Life doesn’t always allow us to choose our inflection points. In math, it’s the point at which a curve changes direction. In life, these moments can grab us by surprise with a phone call, a loss, or a diagnosis. Or, they may be the moments we’ve hoped and waited for such as a graduation, a birth, or a marriage. But if you’re like me, you’ve had unexpected inflection points wrapped in everyday situations too. And you’ve probably notice too – they don’t always come at a convenient time nor come with an announcement that what you’re about to do next really matters.
One such moment caught me by surprise more than a year and a half ago. It started with one innocent selfie in an app known for filters that give people bunny ears and whiskers. On that day it gave me a look complete with sunglasses and it rocked my world. Oh, if I had showed you the picture when I took it, the moment wouldn’t have stood out as anything special. Sure you might have thought it was a good picture, or maybe not, but either way it didn’t have a neon sign on it saying this moment was a game changer. Because looking back now, I can see with clear hindsight that moment was just that! That photo allowed me to see my potential differently than I had for a very long time.
When I think of that unlikely game-changer cell phone picture, I realize wisdom that is extra poignant just before the start of a new year. Whether you’re setting out to realize your dreams or reach your goals, these 5 important steps can help.
1. See the possibilities
It’s easy to allow ourselves to get entrenched in recurring patterns in our lives. The familiar, the comfortable, or the path of least resistance beacon us. Too easily we become repeat offenders of past choices. We settle into our habits not considering where they’re leading us. When we continue to live like that we’re choosing to live on autopilot and we’re allowing the past to make today’s decisions. Snap out of it! Look for the possibilities of where you can go, who you can become, and how you can grow. Pray for direction and that you can envision it. If you could take a picture of “it” what would it be? If you could take a selfie of your success, sort of like what I did, what would it show you?
2. Choose to pursue “it”
Once you’ve visualized your goal or identified your dream, commit to pursing it. Refuse to let it remain a wish. Take a few minutes and write down what it would mean if you achieved it. How would your life change? How would you be different? What beliefs or thoughts about yourself would need to change? How would the change support you being who you were created to be? For me, physical health has given me the energy to pursue the things I feel called to do. Does your dream equip you and will give you what you need? Set your resolve to pursue it.
3. Choose your next step.
Once you’ve identified a direction you’d like to go, identify your very next step in that direction. What is one thing you need to do to take one step no matter how big or small in that direction? You don’t have to map out the entire journey but you do need to choose to take your next step. For me, I decided to focus on what I ate. I planned my meals for the week and packed my lunch. It’s that simple! What’s your next step? Take it.
4. Establish the right habits
If we want to succeed, we can make it easier on ourselves and allow momentum to build as we change, learn, and progress. Or, we can make it harder but pushing against years of habits and how we’ve always done things. When we choose to use our energy to build habits that will take us in the direction we want to go, we’re providing a structure that will help us be successful. If for example we have a goal to learn a new language, we may plan to practice 15 minutes every day. Or, we may decide we’ll listen to an audible book on our commute. For me, my new habits included drinking more water and planning my meals. What habits do you need to build to help you be successful? If you work to build habits, your choices will become easier.
5. Rinse, Wash, and Repeat
Moving forward in life requires us to rinse, wash, and repeat daily. Life isn’t a destination but rather a journey. When you’ve reached a goal or dream, or perhaps when you’re smack dab in the middle of its pursuit and feeling discouraged, repeat from step one. Remind yourself of the possibilities, choose to see your potential, recommit to what’s important and choose your next step carefully. Sure you’ll make mistakes along the way. But each decision, each choice gives you an opportunity to be on track no matter what happened with your last step.
It’s your turn
Some inflection points in life come as the result of an alarm of sorts going off – a medical test result, a number on the scale, or some other external factor. But the thing about some alarms is in order for them to go off, we need to set them first. If we want to wake up early tomorrow, we’ll set our alarm clock tonight. Could it be that there’s an internal alarm clock that you need to set to trigger you to action this week?
Which step of the journey are you on? With the start of the New Year, I’ll be reflecting back to step one and looking for the possibilities that lay ahead. My goal is to refuse limits next year that I see from my human perspective. I’ve found that when I honestly seek God’s goals for my life, they’re much bigger and feel more impossible than the ones I come up with on my own. But, I’ve found they cause me to trust him and require that I listen carefully. When I do the results are always far greater than I could have ever dreamed!
I’d love to hear from you. Where are you in these steps today? What’s your goal for the New Year? Click to comment and join the conversation. And, if this has encouraged you, please click to share on social media. Together we can spread encouragement!
Before I go, I wanted to share the selfie that started my transformation and my before and after pics.
Until next time friend, be blessed!
You might also enjoy:
- 5 Reasons New Year’s Goals Fail and 5 Things You Can Do About It.
- 5 Effective Tips to Help You Reach Your Goals
- 5 Ways to Make the Most of Today
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Thank you for these thoughts, Susan! Something I love about goal-setting is that the goals that God sets before us often seem impossible to attain. But God specializes in the impossible! When we implement steps like the 5 steps you mentioned and rely on God’s guiding and empowering hand… The sky is the limit! 🙂
Erin, yes! He often gives us a heart or vision for what seems impossible. It causes us to trust him every step of the way and know where the victory is from. 🙂
Great ideas to help us all move forward on the life journey. I pray every day for a new home, I read my devotional every day and try to follow the way I am directed and day by day we wait. I try not to put to much thought into a plan of my own but to trust one will come. As the days go by, and it seems too quickly, I have to just keeping saying trust. I know we need to have a home by spring and I am trying so hard to be patient that something will come up. Just going day by day.
Linda, Always good to hear from you! Praying that you find just the right home and that while you wait for the right one to come along that you have peace about it. Take care, Susan