’ve sacrificed having great paying jobs in order to work for non-profit organizations where I get to do what I love. I’ve sacrificed having nice brand named items in order to keep afloat financially. There was a time when I was filled with anger and regret about many of my choices in life; but thankfully through much reflection and meditation over the years, I’ve learned that sacrifices are never wasted.

People who have goals, a calling, and a mission in life know and accept that sacrifice is part of the journey. Achievements will always require sacrifice; some will be small, others will be major. As I type these words, I want to give you a message of hope by telling you that your sacrifices are never in vain. They are not random, pointless, useless; they are important.

I noticed these key words in Webster’s Dictionary’s definition of sacrifice, “…giving up something that you want to keep…”. Sacrifices are difficult because we are required to give up something that we don’t want to. We are placed in a position of now verses later. The question being asked of us is, “Will you give up this in order to achieve that?”. It’s not an easy decision sometimes, but your willingness and ability to give up something against your own wishes means two things, a) you’re serious about what you need to do; b) you have your priorities in order.

I wish I could say I am great at making sacrifices, but that would be a bold lie. I suck at decision making when my emotions are involved. Giving up my wants for the unknown takes me out of my comfort zone, but I’ve learned that sacrifices are always for the better. We are not sacrificing something in order to make life worse for our self or others.

sacrifice and values

I know from experience how difficult sacrifices can be, so I’ll share with you the most important lesson I’ve learned, “Let it go.”. The harder and longer you hold on to something physically, emotionally, and mentally, the more difficult it is to move forward. If I hadn’t spent so much time grieving, and being bitter about whatever it is that I had to give up, I probably would have had more happiness, joy, and energy for the things I was making sacrifices for.

Being broke for years while I worked full-time and paid my tuition for graduate courses would have been a much easier process had I not spent those years crying about living in cramped, moldy smelling basement suites. Instead of gratitude, I was miserable. I hated my job, I hated where I lived, and I hated not being able to socialize because I had no money to do so or needed to stay home and tend to school work. An attitude of sacrifice would have allowed me to see that I was giving up something I wanted in the present for something that would better my life in the future. In other words, I forgot to enjoy the journey.

Let “it”, whatever “it” is, go. Grieve briefly and move on to what ever it is that will take you closer to where you are meant to be. Trust the process, trust God.

…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31