Start 2015 Right: 5 Steps to a Better You
30 Days of Motivation
to Day 1 of my annual 30 Days of Motivation! (Subscribe right now!) Most of my posts will likely be pretty short – just a motivational image to ponder, brief comments on that quote and a matching scripture to reflect on. Today is longer because I believe today’s topic is the foundation of lasting true change. Today we are talking about self-examination and goal setting. Sound boring? Well, it’s not a fun topic really, but it’s one hurdle we have to get over on the way to the finish line. Ready? Set? Go! Here are 5 Steps to a Better You in 2015!!
Day 1: Be Your best
Quote of the Day: “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time,” Zig Ziglar
Scripture of the Day: “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 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 3:13-14
There are 2 big mistakes people make often. They don’t aim for anything particular or they let past failures keep them from aiming higeher. Scripture is clear to forget the past and look ahead, to press on (keep trying), despite past failure. Sadly, I believe it’s past failure that keeps people from even attempting to make New Year’s Resolutions or setting new goals. 2015 is a year to make a change.
Step 1: What Are You Aiming For?
Life, like sports, should have a goal. Otherwise, how do you know what direction to go or how to get ahead?
While some people may be letting past failures keep them from setting new goals, some people’s problem may be that they treat New Year’s Resolutions more like making a birthday wish. They say what they want to themselves, blow out the “candle” and wait for something to magically happen all year. Others may just not have a good grasp on how to set goals period.
If you want change in 2015, I suggest you set goals. Just like Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” While I don’t think you should wait until the New Year to set goals, I do think this is one of the best times of year to reflect on everything you did right – as well as everything you did wrong. Self-examination is not only necessary for improvement but it’s healthy. Without goals and self-examination, we become complacent. Why do you think we have exams in school? Because teachers want to make sure you are progressing, and find out where you still need work.
2. Exam Time!
: a detailed inspection or investigation.
: a close and careful study of someone or something to find signs of illness or injury
: a test to show a person’s progress, knowledge, or ability
The same way we would be required to take an exam at the end of the school year to test our progress, we should set time aside to exam ourself during different seasons of our own life. Life is a school and our body, in many ways, is a science project. The same way we would examine a science project that didn’t go right, we should look at last year and see what we could add or take away from the equation that could help bring a better outcome.
Even if last year was amazing, we should reflect on what made it amazing and how we can either maintain that or make it even better. The fact is, we ALL have stuff to work on. Whether it’s our health, weight, financial security, spiritual growth or what type of husband, wife, mother, brother, sister, or friend we are – the first step is self-examination. It’s so important, the Bible mentions is many times.
- “But a man must examine himself” 1 Corinthians 11:27-31
- “Examine yourselves…Test yourselves” 2 Corinthians 13:5
- “But each one must examine his own work” Galatians 6:4
- “Let us examine and probe our ways.” Lamentations 3:40
- “Consider your ways!” Haggai 1:5-7
(read more about what scripture has to say about self-examination)
3. Pull Out the Mirror
Self-examination requires honestly. There is nothing that is more honest to me than the mirror. I can convince myself I feel like I’m 20 years old. I can still picture myself in my twenties. I can even prove to you I’m stronger and fitter than I was when I was 20. However, if I hang out with teenagers, while I still may fool myself into thinking I’m still young, they remind me I’m not as young as I feel. But one thing I can’t argue at all is what the mirror says. When I pull out the mirror, the rude awakening of facing my image in the glass reflection, the wrinkles and grey hairs, are brutally honest – tellinh me I’m no where near 20 anymore.
Unfortunately, many people do not look at their life honestly. They look at their life more relatively. For instance, they may feel pretty fit compared to their out of shape family. Or someone may feel like they eat really healthy compared to all their pizza-loving, beer-drinking friends. True self-examination requires open eyes and a clear view of one’s real self, compared to the healthiest, happiest, best version of your own self – not compared to someone else’s hot mess.
“I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think (rate yourself) with sober judgment” Romans 12:3
Another words, don’t fool yourself. Rate yourself with a clear head and clear judgement. Ironically, even if we know we have stuff to work on, it’s easy to think more highly of ourself than we should. No one likes to feel like a failure, but this isn’t about feeling like a failure, this is about simply improving. But, many times, in order to feel better about ourself, we are too busy pointing out everyone’s mess to recognize our own areas of weakness. It’s the proverbial plank-eye scripture.
“First take the log (plank) out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5
The best way to look at yourself is to look at you now compared to the younger you, the best you, the you God desires you to be. If it was just you and God alone, what are the areas you think He’d want you to work on? Would he wish you’d take better care of your body? Maybe He’d like you to spend more time with Him or be a better spouse. Whatever it is, you must remember you are your only competition.
4. Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Paper
If God had the chance to sit me down, I doubt very seriously He’d do some name dropping. He’s not going to say, “Bonnie, you are doing OK, but have you seen Kristie lately? That’s who you need to be more like”. No way! It would just be about me and Him – so keep your eyes on your own paper during your self-examination time. Remember my quote saying “I will beat her” (pictured right). This year, in 2015, I want to beat the old 2014 me. That’s the only person I want to beat.
Now, if you are ready to begin this journey to a new you, then here are the steps to making 2015 your very best yet!
5. Set Goals
1. Examine yourself – both good and bad. Make a list of your weak areas that need strengthening and make a list of your strengths too.
2. Set annual goals – both broad and specific.
3. Set monthly goals – set a goal just for January and focus on that goal the most.
4. Set weekly goals – set the goals needed each week to help you meet your monthly goal. This can be a set number of days you want to workout a week or how many pounds a week you want to lose. Weekly goals should be easily maintainable and help you stay on track.
5. Set daily goals – Daily goals may be centered on a new daily habit, like going to be early, or sticking to a specific daily caloric budget. Daily goals are necessary in reaching your weekly goal.
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