Yesterday, I finished sketching my goals for 2013.
I hate resolutions and they don’t work. I use words, instead. But I also I love and am invigorated by goals. Goals allow me to see the big picture and make daily decision to become the person I want to be. I give myself goals in every area of life – work, health, finances, blog readership, outside writing projects, reading, etc… – but all things I have some control over. As I reviewed this past year’s goals, I was happy to see that I had reached all but one. I can look back and say 2012 was a year worth living and I lived it well. Those closets to me would tell you it was one of my happiest years.
Maybe 2013 can be one of your happiest if you set some attainable, energizing goals? Here’s why:
Why are goals important?
- Goals Focus Our Time. A college professor of mine taught me that “idle time tends toward weaknesses.” He meant that without something to do, a goal in which to focus, we misuse our time and we end up doing things we shouldn’t. Many of those activities don’t amount to much – watching T.V., playing video games, mindlessly surfing the web, but the ROI is very limited and mostly negative. Other activities we stumble into are more dangerous. Having goals allows you to always say, “There’s something I could be doing right now to advance my enjoyment of my life.”
- Goals Allow Us To Be Truer. Many of you are Christians. You have made commitments about the kind of person you want to be. When we pursue the enactment of those commitments we can actually become who we say we are. There is a saying I use in spiritual formation, ‘The best way to increase your faith is to be faithful” (You can Tweet that). We say we want to serve and be generous, for instance, and goals allow us to be intentional about giving away our time and resources. You can set a goals of giving away 10% of your income or serving 100 hours this year in a ministry. In more ways than you can imagine, following Jesus is a conscious choice about constructing particular goals that reflect Christ-like-ness.
- Goals Focus Our Energy. Many people’s lives are completely random. Life just happens to them; they’re always “under these circumstances” – whatever that means. They have no idea what to say “yes” or “no” to. When you have goals, say you want to lose 20lbs, you know whether or not to eat that cake and ice cream or pass. You know whether to workout or sit on the couch. If you’re a writer, you know whether an out-of-town trip with your friends is worth the weekend of writing it would cost you to do it. If you’re a student working toward straight “A’s” you’ll know whether or not 10-minutes more of study is worth it.
My Encouragement To You.
- Get away with your heart, a pen and a journal, and design your preferred future. What do you want your days to look like (within a realistic framework. I’d like to be able to get by on 4-hours of sleep a night, but that ain’t gonna happen)? What time would you like to wake? What kind of physical health do you want? When would you like to work on that special project? Then pick three or four goals that are attainable in the next 6-months and the next 12-months. And chart a plan for getting those things done.
- Write It Down. Nothing motivates like written goals. Mine sit on my desk. I can review them at any time. Sometimes I’m reminded that I need to get busy with one or abandon another. Many times I discover that I’ve reached a goal and want to take things to the next level.
- Dream Big. You only have one life. Enjoy it. When most folks talk about goals the framework is typically achievement, notoriety, or riches. Not me. I just want to enjoy my life and make other people’s lives better. I’ve discovered that I enjoy life more when I add meaning and purpose to it and people are blessed. I enjoy that.
- Rest and Revise. It’s likely you’ll overdue your goals, you’ll aim too high. Don’t be afraid to step back and revise. Oftentimes, achieving a particular goal becomes more difficult and time-consuming than you originally envisioned. That’s okay. Recalculate and revise. There’s no shame in that. And don’t forget to rest. At times, you might need a weekend away, you may want to enjoy a greasy hamburger in the midst of a diet. That’s okay too. Until the Lord comes or you go to the Lord, there’s always tomorrow. Start again…
What is your approach to goal-setting? What works for you? What are you goals for 2013?