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Two Tips to Help You Actually Keep the Goals You Set

Jul 20, 2020

This post is by Lindsey Bell.

Have you ever planned to make a change and then failed to follow through? 

Most of us probably have more times than we’d care to admit. We have the best of intentions but then something happens and we don’t make good on those plans. Sometimes, the reason for this lack of follow through is because we set our goals too high. 

We know how important it is to start our day with the Lord, so we plan to jump in full steam ahead and read 4 chapters each morning. By the end of the month, we realize we are about 20 chapters behind, so we just give up altogether. 

Or maybe we want to start living a healthier lifestyle, so we plan to workout every day. At the end of the first week, our bodies hurt so badly we think a healthy lifestyle just isn’t in the cards for us.

The problem with these goals isn’t that they’re bad goals. Quite the opposite, in fact. The problem with these goals is that they’re too high. 

One of the keys to setting a goal you will actually keep is to set a realistic goal. 

A second key (and one that isn’t as well known) is to couple your goal with something you already do. Hang with me for a minute and I’ll explain what I mean by that. 

A few months back, I read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 which says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (NIV)

When I read this verse, I was reminded of one area that I really struggle with: giving this body God gave me enough water. I’ve never really liked water, so this has always been a struggle for me. But up until recently, I didn’t view this as a spiritual problem. I viewed it as a physical one. God convicted me during that reading that it’s actually both. 

Because the truth is, when I’m not hydrated enough, my body doesn’t function at its best. And when my body doesn’t function at its best, I can’t serve those around me as well. 

When I realized this, I set a goal to drink more water. My goal became 60 ounces a day. For me, that is a do-able, though still difficult, goal to reach. 

In order to be successful, I coupled by water-drinking with other activities I already do. When I wake up, I drink 10 ounces. I drink another 10 at each meal. By coupling water intake with things I already do, I’m able to drink 40 ounces without too much extra effort. That makes my goal of 60 ounces much less intimidating.  

Here’s another example of coupling. Say you want to spend more time in prayer but struggle to find the time. What’s an activity you already do every day that you could couple with prayer? Do you dry your hair each morning? Or take your dog for a walk? Or drive to work? Or cook dinner? What if you coupled prayer with one of these activities, praying the entire time you do it? 

These two keys, NOT setting a goal too high and coupling the goal with another activity, can help you MOVE your life in the direction you want it to go. 


Lindsey Bell is the author of Unbeaten: How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain (and you can too) and Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from Parents of the Bible. She’s also a contributor to several of the Hello Mornings Bible studies. She’s passionate about her two silly boys, her husband Keith, books of all kinds, and delicious dark chocolate. Her desire is to inspire and encourage other believers through honest dialogue about faith, family, and learning to love the life she’s been given. As a woman who has lost four babies to miscarriage, Lindsey loves helping others find God in the midst of heartache. Find Lindsey online at www.lindseymbell.com.

Photo by LARQ on Unsplash


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