But in Luke 14:28-30, Jesus gave a great principle on how to finish well. You can use this same secret to succeed in any endeavor.
What is the secret? See if you can find it:
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?”
The secret to finishing well is in how you start! Consider this: when you are motivated to lose weight or tackle any project, do you start charging into action without considering what it will cost you?
According to Jesus, that is not wise.
This is how my weight loss goals used to go:
- Day 1-10: Plan started and motivation high – “Yay!”
- Day 11-13: Motivation fading – “This is becoming a drag.”
- Day 14-17: Resistance starting – “This is haaaaarrrrd; I don’t want to do this anymore.”
This is when most people quit or try to back out. Because they never counted the cost to begin with, they have no means to press through the resistance period. And resistance to doing anything good in life will come. Count on it!
But I learned that you likely won’t quit if you start right. All you need is the power to press through resistance:
- Day 18-21: Resistance fading – “Just get it done.”
- Day 22 and beyond: Acceptance – “I can do this.”
Resistance may come and go at various times, but if you answer five questions from the start, you can defeat it!
Remember this: whenever you are striving to reach any goal, there is a price to pay. You may have to pay money, time, effort, venturing out of your comfort zone, losing the approval of some people, seeking wisdom from others, or a dozen other costs. The bottom line is deciding upfront whether you are willing to pay them.
I’m going to give you five questions God put on my heart that will help you count the cost. Even if you are in the middle of striving for your health goal, I highly recommend sitting down and answering these questions. Then when resistance comes to stop you, you will be prepared to handle it:
1. What do I want?
Write down specifically what your health outcome looks like when it is “done.” How do you want to feel? What do you want to be able to do? I hope you want a body that doesn’t just look good in a picture pose, but one that is strong, fit, and flexible – a body that works well!
2. Why do I want it?
The root word of “motivation” is “motive.” Think of it as “reason to move.” After you sit down to count the cost, what reason will be strong enough to get you off of your backside and do something about what you want? What reason will be strong enough to keep you going when you face challenges? Reasons can vary depending on your season of life, so the reason that worked for you when you were 20 will likely not work now that you are 50.
Make your reason appropriate for your season. And don’t hesitate to update your reason if it is no longer strong enough to help you power through resistance.
3. What will it cost me to get it?
Think through the price you must pay to reach your goal. Every successful business person does “due diligence” before starting a new project. Resources like time and money are limited, so it is smart to only invest them in areas in which a positive return is likely.
4. Do I have enough resources to pay and if so, what are they?
This is where you look for the resources in your favor to succeed. If money is required, then you need to assess your financial resources and if you don’t have it, determine if you can partner with someone who does.
How about people? As a disciple of Jesus, you have Him on your side! Do you have others who can provide inspiration, knowledge, and support? If not, can you find some of those people?
How about time? If you are retired, work at home, or between jobs then time is a likely resource you have. If you work outside of the home, then time is more limited, but you still have it in your breaks, lunch hour, or time after work.
How about knowledge? If you lack wisdom, you can always ask God for it in prayer. Plus, most of us have a whole library at our fingertips through the Internet. You can use it to seek plans, recipes, or whatever knowledge you lack.
How about personal character? Now is the time to affirm your positive character traits. If you are creative, resourceful, determined, focused, able to bounce back from setbacks…all of these things are in your favor.
5. Am I willing to pay?
The answer is up to you. With a ‘Yes” answer, you can now move forward with a solid success foundation. But even a ‘No’ answer empowers you. Rather than writing yourself off as “I’m just lazy,” you may decide that what you want is a good idea but the time isn’t right or you don’t have enough resources to succeed…yet.
You can then decide to go for a more realistic goal for your current season or seek to close the resource gaps you have.
Remember this: If you want to finish well, you need to sit down first and count the cost. Only then will you be assured of finishing what you start!
Take Back Your Temple