Goals…Write Them Down

Goals…Write Them Down

The New Year.  Everyone is about resolutions and setting new goals.  It’s fun to reflect back on the previous year to see what you did great and what needs improvement.  I used to be someone who would make mental notes of what I wanted to achieve but never took the time to put them on paper.  My wife and a trusted mentor called me out almost immediately on it… and they are right.  Studies show that when goals are written down you are far more likely to achieve them.

I came across an article a while ago about the global phenom and highly successful golfer, Rory McIlroy.  Brian Wacker published an article on PGATOUR.com talking about the top goals he thinks Rory should have based on is talent and momentum from 2014.  Rory is apparently an avid goal setter and has a standard procedure every year:

“McIlroy, who will open his PGA TOUR season at The Honda Classic next month and is in the field this week in Abu Dhabi, has carried a boarding pass with a set of goals written on it each year of his career.

‘I put it in my wallet and I memorize them,’ McIlroy said. ‘I don’t really want to share them with anyone else. They are just my little goals, and I’ll try and achieve those, and I’ll take that boarding pass out at the end of the year and see how well I’ve done.’”

Wow – how simple can it get?  There is no magic formula here other than mental consistency.  By knowing where you want to go you will be less likely to detour and waste precious time and energy.  By keeping your goals top of mind you are in essence staying accountable to yourself in the areas that matter most to you personally.

Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”  I encourage you to find someone you think is successful – someone you admire and respect – and ask them to an early morning coffee (most movers and shakers are early risers) to see what habits they’ve developed to get them where they are today.  I would venture to guess that one of their habits is writing goals down.  So what are you going to do this year?  I’d challenge you to step out of the box and write down a few goals on an index card, business card, stick-it note, or even a boarding pass.  Carry it with you and look at it often.  Memorize it.  Stay focused on it.  Be careful, you just might achieve it.

Kate’s Thoughts on the Matter of Goals:

What a great privilege you have. You get to be a part of a great story. Knowing what God’s vision is for your life and relationship is a cornerstone for thriving. It is very hard to get bored when you have God’s vision in front of you.

After Steve told me this story and being a person of goals myself, we created a vision statement and then we created one year goals. We had a mentor tell us to make five-year goals as well. We loved this so much. This is one of the greatest habits for keeping routine from sabotaging your romance — vision and goals. We made 10 year goals and a life goals list. We have a “date night list” and a “places to visit list”. We are regularly talking about how we can spice things up, add, change, or even eliminate things if they no longer serve us. 

If you never want to get bored in your romantic relationship than may you always see growth, potential, and God’s plan in your love life! May you be empowered to step up and to identify where you can dream bigger and go further. Where you can create energy, commitment, and joy for all you walk through as a team. That, my dear friends, will keep boredom at bay.

Me vs. You

Me vs. You

Lately, my wife and I have been talking about the various seasons of life people find themselves in and specifically the season we are in – young kids, school, new home, work, small group, and a busy schedule with even more things to do and less time to do them!

I think almost anyone you talk to will respond in a similar way, although the circumstances may be different – maybe you’re trying to get into college, land that first job, keep that girlfriend/boyfriend, work up the money to buy an engagement ring and propose, buy your first house, upgrade the car, deal with a challenging work environment, losing a job, changing careers, starting a family, increased finances, loss of finances, growing your marriage, trying to repair a damaged one, personal tragedy, sickness, family problems, raising kids, watching your kids leave the nest, grandchildren, retirement, death of a spouse or family member… the list is endless.  With so much going on at any given moment it is hard to stop, to pause, and just be.  We are busy, busy, busy… time may be our most valuable asset but sadly it is probably the most abused.

We live in a culture that thrives on endless connectivity (there is a lot more to say about this but I’ll reserve for another time), the internet, social media, Facebook, phones, apps, news, NetFlix, Hulu, entertainment, reality TV, music, eCommerce, money, materialism, sports, fashion, etc.  Unfortunately most of these activities center around, cater to, satisfy, and serve ME.  I don’t have time for YOU… did you see the list mentioned above and all the other demands/challenges/to-do’s that I did not have time to write about?  I’m struggling just to take care of and maintain ME, let alone anyone else outside of my immediate family.

When’s the last time you held the door for someone, bought the person’s coffee behind you in the Starbucks drive through, prayed for someone else’s needs instead of your own, gave of your time and money for a cause greater than yourself, spent time mentoring the next generation of leaders, really focused on your spouse’s needs/desires and did it with no strings attached, cancelled that golfing outing to spend time with your kids, wrote a friend a letter, asked a neighbor if they needed help, gave a gift to someone who has been influential in your life, served in your church or charity, or really took time to get to know the people that work for you in your organization?  This is not meant to be a guilt trip but to make us all stop and pause long enough to see how selfish we may have become and to find ways in our daily life to move the spotlight off of ME and onto YOU.  Whether you are a Jesus follower or not, our world would be a much better place if more people asked, “What can I do for you?”, instead of “What’s in it for me?”

I challenge you to broaden your view and fight the tendency to become narrowly and selfishly-minded.  On one paticular Sunday, our pastor mentioned that when worry grips us the best thing to do is immediately pray for someone else’s need.  This will not only put our own circumstances/challenges in perspective but will also help us trust God with our own needs.  Make a difference in someone else’s life today.  Be a light.  Be an encouragement.  Be compassionate.  Be generous.  Be caring.  Be sympathetic.  Be hospitable.  Be a blessing.  Be a servant.  Be YOU-focused outwardly.

Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT)

34 “Then the King [Jesus] will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f]you were doing it to me!’

Too Much Drinking

Too Much Drinking

The holiday’s can be so much fun!! They can also encompass too much of a good thing. I believe in moderation in almost all things. Too much sleep, your lazy. Too much sugar; you’re a glutton. Too much exercise; your obsessed. Too much of extended family; you loose relationships (Or secretly wish you could have “too much drink”). Too much of the holiday hoopla; You end up turning into The Grinch.

Stress creates a flight or fight situation. Even good stress. Identifying the stresses we face and how our bodies react to it will help us to understand how best to prevent the chronic repercussions that stress has on our minds and bodies. In doing so we can eliminate the unhealthy ways we fight or flee from our stress. Some people say they have it under control with exercise. If you say you exercise to maintain your stress great!! However, you could even be doing this wrong. Over working out, Doing “two a days”, and drinking protein like its going out of business is not healthy either. You know your over compensating for something.

I am here today to give you some practical tips on how to come back from just “too much.” If you are feeling overwhelmed, over-worked, and over everything this holiday I pray this encourages you and gives you practical ways to handle it.

First of all break down the problem into chunks. For this situation let us use the example of “too much drinking” as the problem here. This is not an issue for me or my husband even though we enjoy wine, so don’t panic. It is not a problem because we worked this out a few years ago after we had about four straight months of just a little too much of over indulging. Parties, traveling, work dinners, and stressful nights had become a norm. We were going to our wine cooler more than we would have liked. It’s not that we were alcoholic’s. Not even by a long shot but we were over doing it more than not. Maybe your drinking everyday, or bingeing on the weekends. Or maybe its a loved one that you need to raise the flag with. It’s not an issue yet, but if not addressed it will become one. This could be anything. It could be too much shopping, too much phone time, too much work, to many projects, too much sugar, too much tv, too much take-out, or too much obsessing of thinness.

This issue is creating a rub. It is not how you want to run your home, and you are choosing to get in front of it. You are no longer going to ignore this or scoot around it. Because you have decided your Creating Exceptional in every area, and that means this topic too.. This is not going to hold you back. Here is how to start.

  • Ask:  What are your feeling? What is the problem? What is the solution?
  • Ask open-ended questions  EX: “How can we partner together to make this better?
  • Listen to the answer! If your asking yourself you will be amazed at what you have shoving down and ignoring.
  • put your solution on paper
  • Now write down “adaptive” perfection – this is if you could be 100% awesome. This isn’t what you’re going to implement now. This isn’t the solution you just created. This is more than that. It’s what dreams are made of and eventually it may become your solution but for now you at least know what you want. Adaptive perfectionistis what lifestyle coaches and growth mindset experts use to develop positivity and optimism. Its a place for adapting their goals. Adaptive perfectionism is a perception of the fictitious “ideal”. It is where in the best most positive light, you can give yourself the best version of you.
  • Make a difference every day

This is how I would walk out “drinking too much”.

Break it down:

the reason we are drinking too much:

  1. Too many parties – The Excuse: I don’t want to be the part pooper or worse yet, someone thing I’m pregnant!
  2. Brother home from deployment – The Excuse: It is a celebration!
  3. Too much stress at bedtime with kids –  The excuse: I just need a minute of relaxation.
  4. Too much extended family – The Excuse: I can’t manage, so at least I’ll have fun.
  5. Not enough time to unwind – The Excuse: Wine helps relax me.

Q: What are you feeling?

A: Frustrated. I am consuming too much sugar and too stressed. I am feeling bad about not being disciplined enough. So then, I devalue myself by giving a pity party on top of it about weight gaining and not even enjoying the drink I have.

Q: How can someone partner with me?

A: I would love to have a flagging system in place if you we see each other choosing this too much. Like a double eye wink or a nose tap with the finger.

Solution: A number. When it comes a to a lot of things in life we set number’s or a time slot for ourselves. The Bible even talks about gaining wisdom from this.

Psalms 90:12 
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 

Many of us do this without even knowing it. One hour meetings. Five days for work. Rest on Sunday. Six weeks of school, one week off. Every two weeks we pay the bills. Every season shift we deep clean the house and change the airfilters.

When it comes to my exercise, I try to workout more than half the week. Seven days in a week means 3x doesn’t cut it for me. To exercise four times a week is fabulous, 7x is obsessive. So for logical reasoning, We do a very similar idea with our drinking habits.

*This is us, and our system. Some of you may thing that this sounds ridiculous. Some of you may think that’s still too much. The point is to make your own number and stick to it.  some poeple use the whole earn it system. If they worked out they can have a drink. With whatever you are working with find your number. What’s your sugar intake, tv amount, and work hour numbers?

Perfection: For drinking, it means never going over the rule. Not for a birthday, another holiday party, a wedding, funeral or even job loss. It’s not going over one glass ever for me and for Steve it is two. Perfection would be sticking to it rain or shine, and everything in-between.

Making a Difference:  It means you are making continuous and calculated steps to implement every day. You are numbering your days and tasks. Putting in place your plan of execution. In doing this you are growing wiser.

Go be great!

“If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.” Epictetus

Money and Marriage

Money and Marriage

Prominent research firms tell us that the top 2 leading causes for marital strain (and divorce) is money and sex.  I think most people would agree with this statement even if it wasn’t backed by statistics.  Interestingly enough, both of these have a common denominator that works like a virus, slowly infecting every aspect of our relationships.  Secrecy.   So let’s talk about “money” and its impact on marriage… but stay plugged into our blog for a future posting on sex and the topics that kill connection.

There are many things that Kate and I aspire to, but one of the top ones is managing our money wisely.  We want to get this right.  We want to look back decades from now and see the harvest that resulted from prudent and consistent seed sowing.  2 Timothy 1:14 tells us to guard the good deposit that was entrusted to us from the Lord.  We are stewards and money managers.  Money was here long before I took my first breath and it will be here long after me.  Many aspects of this life revolves around or is influenced by money.  But you cannot chase after money AND serve Christ (Matthew 6:24).  Jesus called out the problem 2000 years ago and the problem still persists today.

It has everything to do with your allegiance, your time, and your heart.  Our heart – the inner self that thinks, feels, and acts – is guilty of deceiving and misleading us (Jeremiah 17:9).  How many times have you followed your heart only to wind up in turmoil or pain?  I know I have.  And at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing.

Every now and then I listen to talk radio in the morning on the way to work.  On one particular morning, they were debating the question on whether married couples should share the same bank account or keep it separate.  The common answer to support the separation argument was around gifts and surprises.  The calls that continued to come in shocked me.  Many individuals had separate bank accounts that their spouse didn’t know about.  They kept their “fun money” in there and savings in case “things went sideways”.  When questioned, many of them saw no problem with it and really felt that it was the safe, respectable, and smart thing to do.  They had thought it through, it didn’t feel wrong, and so they acted on that rationale.

100% commitment is what is required for marriage – you can’t hold anything back, and this includes your finances.  Anything that is held back equals secrecy.  The old fashion saying is true, ‘what’s mine is yours, and your’s mine’.  Secrecy breeds distrust.  And a solid relationship can be built on nothing other than trust.  Secrecy slowly dissolves your foundation, working in the shadows until finally you’re facing collapse and ruin.  Don’t let this derail your marriage.

Money should be front and center in your marriage.  It should be something that you dialogue on often and challenge each other on… spending habits, investment habits, leisure habits, and giving habits.  Let the transparency in this area free you of the burden that so many couples deal with.  And hey, if you want to surprise your bride with something, just go pull out the cash anonymously… you can get really creative here.  Don’t let your heart take you down a path that will erode the core of the greatest establishment and relationship design that God has ever created.

Given that we have stepped into the giving season, let’s not forget a key application of our money.  On top of unity, let’s embrace goodness and generosity. Lets stop for a minute and move past our busy lives to see what we could do for just 10% of our efforts.  I’ll close with these inspirational scriptures:

“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped”.  -Proverbs 11:25 MSG

“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree”. -Proverbs 11:28 MSG

“At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe (a “literal” translation means “tenth”) of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do”. –Deuteronomy 14: 28-29