How Do I Set Goals?

Sorry about the intermittent blogging this week. I’d love to say that I was so busy that I just didn’t have time but that wouldn’t be exactly accurate. My normal plan is to blog around four days a week. Hopefully, that’s a schedule I’ll be able to keep.

One of the things I wondered when I started setting yearly goals was, “How do I pick my goals?” I wanted to set and achieve goals but I wanted to be sure I was choosing the right goals to work to accomplish. If you are looking to set goals for 2012, then you may have the same question. While I freely admit that I’m not an expert on setting and achieving goals I do have some ideas that may help you (and me) set and achieve your goals.

Pray

As believers in Jesus Christ, everything in our lives should start and end with God. We want to do His will, bring Him glory and we need His strength. Therefore, we should pray about what goals we need to set. I start praying for my New Years goals around the first of November. I pray as I’m working on them. I don’t stop praying about them until they are set. Then I start praying for help to achieve them.

Ask Yourself Questions

What changes do I want to make?

What changes do I need to make?

What would I like to accomplish?

What is a desire that I’ve never fulfilled?

What do I want to learn, be or do?

What could I do to bring God glory?

What would take courage for me to accomplish?

What would take faith for me to accomplish?

Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list of questions but you get the idea. If you spend some time asking yourself these sorts of questions you’ll have a list of things that could be potential goals. Then all you’ll need to do is sort through them and decided which ones you want to accomplish right now.

Check Your Motives

This is something I hadn’t really given much thought to until I read a blog about setting goals last year. The author said, “If you set selfish goals, you’d be better off spiritually if you didn’t accomplish them.  That’s why you need to check your motives.”[1] In another place the same author wrote,

“Here are some of the motives that I think are healthy and holy:

1) You can set a goal to honor God.

2) You can set a goal to maximize your potential. A lot of my physical goals fall into that category. It’s about taking care of the Temple.

3) You can set a goal to make a difference. Most of my influence goals are motivated by the desire to make a difference. That is why I write. That is why I preach.

4) You can set a goal because it will bring you joy. There is nothing wrong with that. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!”[2]

This made a lot of sense to me and it’s something I’m taking into consideration this year.

Think In Categories.

Even if you ask yourself questions, it can be hard to pull goals out of thin air. This is why it can be helpful to think in categories. I usually focus on the following categories.

Physical

Financial

Spiritual

Relational

Educational

Occupational

There are probably several others that you could add but these are the ones that I focus on as I plan my goals. Thinking in these categories helps me to stay on track and set what I believe are good God honoring goals.

Commit The Goals To God.

This isn’t something that will necessarily help you plan your goals but it is something I do after I’ve set my goals. Once my goals are set and written down I take time and pray through them. As I pray through them I not only ask God for help in achieving these goals but I also commit these goals to God so that they can be accomplished for His glory. As I do this I usually pray this Scripture, “Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV)

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