Often I have found that no matter how hard I work that I’m unable to accomplish my objectives, even though I’ve set aside personal comforts and ignored proper life balance. The Bible says, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” So why, if that is the case, do I often almost get there only to have it evaporate at the last minute? Proper intention, emotional acceptance, and living in accordance with God’s will is the definition of a well-balanced individual who generally accomplishes objectives.

Let’s start with intention. As Simon Senek, author of Start with Why, says, “For values or guiding principles to be truly effective, they have to be verbs. It’s not integrity, it’s always do the right thing. It’s not innovation, it’s ‘look at the problem from a different angle. Articulating our values as verbs gives us a clear idea of how to act in any situation.” When we think of intention as the foundation of behavior from a spiritual point of view, then we are on the right track.

For example, say you want to lose weight. Why? Will being fit attract more attention from the opposite sex? Make you a better athlete? Are those your only reasons? What about a more well-rounded approach? I want to lose weight and be more fit to honor my God-given body, to be able to more fully enjoy life, to be physically available when others need help. Our “why” should be something we want strongly enough to work for it.

It’s important to be emotionally clear with ourselves. We should be truly aware of why we want a particular objective, and what it will take to attain it. For example, if we are overweight, we will have to make life-style changes to lose weight and keep it off. Giving up comfort foods can be challenging. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and carbohydrates provide that rich and calming effect that feels so good. It takes commitment to give up what feels good in the moment, even when we know it’s for our long-term good. To cross the finish line, we need the will power to control our emotional desires.

Sadly, most choose to remain fat. Just look around. We are the most obese society on the planet. It boggles my mind that anyone would choose to be disabled, but then I remember that I have 25 percent body fat–who am I to point a finger? Tony Robbins says that we often don’t obtain our goals because the pleasure we imagine getting from success is outweighed by the pain of the effort. But I think the process doesn’t have to include pain if we have a well-balanced perspective.

Take time to take stock through prayer and meditation. Is your goal truly best for you in terms of God’s will? Is my goal in the best interest of those around me, of my family, friends, co-workers? That matters.

Many years ago, one of my friends was severely overweight. He was a great, fun-loving person, but as a child he was a depressed social outcast because of his weight. To make him feel better, his mother baked him a pie every day. He loved his mom and her home-baked pies, but her method of fighting her son’s depression caused an eating disorder that he never overcame. He wanted to be healthy, he wanted to rock climb with his friends, but mostly he sat on the sidelines. He died in his 30’s. What a loss, and for what? A little pie? His mom wanted to make her son happy, so she focused on gratifying his immediate desire to feel loved and accepted and her need to feel she was being a good mother. I don’t think she ever considered what was truly best for him and he felt obligated to eat the pie as to not disrespect his mother. Both had good intentions, but didn’t take time to really consider what the long-term effect would be for either of them.

When we have a proper understanding of intention, when we are emotionally clear about our goals, and when we live in accordance with God’s will, we make life much easier for ourselves and for those around us. We must continually challenge ourselves not only to be better than we are, but to consider how our actions affect others.

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