I like new beginnings. I like starting a new day, a new week, and a new year. I am excited about 2009, and I enjoyed taking some time over the last few days to evaluate different areas of my life and set some goals. Today, Teri and I did some planning and goal-setting for the upcoming year. We set goals for our family, our finances, our home, and our ministry. We also went through and talked about the upcoming church events.
I hope that you will take some time to evaluate what God has done this last year for you, what areas you would like to improve in, and what goals you are going to set for this next year. It has been said that, “If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” I think we can overplan and almost plan God and people out of our life, we if we underplan, we will not be good stewards of our time and opportunities. Here are some things to think about as you set goals.
1. Set attainable goals. Be optimistic yet realistic with your goals. If you have never read your Bible through in a year before, make that your goal rather than trying to read it through fives times in 2009! Try to lose 20 pounds instead of 120 pounds. Aim to read one book a month instead of one book a week, if you only read one book over the course of last year.
2. Set measurable goals. We have a training centre, and we are asking God for a specific number of students by this fall. We orginally were just praying for some students, but now we are asking God for a specific number of students. (Maybe you would like to be one?) Instead of aiming to “Save money”; aim to “Build up an emergency fund of $1000 (650 pounds) by June 2009.” This is a goal that can be measured.
3. Set time-sensitive goals. Give yourself a deadline to accomplish the goal. This will help you to push yourself to reach the goal. Even if you do not make the deadline, you will probably accomplish the goal much sooner than you would if you had not set a deadline.
4. Pray about your goals. Seek the Lord and His will. Evaluate your goals in light of what God thinks is important. Pray for wisdom and direction. Make sure that your goals put God and His kingdom first. It is never wise to put God second in your life, your marriage, your family, your time, your finances, in order to accomplish one of your goals. The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:33, If we seek God first, then he will add all these things unto us. In other works, if we take care of the things that are important to God, then He will take care of the things that are essential to us.
5. Remember a goal is just that a goal. Sometimes you reach it and sometimes you don’t. Failing to reach a goal is not the end of the world. Just try again. The Bible tells us that the just man falls seven time and rises again. With God’s help, just get back up and try again. Also, remember that sometimes, we can set a goal for ourselves that is not God’s will. In that case, maybe you need to re-access your goals and ask God if He really wants you to accomplish a particular thing. Or maybe He wants you just to be patient and to wait.
I hope this is a help. I would love to hear any ideas you might have on goal-setting. Email me or post a comment below.