I would like to assume we are all familiar with the New Year resolution trend, that is is set by the start of the year and ends about 20 days into it.
In the last couple of years I have learned to set GOALS for myself rather than resolutions. Resolutions require making a firm decision whether or not to do something. How is one able to do that at the beginning of the year before the resolution is even tried. How do you know it fits your lifestyle, schedule or even character?
For the same reason I do not agree with “dieting”. I want something more sustainable, flexible and life-giving. After all, Jesus came to give us an abundant life, life to the fullest. (John 10:10)
Here are the best ways I’ve found to set up New Year Goals rather than resolutions and live a life of “get to’s” rather than “have to’s”.
STEP & PRIORITY #1 Seek to know God more intimately.
This is the most important step for me since every step after this would be based on my flawed mind and unstable feelings without this step. God wants you to spend time with Him and do His works first. Then, He will give you the discernment to see His purpose for you. Sometimes we get so caught up in thinking of ourselves and spending sleepless nights wondering about our purpose, that we miss the mark, that God unfolds our purpose in His perfect time. We just need to invest in our relationship with Him.
Imagine being so pumped to start working out because it’s a new year and you want a “new you”.. You imagine that beach body and immediately sign up for a one year gym membership. You get to the gym, work out, day 1, day 2, day 3.. there are so many variables that can play into one quitting the habit of working out. But really, it is because our feelings are fleeting and when we don’t feel like doing something, it is so much easier not to do it. Simple. I. Don’t. Want. To.
However, when your truth is based on someone greater, someone perfect and unmovable, even when you are weak, you have the Perfect One to lean on. Going back to the gym visual, day 4 we start complaining and losing hope.. maybe for you it’s on day 100. What was the resolution in the first place? We lose sight of our why and end up hating what we do. Rather than setting up ourselves for failure.. ending in grumbling, why not start by deepening our understanding of God? The more we know about Him, the more we have a deeper understanding of ourselves as His children.
I love referring back to the fruits of the Holy Spirit when I am in need of a quick reminder of God’s character and how that would look like in life today. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Are my goals lined up with these fruits? How can I modify or replace my goals to better align with God’s word?
STEP #2 Ask yourself these questions and put it in writing.
- Where has God planted me in this season?
- What are the blessings He’s provided that He wants me to nurture, to use or to share with others?
- What has been lighting my soul on fire lately? Do they align with God’s character & pace?
- Has God given me the gifts (time, talent & money) to support these?
Double check by asking yourself these questions:
- Will my goals honor God?
- Will my goals help me love like Jesus?
- Will my goals draw me closer to the Lord?
- Will my goals give me space for rest?
Since I like seeing my Goals in a somewhat creative and big picture way, I took note of my answers on a 4×2 foot whiteboard and used the whiteboard markers, so I can reuse this whole board the following years. I added God’s answers, list of what I hope to learn, photos, stickers and magnets. I see this every day and it reminds me to take steps toward any of those goals each day. It is a reminder not to waste the precious life I’ve been given doing other things that take me further away from any of my goals and the path the Lord has for me.
STEP #3 Have faith, be encouraged and do the work.
After you have laid out all your goals, seeing it all in one spot can get overwhelming. Remember, your dreams can be big because our God is bigger! Have faith because our Father can move mountains! For as long as those goals align with God’s truth of who He says He is, who He says you are and of what He says He has planned for you, BE ENCOURAGED. He will not fail you. Although the Lord may not give us all that we want, He surely gives us everything we need.
Just like a loving Father, the Lord gives us our hearts desires. So, seek Him with all all your heart and soul, with all your mind and all your strength, and you will find Him. (Deuteronomy 4:29, Mark 12:30)
The Lord will strengthen you. So, throw off everything that hinders and distracts you. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-3) The Lord will give you the endurance you need.
Now, do you see why I set goals and not resolutions? Living and planning life with and through God, we will never fully see the whole picture at once, neither will we know how long He wants us to be doing something. We can plan and set goals, but ultimately the Lord’s plan prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
We can delight ourselves in Him for He knows the desires of our hearts. (Psalm 37:4) We can ask for Him to lead us there and glorify Him along the way.
I made this Goal Board on January 7th. You can make yours any time of the year, when seasons of life change. It so happened that around the time the new year came, our baby boy was about 6 weeks old, and I was feeling stronger after recovering from my caesarean surgery. I was ready to understand more where God wanted me to serve. Clearly it was at home with my family, but as you can see I’ve got other things going on, projects and business I want to fulfill. This board has been up for a month, and just yesterday through a 40 Day Challenge with Jesus our church is doing, I was able to hear what God wanted me to do next while being home with our baby:
WRITE FOR JESUS.
It took me 18 days to hear what God had been trying to tell me.
So, here I am, writing for Jesus.
I hope you do your thing for Jesus too!