Hello my Friends,
Today I’m thrilled to introduce to you our first male guest blogger on Unescorted! This is my good friend, Stephan Gregoire, who I grew up with back in Austin, Texas. He is now a full time missionary in Mexico and is doing amazing things for the glory of God! I’m proud to know him and I’m honored that he would take the time to share his heart with us on Unescorted. He’s single and thriving in what God has called him to, so he fits in nicely with the Unescorted crew!! I pray you all enjoy the powerful, yet practical truths he shares with us today! Love y’all! – Rae. xx
As a young adult you may find yourself in a period of reinventing or rediscovering your life. If you’re in your twenties and feel like you’re having a quarter-life crisis, don’t fret; tons of famous inventors, performers, and entrepreneurs didn’t start until their thirties or later.
I want to talk about a recent discovery that turned my life around. I’ve always been a pretty idealistic guy with big hopes and dreams, but I’ve also been the kind of guy not to finish what he started. Let me give you five tips that turned me from someone who didn’t reach the goals he set, to someone who consistently accomplishes them.
Step 1 – Understand what you honestly want.
This is the first and biggest major key, for me anyways. As a young man I was the type who was happy to do what parents, pastors, and teachers told me. This isn’t a bad thing, it made sense to me, and it worked out towards a lot of my success. However, if you never learn to think and decide for yourself, you may find yourself where I was: Doing everything right, but extremely frustrated and unhappy in life.
I was pressuring myself with desires that others wanted for me – not my own.
If you’re not reaching your goals, it may be because you’re imposing goals on yourself that you feel you should want. (Quick pro life tip: never live by “should”). It can be a few things causing this. Well-meaning leaders pressuring you, or you’re comparing yourself to others, or you misunderstand God’s plan for your life.
Look – God wired you with your own internal deep desires. When something is connected to your destiny, there’s an inexplicable magnetic feeling that just feels “right”. When something is not God’s plan for you, something will just feel “off.” This is hard to describe, so the best thing I can say is test it out by trial and error to learn what your gut is telling you.
Do this: stop and take an account of what you actually want in life.
Write a list down on a piece of paper or a note on your phone. Be honest with yourself. Resist the urge to put things you should want, and resist the feeling that what you’re writing down may seem selfish. This should be a short list – maybe two or three items even. For example, here’s what mine ended up looking like:
…now we have something to work with.
Step 2 – Visualize the result.
Now that you’ve got an honest inventory of your biggest desires, this is the part where they turn into dreams. The cheesy saying is true, that if you can imagine it, you can create it.
Let’s use my “be fit” item for an easy example. I had dabbled in the gym but never took it seriously, even though it was a big part of what I wanted to accomplish. The “eureka” moment came when I took an honest account of where I was at, and imagined what I would look like in a year with consistent training. Because of this image I invested in the gym like never before.
Pick one of your desires and let your mind wander as you picture it in your head.
Say you want to be a conference speaker. Can you imagine the stage design? How big the crowd is? The demographic of the audience? The number of spotlights? Can you see yourself saying the types of things you want to say?
This is what people are talking about when they say they have a vision. This picture in your head can give you focus and motivation.
Step 3 – Set an amount, and set a deadline.
The Bible says in Habakkuk, “write the vision down, make it plain.” Making your vision plain – here’s where your dreams turn into actual goals.
Option 1: Start with an amount
To begin saving up to travel the world, first I had to get out of debt. This was an easy amount to figure out – whatever amount I needed to pay off to get back to $0! I figured out how much extra I could pay off each month by cutting back my spending. Then I counted how many months it would take to reach zero. It wasn’t as hopeless as I thought, and within a year I was debt-free.
Option 2: Start with a deadline
Another idea is to come up with a time frame first, and then figure out a realistic amount to be reached by that time. For fitness, I gave myself a timeline of one year, then researched how much muscle strength could be gained in that time. I was pleasantly surprised when I surpassed it at the year’s mark.
Whether you start by picking an amount or a deadline, your goal needs both (otherwise it’s not a goal!)
Note, not all goals can be quantified into an amount so obviously. Maybe your desire is to learn something. You can translate that into a goal such as “take 10 classes in this field of study.”
One last thing. For now, only focus on one goal, and one with a time frame in less than one year. Once you’re making progress, then you can begin working on another goal at the same time, or thinking about goals that have longer time frames.
Step 4 – Google a plan.
You know the what, the when, and the how much. Now it’s time for the how.
Notice I don’t want you to come up with a plan. There are a hundred experts who have already laid out the steps to do what you want. Consult Professor Google or visit the University of YouTube and find someone who seems like they know what they’re talking about. It’s literally as easy as typing “how to get x amount of y in z months” into the search bar.
Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps were a great resource for getting out of debt. Plenty of bodybuilding websites have proven workout routines. eHow has steps for basically anything you can imagine.
Don’t worry about finding the best plan for now. Just find anything that gives you steps that you can start working on. If you find a new plan later on that works better for you, then by all means, switch to that.
Following these steps is how you’re going to realize the goal. Now there’s just one more thing you need to do.
Step 5 – Make a lifestyle decision.
Smart people know that diets don’t work. You lost weight, but once you stop the diet, you just gain the weight right back. If you want a lasting change, then you need to make an actual change that will last forever.
A lifestyle decision is basically this: what will you say no to from now on?
Working out with a busy schedule meant waking earlier to get to the gym. Waking earlier meant going to bed earlier. That meant no more “falling asleep” to Netflix.
Cutting back spending by not going out with friends was harder. You don’t want to let them down, but they keep inviting you. Having consciously decided ahead of time that, “no, I’m not going to go to movies or restaurants” made it easier to stand my ground. Eventually, we came up with better, more fun, and cheaper things to do.
When this gets difficult, go back to that mental image of your goal fulfilled, and remind yourself that there are bigger things than how you feel right now.
Congratulations – you’re on your way to what you’ve always wanted. And you’ll find the results will come much quicker than you expected. You’re no longer sitting around hoping it to arrive someday. I don’t profess to be some guru, heck, I’m in the same early adulthood singleness as the rest of you. But I can say that these 5 tips have worked wonders for me.
Bonus Round – What to expect.
Expect setbacks. You might get sick, things come up, priorities change. It’s not a big deal. Just recalculate.
Expect criticism. Other people aren’t gonna get it. I don’t know why some people feel the need to talk you down when your priorities don’t line up with theirs, but they do. Listen to what they have to say, smile and say thanks, but if it doesn’t help you, throw their bad advice away. Also, don’t talk about your goals unless someone asks. It can feel frustrating when someone else isn’t passionate about something like you are, but that’s normal.
Expect your wants to change over time. After a while pursuing something you might realize it just wasn’t for you. Depending on the time invested, it may feel devastating. But take all the good that you learned from it and adjust. You didn’t waste a thing. Life is a forever adventure of discovering the world and discovering yourself. Change, even in yourself, is a part of it.
Most importantly, expect results. Expect your hard work to pay off, and expect people to notice.
Thanks for reading!
– Stephan G.