Reaching your Goals – like, actually reaching them

stephan-gHello 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:

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…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.

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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.

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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.

 

Trust Issues

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When you think of the phrase “trust issues” what comes to your mind? What are the typical scenarios that cause such issues? An unfaithful partner, a friend who stabbed you in the back, or maybe someone you highly admired that disappointed you. We live in a world full of humans that are well…human. We let each other down constantly and all people in some way or another have reservations when it comes to trusting other people.  This is a topic that has more than earned the right of an entire blog post because we can all relate to it. However, PLOT TWIST, those aren’t the trust issues being discussed today. Instead, let’s talk about YOU! (Isn’t that so much more fun??)

On a scale of 1 – 10 how much would you say you trust yourself? (Dramatic pause so you can stop and actually rate yourself…) If you’re having a hard time coming up with a number think about it like this. When you have to make a really tough decision for your life– can you come up with a solution on your own and be ok with that, or do you have to call anyone willing to listen to help validate the conclusion you THINK you’ve come to? If something happens to make you feel a little insecure– do you look yourself in the mirror and determine to walk confidently, or do you search high and low for someone or something that can help you to feel secure again? I’d say you’re at a pretty solid 10 if you would do the “right thing” in either of those scenarios! However, if you’re thinking your life mirrors more of the “wrong thing” to do, JOIN THE CLUB……WELCOME! Haha! Let’s get real, if I’m being honest I would have to give myself a whopping 4 in the being able to trust myself department. I HAVE TRUST ISSUES! There have been so many times where I’m confident and feel good about something God has told me to do or I simply wanted to do, then one person asks a question or says something negative and my confidence flies out of the window. I can’t live life this way and neither can you! If we do we will always be taking two steps forward then five steps back. There’s no way progress can be made in our lives if our decisions reflect a seesaw, constantly going up then crashing back down because we don’t trust ourselves enough to boldly move forward.

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In beginning to trust ourselves we will see growth and change in our lives. The first two things that come to my mind are confidence and clarity. The first of the two seems pretty obvious; the very reason we can’t seem to trust ourselves is because we lack the confidence to do it!  The more we live life not giving one care in the world about what others will think, the more a bold and unshakable confidence will grow within us. Every single time you take that huge risk and rock that Pinterest outfit you’ve always wanted to WITHOUT face timing your bestie for a last minute boost of confidence, the more your confidence to wear whatever in the world you want to wear will grow!! I know, so freeing!! It’s almost humorous to think that the people in our lives that let us down at times are the very ones we turn to when we are in need of security and confidence. Don’t misunderstand, I LOVE people and people in our lives are needed and God- given, but they aren’t God. We will never find in them what can only be found in HIM. He loves us deeper than we could imagine (Romans 8:39) and when everyone in our life takes off, He never will (Deuteronomy 31:8).  Let your confidence rest in HIM and who He has created you to be!!

Number two, clarity or we could say, a clear vision for life. Growing up it wasn’t hard for me to be a “good girl” because I thrived off of making everyone happy. My fuel for life was making my parents proud. As I began to get older and even today this bleeds over into trying to “please” everyone. (I use quotations because this is absolutely impossible!!) It wasn’t until I began to ask myself, “What do YOU want to do?” that I began to make sense of my life. I had clarity and a vision for what I wanted my life to look like and then began to develop a plan in how to make that happen. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” If we feel stuck in a rut and lack a clear plan just MAYBE it’s due to a lack of confidence. Could it be that you really do know what to do but refuse to do it because of the fear of what others may think? Maybe your “plan or purpose” doesn’t look as grand as the person next to you so you feel inferior. Roy T. Bennett once said this, “The more you believed in yourself, the more you could trust yourself. The more you trust yourself, the less you compare yourself to others.” It is impossible to successfully move forward if we make a habit of looking back or to the side.

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Find YOU, do YOU BOO, and then be confident and never waiver because God made you amazing just the way you are. YOU are brilliant, YOU are beautiful, YOU are significant, YOU are a world-changer; and no opinion, insecurity, past decision, or dirty look will ever change that!! Be the beautiful you that only you can be. Accomplish the things that you and only you can accomplish by trusting yourself and most importantly trusting God to lead and guide you every step of the way. You do that and for you to fail is absolutely impossible!

 

I love y’all!!

Until next time,

Rae.xx