Have you ever set a goal that was really hard to achieve?

First of all, I really hope you have. But, that’s not the point for now.

Have you looked at that goal and thought, “How am I going to get there?”

If so, I’ve got good news. And a little story to share!

A couple of weekends ago, I enjoyed morning jogs. Both mornings I set out with a goal to run 3.1 miles, which is about the most I ever feel like running. It’s also something I do fairly regularly, so I know it’s definitely a reachable goal.

Because I’m quite competitive, however, the other goal is always to be as fast as possible.

The first morning, I felt like I was flying right out of the gate. Well…out of the driveway. I started faster than I had in a long while. Actually, I ran so fast (for me) that around two miles in, I had to walk for about 30 seconds to get my heart rate back down.

But I finished! And pretty doggone fast, too. Especially with my little break.

But, things weren’t the same the next day!

I got up the same time as the morning before and took off. My route was slightly different, but I was visiting the “flatlands” of eastern North Carolina, so hills weren’t an issue.

I didn’t feel terrible, but when I got my one-mile the alert on my (awesome) Garmin Vivoactive, I was 30 seconds slower than the day before.

That’s a huge difference!

Because of that difference, I willed myself to take no walking breaks. I wasn’t going fast enough to need it apparently.

After 3.1 miles, I looked at my watch. My total time was almost one minute slower than the day before! And I didn’t walk!

Here’s the point.

I started at Spot A with a goal to run 3.1 miles and end back at Spot A – both days.

The first day, I killed it. It was easier than usual, and I felt great. I was even able to take a little break and still do awesome. But, the second day I struggled. I kept pushing and trudging along, but it was hard. And, I felt much more weathered by the end.

But, I still made it!

Both days I accomplished the goal of running 3.1 miles and getting right back where I wanted to be. It didn’t matter how I got there, as long as I got there.

Think about how this applied to life. 

Sometimes we set a specific goal for ourselves (which I think is great). But then we get very particular about the exact way we accomplish it. We lay out the plan step-by-step.

But, sometimes there’s a problem with that.

See, if we get too caught up in exactly how we reach the goal, we can miss out on enjoying the ride. We can miss out opportunities to learn and grow through the process because we’re too worried about veering from the path.

I didn’t enjoy my Sunday run as much because I knew I wasn’t as fast as the day before. And, I felt worse. I may have missed out on some great scenery and some real joy from the experience because I was unhappy with how things were going.

Sometimes there are better things in store for us than exactly what we had planned. 

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I love goals, and I believe you need an action plan to give you benchmarks and ensure forward progress. As I like to say, if you don’t have a target to aim at, you’ll miss it every time.

But, what I don’t want to do is leave out room for divine appointments. For other activities, encounters, etc. that God may have planned for us. After all, the psalmist reminds us,

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…”  – Psalm 37:23

So, what is your goal? What steps have you laid out?

Remember that there are days when things will seem easier than others. You may feel like you’re coasting downhill with the wind in your hair and you goal feet away. And other days you may feel like that wind is a hurricane blowing you back to where you started.

The big thing to remember is this:

When it comes to goals, it's not as important HOW you get there as it is THAT you get there. Click To Tweet

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