Church & Culture
Want To Accomplish Your Goals? Dream Bigger – And More Long-Term
While it may seem counterintuitive, thinking bigger and on a longer timeline is often a better way to get things done.

You won’t succeed at your New Years resolutions this year.

Sorry for the bad news, but it's highly unlikely, statistically speaking.

But here’s what you can do. You can start.

Want to write a book? Start writing every day.

Lose weight? Start a healthier lifestyle.

Grow in your faith? Start a purposeful discipleship process.

Bigger Goals, Longer Timeline

It’s been said that we overestimate what we can accomplish in one year, but underestimate what we can accomplish in five years.

We overestimate what we can accomplish in one year, but underestimate what we can accomplish in five years.

I have found this to be overwhelmingly true.

This may be one of the main reasons New Year’s resolutions fail. By trying to get something of lasting significance done in a year, we’re trying to accomplish too much in too short a time. So when we hit a snag or two (as we always will), we see the dream fading away and we give up.

The Complexity Of Accomplishment

For instance, imagine your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight this year (probably the most common New Year’s resolution – at least in the USA).

To do so, the gyms of America will be packed on January 1. But by the end of the first week, they'll be much less packed. And by the end of the month? Back to December levels.

Why such a sudden drop-off? Because we're trying to do too much too soon.

The discipline required to lose weight is multi-faceted. It requires a stunning combination of factors, from finding inspiring long-term motivation, to landing on the right eating plan, to establishing a workout regimen that fits your lifestyle and interests, to finding friends and/or a coach who will provide the right mix of motivation, encouragement and knowledge. And so much more.

Take The Time To Do It Right

Imagine, instead of saying "I'm going to lose 52 pounds this year" (a pound a week), you said "five years from now I want to be so healthy physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and socially that I can help others accomplish the same goals in their life."

At first, that seems like a much harder goal than 52 pounds a year, and far too long-term to be motivational. But it changes the way you approach the goal in some helpful ways.

First, it puts the weight loss in the proper context – our all-around health.

Second, it gives us the chance to slow down and tackle the complex web of issues surrounding weight loss one at a time. If I have to lose 52 pounds this year, I need to get Everything. Started. Now! There's no time to check out a few local gyms or experiment with several eating plans until I find one that works.

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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

January 01, 2019 at 1:00 AM

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