Living By Design

A family began a long vacation that included several days of travel.  On the third day of the trip, the eight year old daughter, weary from the traveling, asked, “Daddy, when we get where we’re going, will we be there?”  That’s a great question to ask of your life.  No single factor so determines the quality of your life as the goals you set for yourself.  What do you want to do with your life?  What is your desired destination?  When you get where you are going, will you be there?  Those rare individuals who have made a significant difference on this earth have chosen to live by design rather than default.  They have steered their lives toward specific targets.  Part of life is discovering who you are.  Another part of life is deciding what you will do with who you are.  We each have a race to run.  Your race is different from my race.  Every person’s race is filled with challenging obstacles and awesome opportunities. The key is to not get side-tracked and lose focus.

The story is told of a bloodhound which started a hunt chasing a stag.  A fox crossed the path, so the hound chased the fox.  After a while a rabbit crossed the path, so the hound chased the rabbit.  Later, a mouse crossed the path, and the hound chased the mouse into the hole.  The hound began his hunt on the trail of a magnificent stag, and he ended up watching a mouse hole.  Sound familiar?  If we are to live with purpose, we will need to focus and avoid those things that so easily distract us.

How do we improve our focus and thus our impact?  The best way to stay focused and effective is to have clear, challenging, yet realistic goals.  A runner in a race is clear about his/her goal.  We need business goals, as well as family and personal growth goals.

First, stop and celebrate.  Reflect and consider what all has happened in the previous season of your life, and be thankful.  Make a list of all the good that has occurred in your life these last several months, personally and professionally.  Celebrate the victories and learn from the challenges.

Next, write down your goals.  Keep this process as simple as possible.  I use categories, such as health and fitness, financial, work (with subsets), marriage, personal development, family, ministry, and spiritual.  I then prayerfully list possible goals under each category, and eventually boil those down to 3-5 in each category.  We all know that goals need to be specific so that they can be measured.  “I want to lose 20 pounds of fat and lose 2 inches in my waist in 12 weeks” is better than “I want to get in shape.”

The last step is most important.  Write down specific action steps necessary to reach each goal.  For example:  To lose 20 pounds and 2 inches in 12 weeks, I will: eat smaller portions, eat one desert/week, do cardio work 4 days/week, etc.

Live by design rather than default.  Clear vision drives goals and clear goals make visions become reality.

Jeff Wilson

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