If you’re like me, 2016 was a just a big blur. I’m confident time seems to speed up more and more the older I get! As I reflect upon 2016, I am filled with an array of emotions. While there were some great moments in 2016, we also had some really tough and difficult times this past year as a family. I think I spent more time at the funeral home this year than I had in the last several years put together. While we definitely had our ups and downs in 2016, I can say without reservation that God has been and will always be faithful.
As we turn our attention to 2017, many individuals will be coming up with their resolutions and setting goals for the New Year. For many of you, you’ve already condoned eating one more piece of cake because “starting next week you’re getting back in shape.” Whatever goals you set for the New Year, I sincerely hope that you’re able to accomplish them. Don’t forget you never reach goals you don’t set and you never get to where you’re going unless you get moving! Do you need a change or feel stuck in a rut? Determine that in 2017 you’re going to change your routine and see results!
Each year around this time I spend time formulating goals I want to achieve for the upcoming year. It’s also a great time to reflect upon last year’s goals to see what we were and weren’t able to accomplish throughout the previous year. When I develop my goals each year, I categorize them into 4 main categories: family, personal, physical, and financial. I purposefully leave out a spiritual category because I want each of my 4 main categories to have a spiritual dimension to them. Hopefully the following 10 steps from Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker, will help you as much as it helped me as you begin formulating your goals for the New Year (P.S. Read the book…It will transform your prayer life).
1. Pray over your goals – If you bathe your goals in prayer, you will be much more likely to glorify God while meeting your goals. If your goals do not glorify God, then they weren’t worth setting in the first place.
2. Check your motives – Are your goals God-honoring or are they selfish? If you set selfish goals, you would be better off spiritually if you didn’t accomplished them. Remember what Paul encouraged us in Philippians 2:3…”do nothing out of selfish ambition.”
3. Think in categories – I shared with you my categories but your categories may look much different. Just make sure they all have a spiritual dimension to them.
4. Be Specific – In other words, make each goal measurable. If you don’t, you’ll have no way of knowing whether or not you’ve accomplished it. For example, losing weight isn’t a goal until you have a target weight within a target timeline.
5. Write them down! – “The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory.” If you don’t write your goals down, you haven’t really set them. In fact, I encourage you to go a step further and verbalize your goals. There is just something powerful that happens when you verbalize your goals, whether in a journal or conversation.
6. Include others – Nothing cements a relationship like a shared goal. One writer stated, “Goals are relational glue.” I’ve discovered that when you go after a goal with someone else, it doubles your joy.
7. Celebrate along the way – Throughout the year you will hopefully accomplish several goals. When you do, crank up the music and celebrate! Just don’t eat too much cake when you hit your weight loss goals!
8. Dream BIG (this is my favorite) – Hopefully your list of goals will include goals that are big and small as well as short term and long term but here is some advice: Make sure you have some crazy, out of this world, God size goals on your list!
9. Think long – Sadly most people spend more time planning their summer vacation than they do planning the rest of their life. When you set goals you’re practicing good stewardship. Instead of letting things just happen, goals help us make things happen. Instead of living out of memory, goals help us live out imagination.
10. Pray hard – Dreaming is a form of praying and praying is a form of dreaming. The more you dream, the more you’ll pray. And the more you pray, the more you’ll dream! Pray hard and dream big for 2017!
Like you, I have no idea what 2017 holds for me or my family. But what I do know is that God will be with us each step of the way and will never leave us nor forsake us, no matter what the future holds. Determine 2017 will be the year that you go “all in” with Jesus and make Him priority in all that you do. May 2017 be the best year yet!
Praying for you always,