It may seem late in the New Year to be talking about goal setting. But, if you are like me, January seems to go by in a blink of an eye. And, it’s sometimes February before New Year’s plans and schedules fall into place.
There were times when I was aimless in many areas of life. But, today I can’t imagine a day (or a life) without goals. Goals give me a target. As I rise each morning and take aim at my day, the arrow I shoot may wobble and weave, but at least it’s in flight and headed somewhere. Just as goals help us in the day to day, goals are also an aid when it comes to our spiritual growth.
Goals provide focus— It’s definitely true that if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. So when I was a mom with preschoolers, I aimed at something—reading one book a year. I asked myself, “If I could read only one book this year, what would it be?” I read a suggested parenting book that helped me determine the road I wanted our family to head down. I read it in bits and pieces, remembering that something is better than nothing. I set a goal—and reached it.
And that one book I set out to read went straight into my heart—and my life. As time— and years—went by, my list of books grew to include a variety of other titles, all of which have contributed to my personal and spiritual growth and to my ministry to others.
Goals provide an opportunity for specific measurement—Setting goals that are specific helps you move forward in the direction you want to go. So when it comes to making goals for your-self, stay away from the vague. For example, the goal “to be a godly woman” or “to walk with God” is honorable but hard to measure. It’s far better to be specific.
Answer the question “What does a godly woman do?” and let your answer give you specific and measurable behaviors (i.e. Bible study, prayer time). Write down steps you can actually take toward those behaviors (baby steps count!) and mark them off as you accomplish them. I’m often asked about my writing, including questions like “How do you do it?” and “What must I do to write a book?” My answer is always the same. I have a goal to write five pages each day. Now that’s specific. There’s nothing vague about that.
Goals provide encouragement—When a week, or month, or year is over, do you ever wonder, “Wow, what did I do? Where did it go?” As I began to write down specific, measurable goals and keep track of my progress in my planner, I could see firsthand the growth that had taken place, the number of books that had been read, the variety of classes and seminars taken, the women I had shared God’s truths with, the number of family reunions and birthdays celebrated, and even the pounds lost. Believe me, as you keep track daily of your efforts and God’s grace, you will be able to celebrate the progress made, and give God thanks.
Question: What accomplished goad have you been able to celebrate in your life? Or, have you’ve been stirred to set a new goal today? Share here so we can celebrate and encourage one another toward God’s good goals.