It’s that time of year again! Everyone is trying to set new resolutions and goals for the coming year. I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a while ago because I never keep them. Why start something I going to abandon in a week, right?
Instead of making a resolution, I started thinking about where God is calling me to go and who God is calling me to become. When you start asking that question, the answers are humbling and challenging.
With a birthday in late December, every year starts with a new age for me. This year, it was the big 30. When I started to reflect on God’s direction in my life, I came up with 30 important goals that I want to see happen in the next ten years (30 Goals for my 30s).
Last week at Bethel, we looked at Proverbs 16:1-9. Solomon shared some wisdom: if we strive after the plans of God, God will establish our steps. We still have to decide what we’re going to strive for and how we’re going to plan to get there. But if we humble ourselves before God, and commit that work to Him, God will arrange our plans accordingly. You can view that sermon here and below.
I’m a planner. I like to know how and when things will line up so our goals are achieved. Its basic math: a + b = c. And good news to me, verse three reads, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Sounds simple.
But when I continue in Proverbs and read, “Many are the plans in mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (19:21), I know that I must ask myself, “Do my plans line up with God’s plans?”
I plan and God produces, as long as I’m willing to give up my plan for His plan. #settinggodlygoals Click To TweetSo as I wrote my goals for the next decade, I put the two ideas together, and thought: I plan, God produces, as long as I’m willing to give up my plan for His plan. That can be a challenging thought.
So, as we journey together in 2017, how do we set godly goals? Let me offer you seven ways to set healthy goals and ensure you don’t let 2016 repeat itself:
1) Stay in line with SCRIPTURE
It might sound simple, but don’t let yourself set goals that bring you away from God’s Word. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean that it’s a healthy goal for you. In the same way, a healthy goal may not be popular, but a biblical goal will always make you stronger.
2) ASK GOD for Direction
No, God is not going to give you a list. But he does expect you to pray about what inspires you. Reflect on the past year and dream about the future. It will amaze you how God’s Spirit will help direct you. I’ll give you a hint: if a goal challenges you’re status quo and makes you a little uncomfortable, pay attention. God is probably trying to help you grow.
3) Ensure ACCOUNTABILTY.
I make sure to prayerfully ask God’s Spirit to keep me accountable. I wish that’s all I would have to do, but that’s not always the case. There’s a reason why The Church is made up of a group of people – ask someone to hold you accountable. Their physical nudge will help the Spirit’s nudge stand out.
4) Include ALL ASPECTS of life.
Too often we focus on one part of our lives (ie. Weight loss or spiritual discipline). The truth is, all areas of our lives impact each other. Our spiritual, family, social, physical and work lives all work together to keep us healthy. Make sure to think about balance when setting goals.1
5) Be REALSITIC.
Remember you’re on a journey. There’s no need to set 10 goals and try to achieve them overnight. You would be better to focus on two or three at a time and accomplish them, rather than set a large number and lose focus.2
6) SPECIFIC, MESASUREABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT, and TIMLEY (“SMART” Goals).3
Anything worth completing, is worth writing down in detail. Specify the goal to accomplish, make sure there is some way to attain and measure success, and give yourself a timeline. Many of my goals listed in 30 goals for my 30s are vague. In order for me to succeed, I will need to turn a statement like “Make exercise and physical activity a priority,” to “Walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, three times a week.”
7) CELEBRATE the win; learn from the FAILURE.
We tend to spend so much time on exaggerating failure that we often forget to celebrate a success. I think of someone like King David. He celebrated with dancing and song when they recovered the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6); but humbly faced his failure with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12).
Get out your notebook or smart phone and start brainstorming things that you are inspired to accomplish this year. Let’s ask ourselves:
Are we pursuing God’s purposes for our lives? Are we ready to give up our plan for His? Do we trust God’s faithfulness?
Michael Hyatt – “The Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting”
Dr. Edwin Locke & Dr. Gary Latham – “Locke’s Goal Setting Theory”
Shana Schutte – “Setting Goals to Fulfill Your God-Given Purpose”
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References [ + ]
|1.||⇑||See Shana Schutte, “Setting Goals to fulfill Your God-Given Purpose,” http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/faith-in-life/discovering-your-god-given-purpose/setting-goals-to-fulfill-your-god-given-purpose, accessed January 5, 2017.|
|2.||⇑||See Michael Hyatt, “The Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting,” https://michaelhyatt.com/goal-setting.html, accessed January 5, 2017.|
|3.||⇑||S.M.A.R.T. goals are commonly discussed by many. See further discussion in the further reading section on this post.|