July is coming to an end soon. It has been more than six months since you set your SMART goals for the year (assuming you did). If you are like me, July is a time of worrying, maybe frustration, even despair. Did you make enough progress towards your goal to make it to the finish line in December? Perhaps you are wondering if you even have what it takes. Leadership authors call this “the messy middle,” that period in the middle of a project, or a year, when we all feel the pressure and many a leader call it quits.
It’s Decision Time
We all want to reach our goals and see our vision come to reality, but just like a runner around km 25 of a marathon, this is a crucial time of decision. Are we going to quit or push through? Our response to “the messy middle” will determine whether we have succeeded or failed by December 31. Here are seven things you can do to get back on track and continue strong in your pursuit of your God-given goals and vision.
Pray for wisdom and courage. Our leadership is spiritual, and God is our ultimate leader. It is only logical that we go to Him when things get difficult. Never underestimate the power of falling on your face before God, recognizing your limitations and begging Him for help.
Go back to your SMART Goals. Review the goals you set before God back in January. If you have been doing it all along, congratulations. If you put them away in February and forgot about them, this is the best time to change course.
Connect with your Why. Goals are mere tools, steps to accomplish the vision and the calling God has shown you. Your vision and passion are the things that will motivate you to keep pushing on when it gets muddy and making progress seems impossible.
Find Small Victories and Celebrate. It is important to do this step. Surely you made some progress. Think about them and celebrate, being thankful to God for bringing you thus far.
Find Small (or big) Failures and Correct. This is when you will have to be brutally honest (but positive). What didn’t work? Where did you fail? What corrective actions do you have to take?
Start Implementing NOW. This seems obvious, but a marathon runner doesn’t stop running to evaluate his physical status. Whatever assessment you do, don’t stop running. Whatever decision you make, put it to work immediately.
Plan the next Review. In the last few years, we have implemented formal quarterly goal reviews at ILI. This has helped me greatly with my personal goals as well. If this is the first time you review your 2019 goals, October is the best time for your next one.
Picture yourself in December, celebrating with joy the accomplishment of the Goals you set in January. That will not happen by itself. No great achievement comes without constant discipline. Goalsetting was just the first step. Take these seven review steps and let’s continue running strong, for the glory of the One who called us.