Here is the last in my series on personal growth. If you haven’t read the other three, I recommend you go back and read them to get the full picture.
Assessment asks “where am I?”, alignment, “where am I going?”, and action asks, “how will I get there?”
You may have noticed that a gap was created between your assessment and alignment, where you are now and where you hope to be. The third and critical step is creating an action plan to bridge this gap. Think of it as a road map to get you from your current location to your desired destination.
Think for a moment on why you haven’t grown in some area in your life. For me, I knew my present condition and where I preferred to be, but I failed to create a clear plan to get there. Nothing changes without action and forward movement.
Let me speak a word of wisdom to you. I had fallen into a false belief that trusting God meant you don’t need to plan. If God wants it to happen, it will happen. Then I saw the truth that God plans and carries out what He plans.
Proverbs praises the virtues of planning wisely and not being lazy. Paul planned to carry the Gospel into certain regions with specific dates and people and resources. So planning is actually a God given activity, not simply something we do in our own strength. This is where you join God in what he is doing in your life. (Phil. 2:12-13)
There are two components to this action phase, creating goals and action steps to reach those goals. A growth plan is a dream or vision with a deadline and markers that keep you on track.
Goals are most easily created from your alignment statements. Let’s use our devotions example. You want a daily time of connecting with God. You now need to take this vision and create a goal such as, I purpose to have a consistent connection with God each day, by June 30, 2012.
Actions steps are how you will accomplish this goal. Here is an example you might come up with for this devotional area. Since I connect well with God when I’m exercising, and not sitting down, I’m going to take time to listen to the Bible on my ipod every morning and take a 30-minute run. I will also take time to pray during my run or when I am done as I reflect on what he is saying to me.
Write It Down!
Be sure you write this action plan down on paper! Then review it weekly or at least monthly. I recommend you enlist your spouse or good friend to help you execute it well.
Every plan has to be worked on. Growth is not automatic. You take two steps forward and then one step back, but you make progress. Also, goals should not change, but your action steps are flexible.
If something isn’t working, try something new. There is not just one way to do anything. God wired you uniquely, so cooperate with his design and grow! Little by little you will change. God purposed it and promised it.
Now, what are you going to do about it?