As a Christian, I truly believe that God has great plans for His children. He’s a big God that gives us big dreams. Those big dreams don’t just happen on their own and unfortunately some people sit around all day expecting God to do all the work.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…Jeremiah 29:11.

This is one of my most favorite scriptures, but over the years I’ve come to realize that we must participate in those plans if they are ever going to come to pass. Yes, God is spiritual but He is also practical. We must learn to do the practical things and then watch Him add the supernatural to it. Once we get a glimpse of the plan that He has for us, then it’s up to us to begin to develop a plan to reaching it which involves goal setting as a pathway to His promise for our lives. Faith requires action and action requires a follow-through in order to produce desired results.

Here are 5 Keys to actually reaching your goals:

Key #1 Choose a Goal That You Truly Desire

You can’t teach desire, you either have it or you don’t. There are so many people that find themselves burning out before they reach their goal because their lack of desire left them running on empty. I can’t express this enough. You need a burning, passionate desire if you are serious about reaching your goal. Desire is your daily energy and fuel that will keep you moving no matter what. Desire will push you beyond fatigue and weariness when you are in the middle of the process. There’s a very familiar story about a lady who comes home from work and she tells her husband how hard her day was and that she’s too tired to cook dinner and she just needs to lay down on the sofa and rest. Minutes later while she was laying on the sofa, her friend calls her to tell her that the dress she has been wanting just went on sale for 40 percent off the original price. The lady jumps off the sofa, puts her shoes on and races out the door to go and get the dress. Was she tired or did she lie to her husband? The truth is that she was tired and had a really hard day but her desire for that dress was greater than her current mood. Your desire is the big difference between setting a goal and reaching a goal.

Key #2 Make Your Goal A Priority

You will never reach your goal if it’s not amongst your top list of priorities. I’m not saying it’s time for you to forget about everything else in your life that matters and only focus on your goal. However, I am saying you must have a specific amount of focused time and attention that you are willing to dedicate to reaching your goal. Another thing you can do to help you prioritize is what I call the law of replacement. Take a moment and write out some of you current activities that are not necessarily a “must do” in order for you to have a productive week. You might want to start with a few extra curricular activities. I remember when I was co-writing my first book with my wife, we had several TV shows that we would record and then watch in the evenings when the kids went to bed. Well before long, we had several hours of shows recorded and at the same time we were bumping up against a deadline to have our book to the editor. So we made the decision to replace our time watching our TV shows with time working on our book manuscript. You can’t do everything you want and expect to reach the goal you desire. Sometimes you have to eliminate the non-essentials and focus on the main thing.

Key #3 Be Willing to Change

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." – Albert Einstein

Nothing changes unless something changes. You can’t keep doing the same old things you’ve been doing. Every goal or goals you have should produce a certain amount of change in your life in order for you to achieve them. If it’s truly a goal that will challenge you and stretch you then reaching it should require you to make some changes in your life. The biggest problem with setting goals is that most people just simply state them and have no intention on actually making any changes to make it happen. When my wife and I made it a goal to lose weight, we also had to make several changes to reach our individual goal weight.

• We changed our diet (we began to eat a lot healthier)

• I changed how much I ate by introducing portion control

• We changed our daily routine and began to work out several times a week

So no matter what your goal is, get ready to make the necessary changes that will get you on the right track to accomplishment.

Key #4 Navigating the Highs & Lows

One thing to remember is that once you start on your journey to reach your goal or goals, there will be a plethora of different emotions that you will face along the way. At times you will feel the effects of the emotional rollercoaster taking a toll on you. Yes, you will have highs in which you feel great momentum and it seems as if everything is falling right into that perfect place for you. You will also have low moments in which it seems like absolutely nothing is going your way.

Navigating the Highs

When you reach those moments of success along the journey, it’s ok to take a little time to celebrate yourself. You deserve it. Just don’t dance too long because there is always more work to do. Celebrate yourself and then get back on track to reaching the big goal. High moments are great but you should not rely on them as your only source of motivation. Navigating the Lows Don’t freak out when you hit a moment in which you feel like quitting and throwing in the towel. You must understand that not everything is going to work out exactly how you have envisioned it to.

You won’t always feel the energy. You won’t wake up every morning excited about going after your goals. You won’t always have the wind in your sails. You will no doubt get discouraged along the way. At times you will want to quit and throw in the towel. Yes, there will be some days where you would much rather stay in bed and forget about trying to accomplish anything. I’ve had some days in which I felt sick to the pit of my stomach just thinking and worrying about all the things that still needed to work out in order for me to reach a level of success that I was aiming for. It’s in those moments that you must decide to not let your emotions lead you. Do whatever you have to do to keep pushing yourself forward. Never let your emotions dictate your outcome.

Key #5 Give Your Goal A Deadline

We are typically great at starting a project. Where we tend to fall short is the actual follow through and finish. Anybody can start, but it takes determination, intentionality and strategic planning to finish what we start. Giving yourself a deadline causes you to stay focused on the task at hand. It forces you to keep progress going and keeps distractions at an all time low. I also believe it will create a healthy habit of finishing what you start; and that’s a good habit to have.

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