Category Archives: Goal setting

7 Things to do When you Want to Give Up

Blood streaming down her face, she picked up the baton and ran on. 

Alicia Follmar took a heavy fall in her race, but worse was to come when another runner stepped on her with spiked running shoes. Undeterred she got up and sprinted around for the last two laps and held her third place spot with a personal record 1,200m split of 3 minutes and 26 seconds. 

Five stitches were required to suture the wound. 


Stories like this inspire. 

Life is real tough at times. For some its a continual battle of getting up from the bloodied track and taking another step forward. 

At times you just want to give up. 

We all need heroes, people who have run the race, toughed it out when blood was streaming down, and finished a personal best. I am going to print out the Alicia Follmar photos and stick them on my pin board or in my diary to remind me of courage. 

Another hero of mine is the Apostle Paul. He had run a race of the faith kind that was full of incredible challenges. 

From his prison cell he writes to his friends at Phillipi about his journey using the metaphor of a running race.  

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained. Phillipians 3:12-16

Paul has a compelling vision of a Resurrection relationship with his Lord. This kept him moving forward in his faith. He had already had a taste, a sampler on the Damascus road. He also would have heard all the stories from those that witnessed Jesus in Resurrected form. He hadn’t attained it yet, there was still more to be done.

So he ran on. 

Paul made a conscious decision to not be focused on his past, both the good and bad. Some of his past was like a thorn in his side.

A couple of commentators have said this about Paul.

Paul had a stunning and, at the same time, deplorable past, but he realized that if he were preoccupied with his past, he would not be able to give his full energy to his present calling. Stephen Olford

Forgetting did not mean obliterating the memory of the past (Paul has just recalled some of these things in Php 3:5, 6, 7), but a conscious refusal to let them absorb his attention and impede his progress. He never allowed his Jewish heritage (Php 3:5, 6, 7) nor his previous Christian attainments (Php 3:9, 10, 11, 12) to obstruct his running of the race. No present attainment could lull him into thinking he already possessed all Christ desired for him. F Gaebelein. 

Paul was not saying for us to repress our memories and pretend they didn’t happen. Memories have a place in our lives, and troublesome memories need to be surrendered to Christ for him to be able to help us with them. Much like an athlete taking off their track suit pants and jacket and giving them to the coach. 

‘Here, I don’t need these for the race, they will only hinder me, you take care of them’. 

They take them off and leave them at the bloodied feet of a saviour who knows all and forgives all. 


How to keep a forward focus. 

  1. Have a truth coach diary. I have a little notebook which has quotes and verses that encourage my thinking. The first one I read everyday is this. ‘What I focus on will get me. Focus on the negatives/ challenges will always take me down. Focus on the positive/ good things will always give me hope’.
  2. Have an encouragement journal. This is a place where you keep reminders of good times. Cards, photos, memos, letters and really anything that in someway has warmed your heart. 
  3. Have heroes. People like yourself who have faced similar struggles but have persisted and got up from the track and ran on. Paul did, it was Jesus, and he ran a similar race. 
  4. Keep placing the memories back at the feet of the coach. Your brain will have some very stubborn neurological pathways that need replacing. This will require effort and persistence Check out this video about how we learn. 
  5. Eliminate ‘But’ out of your verbal stream. Saying ‘But’ just negates any sense of hope. Try replacing it with ‘And’. 
  6. Form new daily habits. Your success is determined by your daily habits. Athletes have many daily habits of exercise, diet, and thinking. What are your habits? Are they taking you where you want to go? 
  7. Set highly attainable goals. For the marathon runner the finish line may well be hours away, somewhere out in the far distant. Its a long term goal. A millimetre goal might be to take the first step, celebrate and then take another and another. The millimetre step might be as small as getting out of bed and brushing your teeth. Whatever the goal is, it must be achievable and you must not celebrate it with ‘But’s. 

Alicia Follmar finished her race. The talk of the event was how she got up and kept running, and how she set a personal best time. What about you?

Questions to consider and possibly leave a comment.
  • What keeps you going when life gets too much?
  • Who are the heroes that you admire and why? 
  • What habits have you learned that help you or hinder you?
Barry Pearman

Here is a link to an Audio copy of a Message I gave on this topic. Enjoy. 

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Slaying the Fear Giant

As a kid I imagined he was as tall as a skyscraper, now I realise that he was only 3 ft 9′ taller than I am. 

Giant small fear anxiety panic worry man

Photo Credit: JLM Photography. via Compfight cc 

Have you ever returned to some place that you knew really well as a child and discovered that it isn’t that big as you had remembered. 


It might be your old bedroom, a playing field, a school yard. 

You thought they were so big yet now with adult eyes you see them as no bigger than anything else. 

There is a story in the Bible about a child killing a tall man. Goliath was 9ft 9″ high, but the way it was portrayed to me, as a child, he was a GIANT. 

David and the Goliath was read alongside Jack and the Beanstalk where the hero was up against super tall mountainous men and women. Now that grabs a child’s attention as they place themselves in the same situation. 

The problem with these stories is that huge cloud hugging giants don’t exist. 

It’s true I tell, they don’t exist!

When read in a story with creative emotional embellishment the child believes them totally. Well in my mind I did. 

Carry this subtle thinking pathway over into adulthood and those fear giants can still exist big and ugly as ever. 

How do you cut them down? 
        How do you slay those fears? 

We need to reprogram the subconscious through cognitive reassessments. 

David’s giant was actually only 3ft taller than I am. David was ten years old so perhaps his Giant was only double his size and not the ‘hugging treetops’ kind. 

In reality David’s giant was actually quite manageable, with God’s help. 

When I get hard nosed facts, when I break my fears down into doable portions it gives my brain more information to process, reassess, and retrain the childlike brain’s first response. 

My feelings are not a reliable guide to my future and feeling it doesn’t make it so

It’s time to reassess the assessments, but this time as an adult. 

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 1 Corinthians 13: 11

Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  • What fears do you have that needed reassessing?
  • How much do you rely on feelings to guide you?
Barry Pearman

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Part 2. How to set Goals when your in the Middle of a Minefield

Pressure to set Goals and New Years Resolutions can bring the reminders of past failures back into focus. Why bother stepping into the mine field of making goals?


Link to Part 1 of this series.

I know its hard to set goals when you may have had so many failures in the past. However, the setting of a goal and the achievement of it can be the most powerful anti depressant you will ever take.

You just have to have the right goal. 

How do we set goals that are both achievable and that stir something deep with in you.  

1. Find your WHY? What really sets you alight? As a bee is drawn towards a flower by the colour, what deeply and silently has a pull on you? 
It might be listening to someone, acting, painting, cooking, fixing an old car, gardening, scrap booking. 
I firmly believe that God has created you with gifts and skills that are totally unique to you. You are special and have hidden treasure to be revealed and used to glorify God. 

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” St. Irenaeus

Take a look over your life and identify a time when you were fully alive. What were you doing? 
You might like to watch this fascinating talk by Simon Sinek 

2. Change your ‘But’s’ into ‘And’s’. The easiest thing we can do when we think about setting some goals is to say ‘But … this is what happened’, ‘But it will fail because…’ 
Instead of saying ‘But’ and negate any sense of hope add  the word ‘and’. 
After the word ‘and’ add an insight such as

… my past does not define me, its the choices I make to today that define me

that was then and this is now. Things are different now

.… I know I can do this if I take small steps

For daily insights emailed to you, check out this site.

3. Take Personal Responsibility for Yourself. Don’t shift responsibility for your life and well being on to other people. Your response to life, and all it contains, is your responsibility. 

4. Set small Highly Attainable Goals. Goals that you CAN achieve. Not should achieve, or must achieve, or others expect me to achieve. Goals that you will take personal responsibility to achieve. You own them
It might be as small as ‘I will brush my teeth each day’ or ‘I will read the first verse of Psalm 23 everyday for the next week’. 
I believe in millimetre ministry. Huge mountains are shifted by moving pebbles, one pebble at a time.

5. Write them down and Tick them off. I am huge believer in using paper and pen for recording goals. Something quite tangible happens in the brain when you pick up a pen and write. The brain remembers the movement of the pen on paper. The satisfaction of marking a tick connects neurologically with the feeling of success far more than a click of a mouse.

6. Take Photos of Goals Achieved.  An Occupational Therapist once told me this idea and it really works. 
You take photos of past achieved goals and events to remind you of progress and change. We can so often get muddled down in a swamp of current mess, that we lose a sense of progress and change. Also the taking of photos has become so much easier now we have cameras on most of our phones.
Here is how I have used this. 
I love to grow vegetables and fruit for the family. In the winter when it is rainy and cold I sometimes pull out photos of bowls of strawberries, fresh large tomatoes and plum trees overflowing with goodness. This encourages me to get out and plant, prune, and make compost. 

7. Form these Small Goals into Habits. If I have read the first verse of Psalm 23 every day for a week, perhaps I could form this into a habit I do everyday and use other verses. I write more about habits in ‘Out of the Darkness’.
Changing your Habits is crucial in changing your life. The way you think has been formed by habitually thinking and behaving in a certain way for maybe all of your life. Go and have a look at this incredible video by Dr. Robert Winston about how the brain learns new material. I promise you it will really help you to understand how and why you think and behave the way you do.    

Little by Little one walks far. Peruvian Proverb (Tweet it?)

Question to consider and leave a comment.

How do the ‘but’s’ get in the way of your making changes?

Link to Part 1 of this series.

Barry Pearman
Image by Louise Docker Creative Commons Flickr

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