Living Well Spending Less: Part IV Written Goals Can Save Your Life

This week we continue going through Ruth Soukup’s book “Living Well Spending Less”.


If you haven’t been following, here are links to the previous three parts:

Secret #4: Written Goals Can Save Your Life

This blog post is about goal setting so it can seem quite removed from your faith in Christ especially if you are reading this blog post in isolation.  Be sure the review Parts I – III to accept and realise that goal setting is in the context of the changes you are wanting to make in your life and journey with Christ.  Not purely for achieving goals for their own sake.  The ultimate goal from Phillippians 3:13-14 is:

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”.

Some times we lack a clear direction and focus. As a result we can waste too much time on the things that do not matter and not finding the time for the things that DO matter.

Create a long term vision

Think about your life five or ten years from now.  Get thinking. Where do you live? What do you look like? Who are your friends?  What do you do for work? What do you do for fun? Where do you go for vacation? Are you married? Do you have children? What have you accomplished? What does your home look like?

Include everything from the important to not so important.  Even if it is just for a moment a seed of hope my be imprinted on you.  Even if it takes some time but thinking about it you can perhaps accept that things can be different, a different vision of the future is attainable if only you will take the first step.

Try to think of a successful goal oriented person in your life.  But delve deeper.  This person may seem more talented, more driven, courageous and smart.  But really think it through.  A part of it is having a long term vision.  They have taken the time to visualise what their lives would look like if nothing stood in their way.  They’ve given themselves enough freedom to dream about the future and that dream gives them enough confidence to figure out a way to get there.

But the dream comes first.

It’s almost a three step process:

  1. Imagine the life you aspire to;
  2. Write down these goals and aspirations;
  3. Take the necessary steps to make these goals happen.

Don’t have a fuzzy idea of your dreams in your head that you will achieve someday. You have to write them down. By writing them down it forced you to self evaluate your goals and decide what is most important. It also provides motivation to act on those dreams.
Writing them down makes them real. Once they are real you cannot ignore them.

Planning your route

Here are some tips o creating effective and concrete goals.

  1. Be clear on your objective(s)

You have to know where you want to go before you can know how to get there.  Trying to move forward without first taking time to clearly realise and write down your objectives won’t accomplish much because you’ll constantly be wondering where to go next.

Whenever possible, your goals and objectives need to be phrased in a way that is quantifiable so you can be clear on whether or not you have achieved them

2. Give yourself a due date

Setting a specific completion date for your goals automatically creates a greater sense of urgency.  Most people are procrastinators by nature.  You have to be aware and work around this.  Setting a due date help you combat the tendency to procrastinate.  It gives you just enough motivation to stop putting things off and really start getting things done.

In fact, a goal without a deadline is a pipe dream.

3. Breakdown large goals

Big, lofty goals have to be broken into smaller bits if you want to achieve them.  think of setting:

  • yearly;
  • quarterly;
  • monthly;
  • weekly and
  • daily;


If you have a really big project it may be helpful to put together a timeline of smaller goals.  Start with a deadline then work backwards so you have a series of small milestones leading up to the final completion date.  this helps you break it down in your mind so that you are not overwhelmed by the largeness of the task.

Each step on its own seems reasonable and doable.  This process of breaking down big goals also helps you know what to be working on and help avoid a false sense of security that you have plenty of time to get it done.

4. Track your progress

The best way to stay focused is to continually monitor and measure your progress.  Write down your goals in  a place you can refer to often – every day if necessary.

Don’t scribble your goals on little pieces of scrap paper.  Create a poster or put up a chalkboard, write your goals in your planner or post a list on your bathroom mirror (so you read them every day).

Do whatever it takes to put your list in a place that will force you to read them and remember all the things that you are working towards.

breaking your long term goals into smaller steps and monthly, weekly, and daily goals also helps you stay on track because it forces you to assess what you’ve done and what you still need to finish.

Create Accountability

Finding a person or group of people to hold you accountable can make a huge difference, especially those goals that require more self-discipline than you currently possess.

If there is someone in your life you trust or admire, consider asking them to be your accountability partner.

Your accountability partner may challenge you, encourage you and pray for you.  And you can offer to do the same for them.

If you can’t find a person you will have to challenge yourself to create your own accountability be it through tools, lists, checklists, a physical or digital planner, reporting tools (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly) to force yourself to be accountable.

Celebrate your success

Tick of your accomplishments, savor these moments and revel in the triumph of actually doing them.

Be sure to make time to celebrate not just big accomplishments and major milestones but the small victories too.  Congratulate yourself for a job well done.

Short term sacrifices for long term gain

An important shift in your life can occur if you begin making decisions based on what you want to accomplish five, ten or twenty years from now rather than what we want or think we want will make us happy right now.  Don’t let those advertisements and marketers stare you off track.  This is your life not there’s.

Setting long-term goals empowers you to delay gratification so you can achieve them.

Where to start?

A good idea is to break down your goal and vision into different categories.  Don’t be limited to the following.  This list is just to get you thinking.  The goals have to be your own :

  1. What milestones would you like to reach in your Christian life and in your Church?
  2. What sort of mother or father do you want to be?
  3. What kind of marriage and family life do you want to have?
  4. What impact would you like to have on your community and the world?
  5. What would you like to accomplish in your career and professional life?
  6. What awards, promotions or degrees would you like to receive?
  7. What sort of financial goals do you have?
  8. What fun things do you want to do with your life?
  9. What would you like to see?
  10. Who would you like to meet?
  11. What would you like to read?

Start by writing down anything and everything you can think of.  Give yourself freedom to dream big and get it all on paper.  From there you can break down that big list into “someday”, “within ten years”, ” within five years” and “within next year” categories and then break down those one year goals even further into goals for next month, week and day.

This workbook created by Ruth Soukup may assist you.

If you decide to use this workbook it will assist you with setting priorities, developing good habits, eliminating things that do NOT matter.  Life will offer its distractions so you need tools and a mindset to keep to your path.

If you take the time to get focused on your long term vision, write down some concrete goals for your future you are on your way.  You need direction and clarity to achieve your goals.  Written goals truly can keep you focused to the obstacles of life.  Written goals can change your life.

Pray about what your goals should be and where you are being lead by Christ.  Pay attention to the goals and mission that Christ has for you in this world.

Challenge: Plan your long term vision

Grab a coffee (or herbal tea), a notebook and give yourself some time to think and pray about your long term goals and dreams.  What would you like your life to look like ten years from now?  What sort of things would you like to achieve in your personal, professional and spiritual life? Don’t just think about these goals. Write them down!

Next, make a date with your partner or accountability partner or friend and discuss your long term vision.  Dream big and to be honest about what you’d like to achieve, see and do in your future.  Create a plan and write down your goals in a place you will see often.

Break down that long term vision you have created into smaller short term goals.  What are five things you can accomplish in the next year?  What are five things you want to accomplish in the next month?

Use the workbook provided if you are feeling overwhelmed.

Remember that your ultimate goal should be from Phillippians 3:13-14 is:

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”.

Commit to spend time each day to pray for guidance on what your goals should be.  If this chapter isn’t as personally engaging as previous chapters make your own assessments on what Christ is telling you and what and how you can implement any of the Ruth’s suggestions.

If you are enjoying going through the book “Living Well Spending Less”, please support the author Ruth Soukup and purchase her book.

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