Take a guess. Why do you think Christian women struggle to achieve some of their most meaningful goals?
Some attribute it to poor planning, so they shop around for the best goal setting system. Others believe its a lack of willpower, so they try to muster up the motivation to “just stick with it” this time.
These things can definitely influence our success. But…I don’t think either of them are the main reason we struggle.
Here’s what I’ve seen…and what I’ve experienced:
As Christian women, we often struggle to achieve our goals because we’re focused on the outcomes, not the habits and beliefs that bring real life change.
In this post, I’m going to unpack why traditional goal setting often fails us and what we can do instead.
THE FLAW WITH TRADITIONAL GOAL SETTING
Many goals are about life-change: who you want to be or how you want to feel long-term.
- I want to write a book because I want to be an author.
- I want to lose 5 pounds because I want to be healthy and feel good about how I look.
We set a goal because it seems like the logical path to change. We even make our goals SMART (or SMARTER) because surely a clear destination will make achieving our goals easier. But here’s the potential hiccup:
Traditional goal setting focuses on outcomes. When we’re outcome focused,
it’s easy to overly rely on willpower and motivation to achieve change.
This is a problem because willpower is a muscle, and muscles eventually get tired. Motivation requires inspiration, and sometimes the inspiration just isn’t there.
A more effective way to make life change is to rely on tools that can act on auto-pilot. These tools are your beliefs and habits. Let’s get to know these tools and see how they can working for you.
WHY FOCUSING ON HABITS ROCKS
Habits are ingrained behaviors you do without thinking. As a result, they are a natural part of your life. You simply do them because you always do them.
Habits are essential to achievement and life-change because they help you do what people who have already achieved your goal do. Put another way, they help you achieve your goal and maintain it.
- Someone who is an author already has the habit of writing regularly.
- Someone who is at a healthy weight has the habits of regular exercise and portioning foods.
Habits are like your engine. If you put them to work, they can bring the results and life you desire without you having to think much about them.
If you want to develop habits that put you on the road to your goals, ask these questions:
- What does someone who has already achieved my goal do regularly?
- To do these things, what habits do I need to adopt or change?
- What is a small way I can start working toward these habit changes today?
WHY FOCUSING ON BELIEFS ROCKS EVEN MORE
If habits are your engine, beliefs are your gas. They fuel what you do and what you think you’re capable of doing in the future.
Habits expert James Clear says you need to actually work on your beliefs because, “It’s hard to change your habits if you never change the underlying beliefs that led to your past behavior.”
Here’s how this might play out in real life:
- If you see yourself as a writer, you’ll make daily writing a habit and believe you’re capable of overcoming challenges like writer’s block.
- If you see yourself as a author wanna be, your negative thoughts will discourage you from writing regularly and try to convince you that you’ll never get over writer’s block.
For this reason, it’s essential that you know and test your beliefs. You can do this by asking:
- Why am I having a hard time reaching my goal? (really unload everything you think and feel)
- What have I written that is true?
- What have I written that is untrue?
- Is anything based on the false assumption that I can’t change?
Many of our beliefs are unconscious. So, it’s important to really explore what you think and believe.
YOUR LIFE-CHANGE BEGINS WITH SPIRITUAL BELIEFS AND HABITS
You may wonder why I’m shifting the conversation to faith. The reason is simple: everything is spiritual when you’re a Christian.
Want a healthy self-concept? You need God’s truth to guide your beliefs.
Want to build habits that help you become who you want to be? You need the fruits of the Spirit, which include patience, faithfulness, peace, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
Now let’s be clear: We don’t seek God to get.
We worship and honor him as the Creator of all things. In his amazing grace and love,
he chooses to gives us good gifts.
It’s like a newborn baby. She cries for her parents because she needs them to do what she cannot. Her parents love her, so they don’t just change her diaper and feed her. They cuddle her, kiss her, and make her laugh because she is adored. In the same way, God gives beyond our basic needs!
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
If you want to really achieve and maintain your goals, I encourage you to take a new approach to life-change.
Commit to reading God’s word often. Let it continually fill your mind with truth about who God is and who you are.
Build other spiritual habits. This is how you grow closer to God, and get equipped with the faithfulness, patience, and self-control you need to love well and do what matters. We’d love to help you. Just download our Spiritual Habits Starter Guide below.
Identify an important goal and then run through the questions in this blog post. That will help you determine the habits you need to develop, and the thought patterns that work for and against you.
And if you want a planner or journal designed to help you build and stick with new habits, check out our ABIDE & FOCUS Planner.