What To Do When You Feel Like You Are Not Making Progress
You know that feeling, right? You woke up late and had to rush off to work without taking time to sit, breathe, and ensure your heart is in the right place. Again. Another week went by and you didn’t exercise any more, eat any better, or finish that project you wanted to complete. You made all of these fantastic, productive goals, and then something happened and they just didn’t get done. You planned on having the best year ever… and so far it’s just been exactly the same as last year.
That feeling when your morning, your week, maybe even your year just didn’t get off to the right start?
So what do you do when it seems like nothing is ever going to change? When your goals begin to mock you and you feel like you’re never going to create new habits and make the most of this crazy, one life you have to live?
…Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward, to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phillippians 3:13-14
Trust me, I know how one bad decision can turn into a habit that quickly feels like something you’re doomed to repeat forever. But I also know that God promises mercy for the past and grace for the future. We have forgiveness for what we’ve done (and not done!), and hope that tomorrow doesn’t have to be like today.
But how do we do that? I mean, practically? Here are four things that help me when I feel like my goals are meaningless and I’m never going to change:
1. Get it all out.
Sometimes it helps to just take a few hours to sit and reflect on the past. To write down your victories… but also your failures. It helps to have the reality of where you’ve been stare back at you in black and white.
2. Say goodbye to the past.
After admitting where you come from, resolve to let it go. Your past doesn’t have to define your future, and today can be different. Really, it can. Give your past mistakes to The Lord, and ask Him for the strength to honor Him today.
3. Focus on today.
Thinking about long term change is incredibly daunting. But you can change today. Maybe it’s terrifying thinking about planning your entire, glorious wedding… but you can choose your colors today. Maybe it’s terrifying to think about loosing 10 pounds… but you can go for a walk today. Maybe it’s terrifying to think about completing that giant project you’ve been thinking about for months… but you work on it for half an hour today. Just think about today, and worry about tomorrow when it gets here.
4. Know that there is grace for future mistakes.
Because, inevitably, we will fail again. We'll sleep through our alarms. We'll neglect responsibilities and procrastinate projects. But know that there is grace for each and every time we fail, and this lavish grace should cause us to seek to glorify God through our lives even more passionately.
So, friends, here’s to forgetting what lies behind and pressing on toward what lies ahead.