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"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, 'This person began to build and wasn't able to finish.'"
(Luke 14:28-30, NIV)

We all experience it...

Whether at a new job, the purchase of a new home, losing weight, starting a business, or a new relationship. But then, it starts to fade away. The same goes for our New Year's goals. We often prepare in November or December of the previous year an idea of what we want to accomplish in the new year. But, do we sit down to talk to God about it first? Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) says, "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". God has a plan for us all. Setting goals requires us to stay in tune with what God is saying and the direction He is leading us to.

The first step to setting a goal is spending time with God, being still (Psalm 46:10), and listen.

The next step in the process of a 'New Year, New You' is to set the goal. Dictionary.com defines a 'goal' as: The result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end. Around this time of year, everyone is talking about setting goals. By January 15th, they're falling off. Part of the issue is that we set a goal with no plan on how to execute it. I often hear Habakkuk 2:2 quoted—and that's great! However, we leave out verse three. Habakkuk 2:2-3 (KJV) says, "And the Lord answered me, and said, 'Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it surely will come, it will not tarry'." Make sure when you set your goal, you take action.

The next step is to count the cost. Ask yourself these questions: "What are the benefits? What will it require? What is the end goal? What resources will it require? How does this affect obligations I am already committed to? Who will be affected? When will this be complete? Why do I need to do this?" Luke 14: 28 (NIV) says, "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?" Yes! Counting the cost is scriptural! However, there are other factors involved that should be considered when setting the goal (i.e. financial, spiritual, emotional, social, physical, occupational, intellectual, environmental, mental, and relational). We often do not think about the many factors that are associated with the goal to make it happen.

At the beginning of our 'New Year, New You' journey, we are more excited about the goals and don't factor in the "costs". For me, one of my goals is to lose more weight, but I had to count the cost to eliminate the costly fees that I used to pay at our local gym. I would go on the weekends...and that was it. Now, I walk in my neighborhood and have weights and other gym equipment at home. The only thing that it will cost me now is time, commitment, and dedication—including eating healthier.

I had to have gastric bypass surgery in 2016. I didn't want to lose sight of the "why" I had the surgery in the first place. I am a diabetic and the diabetes was really out of control, to the point that I developed gastroparesis—a condition that causes a nerve to die in the stomach, making it difficult to digest food. Before the surgery, I used to eat anything and everything that didn't serve me a purpose. Hence, the illness caught up to me. Food sat in my stomach for weeks on end until I began to vomit uncontrollably—for two weeks straight. It was a very miserable time in my life and quite debilitating. Two days after the surgery, my left lung collapsed, and I blacked out from having difficulty breathing.

The Lord spoke to me and advised that He was giving me another opportunity to appreciate life. He gave explicit instructions that I have to abide by now. Therefore, I have adopted eating vegetables, a little fruit, and fish two times a week. I appreciate God allowing me a second chance to value my temple better. I am also grateful that my food bill has decreased significantly. Through it all, I had choices to make. I had to count the cost. Counting the cost first meant I had to change or "renew" my mind—daily. It's not easy, but I can't forget the journey of needle sticks, feeling nauseated, and being moody all the time...all based on the poor choices I made. 

I shared some of my story with you to show the importance of counting the cost, including all of the associated factors. There's nothing wrong with setting goals and working to improve yourself; however, it is important to be realistic about the costs associated with your choices.

Lastly, you cannot give up on your goals. Proverbs 27:1 (NIV) says, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring". Always be intentional and give it your best. No one said that the things we try to accomplish would be easy. If it was, everyone would have successes all the time! There will be times you will fail, and no—I am not speaking negatively. Rather, it's realistic. Do not stay stuck on your failures. There is a lesson to be found in failure. There's a blessing in the lesson. Fully commit to the task at hand and, if you fall down, get back up and try again. Whatever you do, just don't give up!

In conclusion, Paul tells us that the race is not given to the swift, but to the one who endures to the end (Ecclesiastes 9:11). As my mentor often tells me: "You have to run your race and break your own tape." I am asking you to make a non-negotiable decision to become committed to the goals you set and not beat yourself up about it if the goals aren't achieved. Do what is necessary to WIN! Remember to pray and have several conversations on the desires He has for you in your current season, allowing Him to provide you detailed instructions on implementing your goals. Write down your goals in a notebook, journal, or on your favorite memo app on your phone. Count ALL the costs associated with setting the goal—and never give up!

Blessings to you on all your endeavors in this New Year, being a New You!

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Count the Cost

By Tschanna M. Taylor, MBA

(c) January 26, 2018

"Very powerful testimony. Everything was enlightening. Well done!"

~ Min. Aaron Weaver, 2/14/18 ~

"This has really blessed me. "...counting the costs..." Very reflective and needed to progress in every endeavor."

~ Cheryl, 1/26/18 ~