What NASCAR Taught Me About Achieving Goals


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It may come as a surprise to you that I like watching NASCAR races on TV. Sprint Cup races to be more specific. I don’t really know what the draw is except that maybe I like the thrill of the unknown. Not knowing if there is going to be a huge crash or who will have the better car to race that week.

I’m not a super fan, though. I couldn’t tell you a lot about the drivers. I don’t even know their car numbers, statistics, or much about them at all. But I do like watching the races.

This past Sunday was an exciting race to watch. Instead of racing on the standard race track, this race took place on a road course. The drivers had 11 turns to navigate.

Things got really exciting toward the end when it looked like Tony Stewart was going to have his first win of the season. It had been three years since he had won a race.

Then going into the last lap he got passed by Denny Hamlin. Tony’s chances of winning looked impossible.

As they went into the last turn going into the home stretch, something amazing happened. Denny Hamlin swung out too wide and allowed Tony Stewart to pass him at the last second. Tony made the turn and raced to the finish line to win the race.

After the race was over, one of the sports reporters asked Denny what happened. He said after he passed Tony, he spent too much time looking behind him instead of looking ahead. That caused him to make the one small mistake that allowed Tony to pass him in the last turn.

When I heard him say this, it made me think about how we pursue our goals. Sometimes we spend so much time in the past either dwelling on our mistakes or resting in our successes that we forget to look ahead.

I love what Philippians 3:13-14 have to say about our past and reaching our goals:

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But 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 upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

When we spend too much time in the past, we use up valuable time and energy that could be used on achieving our goals. Yes, we need to learn from our mistakes and failures. And, it is profitable to remember our successes. But, if we dwell in the past, we’ll never move forward to what God wants us to do in the future.

So, how do we leave the past behind?

Spend time with God.

Daily time in God’s Word and prayer will fill our minds with God’s perspective. It is through these means that He can communicate His plan for your life.

Evaluate what worked and didn’t work.

As I said above, it is beneficial to learn from both our successes and failures. Make a list of things you did that were successful and those that weren’t. Then evaluate the lessons you can learn from each of them.

It is important to keep what you’ve learned in mind, however it’s just as important to learn the lessons and move on.

Focus on the future.

Make a plan for where you would like to be in the next few months. Write out specific goals and action steps that will help you get there.

How do you leave the past behind?

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