PRAY and PLAN
"Cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you." ~ I Peter 5:7 ~
"I have a firm conviction that I am immortal till my work is done."
~ Lottie Moon ~
"If you don't know where you're going,
you'll end up somewhere anyway."
~ Sandra Bennett ~
"Goals are dreams with deadlines."
Do you believe God speaks to you? Do you believe He's concerned about the details of your life? If you do, then God does speak to you and He is concerned; however, if you don't believe, you're also correct.
Before you pray over your dreams, goals and plans, make time to sit, ponder and think. What do you want to achieve? Keep a notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy), whether something like a Daytimer or a school notebook, but write down your prayers, dreams and goals. Don't worry about order or size, just make a list of everything that comes to heart and mind.
If you're a practicing Christian, prayer is already a large part of your life. There's nothing God doesn't care about when it comes to you, His beloved child. Give your life, your dreams, your goals, your plans...give it all over to Him. Debbie Macomber says, "If you long for balance, lay your dreams, priorities, and goals before the Lord and pray over them. Repeatedly. Be open to revision if you hear that still, small voice." I would add, "when you hear that still, small voice" because, if you're listening, you'll hear His voice!
I make lists for everything...daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. At this point, my lists don't go much beyond yearly but they could and, eventually, might.
When you've finished your list, number your ideas in order of what's most important to you. Some things on your list might not need to be on your PDS list; for example, cleaning the house or having the car serviced. Those things you do normally; your PDS list is for above and beyond daily living. Some of your goals might not be reasonable. If you've always wanted to pilot your own plane but lack the money for both lessons and plane, then, probably for now, "piloting your own plane" needs to be taken off your list.
When writing goals, make sure the "W" questions are answered and use positive, progressive language.
Which goal or goals do you need or want to achieve? In order of importance, decide which of your goals are most important and don't confuse your to-do list with your goals list. My to-do list includes mundane necessities such as farm chores, house cleaning, errands, banking, etc. My goals, and list, must fulfill me as a person and as a Christian.
Who will help you? Do you have knowledgeable friends, family members, bloggers, read e-zines, magazines or other help? If friends or family members are negative, don't even tell them about your goals and dreams. Simply go about your business and let them find out you're a success after the fact.
What will you do? It's okay that some of your goals won't make the final cut. Only keep those that speak most strongly to your heart but not, necessarily, to your abilities. If your goals are aligned with God's will, He'll give you the abilities.
When will you work on your goals? Set aside daily time to devote to realizing your dreams. What time of day are you most productive? I write in the mornings, after devotions and farm chores. Every day, five days a week, I set aside two hours to write on my book and only after those two hours are finished do I move on to other things. If necessary, set a timer; do whatever it takes to make you sit down and WORK. Remember to take breaks to give both body and brain a brief respite from the work at hand. By the way, a blogger's best friend is the ability to write now, post later.
When do you want to achieve your goal? Set a time table or calendar and, on Monday, decide what you need to do that week to work toward your goal. On Friday, review and see where you've exceeded or fallen short. By setting weekly goals and reviewing same, you'll, in time and, hopefully, on schedule, achieve your dream. Remember the old saying, "you can eat an elephant one bite at a time." Also, schedule time for monthly and yearly reviews.
Where do you want to achieve your goal? Do you work from home or do you need an away from home office or studio atmosphere? What works for one might be a distraction for another so if you work from home, make an office or studio for yourself. It can be one end of the kitchen table, a closet or an entire room. You have to have a place where you go to work Monday through Friday and don't negate the importance of training your family, and others, to respect your space and time. No, you do not have to answer the phone; get an answering machine. No, you do not have to check e-mail; leave your account closed until work is finished for the day. While you're at it, train yourself!
Why do you want to achieve your goal? Crazy question, eh? It's totally necessary! What are your reasons for your goals? It's best if your reasons are your own; when you make goals based upon what someone else wants for you, generally, nothing comes to fruition. You need to decide why you want to achieve your goal or goals. Do you want to help people, see your name in print or build a business? Why might be the most important question of all!
A general goal is, "I want to lose weight" but a specific goal is, "I want to lose ten pounds, lower my blood pressure and will walk one mile a day, five days a week with a friend." Being specific answers all the W questions and states what you want to achieve...lose ten pounds, your friend will help with accountability, and walking one mile a day for five days a week will help lower my blood pressure."
When you write goals, list a maximum of fives steps you need to do in order achieve each goal. Your goal needs to be specific; don't write, "I need to lose weight," instead, your five steps might say:
1. lose ten pounds this month
2. walk one mile five days each week
3. walk with a friend for accountability
4. increase protein intake
5. decrease fat and carb intake
Every day, ask yourself, "is what I'm doing, taking me closer or further away from my goal?"; then, adjust accordingly.
Next, Part 2 - Dream Large
Blessings ~ prayer ~ plans ~ dreams ~ goals ~ Abba God ~