A member of my church who sends me a thought for the day each day, sent this, “resolutions are of no value without goals.” So true. It is very easy for us to have lofty aspirations that are never realized. My own experienced has been that my failures are usually a result of a lack of a clear plan or limited commitment. I hope if you are making a resolution this year that it is one that has a godly value to it. For example, I know one girl who selects a person each year for whom she will pray daily for a miracle. What a great commitment. Many people plan on reading the Bible in a year or resolve to prayer more. These are some examples of godly resolutions.
If you want to realize those aspirations then take a few cues from The Christmas Manifesto that I recently completed.
- Write out your goal. Make it very specific. For example, don’t just say, “I want a better prayer life.” Instead, commit to, “I am going to commit to 15 minutes of devotional time with God every morning before I have breakfast. My devotional time will include reading a chapter of scripture and prayer every day.”
- Post your goal and read it out loud every morning and evening. This will help you be more consistent.
- Track your progress daily and adjust if your plan is unrealistic. I am prone to be over zealous on the front end of my goals. I have found that I am not alone in this phenomenon. Our initial enthusiasm often gives us energy for exceptional initial efforts that are awesome but unsustainable. If that’s you. Rather than beat yourself up, recognize that you mistakenly took on more than you could handle and scale back. If you do you will find that it is not difficult to later build upon your success at a smaller level.
- If you get behind, pick up where you left off. Don’t try to play catch up. I know I have written this in prior posts, but I am not sure that I can repeat this piece of advice too much. My experience is that people who get backlogged fail altogether if they don’t cut their loses and just start moving again.
- Be realistic AND stretch yourself. Growth comes from carefully sustaining a creative tension between where you are now and where you feel you need to go. If you make too tiny of steps your lack of progress will discourage you. Try to leap too far and you are likely to become overwhelmed. Ideally your goal is attainable with work that takes you beyond your comfort zone and current level.
- Wrap goals in prayer. You goals should flow from prayer and be sustained by prayer. Most important of all, pray that your goals honor God and ask God to reveal it to you if your goals do not honor God.
Blessings to you as you strive to be a more dedicated disciple in the New Year.
p.s. Whether you have been writing goals for years or never written a single goal, I encourage you to watch my goal setting video. I cover the 2 things you must do before you start writing goals that most people fail to do, plus a host of other unconventional wisdom about goals setting.