How will you make this year better than last year?
Setting goals and resolving to do things differently is just the start. In order for us to be able to follow through – all the way to December 31st – we’ll have to first put ourselves in the right frame of mind to achieve what we’ve set out to do. And it goes far beyond just making up our minds or writing things down.
To set ourselves up for success, we’ve got to commit to the process. Today and for the next 3 Mondays, I’m going to share with you 4 keys for a purpose-full mindset that will help prepare you and propel you forward in your purpose. These principles have truly changed my approach to being intentional with all that I do this year. Here’s what we’ll talk about in this series:
1. PURGE: Clear the clutter in your heart, mind and home
2. PRAY: Gain clarity through communication with your Creator
3. PRACTICE: 5 daily disciplines to keep you focused and moving forward
4. PRIORITIZE: How to set boundaries to protect your purpose (and your sanity)
Subscribe below this post to get the rest of the series sent straight to your email. OH! AND! At the end of the series, I’ll be sharing a free Purpose-Full Mindset Motivator that you can download and print to keep you focused and on track as you live out your purpose. That’ll be linked in the Key #4 email as well.
But first things first…
KEY #1 FOR A PURPOSE-FULL MINDSET: PURGE
In order to get ready for the new, we must make room for it. That’s means purging our lives of the things that are weighing us down, draining our energy, and detracting from the value we can and should be creating in our work, relationships, and ministries.
John 15:2 says, “My Father examines every branch in Me and cuts away those who do not bear fruit. He leaves those bearing fruit and carefully prunes them so that they will bear more fruit;” (VOICE)
Our Creator is also the Creator of our purpose. He has uniquely equipped each of us to do something impactful for those in our spheres of influence and for His Kingdom. Whether it’s through our businesses, our families, our community service or service in ministry, or our investment in others, He intends for us to use our gifts and resources for His glory. This verse in John reminds us that God is all about efficiency and maximizing returns (Remember the Parable of the Talents? See Matthew 25 for a refresher). That means getting rid of what’s not working and diligently nurturing what is.
Here John is describing how God prunes things in our lives, but this is a principle we can apply for ourselves. As we evaluate how we spend our time, what we’re involved in, the kinds of relationships we have, how we steward our resources, etc. we can start to get a sense of how intentional and purposeful we are in those decisions. Here are a few ways we can implement this purging process to get us in the right mindset to effectively pursue our purpose:
PURGING WHAT’S IN YOUR HEART
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23, NLT
Often times the drive to find your purpose is associated with the idea of following your heart. But we have to know (and trust) what’s in our hearts first to ensure we’re headed in the right direction. Your feelings about yourself and your abilities, your worldview, and your relationship with God all start in your heart. Taking a careful inventory of what we’re harboring inside – from fear, doubt and mistrust to faith, joy and submission to God – will give us a good sense of what course we’re headed on and allow us to course-correct when we start to get off track.
PRACTICAL TIP: Keep a journal and reflect on the things you think and feel throughout the day. Jot down your highs and lows as well as your hopes, goals and prayers. Look back on your entries often and track your growth. You’ll be so encouraged to see what you accomplish, how your perspective expands, and what God does in your life.
PURGING WHAT’S IN YOUR MIND
“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” – Philippians 4:8, AMP
I don’t know about you, but this is a BIG one for me. Psychological research estimates that each one of us averages between 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day… and 70% of that “mental chatter” is negative. Whoa! Sounds depressing but not all that hard to believe, right? We are our own worst critics, and if we’re not careful, we can think our way out of pursuing the God-sized dreams in our hearts (been there). Here’s a powerful Scripture that I try to remind myself of daily, especially when I notice my mental chatter veering off into toxic thought world:
“We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,” – 2 Corinthians 10:5, AMP
It is our responsibility to reel in every single one of our thoughts and compare them against the Word of God. Forget how you see yourself. Who does God say you are? Never mind what you think you’re capable of. What does God say you can do, and what is He wanting to do through you? Who cares if your last attempt didn’t go so well? Has God ever failed you? Do you think He’s going to start now? As you continue in your pursuit of His purpose for your life, you can rest assured that He’s got your back! Catch yourself when you start thinking those negative thoughts and toss them out. Fill your mind with the promises and affirmations in Scripture and keep pushing forward!
PRACTICAL TIP: Spend focused time in the Word of God to keep your mind filled with what He says about you. As you commit His words to memory, you’ll be better able to quickly check those negative thoughts and focus on the Truth.
PURGING WHAT’S IN YOUR HOME
“She looks well to how things go in her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:27, AMP
For me, “home” reflects both our physical house and the things that make my life function, including how I manage my calendar, make time for my family, and steward our finances. As a wife, mom and entrepreneur, I’ve learned that in order to keep a focused and purpose-full mindset, I have to be super conscious about limiting distractions; being selective with what I say yes to, what goes on my calendar, and who gets my time; and choosing wisely what we’re investing our money in.
SPACE: It’s become immeasurably important for me to have dedicated spaces at home where I can focus on specific tasks. Your brain associates things with the space they happen in, and you’ll be able to focus better on what you’re doing if you take that activity to a spot that’s more or less reserved for that very thing. Working from home means I’m pretty much all over the place, but I keep it all outside our bedroom. To do lists and unfinished projects are the last things I want on my mind when I finally crawl into bed at night. Protecting this space is super important to preserve your quality of sleep, which will make you more productive during the day! This is also why I often choose to sit in the dark, on the floor of my closet to pray. It’s because there’s nothing else associated with that space, so I can focus on simply connecting with God and struggle less to keep my brain on task.
PRACTICAL TIP: As much as you can, try to assign different tasks to different spaces, and then make those spaces as focus-friendly as possible. If that means boring walls or no TV in your home office, so be it. If it means praying in complete darkness on the floor of your closet like I do then hey, whatever works! You know best what helps you focus and what sends you into the vortex of distraction. Get creative, rearrange or get rid of things if need be, and make it happen!
TIME: It’s our most precious resource because we’re only allotted a finite amount, and we can’t get back any that’s been lost. This is why I’m trying my best to be super selective with what goes on my calendar and super conscious of what I choose to do in my “transition time” or in-between moments.
I’m also learning to not get so hung up on perfecting the details that it takes me lightyears to get a project done. Yes, I’m a Type A Perfectionist through and through. The Lord is still doing a work on me, but we’re getting there! Here’s the thing: Excellence doesn’t have to take forever. Invest your time in what will bring the most value, make the biggest impact, and generate the greatest return. Help others. Nurture relationships. Spend time with your loved ones. Take care of yourself. Serve in ministry. Whatever it is that you do, do it well, and then move on to do something else amazing!
Excellence doesn’t have to take forever. Invest your time in what will bring the most value, make the biggest impact, and generate the greatest return. #PurposeFullMindsetClick to tweet
- For one (typical) day, keep a list of all the things you do. Yes, all of them. At the end of the day, review your list and see how your time was spent. With your goal to maximize return on your time investment in mind, go through the list and assign a category to each item: KEEP, DELEGATE, or ELIMINATE. Then do that.
- Guard your “transition time” – when you’re first waking up, just getting in bed, or in between tasks. Resist the urge to mindlessly scroll through social media or pick up the remote and instead do something to invest in yourself or someone else. Pick up a book, catch up with a loved one, squeeze in a workout, help a friend or neighbor, or review your goals for motivation.
FINANCES: Stewardship and purpose go hand in hand. You can’t squander your time, treasure, or talent and then wonder why your life lacks meaning. <– Tweet that. Budgeting, paying off debt, saving for the future and investing in personal and professional development (workshops, courses, etc.) are important for us. It will look a little different for everyone. For me it means less eating on the go and more eating at home (which, ironically, requires better stewardship of my time… *sigh*).
PRACTICAL TIP: Take a look at your bank statement and see where your money actually goes. Determine which dollars you can redirect toward more value-generating things. For example, skipping Starbucks a few times a month (gasp) can add up to a new book that will help you grow your business or develop as a parent or be a better you. Again, think return on investment, both for you and for the One who first invested in you.
However you choose to approach this purging process to achieve a more purpose-full mindset, remember this: Everything God blessed you with was an investment, not a giveaway. Diligently stewarding what we’ve been given and further investing those resources will allow us to maximize His return.
The blessings God gave you were an investment, not a giveaway. How will you maximize His return this year? #PurposeFullMindsetClick to tweet
What small changes can you implement this month that will help you clear some of the clutter and open you up to being more purpose-full this year? Let me know in the comments.
PS: If this really resonated with you, you’ll want to sign up for my free 5-day Pathway to Purpose email course. It’s full of practical tips just like these to keep you focused and moving forward in your purpose. If you’re interested in really diving in to discover and activate your God-given purpose, my book 4D Life is just the devotional-meets-action plan to get you there. Find it online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or in the PurposeFull Life shop!