Have You Ever?
Picture it. It's late December and you're trying to set your resolutions or goals for the upcoming new year. Some of those goals may include losing weight, going back to school, getting a better job. Or for some people, like me, finding ways to pamper myself. One year, one of my goals was to read the whole Bible in a year. I achieved that goal three years in a row. How was I able to do that? My Bible app sent me a daily reminder to read for that day.
Goals don't have to start at the beginning of the year, month, or week. We have the free will to set goals whenever we feel like it. The most important part of goal setting is achieving it. Some people are easily able to accomplish their goals because they are dogmatic about reaching them and will do whatever it takes to get that proverbial trophy. Yet, there are others who need a little more of a push, nudge, or not so subtle reminder of what they are looking to complete.
Last week, we had a webinar at work about achieving goals. We were introduced to the SMART goals principle and given the suggestion to start using this method in order to set realistic, more obtainable goals. It is stated that when you go beyond a generalized objective, the likelihood of completion is increased because it is more visibly believable to execute and finish. For those who do need the nudges and reminders, this may help improve the throughput. However, if using the SMART method still doesn't motivate you on your own, find yourself at least one accountability partner for the assist. And when this is the case, that is where this week's topic comes in handy.
According to Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com, accountability is defined as the state of being accountable. Accountable is stated as capable of being explained. (Okay, now off of the English lesson) Therefore, an accountability partner is someone who is there to remind you and EXPLAIN the reason you set your goal(s) in the first place. In a way, it is another form of motivation. Some people have a hard time disappointing others, so enlisting those people to keep you on the right path helps you not deviate from your plans.
I am currently doing a 28-Day devotional with a couple of my friends and as we discussed the topic at hand, I admitted that I am battling something that I feel may be hindering me from achieving something I have been actively seeking and praying for. While one of the friends was able to relate wholeheartedly with my situation because they've been there, the other could not. However, they both agreed that if this was a goal that I was serious about achieving, I could call/text them when I needed that extra reminder. They even recruited one of our friends that wasn't in the meeting as an additional accountability partner for me.
The funny thing about setting goals that feed into your spiritual well-being is that you tend to get reminders in almost everything you do. For instance, the same day we started the 28-Day devotional, I started a personal one on my own. Throughout the week, I would read the personal devotional and fell right into place with the goal I'd set for myself at the top of the week. Toward the end of the 7-day personal devotional, the title shown on the screen and I was like, UGH! There's that word, ACCOUNTABILITY, again. There was a tip that said making a phone call gave the highest likelihood of helping steer clear of the thing a person is trying to free themselves from. Even if you feel that you're doing well with this goal when you call your accountability partner, it's a time to check in to see the victories and failures that you've gone through so far. It helps assess what thing are working and what needs to being corrected in order to stay on the straight and narrow.
The not so funny part about the spiritual growth aspect of goal setting, is that the devil will present you with something that makes you pause and make excuses for why you shouldn't stay away from the very thing you're trying to rid your life of. In my case, it happened almost immediately. We started the group devotional on a Sunday evening and I set my goal. I had my accountability partners in place. However, the very next evening, I received a message. I wasn't able to look at the message that evening because I was on a 24-hour fast per the group devotional request. So, the next day, I read the message, responded to the sender and the dialogue that followed seemingly gave me the answer to one of the other prayers I had been praying for quite some time now. The problem is, it would interfere with the most recent goal I had set for myself, not even two full days prior. So, of course, I reached out to my partner that has been through the same situation I'm battling and I was like, "Well, what the heck do I do now?" The advice given was nice and I thought, just maybe this could possibly work out. Then, just to cover all thought processes on it, I spoke to my other two friends. They both saw where this was going to cause a problem and their response: Pray about it. Although they couldn't relate on the subject matter, they know that prayer is sometimes necessary when you don't feel strong enough to make the decisions on your own.
So here I am, a week into this devotional and attempting to stay with my goal. My question was, am I able to do this requested service without stunting my spiritual growth? This is where I appreciate the persons chosen to be my accountability partners at this moment because they are able to give me well-rounded decision-making dialogue to help me. Because I am able to gain counsel from those around me, I feel obligated to see this through.
As I set and crush my own goals, I have a few questions to ask you about your own:
Do you have an accountability partner or perhaps more than one?
What goes through your mind when you decide that you need an accountability partner to accomplish your goals?
Do you have the same go-to people for everything? Or do you seek out the help from a different person depending on the subject matter the goal is under?
Who is/are the go-to person(s) you seek out to in order to accomplish your endeavors?
Do you call them daily or do you think calling them actually helps at all?
If you're not doing that already, when will you start?