With New Year’s coming in just a few days, many of you are thinking about plans for the upcoming year. I would like to make some suggestions as you “resolve” to do things differently, or better.
- Pray and then pray some more.
- Set Biblical goals: Will God be pleased or help you if your goal is to get even with someone who’s hurt you in the past, or if you’re selfishly setting a goal of making a million dollars to spend on yourself?
- Don’t be in a hurry to make a lot of resolutions. Take your goals seriously: you’ll be much more likely to work to accomplish them.
- Have a plan: I suggest setting goals under 4 main headings: Spiritual, Physical, Mental (or Intellectual/Academic), and Skills.
- Choose just a few goals to start with (1 or 2 in each area): Succeeding in a few is better than being overwhelmed by too many and giving up in frustration.
- Make your goals achievable. “Become an Olympic swimmer” is not achievable if you don’t even know how to swim. Break your larger-than-life goals down into achievable smaller goals: “Sign up for swimming lessons.” “Practice 3 times per week for 30 minutes,” etc.
- Make your goals measurable. For example, “Become a better cook” is not measurable. “Try 1 new recipe per week” is measurable and you will know if you have accomplished it or not.
- Set goals first in the area where you need it most.
- Write down your goals and look at them often.
- Make a plan for how you will achieve each goal, and keep a record of daily/weekly achievement.
Below you will find a very simple list which has been handed out at my church the last few years, which I have found helpful in my goalsetting for the new year. This list gives some ideas for areas to think about, and plan for, which you may not already have on your list. (It came to me in a different format, but I give it to you in outline form for readability. You will want to change the format to one which will give you ample space to write out your ideas and goals.)
Just a note: We all learn differently: For some, color is very influential and important. Try using bright-colored pens and markers, if you have never done so before, as you write out your goals. I find it amazingly helpful.
Habits are often the subject of resolutions–bad habits, that is. I ran across some excellent questions that may help you in overcoming yours.
- What sin or sins prevent me from reaching my goal?
- How do these sins hinder me?
- What are the Scriptures on this sin?
- What changes am I going to make to combat this sin?
- What positive things am I going to do to change this habit?
May God help us all to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:1-4