Many people set goals at the beginning of every year but unfortunately by February, over half of them give up and by May that number climbs to over 80%! I have fallen in this 80% category far too many times than I’d like to admit, but 2019 was a year I can honestly say I was proud of my progress towards my goals.
I make goals in a few specific areas each year: Spiritual, Personal, and Financial. My spiritual goals consist of things I’d like to improve in my walk with God. Personal goals include goals for my health, family and relationships. Financial goals include where I’d like to be by the end of the year in regards to budgeting and saving.
While the list alone is a great start, it’s so important to define actionable ways to accomplish goals. For example, it’s too vague to say, “I want to grow spiritually.” Why do you want to grow spiritually and what are your plans to do it? So a spiritual goal with action may look more like this: “I want to grow spiritually this year to be more equipped for ministry. I will accomplish this by setting aside 10 minutes every morning for prayer and Bible reading.”
I read an amazing book in 2019 called “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I think of all the books I read last year, this one was the most beneficial in helping me reach my goals. Clear talks about how the smallest change in habit can make huge results. One method he teaches is habit stacking. In habit stacking, you pair one habit with a habit you already have. Let’s say you want to pray more. What do you do every morning that you could stack prayer with? I drink coffee every morning, so for me, this was a good time to pray. Make my coffee, sit down and talk to God.
Now be careful with this because not all habits can be stacked. You can’t read your Bible and watch TV! But you can read your Bible while you spend time with your kids. I like to read my Bible to my kids! Or I sometimes will do squats while I’m brushing my teeth or call a friend to check on while I’m folding clothes. The key is to stack a new habit with a mindless one. Like decluttering a bathroom drawer while your kids are playing in the tub or listening to an audiobook while you’re driving.
I like to focus on one or two goals in each category so I don’t get overwhelmed and not do anything at all. It’s recommended to make no more than 7-10 goals for the year for this reason. You are more likely to accomplish your goals if you don’t have so many that you freeze because you don’t know where to start!
Whatever your goals, be sure to talk to God about them. Before I even set mine, I like to take a moment and ask God what my goals should even be? Are there areas in my life that I don’t see that need attention? Am I neglecting something He’d like me to accomplish? Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord”. I try not to make my list and take it God but talk to God and then make my list!
Here are some resources to help you as you make goals and plans for the year!
Atomic Habits by James Clear https://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Habits-Proven-Build-Break/dp/0735211299
Finish by Jon Acuff https://www.amazon.com/Finish-Give-Yourself-Gift-Done/dp/1591847621/ref=asc_df_1591847621/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312025907421&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7063277789135499930&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1028175&hvtargid=pla-416842052361&psc=1
Whisper by Mark Batterson https://www.markbatterson.com/books/whisper/