notes on board

Goal setting steps # 1

Be kind to yourself.

What does being kind to yourself have to do with meeting your goals? That simple. But before I begin.

Just today I was having trouble meeting my goals. I didn’t feel well so that made it more difficult. I employed many of the tips myself that I’m going to post about today and tomorrow.

Because I didn’t feel well, it seemed like I was going in circles because everything was requiring more effort than usual. But it’s late in the afternoon now and I’m looking over the day and realizing that the really big task I needed to get done, got done. And even a few more I had planned. I realized that this first suggestion is one I had not been good at implementing. The rest I did great with but this one? Not so much.

I should’ve restructured my goals a little differently today realizing I wouldn’t have the four energies I needed.

We all stumble when trying to meet a goal. We take two steps backward for every step we take forward. That’s just the nature of goals. We can have a good definable doable goal but then not have a good plan to implement it. Might as well not have a goal if you don’t know how you will meet it. But beating ourselves up about it won’t help and it won’t help us regroup.

Rebecca Platt

Three ways

So being kind to ourselves is crucial for those times we take the backward steps. We do that three ways:

  • Speak kind words to ourselves with kind words. Don’t belittle ourselves for our own mistakes. We don’t sugarcoat them but we don’t disparage ourselves either.
  • Treat ourselves now and then. When we are working hard to meet a goal, there are times we need to step away and treat ourselves. Very often, it’s during those times that inspiration strikes. Treating ourselves is highly individualized. For me, I treated myself by rearranging some furniture. That is a real treat for me and it energizes me. For others, it might be heading to your local coffee shop and sit and have a good of coffee. Take care of you.
  • Create some boundaries. Sometimes when we are trying to reach a goal, we need to set some boundaries so we put some place for now. Scheduling our tasks is a good boundary. When you schedule make sure you schedule time for family and friends as well.

Have a support system

They can be objective when we can’t. They can help us be resilient when we want to throw in the towel and quit. I have a couple of people that I can go to when I get discouraged. They don’t have to say anything remarkable, just listen.

If you’re a writer, you know how isolated a task it is. It has to be to get anything done, but at the same time, you need people. Don’t discount the importance of a support system.

Maximizing Your Energies

Physical energy

Reaching a goal requires lots of energy. And not just the kind you think. We have four types of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy.

If we focus on maximizing the four types of energy we will reach our goals easier, so let’s look at them. First, there is our physical energy. Most of us think we understand what physical energy is, it’s feeling, well, energetic. But our physical energy is most definitely affected by our emotions, our mental state, and our spiritual energy. So think of these next three energy boosters as the building blocks of physical energy.

Use the Pomodoro method of working. Work for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break. After 4 cycles, take a 20-30 minute break. And when taking those breaks, move if you were sitting the whole time, or sit if you were on your feet the whole time. Do something entirely different that requires you use to refocus. When you come back to your task, you will be refreshed.

I think we all know that when our emotions are awry and discombobulated, we feel less energetic. I know it’s true of me. But then if do something I really want to do, my energy level is there because my emotions have changed for the better.

Emotional Energy

One of the best ways to conserve your emotional energy is to avoid any drama that isn’t yours. I will repeat what I’ve said often and what I continue to learn myself., “If it’s not your circus, it’s not your monkeys.” It has taken me a lifetime to figure this out and I’m only now getting it somewhat right.

Yes, we are to show care and concern for everyone in our lives but we have to remember that we can only go so far in helping others. We all know that there is an end to how much we can do for someone. We are to provide encouragement, support, and prayers for others but we can only go so far. And it hurts when we can’t do it all.

I have gone to bed totally zapped of any energy because of worry. Yes, I admit to worrying but sometimes I call it a concern to make me feel better. I have a strong, disciplined spiritual life but yet I worry. And, yes, I give it to God. But just like the rest of you, when my guard is down, I take my worry back, and then I have to go right back to the well, meaning prayer and Bible study. Any Christian that doesn’t admit to worrying is a Christian who is being dishonest with themselves.

In my view, a worried Christian is what brings us to our knees in prayer anyway.

I would give anything if I could wave a magic wand on the people I love who struggle with various issues and make it all better, just like I wish others could do that for me at times. Don’t we all wish we could do something, anything for the people of Ukraine? We feel helpless and while this is not our circus, in that we have no responsibility for causing it, we certainly have a responsibility to pray and to give what we can. But those are not the issues I am referring to.

young female astrologist predicting future with shining ball/setting goals

However, we all know we get pulled into dramas that we have no responsibility for, usually family drama. You know which ones I mean. So mete out your emotional energy carefully. It will exhaust you if you don’t.

Anger and unforgiveness is a huge zapper of mental energy. It takes a lot more energy to be angry and even more to hate. It’s simply not worth it. Haman, in the book of Esther, let his anger of Mordecai and the Jewish nation mess up his mind so bad he ended up being hung on the gallows he built for the man he hated, Mordecai.

Then there is Judas, whose unforgiveness for himself caused his mind to get so twisted, he committed suicide. It’s just not worth it.

Mental Energy

Mental energy has more to do with controlling our minds. It means controlling our attention, controlling our focus, controlling how many mental tasks we subject ourselves to every day. When I write, I use the Pomodoro method which means I write for so many minutes and then break for so many minutes. This conserves my mental energy and could work in lots of areas.

Use the Pomodoro method listed above. It works well to refresh our minds just like it does to refresh our bodies. Oops, excuse me for five minutes. Be back soon.

I’m back. Most pastors generally keep their sermons limited to 20-30 minutes because that’s about as long as most people can concentrate. Anytime you are concentrating intensely, the more you need to give your mind a rest every thirty minutes or so.

Multi-tasking certainly drains our mental energy. Our minds really can’t focus on more than one thing even though we like to think they can. I think we all know that when we’re really concentrating on just one task, we perform it so much better. And it never saves us the time we think it does. I’m not very good at this myself. My husband is a great single-tasker and while I’m running around like a madwoman, he is quietly working and producing more than any person has a right to. It infuriates me. He’s the tortoise and I’m the hare and he always gets to the finish line before I do and I might add, better.

Spiritual Energy

Most people don’t think of the spiritual when it comes to energy but God certainly did. That’s why the bible tells us to refresh one day a week. It’s also the reason for such verses as “Be still and know I am God”, Psalm 46:10, and “He makes me lie down in green pastures”, Psalm 23:2. Over and over God’s word speaks of the need for calm and stillness so our energy would be renewed.

We will have all the spiritual energy we need if we learn to refill it. And the best part is that God has given us exactly the information we need to do this. In all other areas, we might have to figure it out. But God has given us the formula throughout his word. We only have to practice them.

We get our spiritual energy from spending time with God in prayer, Bible study, fasting, and silence and solitude. These are four of a number of spiritual disciplines. For a really good understanding, ready Richard Foster’s, Celebration of Discipline, and Dallas Willard’s, The Spirit of the Disciplines.

I love those two books. One of these days, I’ll understand them.

The second part of this post is tomorrow.

God bless and make some goals today.