A college degree. A job. A diet. That book you were reading. Your workout. New Year’s resolutions. A business plan. Your life plan. A relationship. Attending church. Getting out of debt. Quitting smoking.
You were doing great – then you weren’t. What happened?!
What causes us to give up on our goals? Why do we so readily abandon our dreams? How can we just walk away?
This past week my parents came to spend a few days with us. For days, our daughter, Madison, looked forward to them coming.
The day they were to arrive I promised Madison that she could stay up late with me and wait for them. They finally pulled up in front of the house after 11:30 – way past her bedtime. (Don’t tell her mom!)
We visited with them for a few minutes, then Madison headed to bed.
A few minutes later I stopped by her room to say goodnight. As I turned to leave, Madison asked quietly, “Dad – is it going to be different?”
I didn’t quite understand what she was asking. So I responded, “What do you mean?”
She clarified, “Is it going to be different since Nana and Papa are here – Are we not going to pray?”
Now I’m not sure if this is your style or not – but Sarah and I pray with Madison every night. We have chosen to be purposeful about praying with Madison to give her the opportunity to pursue faith and hope. To learn to be generous as well as grateful. Until that moment, I hadn’t noticed how important this time had become to her – we are fulfilling precisely what we envisioned.
But what if we shrugged it off this one night. Would it turn into two? A week? Two weeks? Would we eventually quit altogether? Would something as simple, as good, as innocent as a visit from Grandma and Grandpa derail this important discipline for our family?
This experience reminded me of 3 reasons we walk away:
It’s not that you weren’t committed at all. You were. Maybe you just weren’t as committed as you thought you were.
I’ve seen this happen in the workplace – a leader has a huge vision for growth. The organization restructures, launches a new initiative, and begins gaining momentum. Then the negative feedback starts – and it comes from influential people. That’s when you find out how committed the leader really was – and how committed the team really was.
To many, commitment doesn’t mean much anymore. But I know it means something to you – you meant it and you’re going to follow through. You’re going to reach your goal! So get back on track today.
Your success is dependent upon your understanding of why you do what you do. Did you have a purpose? Was it compelling?
I’ve seen many people give up on a diet because the goal is simply to lose weight. And while that may be a necessary and worthy goal, after a few weeks the motivation to lose a few pounds gives in to convenience and comfort.
You can read about why I changed my diet and how I lost 30 pounds. There was one reason – my purpose for doing so became a top priority in my life.
Revisit your purpose – if you haven’t thought through it, think through it now. Write it down. Make it memorable. Make it meaningful.
We live in a noisy world – a world of continuous distraction. Life comes at you fast.
Your failure to follow through may simply be a byproduct of distraction – something other than your goal arrested your attention.
Whatever the reason – it’s not too late! You are not a failure. Take a few moments to refocus on your original goal – then get moving again. Just don’t give up!
So…a few minutes past midnight I laid down next to Madison and we prayed. And we’ll do it again tonight.
Question: What keeps us from accomplishing our goals? What do you do to stay on track? Leave your thoughts in the comments.