You in Five Years: Too Small to Fail.
This series is called You in Five Years. We’re asking the question, who will I be by 2024? There’s a Chinese proverb that says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So no matter how long the journey, it starts the same way as any journey does, with one step. If you keep on stepping you’ll eventually go one thousand miles.
Bottom Line: Victory is a small thing continually repeated.
Something To Talk About:
Who will you be in 2024? What do you want to accomplish 60 months from now. Often getting to where you want to be is to make goals that are stupidly small. Think in these terms:
- Choose carefully: The obvious question once you understand the reality that victory is a small thing continually repeated is “OK, so how do I figure out what my goals are for the next 5 years?” That seems like a daunting task because so much can change in five years. Remember to think stupidly small. The first step is to choose your goals carefully. Then develop good habits (keystone habits) that will provide the discipline to reach those goals. These goals are not New Year’s resolutions. And remember, nothing happens overnight so don’t expect to do everything at once. Start with one action, then add and then add again. In a five year time we can make a whole lot of small deposits that will add up over time.
- Spell it out specifically: When asked to choose goals most people would consider things like becoming healthier, eating right, volunteering, budgeting or becoming more Christlike. While those are worthy goals, they are too vague. Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up. The same is true of spiritual goals. Let’s say your goal is to be more grateful. Just saying I am going to focus on gratitude this year by complaining less, expressing thankfulness to God in prayer, and communicating appreciation to others is too vague. Develop some specific action steps: When I wake up each morning, I will start the day with a prayer of thanksgiving and do this until it becomes a habit. I will develop a mechanism that reminds me to complain less and I will write or email one thank you note per week to express gratitude for something somebody has done for me or even just for the relationship that we have.
- Track it diligently: There’s an old saying in business: “Measured performance is improved performance.” It also appears to be true of our spiritual lives. It comes down to this: when we want to improve something, we measure it. Then we can track improvement and know when we’ve reached our goals. Measurable goals are simple when tracking tangible things like earnings and bills, but how do we effectively measure spiritual growth? Still, tracking progress is important. At the end of the day, the week, the month, or five years, are we closer to our goals? Did we make real steps toward the where you want to be in 5 years? The steps that are going to get us a thousand miles need to be small enough that they’re sustainable and measureable.
- Guard your goals aggressively: Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity, not just a means to an end. Because it is an ongoing process, you need to guard your goals carefully. Make it personal. If whatever you want to achieve has real meaning in your life, the more likely it is that you’ll be committed to protecting it and seeing it through. Guarding your goals means you don’t give up easily. If you fall at the first, second or even third hurdle, don’t give up. Remember that your goals matter. You will never know how many people will be impacted by you in five years. People notice what we do and how we do it. They see whether we are angry and judgmental or kind and loving. What they read in us may be their only letter of recommendation about Jesus. Jesus said, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16).
- How do you feel about the idea that we should make our goals stupidly small?
- In what areas have you seen the cumulative effects of small things done consistently?
- Can you make up for lost time in these areas?
- How do we best make our gains sustainable for the future?
- There should always be a focus on answering the question, now what? Agree or disagree and why ?
- What does it mean for you to track your goals? Is is practical to track goals and set expectations for gradual, realistic achievements and accomplishments?
- Should our goals reflect a long or short view in your opinion?
- How do you practically guard your goals?
- What part of this message resonated with you?
- What can we do this week to put this message into practice?
Take one thing home with you:
God simply loves to take something small and use it for His glory in ways we cannot imagine. We never know what God might be growing in what you choose to do over the next 5 years. What might God do through the 15 minutes you spend reading the Bible every day, or the time you spend seeking His will in prayer? Or the smile you give to someone walking in the door, or in the diaper you changed, or the Northstar Group member you prayed and supported, or in the person you invite to church. We can be confident of this: He is doing more than we can see. He always is. God can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. So I encourage you to shrink your goals and make a commitment to do the small things consistently.