It’s one thing to agree we “should” do something, a whole other to do it. When we don’t want to do something, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when we don’t get around to doing it. But what about when you really want to do something but it’s just not happening?
First, rest assured you aren’t the only one struggling with this. Even the apostle Paul states in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do, for what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. For I have the desire to do what is good but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do, no the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing.”
When you really want to do something the best first step is to cry out to the Lord for help. But beware sitting back waiting for Him to make it happen. The Lord created us with the ability to make choices and those choices have huge impacts not only on the life we end up living but in growing and transforming us.
Consider a field of wheat. God causes the growth, but He has entrusted to the farmer a key role to play, too.
The good news is there is much you can do to partner with the Lord in moving forward. But can it ever help to start small.
In his book Atomic Habits, author James Clear addresses this dilemma in a profound way. I highly recommend reading this book!
In the fifth chapter he shares about a study conducted in Great Britain to determine how to best help people build better exercise habits.
Two hundred and forty eight people participated in this study and were divided into three groups.
Want to guess what happened?
The researchers were shocked! In this study motivation made no discernible difference.
In both of the first two groups a third of the people exercised. In the third group over 90% exercised!
James Clear points out, “Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity.” (p. 71)
Detailed plans aren’t required. Simply taking time to identify when and where made an incredible difference.
This is why at the end of each coaching call time is spent helping clients process through not only what they want to do, but how they will do it.
I find it often helpful to utilize the acronym SMART:
S = what SPECIFICALLY do I sense the Lord wants me to do?
M = How can I make this MEASURABLE so I will know whether I’ve done it or not?
A = Who could I invite to hold me ACCOUNTABLE and what do I want that to look like?
R = Considering all that is going on in my life is it REALISTIC for me to do this now? If not, then REVISE.
T = How much TIME will I give to doing this? (eg., length, duration)
As James Clear states, “people who make a specific plan for when and where they will perform a new habit are more likely to follow through. Too many people try to change their habits without these basic details figured out.” (p.70-71)
Does this ever bring to mind Isaiah 32:8, “But the noble man devises noble plans; and by noble plans he stands.”
Bottom line… if you really want to do something, taking a few moments ahead of time with Jesus to plan how you will do it can make the difference between whether you do it or not.
May the Lord abundantly bless our plans as we dive into this new year with Him!