4 Ways to Get Back on Track with 2017 Goals

4 Ways to Refocus Goals

You may not want to hear this, but the “new” year is almost 2/3 over. Christmas will be here in 133 days. And before we blink, it’ll be 2018.

Are you where you thought you’d be?

I’m not.

The StoryCorp app sits lonely on my phone. Unused since March 26. The last interview I recorded with it was with the 4 Corners, my three besties, on a spring beach getaway.

But I haven’t touched it since.

Story is my One word 2017. But I’ve gotten off track.

Did you set goals for 2017? Whether a One Word or a resolution or a to-do list, as we leave summer and enter fall, now is a good time to look again at those intentions. And do something with them.

4 Tips to Refocus Your 2017 Goals

Here are 4 common roadblocks to reaching your goals and 4 ways to regain your focus.

  1. Lost interest? Rethink it.

Sometimes we lose interest in what we thought we wanted to do. Our motivation is gone. The thing got boring.

And that might be good. There are certain resolutions we make that aren’t worth keeping.

But before you let it drift by the wayside, give your goal a few more minutes of the respect it deserves.

  • What was my original motivation for setting this goal?
  • Is my purpose still valid?
  • Would my time be better spent on something different?
  • Is there a different way to approach this goal?

If you decide no, then let it go in peace. Make a conscious choice to lay it down.

But if you decide this goal is still worth pursuing, adjust the spotlight back to center.

  1. Overwhelmed? Set smaller goals.

Sometimes we drop out because things get too hard. We’re overwhelmed with the largeness of our goal. Or we hit a roadblock that seems insurmountable.

When that is the case, maybe we just need to break it down into smaller steps. Set in-between goals.

Instead of looking at the whole picture, tear off one piece and just do that this week. Then next week do another small piece. By the end of the year, you may be surprised at what you accomplished.

  1. Lonely? Do it together.

Another deterrent to keeping our word is that we try too much on our own. We lose our way because we’re traveling solo.

See how you can involve others to accomplish your purpose. Maybe you can bring a friend with you to do your thing. Or at least ask someone to keep you accountable as you do it on your own.

Brainstorm how your individual goal can help the larger community, or how the community can help you.

  1. Failing? Give yourself grace.

We’re going to mess up. That’s a given. We say the wrong things. We miss a deadline. We flub up.

But that’s okay. There’s grace for that. Do you expect others to be perfect? Then don’t expect it of yourself either.

What speech would you give a friend who just messed up? Then give that same speech to yourself. Ask yourself (and possibly write down) the encouraging words that Jesus might say to you personally in this situation.

Revised and Stronger

When we thoughtfully revise our 2017 goals, we make them stronger. Our recommitment is then not only more realistic, but also more effective.

How we spend our days matter because how we spend each day determines our week, which decides our month. And next thing we know, another year has gone by.

This is our life.

I’ll be rethinking my One Word Story goal this week, tweaking it to make it more doable and setting more tangible steps to finish the year strong.

And yes, hopefully pulling up the StoryCorp app again and putting it to good use.

I want to be prepared and awake for the surprises God has in store for the remainder of this year.

* * *

Did you choose One Word for the year? What are you learning from it? Please share in the comments.


44 thoughts on “4 Ways to Get Back on Track with 2017 Goals

  1. Michele Morin

    Funny you should bring this up . . .
    I was thinking about my #OneWord365 yesterday on a walk, and I concluded that I need to read further in Romans 5 to fully appreciate the word “standing,” because Paul goes on to list the impact (all good and positive) of “tribulations” or, “being hemmed in by troubles.” I want to incorporate this right understanding into my year’s ponderings.

    And the image you created for this post is just great!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s easy to put our OneWords on the backburner so I’m glad to hear your word is still burning bright, Michele! There are always new things about it that God is wanting to show us. May you be blessed as you dig deeper into Romans 5.

  2. Patricia Krank

    These are good tips Lisa. The one about getting some company? I recently signed up to be mentored and that has been a powerful relationship to keep me on task as we meet weekly and she check on my progress. I’ll be sad when the four month mentorship program ends.
    Thanks Lisa,

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a wonderful experience to be having, Patti! I’ve never had an official mentor, but I’m sure it would be a beneficial thing. I’m glad you are gaining so much from it.

  3. Debbie Putman

    These are great tips. My one word this year was the phrase He > i. A reminder to surrender always to God; to be patient for His timing. I keep my phrase as the screensaver on my computer and phone, and I have a bracelet with the phrase on it. And, I pray this phrase each day and in times of stress or fear. It helps a lot to remember the truth of He > i.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love both the concept of your one word and the way you depict it visually. What a beautiful reminder to keep God above all. Thanks for sharing this, Debbie. How wonderful that you are praying this every day.

  4. Barbara H.

    I haven’t chosen one word for the year, but this is great advice with any goal. For me probably the hardest yet most necessary step is breaking things down into smaller goals. I prefer to start on something and power through til it’s done, but life just doesn’t allow for that much. Having smaller steps not only makes progress toward the goal but makes you feel like you’ve accomplished *something*.

    BTW, I love the graphics you make for posts like this. Is there a specific program you use?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Maybe there’s a happy medium in between our approaches, Barbara: I tend to overplan and can break something into the most minuscule steps. ha. But you’re right that life rarely allows for us to start and finish a project in one big go. Most things I get accomplished are 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there.

      I use canvas.com to make the infographics. They have a category specifically for infographics. The hardest part is settling on just one design among the many that they offer. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a great One Word, Sarah. I typically like to choose a verb for my one word so it can be an action, but to just go for “Act” straight up is a great thing. 🙂

  5. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    My one word for the year was a phrase…”You don’t have to like it, but you have to show up.” Quite apt, as it turns out.

    They say my chances for reaching 2018 are not too great, so I’ll trot out my word/phrase choice for the year to come, and I ask your pardon in advance…

    “The good may die young, but badass lives forever.”

    Yeah, well. A poet I am not.

    And speaking of restarting…I recently found some bits from an aeroplane project I sold a couple of years ago, that the buyer didn’t want. I had been stepping back from that work because I’m hurting too much, and am too tired…and what’s the point of spending the energy I having building a flying machine I won’t be able to finish, let alone fly?

    But these parts turned something in me, and I dug out the blueprints and some spare steel and aluminum…and off we go, again. Yes, it hurts, yes, I get tired, and the progress I can make is pitiful compared to what I once could achieve, but there is something important about throwing a piece of one’s heart into a future, even – and perhaps especially – if one may not live to see those days.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love your phrase, Andrew, because one of my favorite mantras for myself is “Just show up.” Sometimes that’s all we’ve got. But most times that’s plenty, once we get there. I’ve actually been thinking about my 2018 word already, too. None of us know who will be here for it. Hope you get what you need out of 2017. I’m glad you’re working on airplane stuff again! Even if you don’t finish the project, maybe someone else will. In the meantime, we all need purpose and I know you have plenty of that.

  6. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Lisa, thank you…and in case I never get the chance to tell you this, knowing you through this medium has been one of the best and brightest parts of my life. When I see “Lisa Notes” in the inbox, I know that faith and wisdom and comfort (most of all) are just a click away. You have made my world better by far.

    In case you’re interested, here’s an article about this particular aeroplane. I am writing this reply between working on some parts.


  7. David

    Dear Lisa, this is a beautifully gentle and forgiving post. Thank you for writing. I am terrible for unfulfilled ambitions and hare-brained schemes, large and small. My goal this year was to get more organised and … well it hasn’t been a complete failure, but I have drifted. As you say in your #1, there’ll be reasons behind that drift. You prompt me to rethink and refocus – and to be ready for Christmas!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Well, don’t be too hard on yourself, David. We all have our fair share of hare-brained schemes. 🙂 And some of them deserve to be dropped. ha. If you’ve made progress at all on your goal, that’s a win. But yes, we still have time to pull it together even more before Christmas.

  8. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    My word for 2017 is “Fire” as in to be on fire for the Lord. It’s interesting the twists and turns this has taken and the time I’d say I was most “on fire” was when I literally couldn’t walk for 2 months. Post surgery, I had to stay off my foot, but that gave me more time to be in God’s Word and, not surprisingly, I felt rekindled. The more time spent in His Word, the more “on fire” I became. God sure has taught me a lot about His version of being on fire for Him. I also needed your reminder to bite off smaller pieces and give myself the grace I’d give to others.
    Bev xx

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I am sorry you had 2 months without walking, but what an encouragement that you used that time to rekindle the “fire” with God. Yikes, I’m hoping I won’t have to experience that though to get back on track with Story. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this, Bev. I love hearing stories that give us all hope to keep going, despite what might seem as setbacks at first.

  9. Betsy de Cruz

    Lisa, I so appreciate this encouragement and wisdom today. I need to go back and look at some of my goals for 2017. Right now, I have writing a book in front of me, and I confess it’s starting to look too big! You’re helping me out, reminding me to take small steps and stick with it. We have just one life, as you say!

  10. Joanne Viola

    Such a wonderful post, Lisa, not only to regain focus but also as a reminder to forgive ourselves. This post caused me to sit and think on my One Word – audacious – for a bit. Interesting to discover while at times I may not have been as bold in my faith as I would have hoped, there surely have been times this year that I have been audacious in my prayers. All four points are excellent!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Audacious is such a strong word, Joanne. I’m glad you’ve been able to see how God has used it in your prayers this year! Isn’t it wonder that He is always so willing when we’ll be intentional. I’m just not always as intentional as I need to be.

  11. Debbie Kitterman

    Lisa, what great tips! I love these so much, sometimes the hardest on for me is number 4. I can get so down on myself because I said I was going to do something and then didn’t, for whatever reason. But you are so right, we need to give ourselves grace! We are all going through a process and messing up is part of the journey! Thanks for sharing, we’re neighbors today on #TellHisStory Linkup!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can be hardest on myself, too, Debbie. So I need to give that advice to me as much as anyone. 🙂 But yes, we are human and God knows we’re going to make mistakes. But he makes it all okay anyway. We are blessed.

  12. Jean Wise

    yes this is life. I did look at my goals the other day and some are getting there and some never even started. Many have been replaced by even better plans that God knew but I didn’t. I don’t ever get to 100% but do try each year. I do enjoy how you are illustrating your posts with an infographic. May have to try that. Nice touch. And I am glad you mentioned your word of the year. My is attentiveness and I haven’t been paying attention to it either. We do still have some time though, right?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, we do still have time left in this year to accomplish things. I’m like you, Jean, and I never accomplish everything I plan for. And yes, sometimes that is a good thing because God had something better in mind! I’m glad his ways are higher than our ways; I just need to be discerning enough to know when to let go and when to hold on. That drifts into your word of attentiveness. 🙂

  13. Char

    This is so timely and encouraging. I think when we lose focus on a goal, we tend to just give up rather than refocus. These are great tips on how to get up and try again. Thanks Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think sometimes it’s easier just to give up, don’t you? Having to clean up a mess and keep going seems too hard sometimes, but oftentimes it is so worth it! Thanks, Char.

  14. Becky Hastings

    I love your encouragement to refocus on those new year goals! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the everyday that we lose sight of those lofty things in January.

    I always think of September as a refresh button. Probably because I have kids, was a kid once and was a teacher once upon a time. lol

    Thanks for the encouragement today!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, September is like a second “new year” because of school. I wonder if we will always feel that way, no matter how old we get! ha. I feel the same. And I’m glad. It’s nice getting another fresh start in the middle of the year. 🙂

  15. Alice Walters

    Lisa, the Lord is definitely channeling through you today! My word this year is “wait”. Seriously, Lord, could you have given me one that is any more challenging? But, as I go through the process of submitting my newest manuscript and a season of rejections, my word reminds me that He has the best agent chosen for me. As hard as it may seem, my job is to keep on keeping on in the process (remembering that “wait”, in God’s eyes, is an active, not passive verb), while I wait for His choice in His time. Thanks and blessings for sharing your good word, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ooh, you have such a hard word, Alice. You’re very brave for accepting wait as your word. 🙂 But what wonderful lessons I’m sure you’re gaining as a reward for your courage. I love your thought that wait isn’t a passive verb, but an active one. Too often we relegate it to the passive pile, but you’re so right that there are always things going on, even if behind the scenes, that God is up to and that we are to be up to also.

  16. floyd

    That’s a great list. The one about the purpose for the goal in the first place is a good one for me.

    I tend to push ahead with my goals relentlessly. Sometimes I need to sit back and consider the heart and purpose of the objective to begin with. Like I’ve said, I get in the way of myself.

    Thanks for the great reminder, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I often get in the way of myself too, Floyd, so I hear what you’re saying. Sometimes I push too aggressively when I should let things go, or else I give up too soon when I should persevere. We’re still learning so I guess that’s the good thing! 🙂

  17. Barbie

    I know better than to set goals for the new year, because I always struggle to reach them. I did have a few goals to get organized and declutter this year, and so far, I’ve been sidetracked more than once. I know He’s given me enough time in the day to accomplish what I’ve set out to do. I think I need to change my attitude about it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I still grapple with the truth that He’s given me enough time in each day. ha. But I want to get there! I am learning to hold my to-do list more loosely than ever before, so at least that’s progress, right? 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Barbie.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, my “Story” One Word was quickly becoming just a memory. 🙂 I still don’t have a firm plan to finish out the year with it, but I’ve got some ideas now anyway.

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