Lose weight! Stop smoking! Join a health club! But most of our best intentions are forgotten within days. Then it’s back to that let-down feeling of having failed again.
There is a big difference between making resolutions and prayerfully arriving at God-inspired goals. In his book, Life After Loss (Fisher Books, 1992), Bob Deits gives an exercise that’s great for setting measurable goals. This need not be a tiresome, overwhelming chore. Deits prompts us to think the possibilities through, make conclusions about what is actually do-able, and then prayerfully walk it out. Give it a try….
- What tasks do I need to complete in the next seven days? If I didn’t have to do these things, what would I like to do in the next seven days?
- What barriers keep me from doing the things I most want to do?
- What resources do I have to overcome these barriers?
- Whose help do I need to do the things I want to do?
- What things would I like to do in the next 90 days?
- What spiritual resources do I need to help me go forward?
- What would my life look like one year from today if I could have my own way?
- Choose one goal each from your seven-day, 90-day and one-year lists. Indicate how you’ll know when you’ve reached it.
- Select one spiritual resource you’d like to find.
- Make a note on your calendar to check on your seven-day goal a week from now.
- The very next day, begin working on another goal you selected.
- Keep a journal record of your progress. When you accomplish one, choose another from the same category. If it becomes obvious that a goal is unrealistic, choose another. When a new goal surfaces, go for it.
- Share your goals and the dates for completion with a friend who will hold you accountable.
- At the end of the first week, set a new goal for the next seven days. Make this an on-going habit.
Whether or not we reach all of our goals, with God’s help, doors will begin to open. The most important thing is to begin. When we set goals in this manner, we honor God. He gets the message that we love Him and want His agenda for our lives. “We can gather our thoughts, but the Lord gives the right answer. Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed,” Proverbs 16:1, 3.