~ Sadie and Sandra ~I'm not much on New Year's Resolutions as I believe what Daddy always says, "If you're living the way you're supposed to live, you don't need to make resolutions."
I do believe in writing goals, making plans and lists, and dreaming large...make that LARGE. Perhaps you read my first goal oriented post, PDS - Pretty Darn Smart! Part 1 but I suggest you click on the link and re-read before reading this second part; it will help put it all into perspective.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish" so says Proverbs 29:18 and how true a statement! Do you want to have an etsy or eBay account or own your own business? Do you want to sell at a brick and mortar store or be published in a magazine, book or even, publish your own book?! Do you want to be on a television show or have your own program? Do you want to find a wonderful person and be married?
I truly believe God delights in answering dreams that are LARGE and that will, ultimately, show His goodness, grace and mercy. He is able; it's we who are small thinkers, planners, dreamers and goal makers.
My six year old self wanted to live on a farm with horses, sheep, goats, cows, dogs and cats. Now, my almost sixty year old self lives on a farm with horses, sheep, dogs, cats and I used to have goats and calves. God answered the desire of my young heart!
As life changes, as dreams and goals are met, it's a good idea to revise dreams, plans and goals. I don't make resolutions but try and live the way I should daily, so, if the first day of the New Year allows, I schedule time to tweak my dreams, plans and goals. If the first day doesn't have time for that activity, I do it as soon as possible.
Your goals should be SMART GOALS
"Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it" says James 1:5 and most of my three ring notebooks have a front page with this verse. I want to see it Every Single Day; I want it engraved on my brain and, most importantly, I want God to give me wisdom so I ask Him for it, Every Single Day.
S - you should make specific goals in detail; as focused as possibly but knowing you'll have to be flexible. Make sure your goals are what you want and not what someone else wants for you...easy mistake to make! Also, write your goals in the positive, affirming what you want, "I choose to _____".
M - you should make measurable goals and be able to measure your goals and success or lack thereof. Your goals should not contradict your other goals; they should all be in accordance, one with another.
A - your goals should be attainable. Yes, you should make challenging goals but they should also be within your reach. Start by making smaller goals that will enable you to reach larger goals; stepping stones, as it were to ensure success.
R - your goals should be rewarding or realistic goals. Your goals and priorities should align and, most importantly, you must be willing to work toward their successful completion. As you reach your smaller goals, your larger goals will shrink because you grow toward them.
T - goals should be timely and have a time line and deadline. If you don't have a time line and dead line, how will you ever know when you've achieved your goal?
I'm repeating myself but it's that important...every day, ask yourself, "is what I'm doing taking me closer, or further away, from my goal?" Then, adjust accordingly.
Finally, is there BALANCE?
Dave, my husband, died in 2011, and I've, pretty much, spent this last year trying to attain balance again. It's so easy to become overwhelmed with all the work load of animals, farm, house, finances, writing, studio, physical, spiritual and all the rest. I've found when I have balance in my life, I tend to accomplish more and with much less stress, both mental and physical. There are five main areas I focus upon and write goals:
~ spiritual - each morning I have devotions where I read uplifting books, including the Bible, and listen to sound Biblical preachers such as Begg, Youceff, Sproul, Swindoll, Meyer and others. I'm going to start taping Osteen who isn't theologically deep but he's a great motivator. Someone asked me, "Do you really listen to all those preachers?" The answer is, "Yes, I do." Perhaps not all of the daily but I do listen to a minimum of two each day and, most days, more. You may be a truly nice person but, I hate to tell you this, I'm naturally cranky. There's a lot of fallen man in me and I struggle with practicing Christianity but, bless His name, God is faithful, merciful and gracious toward me.
~ home, family and friends - Dave and I lived contemplative lives and that's not going to change now that he's gone. If anything, it's going to become more so because I don't like noise, stress, craziness, busyness and the like and strive mightily to eliminate those things from my life. No one can control my schedule but me and I'm perfectly comfortable using the word "no" when necessary. There's no room for guilt in my life nor is there room for continually cranky, mean, unkind or downright nasty people. It's not allowed and when such a person enters my life, I weed them out rather quickly with no feelings of regret on my part. Christ died on the cross knowing not all would accept him so I'm comfortable not being all things to all people. Who protects you in your life?
~ health - the hardest area for me as I sincerely hate to sweat unless I'm doing physical labor. I don't mind hoeing or shoveling or working a horse in the round pen but I despise to exercise and sweat! The days I do put in a Zumba or yoga tape, the dogs and cats think it's play time and it's rather difficult working out when three dogs are either jumping on me or sitting on me when I'm on the mat.
~ financial - this past year has been such a steep learning curve for me and I'm still finding paperwork that needs letters written, telephone calls made, etc. in order for me to reach a closing point. God, please give me wisdom!
~ community and volunteer - My volunteer work is done in my community and, there's a possibility, I'll do some church volunteer work later this new year.
You're going to end up somewhere, why not somewhere of your own choice? I've read most people plan their vacations with more thought than they plan their lives but that doesn't have to be the case. You'll reach your goals when you follow and plan PDS - Pray, Dream, SMART goals and that makes you Pretty Darn Smart!
In closing, I'd like to suggest some other folks to help you on your path...Dave Ramsey is a great financial guy and late last year, I took his Financial Peace University and it helped me enormously! Dr. Kirk Elliott is an economic analyst and his paper, 10 Ways to Survive the Economic Tsunami That is Coming, is the best I've read.
Susan Branch is my (almost) daily dose of happy and she has a lovely post on The Care and Feeding of Dreams; reading it will do your heart and your life a lot of good. Yes, you're busy and have a lot on your plate but what can you let go of and not miss? I'm betting there's more than you think. If you're a Christian, a practicing Christian and not just one of those people who attend church occasionally, put and keep your life in perspective. God first, family second and your life, and the lives of those who depend upon you, will be much better.
Today's Miracles ~ a deep breath ~ rain for a thirsty earth ~ lunch with friends ~ contented beasts ~ electricity ~ a warm house ~