Category: Living

He Set The Course For Victory

“He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones” (Proverbs 2:7-8, NIV).

Are you facing a challenge or difficulty that seems overwhelming? When you stand strong and remain faithful to God, He promises to set your course for victory! And victory doesn´t necessarily mean everything is going to go our way all the time or work out the way we planned.



The Bible says that the real battle we face isn´t in our circumstances, it´s in our minds. The enemy is after your thoughts. He´s after your peace and joy. He knows that when you have peace, it´s a sign that you are connected to the Father. When you hold on to your peace and choose to be joyful, you are walking in victory, and it´s just a matter of time before your circumstances line up!

Remember, God knew every person who would wrong you, and He´s already laid out your vindication. God knew every disappointment, and He´s already laid out new opportunities. God knew everything that would be stolen, and He has already laid out your restoration. Rejoice today knowing that He has set your course for victory in every area of your life!

Father in heaven, thank You for the victory You have in store for me. I choose to be faithful; I choose to walk humbly before You. I stand in faith knowing You are working all things together for my good because You love me. In Jesus´ Name. Amen.

Joel and Victoria Osteen

#MondayMotivation: Let’s Really Get Ready For The Summer!

Wherever you are in your life, you know what this time of the year means: the summer season is right around the corner. Throughout the spring, I always hear that people can’t wait for summer so they could take a vacation or get more stuff done. And yet, every September I hear from just as many folks lamenting about how quickly another summer has passed and once again, they failed to make progress on their projects. As we head into summer, I’m feeling motivated to help eradicate end-of-summer regret!

While we often fantasize about the freedom that summer represents, there are some important challenges to consider during the summer months. The most important challenge is the deception of unstructured time. Warmer weather, seemingly longer days, and more social functions can create the illusion that we have lots of time. Imagining that we have infinite time can lead us to procrastinate and/or belabor tasks unnecessarily. Putting off doing certain things until the summer can create intense pressure to complete a years’ worth of work in just 12 short weeks.

Childcare poses yet another challenge to being productive over the summer. Schedule changes for school-aged children, gaps between the end of school and the beginning of summer camps, and the increased expense of additional childcare during the summer months can leave some parents struggling to manage additional childcare and a taking care of their own business. Finally, some of you are simply exhausted from the intensity of the “regular” year and, more than anything else, you feel the need to address all the neglected areas of your physical health, social life, and personal relationships during the summer months.

While it’s important to understand the challenges people face during summer breaks, they point to the keys for a productive summer. I believe those are: 1) knowing what your needs are and what you need to accomplish, 2) creating a realistic plan to meet all of your needs, and 3) connecting with the type of community, support, and accountability that will sustain you through the summer months. This week I want to encourage you to set aside 30-60 minutes, grab your calendar and a piece of paper, and develop a clear and concrete plan.

How to Create a Summer Plan

When you have a plan for your personal goals this summer, you automatically lower the possibility of experiencing end-of-summer regret because you will have proactively and consciously chosen activities that lead to specific endpoints. A summer plan allows you to define your goals, identify the activities that will help you achieve them, and provides you with the confidence that when September rolls around, you will have accomplished all the things that are important to you and your future success.

Step #1: Start With Your Goals

Start by writing down all of your personal and professional goals for the summer. I make sure my goals are SMART goals. In other words, I try to state my goals in Specific, Measurable, Attractive, Realistic, and Time-Framed statements. So, instead of listing “make progress on my book” and “learn how to cook” as goals, I write “complete the first draft of chapter 2 by August 1st” and “take one cooking class each month.” Listing your goals is the fun part, so enjoy it.

Step #2: Outline The Tasks That Are Required To Achieve Your Goals

For each of your end-of-summer goals, determine all the tasks necessary to achieve the goal. For example, if one of your goals is to submit that manuscript that’s been in your head all year, then ask yourself: What specific tasks do I need to complete in order to create a draft and submit my manuscript? Your list could look something like the following:

  • Find an editor & review whatever comments they make.
  • Cry a little.
  • Create a list of necessary revisions.
  • Read for revision.
  • Re-analyze.
  • Revise the writing and make updates.
  • Draft a cover letter explaining how you addressed the reviewers’ comments.
  • Submit the revised manuscript to the journal.
  • Celebrate the submission.

Each of your goals will require specific tasks in order to be accomplished by the Fall. If you’re a visual person (as opposed to a list-maker), then try mapping out a flow chart for each of your goals. Some will be simple and others will be complex; the main point is that if all you’re doing is setting goals without identifying all the small steps that are necessary to achieve them, you are unlikely to finish the summer with much progress or productivity.

Step #3: Map Your Projects Onto Time

Here’s where it always gets ugly. Take a long hard look at your calendar and make sure you have blocked out all of your summer commitments (vacation, travel, childcare, summer work conferences, etc.). What is left is the time you realistically have to complete all the projects necessary to accomplish your goals. Use your best estimate as to how long your projects will take and find specific weeks in your calendar when this work will get done.

I believe that this is where things get ugly because inevitably you will have more projects than will fit into 12 weeks. In fact, your summer may suddenly seem shockingly short! Don’t worry, this happens to everyone, and the point of this exercise is to force this realization now (as opposed to August) because now you can proactively make decisions about the work that doesn’t fit into your calendar by scaling back your goals, re-negotiating deadlines, requesting additional support, prioritizing, delegating, and/or letting some things go. Whatever you decide, you will feel far more empowered making your decisions in advance than simply hoping you’ll meet all of your goals and then ending another summer disappointed and frustrated over all the work that didn’t get done.

Step #4: Execute The Plan On A Daily Basis

Once you have a plan for your summer activities, it’s up to you to actually do it! I sit down at the beginning of each week to review what tasks I have planned for that week and figure out what specific day and time I will complete them. We are all motivated by different things, so try to figure out what motivates YOU and build it into your daily life. Personally, I am motivated by a good tasting snack, so when I finish my tasks, I like to snack on a little chips & salsa or popcorn. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant; they’re just a little dose of personal pleasure for a job completed.

Step #5: Create Support And Accountability

Summer is a time when you will need extra support and accountability because a lot of activities start to heat up. This is an ideal time to start an accountability group, seek help or even turn to your mentor. Whatever you do, don’t try to go it alone! There are many wonderful communities of support that already exist, and you have the power to create them in your own local environment.

As always, adapt these steps to fit your life circumstances and personal needs. And once you have a plan, I encourage you to share it with your mentors to get their suggestions, feedback, and ideas. This way, no matter how your “regular” year ended, you know that this summer, you have a clear plan!

I hope that going through the process of making a summer plan will help you to identify your priorities, clarify how all of your personal and professional needs can get met, and energize you for the summer months.

He Gives What You Need

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD

In Second Samuel Chapter 12, David had gotten off course. The prophet Nathan was correcting him. In doing so, he reminded David of what God had brought him through. David had seen God’s goodness, favor, protection, finances and healing down through the years. And in verse 8, Nathan made an interesting statement. He said, “David, if it had not been enough, God would have given you much, much more.” In other words, “David, looking back over your life, if you were ever lacking, if you ever needed more wisdom, more favor, more protection, more finances, God would have given it to you.”

That tells us that we have what we need right now in order to fulfill our destiny. The moment that what you have becomes not enough is the moment that God will give you more. The moment something starts to keep you from your destiny, the moment it begins to stop God’s plan for your life is the moment God will show up and intervene on your behalf.

Today, be encouraged that you have what you need, and what you need tomorrow is on its way! God is faithful and gives you what you need to fulfill His purposes.

 

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father, thank You for being my Source and Supply. I declare that my trust and hope is in You. I choose to rest in You knowing that You have provided everything I need for today in Jesus’ name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen

#MondayMotivation: Tick Tock, Goes The Summer Clock!

You know summer is in full effect because most people are trying not to countdown how many days of summer they have left! Those feelings of anxiety and frustration are both very real and predictable. As a result, let’s focus on some concrete ways to deal with Failing to Recognize and Adjust to the Rhythms of the Summer.

Each season has a natural energetic rhythm. You may have high energy at the beginning of the year, it flattens out during the middle (as reality sinks in), and towards the end of the year, you may find yourself dragging from some combination of disappointment, frustration, exhaustion, and/or drama. So now that we are in full-fledged summer mode, if you find yourself feeling bone-weary, that’s perfectly normal! This week, I encourage you to recognize the current intensity you’re experiencing for what it is: a predictable rhythm of the summer. Knowing this is a recurring pattern should enable you to be gentle with yourself and make behavioral adjustments that will allow you not only to survive but thrive during the summer crunch time.

10 Tips for Thriving During Crunch Time

I believe that stressful times call for unique coping strategies. The following tips are the collected wisdom about how others maintain sanity during the summer crunch time. The underlying theme is that when you’re pressed for time, you must be proactive, strategic, and clear about how you spend each moment. Too often when things get hectic, we sacrifice our own needs so that everyone else’s can get met. Instead, each of these suggestions is aimed at minimizing the things that don’t matter so that you can move through the busiest time of the year without surrendering your health or productivity.

Tip #1: Clearly Communicate To Others That It Is Crunch Time

Let those who live with you and/or are impacted by your behavior know that the next week (or two) will be difficult, assure them that it’s a finite period of time, and let them know you appreciate their support and understanding. I find that people are willing to assist me when I communicate my needs ahead of time.

Tip #2: Lower Your Standards In Non-Essential Areas Of Life

Typically, I sleep 7 hours per night. When I’m in a crunch, I sleep 5-6 hours per night when it really should be more. Sleep is one of those things that should be non-negotiable! The point is to ask yourself: what can I let slide a bit without the negative consequences?

Tip #3: Ruthlessly Assess What ACTUALLY Needs To Get Done

Some people do not check their email every day, so it might not be a good idea to email certain people on a regular basis since they won’t be reading it anyway. You can save time by either calling those people you need to get a hold of or sending them a quick text. This way you can spend your time emailing those who will actually be checking.

Tip #4: Say NO To Every Request From Now Until The End Of The Summer

If you are struggling to find time to complete all of the things on your to-do list, it makes no sense to add more items. In other words, when your time is scarce, one of the worst things you can do is to take on any additional responsibilities. Say “no” often, clearly, and without guilt.

Tip #5: Every Day Needs A Plan

Take 30 minutes on Sunday night to get your to-do list out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Then force yourself to place each of your tasks onto a specific time in your calendar. If you don’t have enough time for the tasks, then delegate them, re-negotiate the deadline, or let them go. This will help clarify your week and force you to make the tough decisions in advance. Then each morning, you only need to spend two minutes reviewing the items you must complete for that day. This will keep you focused and confident that the truly important things will get done.

Tip #6: Take Time To Breath For At Least 30 Minutes Each Day

When people get really busy, one of the first things they are ready to sacrifice is their health! This term, put yourself, your future, and your daily “me time” into the non-negotiable category (along with family & friends). There are MANY other ways to be efficient besides eliminating the one activity that is central to your well-being, career, and long-term success.

Tip #7: Only Check E-Mail One Time Per Day (Max)

E-mail begets more e-mail. When you have little time, the least effective way to spend it is writing e-mails. Unless you’re a big time CEO, there really is no need to check your email more than once (or twice) a day. It’s unlikely to cause a crisis and typically works out just fine.

Tip #8: Eliminate Unnecessary Electronic Distractions

If you subscribe to any listservs, sign off until after the summer is over. Listservs create lots of e-mail in your inbox, very little of which is critical information that you’ll need during the summer months. While you’re at it, why not take a respite from all electronic time-wasters: Facebook, Twitter, television, etc.

Tip #9: Take Care Of Your Body

Exercise reduces stress. When I don’t have time to go to the gym, I opt for using the stairs instead of elevators in buildings, take quick walks at lunchtime, or just put on some music for five minutes and dance around. Be creative! Whatever you need to do to get your heart rate up and your body moving will benefit you when you need it the most.

Tip #10: End Every Day With Gratitude And A Treat!

As each day comes to a close, take a moment to thank God for all the things that went well and affirm that everything in your life is working for your highest good. I insist on treating myself because I know I deserve it. And so do you!

This week, I hope that you find the strength to try some new summertime strategies, the creativity to adapt them to your unique situation, and the comfort of knowing that you are not alone in your struggle.