When we first learn to read as children, there is a hunger to read many books. As we mature, that hunger to expand our vocabulary and broaden our horizons of the world around us often diminishes. The challenge many of us face is how to maintain our momentum and desire to develop. There are several examples we can call upon to illustrate that, once the honeymoon is over, keeping that momentum or spark can quickly deteriorate if we are not careful; continuous growth requires discipline.
First Corinthians 13:11 (KJV) states: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child and I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” If I were to reword this Scripture to read: “When I was a seed, I performed as a seed – I was planted and nurtured, so that I could grow into a healthy tree, but when I became a tree, they expected much fruit from me…” There is a mandate from God that we are to keep growing. Just as an infant develops to an adult and a seed develops into a tree, we are expected to move from level to level. As our stage or season in life changes, so will the expectation also change. You would not look at a seed and wonder where is its fruit, but you would look at a fully- grown tree and search with great expectation for fruit to be there – especially during the season when trees are expected to bear fruit. God doesn’t only expect us to keep growing, but there is also an expectation that we will have a structured development plan, and not just simply growing at will.
If you’re feeling that tug to move forward, here are four steps to help you G.R.O.W:
Set S.M.A.R.T goals. Decide what you want to achieve. This can be an interpersonal, spiritual, professional, educational, health and well-being or financial goal. Set precise goals – include dates, times and amounts – so that you can measure your achievement. If you do this, you’ll know exactly when you have achieved your goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
Be sure to write your goal down. The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. Express your goals in positive statements, and include your Why (ie. why this is important to you). Use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might”.Finally,tell someone about your goals. This increases the likelihood that you will stick to the goal, because you have now made it public and can be held accountable.
In order to fully create a plan, you will need to assess where you are NOW. Make an honest assessment of your current situation, so that you can be clear on the necessary steps you will need to take to achieve your goals.
A great mind-mapping tip is to draw a circle in the middle of the page, and write above it, ‘Where do you go from here?’ This will force you to tap into whatever ‘here’ looks like, and what actions you have taken so far to land you to ‘here’, as you look at the possibilities before you.
This step will also help you identify those little achievements. Remember, a baby didn’t morph into an adult overnight; babies grew little by little.
Your goals should be listed in manageable chunks, which will make it clearer to see the prerequisites and set some priorities. This stage will look at the various pathways you can take to achieve your overall goal. In project management, we call this ‘identifying the critical path’. It will also help you to assess what is in your control, and where you might need to solicit some help.
Remember to free up your time to focus on the more important elements. Get rid of unnecessary actions or tasks you can delegate.
What will you do and when? There is no need to plan and not act. In order to achieve your growth plan, you will need to put the work in. Here’s how to smash your action list by using the Ivy Lee Method:
- At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
- Prioritise those six items in order of their true importance.
- When it is time to tackle the list, concentrate only on one task at a time.
- At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
Remember to celebrate your successes along the way.