This week at NCC, we talked about how to make a start — a start that will lead you to a strong finish. Below are the points. I hope that you’ll add them to your faith and life, and I hope they help you accomplish your God-given goals this year.
- choose your destination — Jon Acuff wrote, “Purpose is not a destination” (Start, 49). Stephen Covey, in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests, “Begin with the end in mind.” Until we have etched our destination in stone, we don’t know where we’re going or what we doing . . . and if we are doing something, we don’t know why we’re doing it.Proverbs 16:9 — “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” We must destination in mind so that we can plan our way.
- create small, measurable goals — although the end is in stone, we can’t put our steps in stone . . . we have to prayerfully live and move toward our destination one day at a time. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t come up with a sensible plan that give measurable results.
- expect obstacles — When Jeremiah was a prophet, it was tough job. He was preaching God’s Word at a time when no one was interested in hearing it. So when Jeremiah preached, he met a lot of resistance. Once, he cried out to God and told Him how he felt. God answered Jeremiah this way: “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?” (Jeremiah 12:5). The road gradually gets tougher. Expect it.
- keep a notebook/journal of your day-to-day progress — keep a record of your success and failures for the future. Make notes about what works and what doesn’t. Find the rhythm and the rhyme. Meditate. The time for a thoughtless living is passed. This year, start reflecting on who you are, why you do what you do, and who in your life has good and bad influence over you.
- invite others into your circle (for accountability and support) — you’ve heard the saying, “You’re only as good as the guy next to you.” There’s truth in that adage. If you surround yourself with better people, they will help you step up your game. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise.” Surround yourself with support.
- celebrate victories — when you achieve a destination, or even a stepping stone, then you should celebrate. It can be a dinner out, a little something that you otherwise wouldn’t eat, a day off from your previous workout or reading schedule . . . it’s all relative to what you’re doing. Nonetheless, find a way to celebrate and do it. Small celebrations are a light at the end of the tunnel.