We arrived early for the cross-over service. Since there was little else to do, I decided to engage my teenage cousin in one of those ‘serious’ talk sessions. We got into the subject of goals for the year that was just about four hours away and I asked about hers for 2014.
“Hmmm”, she smiled “many o”
On and on she went about doing this and doing that, stopping this and starting that. Since I didn’t want to dampen her enthusiasm to share her new year dreams with me, I patiently listened. I must admit I was quite surprised at how deeply she’d thought about it because she touched on virtually every significant area of a young person’s life.
Few minutes later, she admitted “they’re many sha. I wrote them down. They’re about 26”.
That number stunned me. Knowing what I do about setting goals, I was concerned about her ability to successfully manage so many.
It’s still early days in the new year and the subject of goals and strategies for making 2014 the best year ever is still very much a trending topic. But somewhere between writing down our goals and attempting to accomplish them, there’s one question I’d like us to consider. It’s so powerful and important that Jesus himself said so.
It’s great to have worthwhile goals. Goals give targets to aim for and help us track our progress. But you may have noticed that very few people actually accomplish their goals. Infact, some have become so frustrated with their lack of achievement that they’ve totally given up on the idea of goal setting and making tangible plans for their desired future. When it doesn’t seem to be working, excuses and ‘reasons’ are cooked up to explain away our lack of results.
But I feel there’s a vital piece of this puzzle that some of us have not considered. It takes the shape of a simple, yet powerful question- What will THIS goal/dream cost me?
As my cousin reeled off her list, I mentally computed the likely cost of each. At a point (due to my knowledge of her person and her present phase of development), it became clear that there was almost no way she could handle all- the cost was just too high at this time. I gently advised her to trim the list so she could focus on those that were most important to her future and overall development as a young person.
Jesus posed an interesting question in Luke 14:28
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it”
It’s kind of easy to start new things, especially when enthusiasm and optimism is still sky-high (just like it is now). But the rewards we seek and the changes we desire do not show up just because we start stuff. They only unfold as we continue and make steady progress to the end.
So you have some listed goals for 2014. Have you also listed the cost of each of those goals? What will they demand of you? More study time? Less mindless surfing and chatting on facebook or other social media sites? New mentors and teachers? More courage? Losing the fear of mistakes? Accepting the risk of being laughed at as you pursue your dreams? What exactly will it cost you? Will it cost you new skills? Have you determined what it will take to acquire those skills? The time? Possibly the financial resources that will be involved?
This is what I’ve found. There are a few vital areas where our dreams demand a definite cost from us:
- Time: How much time will this require of me? What activities will I need to give up to make time for this? Everyone has exactly the same 24 hours. The difference is in what we do with it.
- Mentally: Albert Einstein remarked that we cannot solve problems while we carrying the mindset that created them in the first place. What will you need to learn to accomplish your goals? How long will it take to learn it (notice the time cost again)? Where/who will you learn from (online, books, mentors, a special training course, observation e.t.c.)?
- Emotionally: Virtually every goal demands that we do something new. Are you emotionally ready to take the risk? What if your first attempt fails? How will you handle rejection? What about lack of support from those whose opinions really matter to you? Are you emotionally prepared to fly solo if that’s what it’ll take?
- Physically: Our energy levels are limited. What physical demands will your goals place on your body? Will it require a bit less sleep? Will it require a change in diet (more, less, quality)? Will it demand better physical discipline? Yes, that dream will demand something from your body- find out what it is and gear up to pay the cost. Remember- if your body packs up, so does your dream.
- Spiritually: What spiritual disciplines will you need to develop to succeed in 2014? A more vibrant prayer life? More study and meditation? What exactly? Think about it.
Every goal that’s truly worth achieving will cost you something. When you’re able to identify the costs, you’re in a better position to plan wisely and prepare adequately. The year is still fresh. It’s not too late to count the cost. It is my prayer that in 2014, you’ll move from thoughts to actions, from excuses to results and from potentials to performance.
Go wow yourself!
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