Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Planning or Not?

After reviewing my year, I start making plans for next year.  Recently popular memes are all about letting God set the path.  I am struggling with this concept.  If you are not interested in a personal religious debate, you may want to skip this post. 

I did a search for images of purple minions....way fun.

Ok...This is a self debate in laying out why I believe God expects me to make a plan for my life.  He might chuckle at my near sightedness and tendency to way underestimate my own ability to waste time but I believe God expects me to make plans.  Here's why....

The monarch butterfly travels to a place it has never seen dictated by migrating plan that seems to be encoded in its DNA. Every year without fail they make their migration. 

Cows moo the same in Brazil, Australia, or the United States of America.  It is imprinted on their DNA.  Not learned.  Not studied.  Cows are cows. 

However, a child is born to any country in the world and the baby can learn that language or several languages.  If they are born deaf they can learn sign language.  Humans tend to live within 10 miles of where they are born.  They usually don't move unless they are persuaded in one way or another.  Babies don't come with instructions printed on their butts.  As a parent, I felt like raising a child was an elaborate guessing game as to what each child needed beyond basic food, shelter and clothing.  I am very bad at guessing.  I didn't have anything printed on my DNA that told me what to say, do, or where I traveled.  DH and I lived in many different places but there were no internal instructions printed out for us.  We made plans.  We carried them out.  We don't have any reason to say, "What if we had....?"  We tried all sorts of places to live.  We planned.  We did.  Yes, we prayed about it.  Sometimes I felt like the answer back to us was, "Well, what do you want to do?" 

Joshua 24:15

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

I looked up how many references I could find of choose in the Bible. I found more than 30 scriptures with the word choose.  This doesn't count the invitation from Christ to "Come Follow Me," which implies a choice.  So if there is a choice, in my opinion, I need to make one.  I also learned over the years that I need to be willing to change my plans, often.  I also accept the someone else's plan may collide with mine totally disrupting my plans.....sometimes life happens, illness, accident, weather can all change my plans.  I believe I have a responsibility to make plans, set goals, have a clue where I am going and preferably not in a hand basket.  I also learned a few things on how to carry them out.

Recently, I received an email from one of the physical trainers I follow and this is what he shared with his email list....

 I have been setting written goals at the beginning of the year for the last 9 years in four areas of my life:

-- Personal
-- Business / Financial
-- Adventure / Toys
-- Contribution

And I have a written record of all of it.

It's AMAZING how the goals I have set each year have almost ALL come true!

A few I am still working on ... but I am WAY, way, way ahead of where I'd be if I didn't go through this process on an annual basis.

I will say that the past three or four years though, I've started accomplishing a lot more and have "accelerated my life" if you will in ALL areas ... and a big part of this is using the S.M.A.R.T. system for goal setting.

Here's how it works:

"S" stands for specific.  A general goal would be "get in shape".  A specific goal would say "pick a training plan to follow and do it 3x per week".

"M" stands for measurable.  Ask questions like - how much? how many? how will I know when it's accomplished?

"A" stands for attainable.  When you set out to accomplish something and put your mind to it, to begin to figure out ways to make it happen.  I think we are capable of FAR more than we think we are!

"R" stands for realistic.  To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective that you are both willing and able to work towards.

"T" stands for timely.  A goal must be grounded with a time frame.  Without this, there is no urgency ... and this makes it a lot tougher to accomplish what you've set out to do.

For each goal you set, make sure to go through this process ... you'll be AMAZED at the difference it makes.

Now you have a way to set SMARTer goals for the New Year.

Take some time or yourself over this week to figure out what you want to accomplish in 2015.

And let's have the best year ever!

- Forest Vance, MS, RKC II

This is a neat and tidy starting point.  I learned that I need to break bigger goals into smaller goals....That whole eating the elephant is easier in bite size pieces.  Computer thinking is breaking information and instructions into byte size pieces.  

There is one more type of goal that I like to set that is in the area of becoming.....can't measure, can't see it, can't take a picture of it, I like to take on projects of becoming.  This past year was "I choose the truth, no matter how hard." This year I want to choose an attribute that I want to work on.  I remember reading somewhere to choose one attribute each month to work on improving.  Becoming a better person is more than just meeting goals.  Meeting goals should help me become the person I believe God desires me to be.  Lofty hopes and I need to work out some mundane goals to get me going in the right direction. 

I chuckle at the similarity of posts that my sister and I write without consulting with each other about our posts.  Judy posted a list of questions to consider when setting goals:

Up to me to decide where I am going.

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