Press On Towards Your Goal, by Michelle Nezat
With the first day of spring just days away, my heart swells with the hope of the newness of life that is beginning to pop up all around us. My favorite? Tulips. Out of the ground that has frozen, died and lies seemingly dormant pops up this bright and fresh gift of the new season.
No matter how much I love spring, my favorite flower won’t bloom without winter. Tulips require an extended period of cold dormancy before they will flower.
Perhaps you’ve been in a season of cold dormancy and you are ready to start over. While it may seem appealing to start new in a “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” sort of way, it doesn’t mean we should start over.
Even when the apostle Paul speaks of this in his letter to the Philippians, he begins with a list of his credentials that seem to hold great value. In fact, his heritage and education became building blocks upon which his ministry was built. Yet he goes on to say, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7-8, NLT).
Paul’s heritage and education gave him opportunities that no other apostle had. Throughout the course of his ministry, he was given audience by Jew and Gentile, pauper and king. When Paul speaks of “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” he is not saying his past is meaningless and is a slate that needs to be wiped clean. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
Paul isn’t starting over; he’s pressing on. “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:14) Paul didn’t need a shiny new goal every season — he just had to focus on the only prize that really matters … the heavenly one that God is calling all of us toward.
In fact, Paul’s journey mirrored some of the steps we are taking — he spoke publicly, he traveled, and he wrote — all while using his background and gifts. The lesson he learned was to place the greatest value NOT on the gifts or the journey, but in its rightful place — on the Giver and the final destination.
How can you differentiate between starting over and pressing on?
Take the next logical step.
Chances are you’ve made progress toward goals you didn’t complete last year. Don’t ditch your “old” goals for new ones — just take the next logical step toward accomplishing them.
Rearrange your goals.
A year’s worth of goals need not be worked on all year. Focused effort every three months on one or two goals will yield greater results than working on five goals over the course of a year. Rearrange your goals to work on one or two per quarter with greater focus.
Add new goals.
I can’t help myself. New seasons afford us the opportunity to reassess and take advantage of fresh opportunities that may not have been available to us in the previous one.
Hack your habits.
I don’t have to force myself to fix my coffee in the morning and turn on the news. It’s my morning habit. Hack into your morning, afternoon or evening routine, and sneak in daily progress toward one of your goals. Maybe it’s writing a specific word count each day, finishing some training you started or marking out time to take the next logical step toward one of your focused goals.
Fix your focus.
What are you reaching for? Getting published, producing a podcast, booking speaking gigs, launching a blog or advancing your platform are all wonderful goals. May they be building blocks we build upon with our eyes fixed ahead toward the heavenly prize we seek.
Sometimes the cold and dormant season we are coming out of is exactly what we need to bloom. As you enter this new season, don’t endeavor to start over — make plans to press on.
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