Do you make New Year's resolutions? I like to think of them as goals I renew when I reevaluate at a natural time of year ... when a new calendar starts. This is the week when many of us are thinking about if we "chose well" in the way we spent this last year. Regularly reflecting on how we're spending the life God gave us is a healthy discipline. Some people shy away from setting goals, because it feels like we're setting ourselves up for disappointment or failure. It's the "better not expect anything and you won't be let down" approach. But God has great plans for our lives and wants us to maximize our one life for His kingdom and His glory. When we ask Him to show us what He wants, we can expect He'll direct us.
"The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps," Proverbs 16:9.
But, if you don't aim for anything, you'll be sure to hit it. So this week stop and spend time thinking and praying about where you're at and where you're going, where God wants you to go and who He wants you to be. Here are a few guidelines that help me in setting New Year's goals:
Keep it realistic - Probably wouldn't be very reachable for me to hope to win the Nobel Peace Prize this year. (Maybe next year ...) Think about short term steps that are attainable and that lead you to long term goals that you value. If you're married then this is in the context of "we."
Make it specific - Can you put a "who, what, where, when, how" with it? You may not know everything when you set the goal, but it should be specific, so you can measure whether or not you make progress towards it. I like to have goals that represent:
- The Lord of my life (this may include devotions, disciplines, study, ministry...)
- The people in my life (Husband, kids, others)
- The woman God made me (this may involve character traits, health, skills, profession, ...)
Remember it often - I like to write my goals down. I also like to put them into an acrostic ... I know, that makes me sound like a "word nerd," but I may be guilty there. Last year my goals were "SENEBS," and this year they are "CRIMP." Not telling what they stand for, but use your imagination. I already gave you a hint ... P is not for Peace Prize. ;) I put the acronym on my phone, my computer screen, my planner ... anywhere to keep before me what I believe God wants me to focus on this year. If you're really serious about those goals, share them with a trusted friend who will be your cheerleader, prayer warrior, and accountability partner.
And will I achieve everything that I set out to do? Probably not. I didn't do and become all in "SENEBS" that I dreamed I might do and be, but I made steps in that direction. Don't let that stop you! Be "confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus," Philippians 1:6.
Taking a step towards CRIMP ;)