“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that whoever reads it may run with it.”
– Habakkuk 2:2-3 NIV
It is natural for us at this time of year to reflect on the past twelve months. We may have set some resolutions to lose some weight, exercise more, get a certain job, etc. According to a recent article by the New York Post, unfortunately, most people only make it to January 12th before they give up on their resolutions! I knew that many people did not make it the whole year with their resolutions, but 12 days was a shock to me.
Why I Failed at My Resolutions
Every year I think of some great resolutions that I can apply for the upcoming year. I want to exercise more, be a better husband and father, read more, and become the best teacher I can be. For many years, my resolutions turned into wishes. I would work out, read a little bit, and ultimately fall off the wagon within the first month or so. Life gets busy and slowly I would start to make sacrifices to my resolutions. Eventually, they would fall to the wayside altogether…until last year.
At this time last year, I took some advice and followed these steps for goal setting in the seven major areas of my life. To be honest, I did not meet all of the goals I set for myself, but I was pretty close in almost every area of my life. I would like to share this process with you today so that you may also be able to see your goals come to fruition in the new year.
The first step for writing goals for the upcoming year is to reflect on the one you just had. For each of the seven areas of your life you want to set goals in, you want to ask yourself some questions that will help guide you to your future goals. Here are the questions for each area:
- Where did I fall short in my goals from last year?
- Why did I fall short in this goal area?
- What successes did I have in the past year in each goal area?
- Why do you think you had success in this particular area of your life?
When you are thinking about the answers to these questions, write down your responses. These notes will help you when you are formulating your new goals for the year.
The 7 Areas of Your Life For Goal Setting
As I mentioned earlier, there are seven areas that you should consider setting goals for the upcoming year. The reason I like to have a goal for all seven areas is that it will make me a more balanced and well-rounded person. For example, if my one goal was to exercise more and get very fit, I might go to the extreme and miss out on time with my family. The same with careers. If you spend all of your time and energy moving up the ladder in your career, other areas of your life will suffer. Here are the seven areas and some examples to get you started for the new year.
- Career– Where do you want to go in your career?
- Physical Health– Exercising, nutrition, etc.
- Spiritual– Reading the Bible daily, small groups, etc.
- Financial- Knocking out debt, planning your estate, vacation planning
- Family- Spending quality time with family. Carving out time for your spouse/ significant other.
- Social- We always say we want to get together again soon. Let’s mean it this year!
- Personal/Mental- What books will you read, hobbies will you pursue, skills you want to learn?
Setting the Goal
When setting the goal for each area of your life, you want to make sure they are S.M.A.R.T goals. Each goal must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. For example, if you want to lose some weight, decide on the number of pounds you want to lose. 50 pounds is probably not realistic in a month, so make sure you look at all of the factors. An example of a SMART goal could be: I will lose 20 lbs by December of next year. Check out some other examples here.
Once you have your goals set, make sure you write them down. Have them in a few different places around your home so you are constantly in contact with them. The more you are able to focus on your goals and see them, the better you will be at achieving them,
Creating a Game Plan Moving Forward
So you have all of your goals written out and posted around your home, great! Now it is time to figure out how you are going to get there. The destination is great, but you have to know the path which you need to take. I encourage you for each of the goals that you set to answer these questions. Write the answers down. These answers will be the playbook to reaching and sticking to your goals this year.
- Where do I want to end up with each goal?
- What needs to be true in order to reach my goal?
- What patterns in my life need to change to reach my goal?
As you are writing down your answers to these questions, you will define a clear path to your destination. The path may not be easy and may require some sacrifice. Knowing the potential roadblocks ahead of time will set you up for success at the end of the year.
Rinse and Repeat
Make sure you are checking in with yourself each month with how you are doing with your goals. If you are slipping in one of the areas, own that and make a plan for change. At this time next year, start the process again. I am confident that you will see some awesome results. After doing this myself for the past year, I can say that I am a believer in this system and it is making me closer to the person that God wants me to be. Good luck in your goal setting this year, and happy New Year!
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