- GOAL SETTING:
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride!” We must set goals to accomplish those things which are ahead of us; or else they would remain in the realm of intentions, wishes, desires and aspirations! There’s a need to develop an action plan to motivate and guide you toward your goal; like the saying, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Goals are more deliberate than desires and momentary intentions; because they require a commitment of your thoughts, emotion, will and behaviour towards attaining them.
In setting your goals, you must, (a) know and identify specifically, ‘those things which are ahead’ of you; (b) set goals that are focused on what you need to do to accomplish them; and (c) how you intend to get those things done- that is, the path you plan to take to where you’re going!
Interestingly, a story that comes to mind is that of ‘The Shrewd Manager’ who was about to lose his job: he said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ And he clearly laid out the path he planned to take to achieve his goal and executed it. (Luke 16:3-7).
Another story was that of the ‘Prodigal son’ after he had lost everything and was starving, he came to his senses and said, ‘I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. (Lk. 15:17-20a).
A study listed 5 Step Process for Goal Setting:
- Set goals that motivate you.
- Set Smart goals. (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound).
iii. Put Goals in Writing.
- Make an action plan- it can help you focus on the steps it’ll take to reach your goal.
- Stick to it!
You must have a vision of those things which are ahead of you. You must be able to ‘see’ them, even though they are still ahead; like the people of faith- “but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them” (Heb. 11:13b). The people building the Tower of Babel had a picture and an objective in mind; to build a great city with a tower that reaches into the sky- that will make them famous and keep them from being scattered all over the world; and they were united and resolved to do it and they began to do it!
This is where most people fail, even before starting out- no picture, no objective, no unity, no resolve and no action!
Hear what God said, “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” (Gen. 11:6 KJV).
According to Merriam-Webster, vision is defined as, “the act of power of imagination.”
When you apply vision to the future, you can create a mental picture that can be used to direct your actions. The Bible says, “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves;”(Pro. 29:18b MSG). Vision serves as a guide and can be used to provide a sense of purpose- “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.” (NLT) or, “cast off restraint;” (NKJV).
The revelation of God’s Word and of His will for you can be used to create this mental picture. Joseph was sold as a slave by his brothers, and was falsely accused and wrongly jailed; yet he maintained his joy, his
peace, and inner strength, because he had a knowledge of God’s will! (Gen. 45:7-8a).
Vision gives you a vivid, imaginative conception and anticipation of those things which are ahead of you! God says His plans are plans to give you a future “an expected end.” (Jer. 29:11 KJV)
When you’re able to ‘see’ those things which are ahead of you, then you can become a reality! God told Abram, “for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever..” (Gen. 13:14-17). He said to Jeremiah, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.” (Jer. 1:12). Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s anointing; and he said, “if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” (2 Kings 2:10). The Bible says we shall be like Jesus when He is revealed, “for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2c).
Motivation is derived from the word ‘motive’, which denotes needs, desires, wants or drives within the individuals. It is what stimulates people to actions to accomplish their goals, or to perform a task or their behaviour- though some people probably may not be aware of their motivation!
Motivation is defined by needs, values and goals; which are considered the building blocks of motivation that lead to action. You must therefore set goals that motivate you; or else you won’t achieve them!
Are your goals motivated by your needs or your values? A study highlighted 4 types of motivation–
- Incentive motivation– being motivated by external rewards.
- Fear motivation– i.e. being motivated by the fear of an undesirable outcome.
iii. Power motivation– i.e. being motivated by the need for power- e.g. to accomplish your goals or desires.
- Social motivation– i.e. being motivated by what others think about you or the desire to be accepted by others.
Jesus told His disciples to be careful not to do their good deeds with the motivation of being seen and praised by people; or else, they would have no rewards from God. (Matt. 6:1).
The Bible says God weighs our actions (1 Sam. 2:3c); I believe the scale on which He weighs our actions, is our motives!
Love should be our motivation in the operation of spiritual gifts and what we do for others. (1 Cor. 13:1-3). The Apostle Paul said, “For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us,” (2 Cor. 5:14a AMP). Love must be our motivation for desiring spiritual gifts- and not power or performance. (1 Cor. 12:31). Our motive for service mustn’t be to please men, but the fear of God; it’s the absence of this that makes people engage in eye-service.
We must see ourselves as serving Christ and not people; and knowing our reward comes from Him. (Col. 3:22-24). Joseph’s motivation was the fear of God, in his services at Potiphar’s house. The biggest test of his motivation came, when master’s wife asked him to sleep with her; he refused and said to her, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9).
- HARD WORK & PRODUCTIVITY:
To accomplish your goal, you can’t wish away hard work! A person who is diligent in his business, will stand before kings and not unknown people. (Pro. 22:29).
There can be no productivity without hard work- “[It is] the hard-working farmer [who labors to produce] who must be the first partaker of the fruits.” (2 Tim. 2:6 AMP).
We must avoid idleness. To be idle is to spend time doing nothing, avoiding work and being lazy. Idleness is a state of inaction or inactivity.
In the parable of the labourers; when Jesus saw people standing idle in the market place, He hired them to work in His vineyard. (Matt. 20:3-7). The Bible says we should learn from the ants, who, though having no leader, labour all summer, gathering food for the winter. (Pro. 6:6-11). Another example of a hard worker is the proverbial virtuous woman; “she always works hard.” (Pro. 31:17 CEV), “And does not eat the bread of idleness.” (Pro. 31:27c).
Being idle isn’t just spending time doing nothing, it’s also spending time doing anything that has no purpose or effect or something pointless- e.g. engaging in idle chatter. The Bible admonishes us to live purposefully, making the very most of the time. (Eph. 5:15-16 AMP).
Hard work is rewarding- “Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” (Pro. 31:31 NLT).
- ASSOCIATION & RELATIONSHIPS:
Like the saying, “No man is an island entire of itself;” you therefore need to be in the right company to accomplish your goals in life.
The Bible says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Eccle. 4:9-10,12 NLT). Could this also be why Jesus always sent out His disciples in twos; and they also followed in that pattern afterwards!
Peter and John were arrested after the healing of the man at Gate Beautiful and detained till the next day. Immediately after their release, they went to the other believers and when they heard the report; they all raised their voice together in prayer to God. They left the prayer meeting full of the Holy Spirit and boldness to preach God’s word- regardless of what they had just experienced! (Acts 4:23-31). No wonder the Bible says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another,” (Heb. 10:24-25a NLT)
The company you keep has more influence on you than you can imagine or are ready to admit! Hear this, “Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.” (Pro. 22:24c-25 NLT). Your company can make or mar you- “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” (Pro 13:20); so choose wisely!
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