When you Know Your “Why,” you find more motivation for and success with goal setting. Yet, because we’re human, we don’t always nail exactly what we’re supposed to be doing to achieve our goals even if we know why we’re working toward them.
The key to keeping motivated by our “Why?” and to staying on track toward achieving our goals lies in our daily habits. More specifically, the regular activities that keep us in tune with God’s will.
God directs and speaks to us in many ways. Staying in tune with His voice involves purposefully and consistently listening for it. It means keeping the lines of communication open.
Here are some ways to keep communication flowing between you and God:
- Have an continuous dialogue. Talk to Him not just during designated prayer times but as you go through your day.
- Pay attention to road signs. They can be obvious, such as the people you encounter. Or, they can be more nebulous like an idea just not coming together like it should. The more you look for these signs, the more you’ll notice them as God’s directing you.
- Integrate His Word into your day. Post favorite scripture where you’ll see it regularly. Maybe just have a keyword to keep in your thoughts that reminds you of Him.
- “Listen” for the Holy Spirit. Call it a gut feeling or a prompting, the Holy Spirit uses our emotions, our dissatisfaction and even our motivations to direct our daily activity. Get in the habit of asking yourself why you feel a certain way and if it’s the Holy Spirit “speaking” to you.
Fulfilling your God-given purpose is a journey. It’s about increasingly discovering His will, then being obedient to what He desires of you in accomplishing it.
“Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” (Luke 11:28)
Look at how God might be speaking to you not just during morning prayers or daily devotions but throughout the day too. As you do, you’ll likely find that your goals not only better line up with His will, but your motivations do as well.
We are all pursuing worthwhile goals. Here’s a list of just some of the general goals I’ve heard Christian women list recently.
- Consistent prayer and Bible study
- Lose weight
- Strengthen relationships
- Improve family situations
- Be healthier
- Improve my marriage
At a minimum, we just want to see progress. Progress encourages us when we see it, and we’re definitely frustrated in its absence.
As we work toward achieving our goals, though, we often focus on the “How?” and the “What?” How can I improve? What needs changed? We too often fail to focus on the “Why?” In other words, what motivates and drives you toward that improvement and change?
Your “Why?” serves as a compass for achieving your goals. It’s the source of motivation and focus. And as we all know, focus determines reality.
As a Christian, knowing your “Why?” begins with focusing on your identity in Christ. When we’re motivated by — focused on — how Christ sees us, we discover an unending and unchangeable source of encouragement.
Our identity in Christ creates a “Why?” that serves to fulfill God’s will through us. Isn’t that what we ultimately want our goals to accomplish? Isn’t that at the heart of why we seek to continually improve?
Secure in our identity in Christ, we can move forward with a focus on progress over perfection. We can stay consistently motivated by obedience to our Lord, knowing we are accepted, secure and significant no matter what happens — or doesn’t happen — with our goals.
When Jesus is the root of our “Why?” we find the motivation and self control needed to make progress with the goals that fit within His will being accomplished through us. And as always, remember that this progress usually happens in small steps, and those steps add up over time to make a huge difference.
Many of us have set goals we want to accomplish in the next year. We’ve based them on what happened last year and on how we want the next year to be different. Hopefully, these goals were born during prayer and shaped by daily study of God’s word.
As we move forward in this new year, we’ll continually return to the goals we set. We’ll reestablish our focus on them, and we’ll recommit to them as needed. At least, that’s our intention.
While it’s good to make plans, to set goals, it’s also good, essential even, to leave God room to move within those goals. This may mean altering them in some way.
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'” (James 4:14-15, NIV)
This verse shows us that making plans is good. It also indicates that turning those plans over to God is a part of the process too.
Our part in goal setting is to create goals based on what we believe God desires for our lives. Our part also involves then turning those goals over to God and letting Him direct our paths.
“A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], but the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.” (Proverbs 16:9, AMP)
Keep your goals in front of you. Then, keep your God in front of your goals. Let Him direct your path even if that means altering your goals. As you do this, your goals will turn into His will being accomplished through you.