Maybe this is the year where you take proactive steps to reach personal goals (or other goals). You want to do better and do more. I have personally benefited from using a Full Focus Planner from Michael Hyatt and his team. It guides the user through how to set goals for the year that you can break down to steps for each month and each week. Their site has helpful tools to guide your goal setting and strategic planning.
Let me suggest a few goals to pursue in your personal life and then some for your church as well.
We can set goals in our life in the domains of intellectual, emotional, relational, spiritual, vocational, and on and on. Whatever area of your life you want to grow in deserves a meaningful goal along with a strategy of how to reach that goal.
Could this be the year that you achieve goals you have been thinking about for a while?
One of my goals each year is to read the whole Bible. If you want to get to know God better, you might set a goal of reading the Bible in a year. There are several different reading plans available that help you know exactly how much to read each day in order to read all of the Bible in the 365 days of next year. Find a plan that works or check here.
Are you in need of some growth in the relational aspect of your life? Many people are lonely with few friends. Why not find a way to grow some new friendships. Join a club or a small group at your church. Set a goal of connecting with a few new people to see if some of them become good friends.
Are you looking to grow yourself as a leader? You could make a gool of reading a certain number of books on leadership, or look for a coach to help you process your next steps. A coach may help you sort out areas you want to work on and how to set a plan to do so.
As a pastor, I am always looking for ways to improve what our church is doing and how I as the leader can help us move toward certain goals.
Maybe this is the year you ask someone to help your or your church pursue your God-given dreams. As a pastor or church leader, you have a heart for your church. You wish you could guide the church forward in a significant and organized way. A church assessment might be one way to do this, where a coach assesses your church and gives you a final report with clear ideas of possible next steps.
Maybe this is the year that you and your creative worship planning team become more intentional about planning transformational services. You want your Sunday services to have a greater impact but aren’t quite sure where to start. I would love to walk your worship planning through a process which will guide you in creating transformational and meaningful services your people will love.
I encourage you to find ways to continue to grow as a person and as a follower of Jesus Christ. If you would like to pursue personal growth with a coach, reach out to me. Develop a plan today that will help you to grow this year.
The New Year always brings questions about resolutions. “What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you have New Year’s Resolutions?” In a New York Post article, Shireen Khalil (Dec. 21, 2018) wrote, “Research conducted by Strava, the social network for athletes, has discovered that Saturday, Jan. 12, is the fateful day of New Year’s resolutions.” This was based on analyzing 31 million global online activities.
I still like the idea of marking January 1st as a new start. Make it a day where you both, look back and look ahead. Celebrate your past year, then look ahead to what is next. Instead of resolutions that often don’t make it to the end of the month, make January 1, or shortly thereafter, a day when you set goals. Resolutions can be broken quickly, and then your resolve disappears with it. Goals, instead, give you something to strive for. Instead of saying you won’t eat any apple fritters from Tim Hortons for the next year, set a goal of losing weight. If you happen to have a fritter, you would have broken your resolution, but you haven’t ruined your goal. Just consider it an infrequent event that has not destroyed your whole goal. You still have the rest of the year to keep working on it.
Goals help you to live with purpose. So what do you want to do on purpose this year?
I want to continue to grow in my relationship with God. If I make a resolution to read my Bible every day, as soon as I miss one day, I have broken that resolution and broken resolutions usually makes us quit pursuing what we were going to do. A goal to read the Bible in a year encourages me to just pick up my Bible again the next day, even if I happen to miss one.
SET A FEW GOALS
What goals would help you live your life with purpose? What are some things that will enhance your life and the lives of others around you? People often suggest setting goals in areas of personal health, or social connections, or something regarding your career or further education. If you want to accomplish a certain project – building your own canoe, or writing a book – then set that as a goal. You might want to set goals in your spiritual life. If there is something you have been struggling with and you want to overcome, design a goal around that. Don’t be afraid to set a goal that may seem out of reach, Identify sub-goals that help you get there, like planning to meet with a counselor at least three times this year to work on that habit I want to break. Choose goals that help you become who you want to be, who you believe God wants you to be.
Do not set ridiculous goals. If you weigh 350 pounds, and are struggling doing stairs, it may not be a good idea to set a goal of climbing Everest this year. But you could set that as a goal in a few years! Set a realistic goal for this year that will help you to move toward the bigger goal. Set a goal of working out regularly at a gym, and another of losing a certain amount of weight. Maybe a third goal would be to start putting aside the necessary money that trip might cost. Set a goal of getting as informed about Everest and mountain climbing as you can – maybe read a book along that theme every month.
Set goals that are realistic, but also a little risky. Maybe you can’t climb Everest this year, but you can plan on doing a 10 K run. It will give you a goal to work towards that will help you tackle Everest later.
If what you want to achieve is too big for one year, then set the timeline 2-3 years from now. Then set short-term goals for this year that will move you toward that goal.
WRITE THEM DOWN
Thinking about goals is one thing. Writing them down is a completely different thing. Writing them down means you have thought about it enough to actually verbalize it, on paper at least. Feel free to do some rough drafts. Write down things you would like to do or experience or accomplish. You may have to weed them out a bit to get down to about five goals to work on for the year. One tool that has been a great help to me is the Full Focus Planner. Look it up at FullFocusPlanner.com. It helps you plan goals for the year, and then breaks them down into quarters, three months at a time. Each quarter you write down goals that will move you toward the larger goal. And then it even helps you break it down more to work on the goals weekly. It has been a huge help to me.
Writing them down gives you something to refer back to. Post them somewhere that you will see them every day. Put them in you journal, or day planner, on your phone or the fridge, or all of these. When you see what you wrote down, you remind yourself regularly what you are working towards. You are now beginning to live your life with purpose.
Often, we need others to help us in life. The same is true when it comes to setting goals and working towards them. Share them with someone you think will encourage you in them. If you have a goal of working out at the gym regularly, you would do better to share that with a friend who is doing the same thing, rather than a friend who thinks a workout is carrying in the groceries from the car. If your goal is to write a book, share this goal with someone who thinks you can do it, and who will encourage you to do it. Sharing a goal, speaking it out loud, helps reinforce your determination to do it. Sharing it with someone who will hold you accountable to it, reinforces your goals again.
With some goals, you may even ask someone to check in with you regularly to see how you are doing. Maybe you have a friend who you can encourage toward their goal as they encourage you towards yours.
You might consider getting a coach who can help you toward certain goals. Maybe a trainer at the gym, or a life coach who can help you think through what is holding you back. Maybe you are hoping to improve your leadership or pastoral abilities as you pastor a church. Let me make a shameless plug here for Elevate Coaching & Consulting, and invite you to reach out to me for some coaching to help you live your life with purpose.
Writing down your goals and sharing your goals with a friend are powerful steps to help you reach your goals. Yet sometimes there are too many other things that distract us from living with purpose as we planned.
Remove distractions. If you have goals regarding health, you may do well to remove the unhealthy items from your cupboard. If you have a goal of reading your Bible every day, you may want to get up thirty minutes earlier than everyone in your house so you can focus without others demanding your attention. You may need to remove certain events or activities from your schedule to make time for the purposeful steps you are taking. For example, you might quit your bowling league to make time to work out at the gym. You know what might distract you. You will figure out how to remove those things.
I encourage you to take some time to set some goals in the next week so you can live your life with purpose.