Updated: Sep 2, 2021
During our last blog article, I shared some questions to ponder as you assess where you are in this season of your life. In this article and in my upcoming September online workshop, we are going to discuss a more important concept that aligns with self-assessment. We cannot understand where we are going without a solid understanding of where we’ve been, what we have accomplished, and what specific steps we need to make to improve and move towards our goals. We are going to discuss S.M.A.R.T. goals and how to determine the most appropriate short-term and long-term goals. Prior, let’s discuss one vital step before goal development: purpose, vision, and mission and how they relate to short-term and long-term goals.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew. He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified, those He justified, He also glorified. “ -(Romans 8:28-30)
Purpose is the intended task and the life that God has created you for. That’s right, Beloved, you were created on Purpose and with Purpose. I often refer to it as the God-given and God-designed reason that God has created you for such a time as this. Oftentimes, I hear individuals state they do not know what they were meant to do in this life or some folks firmly believing that they were not created with a purpose. There could be nothing further from the truth. He knew you before you mother was aware of your existence in the womb. He knew the numbers of hair on your head before your parents even met, before the beginning of the earth, God knew you and knew who you were. He saw purpose, intent, and life in you. Even in the moments, when you doubt who you are, God wants to take you by the hand and guide your steps (even when you have no clue where you are going!). We were not meant to wander aimlessly through life so pay attention to this article if this is YOU.
Some spiritual tools to help you learn of and develop your God-designed purpose include prayer, journaling, seeking pastoral guidance, and reading several books in the Bible such as my personal favorite being the book of Esther, Titus, the book of Exodus documenting the life of Moses, the book of Jeremiah, and the book of Timothy regarding spiritual gifts. Which leads us to some practical tools to learn of and develop God-designed purpose! This includes taking a reputable spiritual gifts self-assessment on online or if possible, inquire whether you can attend a class or series of classes at your church or your school if you attend a Christian-based school focusing on determining your top three spiritual gifts. Another great tool is a personality traits assessment or questionnaire. It will share some insight or things that you may know about yourself already. Are you an introvert? A great tip as simplistic as some believe, paying attention to your likes and what appears natural to you, what you gravitate to, and what others tend to come to you for. For instance, are you the one within your group of friends who everyone goes to for sound advice, counsel and you are often told that you exhibit a calm demeanor and are active listener? Have you been their “One” since childhood or teenage years who your friends go to prior to making big decisions?
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” -Habakkuk 2:2
Vision is the inspiration behind your purpose. It is what guides you to step into walking into your purpose. It inspires you, fuels you, moves you to the change that you want to see. Perhaps, you want to open a business, or God has instructed you to do so; have you explored the vision of this desire? Where do you see your business in five, ten, thirty years from this moment, and what impact do you expect the business to have? What change do you want to see?
I often refer to mission as the link or bridge between one’s purpose and their vision.
Purpose and calling involves living the life God has called you to live, serving His children as He has called you to serve them, and glorifying Him in the process. Vision is the inspiration that has led you to live and walk in your purpose meant to make an impact in the lives of others. Mission is the link between what you have been divinely created to do and the inspiration that fuels it. Mission is how the purpose and vision are manifested. It involves the tangible items.
This a great time to mention S.M.A.R.T. goals. The concept is reported to be introduced by George Doran in 1981. Once you are in your purpose, vision, mission, and have a working mission statement, this lends way for you to develop and tailor your short-term and long-term goals according to the S.M.A.R.T. goals model. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time specific. This model is intended to guide the creation of your goals. Where do you see yourself in one year, five years, ten years, or fifteen years? This means that your goal should be specific defined as detailed, straight-forward avoiding vague language or multiple areas. For example, the statement, “I want to help all women in the entire world.” This is not specific, and it would leave you frustrated and overwhelmed because it is not detailed. Are you called to help married women? Single women? Single parents of a particular age group? A demographic within a certain area? What does “help” look like?
Your goal development should be measurable meaning that it should quantifiable or qualitative. Simply stating that you “want to lose weight” is not a sufficient goal and is not measurable. Stating, “I would like or will lose 25 pounds…” quantifies the goal. Or “I would like to tone my body by going to the gym and do resistance training 3 days weekly for 1 hour each day.” Goals should be attainable and achievable detailing that your goal should be positioned to allow you to succeed. For instance, stating that I want to become a medical physician in one year from now, but currently not in school, not working towards the goal, or not having a plan in place would not be a recipe for success. It is not saying that your desire to be a medical physician is not feasible in the future, but one year from now when you are not on a current plan, is unachievable. This leads us to a goal being realistic. Assess where you are in relation to achieving your ultimate goal and is it a realistic perspective. Is your goal not sufficiently specific or lacks measurability? If the answer is no, then it may be safe to say that the goal may not be realistic. Again, not to say that it is unachievable, but requires more thought, more planning, and additional steps to get your desired goal. Lastly, the goal should be time-specific meaning that the goal has set time-limited boundaries to further quantify the goal and make it achievable. For instance, if the goal is to lose weight, place a time frame to achieve this goal or have markers in place. An example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal may be the following:
Health-Conscious Goal Example:
I want to lose at least 25 pounds of the 35 pounds I gained during my pregnancy by doing resistance training 3 days at 1 hour weekly and cardio 2 days at 1 hour weekly within the next 6 months. This goal is specific because it addresses the desire of weight loss. It is measurable by describing the desired weight loss in pounds and the quantifiable method (frequency of resistance and cardio). It is attainable depending on other factors in conjunction with the exercise. The goal is realistic and time specific by describing the time frame that you would like the weight loss to occur by. You can further develop short-term sizable goals by discussing quantifying eating habits and changing, thought and/or an emotions log in conjunction with the exercise, or specify with breaking the goal down in 5-pound weight loss increment with monthly time frames. The possibilities are limitless!
In alignment with my previous blog article, I would encourage you to create at minimum 1 to 3 goals according to the S.M.A.R.T. goal method in important areas in your life such as business, personal, business, or family (such as for your marriage or in parenting).
I will be offering a more in-depth virtual workshop where I will discuss God-designed purpose, vision, mission, and S.M.A.R.T. goals in late September. In this course, we will develop a great starting point for your mission statement. I will walk through this exercise with you as we develop your ultimate goals and break them down in manageable and attainable long-term and short-term goals. Likewise, we will develop a template on how to develop a mission statement and S.M.A.R.T goals with your children and as a family. More information will be shared in the upcoming weeks!