There’s nothing quite like coming to the end of the year only to hope next year will somehow be different. If we want our lives to look different, we’re going to have to do something different.
John Maxwell brilliantly says,
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
Wow! This totally means that whatever frustrated you about last year can change this year. You don’t have to suffer through the same disappointments and struggles. What was that for you? In looking back at this past year, what would you have done different? What opportunities do you feel like you missed? Goals you wished you would have set?
As we embark upon this new year, we can set ourselves up for success in these same areas by setting some goals and making a plan on how we’re going to reach them. How you spend your life now and the areas you choose to challenge yourself to grow in will benefit you far greater in every season to come.
With that, I wanted to share with you a few pointers as you set your goals, some areas to focus on, and how to see it through to a better year than last year.
Here’s a few pointers as you begin thinking about your goals:
1. Start where you are
A realistic goal is one that begins a step beyond where you already are. A stretch goal begins a leap beyond where you already are. It’s great to know both levels but reward yourself regardless of which one you reach.
2. Make them trackable
When you put a lot of effort towards something, it sure helps to be able to track your progress. This way you can celebrate even your small wins along the way and they will encourage you to keep going.
3. Think long-term
Because we all want our goals or resolutions to last beyond just January, thinking about a long-term goal, and the plan that will get you there, will help you distribute your efforts so you don’t burn out too quick.
4. Find its Purpose
Establishing the reason behind why your goal matters will help you press through on those hard days and get back up when you’ve fallen off the track a bit.
The 4 areas I focus my goals on to see growth in each year:
Things like: Devotional time, Daily Bible Reading, Church attendance and participation, Attending conferences, Watching Sermons on Youtube, Listening to podcasts
Special time with family, Rest, Hobbies, Vacation, Mini-trips with friends, Adventure
Reading articles and books, Listening to podcasts
Health and fitness, Sleep, Drinking water
With each of these areas, I try and then set goals for Daily, Weekly and Monthly… but not all at once.
It wouldn’t be very realistic to set a daily, weekly and monthly goal in each area at the same time or your goals would become so overwhelming you might give up. How do I know? I’ve done it. I have totally been caught red handed with an entire bag of Lay’s potato chips on the couch binge watching chick-flicks because I failed epic in trying to become a brand-new version of me with very unrealistic goals.
Instead of shooting for the moon and landing among the stars, how about shooting for a stone’s throw from where you are right now, and then when you get there, pick up another rock and toss it out a bit further.
Spirit, soul, mind and body are all areas that we all need to mature and develop, take time for and steward well. To make it more manageable, you could break it up with different focuses monthly, or even quarterly. Our church always begins the year with a 21-day time of prayer and fasting. With this, my first focus is always spiritual. And actually a few years ago, I went to a New Year’s conference and it impacted me so greatly for the upcoming year I’ve done it now for the last three.
Beginning to focus an area in January means that by the time Easter rolls around, you’ll likely be accustomed to incorporating these goals and now able to add another area. Which one? Whichever one you’ll be able to incorporate best based on the time of year, work schedule, school schedule, etc.
Here’s the months by quarter: January – March, April-June, July-September, October-December.
But for whatever your focus is, have a daily/weekly/monthly goal to help you stay motivated and on track. Be flexible and allow yourself to grow. You’re not improving yourself to pass some test, but are investing back into your life the things you value. If you fail miserably, don’t wait for next month or next year, His mercies come new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) so begin again the very next day. This takes time and effort, but the rewards will be well worth it.
What is so awesome about these goals is that you can grow and develop within each one. But here’s the deal. I’ve figured I can make any claim for some new thing I am going to try, like juicing, but it will only stick if it’s reasonable and actually matters to me to change. I tried juicing this past year. And with it, gave up on all sugar and sodas. It lasted all of three weeks. Why? Because I went so all-in that when my schedule changed it became too difficult to keep up, instead of just cutting back a bit, I fell off the wagon completely.
Big outlandish goals sound amazing, but can you keep it up for a month, two, six or even until next year? And if you can’t, you normally end up falling back to nothing, or even to worse, like I did with my juicer. I find it better to set more reasonable goals more often, that challenge me bit by bit, so that my growth is gradual and consistent. Consistency is where the power lies, because in that your life has now changed.
What goals are you setting for this year? No matter how big or how small, you can make it your best year yet! Just remember, “The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
In this with you,