In my few years of sojourning this earth, I have learnt that small things matter. The little steps we take consistently today culminate in the results we see tomorrow.
Some of the nuggets I’ll be sharing in this article are things you already know. But then don’t we all need reminders from time to time? Even the Holy Spirit works in the believers not only to teach but to remind them of the things they already know.
But when the Father sends the advocate as my representative-that is the Holy Spirit- He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.John 14:26 NLT
Can we go right into the small ways to make progress this year.
- Start that venture now and develop staying power.
I have shared the story of how about eight years ago, a proficient writer read some of the stories I wrote and was highly disappointed. He told me I was terrible at writing and my stories had no depth.
My heart was dampened that day. Look at me that thought I was a dexterous writer. As painful as those words may have sounded, I knew they were honest words meant to challenge me.
You know what I did? I cut down my TV time and spent more time reading and learning how to use words. Some years later, this same writer read one of the stories from my collection and was stunned at my improvement. Imagine that I had been discouraged and pushed my writing career aside.
There is no perfect time to start anything. You can’t depend on the opinion of people to fulfill the dreams God has placed in your heart. You’ll have to conquer that fear and get right to work. It doesn’t matter that people do not appreciate what you do yet. They will, very soon if you will not give up. In the pursuit of our dreams, we learn on the job. Also, remember that nobody became an expert at the first trial. Successful people got better as they hone their skills.
2. Avoid spreading yourself thin.
I intend to practice this a lot more in 2024. I don’t want to be average at everything and master at none. I know the industries where I would become a thought leader but I also know it requires a level of depth to get there. In this month, there were programs I was gingered to push out but I held back because of a clear awareness that even though I have some form of knowledge in that area, I would not produce deep work.
Anybody can use great marketing strategies and powerful sales funnel to drive sales but when it comes down to content, will they be disappointed after paying for the course? In December, I was privileged to be coached in a 8-week personal brand program. I remember my coach saying, she paid 2,000 dollars for a course but when the program kicked off, it was disorganized and no solid content was provided. To truly impact lives, there must be a system of growing deep roots.
As a woman with multiple expressions, my work cuts across the personal development space, creative writing, ministry and education. While starting up, I didn’t give all of my organizations the same level of attention at the same time. If I had done that, I might have achieved some level of result from all of them but from an average standpoint.
Take time to deepen your skillset. Be an expert at a few things and go deep. This is one reason divine timing is important. There are salient questions to ask. What will God have you focused on now? Is it time to move to something else? What should be in the maintenance mode while you dive into another major goal. I have the ability to do a lot of things, which should I get on with first? Before you a well of divine wisdom. Draw from this well and build a structure that covers your daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly goals.
3. No excuses.
At some point in my 9-5 job, I rarely had time to write stories or work on any book. I got caught up in administrative work while working on my novella, COLD. It became incredibly difficult to complete it. I was able to put my foot down and push back excuses to work on my book.
The thing is, even though for certain reasons you may be overwhelmed by work and chores, at least figure out ways of meeting the goals you have set for a particular phase of your life. Make that attempt. Make adjustments where necessary but never let go of your commitment to the things that truly matter. Your family, health, spirituality, career.
There is no excuse for not studying God’s word. No excuse for that lukewarm attitude in prayer. There is no excuse for neglecting family time. If you need to start preparing your exit plan from a job that does not represent the future you desire, start now.
This weekend, sit with a pen and paper, write out deadlines for the goals you want to achieve. Be realistic and give space for breaks so you don’t burn out.
4. Stop waiting for people to believe in you.
A man who cannot stand firm on the words God gives to him will not go far.
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.Galatians 1:10
I know that one of the hardest realities of life happen when family members do not believe in the dreams God has placed in your heart. You are not the first person to experience this disapproval. Joseph’s brother hated him for his dream, David’s eldest brother, Eliab rebuked him hours before he faced Goliath. Jesus didn’t do much in his hometown because of their unbelief.
The truth; there are some people who will believe in you. Learn to recognize them and hold them closely. Stop focusing on people who care nothing about your vision. If you have not found vision-minded friends, stay with the vision God has given you and keep your eyes on your dreams.
Ask God to connect you with friends and acquaintances who will encourage the pursuit of your vision. However, be sure you are friendly yourself. He who wants friends must show himself friendly.
One of the best ways to receive clear ideas and downloads from the deposit in your spirit is to make a commitment to pray regularly. As you commune with God, the Holy Spirit will reveal ideas, images and blueprint for the assignments He wants you to carry out. I have been blown away by the ideas I received at the end of last year. My journal is full, believe me and yours can be too in 2024.
Keep those images close to your heart and have expectations that the things you have seen will come to pass.
Do you have a digital or hard copy journal where you write ideas? Please get one if you don’t and be ready to be flooded with mind-blowing ideas.
5. Train yourself to confess God’s word.
Plan to spend at least 15 minutes every day confessing God’s word. Make a constant practice of declaring repeatedly the words and instructions you have received personally during your time of prayers or through external sources.
This practice may not be convenient on your flesh but it’ll be worth it. Confess scriptures. Confess the things you want to see in your life. Make confessions for your health, your career, ministry, your future.
6. Reduce the time you spend on social media and divert it to more productive things.
To produce deep work requires a certain degree of focus. Reaching for your social media platforms randomly and at frequent times can be distracting. I believe you don’t want to end the year with lots of unfinished projects from lack of discipline because of social media usage. It’s beautiful to connect with others virtually.
It’s interesting to watch funny skits after a demanding day and blush over nice pictures from your models on Instagram. The point is to ensure that social media is not stealing deep work time. You get it right?
7. Practice Giving.
This is the key to walking in abundance. Practice giving this year if this is not already a culture in your life. Give to those whose lives have blessed you, give for the expansion of God’s work, give to those in need…
There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth, and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.Proverbs 11:24 KJV
8. Get a journal.
God enjoys talking with us. He loves to give instructions concerning our lives and future. He is our Father, yeah? As you pray, expect to receive instructions from him and write them down when they come.
I will instruct you in the way you should go, I will guide you with my eyes.Psalms 32:8
God is committed to you. He will give you words that contain the wisdom you’ll need to surmount difficulties. You’ll receive words that will point you in the right direction. He will bombard your thought process with ideas and working wisdom for every aspect of your life. By keeping records, you can keep a track of God’s faithfulness and from this, your hearts will burst out with thanksgiving.
9. Forgive quickly.
In 2024, refuse to permit bitterness and resentment in your heart. The space in your heart should be to conceive big dreams and God-sized visions not for replays of hurts. Offences will come and one powerful way to deal with them before they find root in your heart is to address them quickly.
For pains that have grown thick roots, let God heal you and even if it may take some time to fully see wholeness, you can get on that journey now.
Look at these scriptures with me. If Christ said these words, then it is a possibility for us.
What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Don’t even the tax collectors do that? How are you different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Don’t even the ungodly do that? Matthew 5:46-47 TPT
You therefore must be perfect (growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity) as your heavenly father is perfect. Matthew 5:48 AMPC
10. Be committed to your spiritual growth through accountability.
In January 2020, the senior Pastor of the church I attended at that time instructed every member to join a small prayer group structure organized by the leadership of the church. It was an accountability structure where every member reported on their daily one hour prayer time. That accountability structure was one of the many beautiful things that happened to me that year. It was the most consistent step I took as a believer and it paid off. Even when I was overwhelmed with work, I knew I had to show up.
Why am I sharing this?
It is increasingly difficult for many people to maintain consistency in their spiritual growth. This is where accountability comes in. We are here for each other. Iron sharpens iron right? Having accountability partners can help enforce discipline in your spiritual growth. Get a friend who is passionate about the word and prayers. Ask that you’d love to be accountable to them daily within a period of time.
It is important that we are committed to a life of prayer and the Word. This is the only way we’ll be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
I found another interesting meaning of rest. Yeah, it’s good to sleep and get your body refreshed, but do you know that by praying in the spirit or listening to a sermon or a podcast can be part of your rest season? Have you ever prayed in the spirit and by the time you were done, you felt refreshed and strengthened?
I’ll end this article here and ask if you want to share any way you have started making progress this year. I’d love to hear your thoughts.