mountain; goal setting; Jordan McQueen

“God-First” Goal Setting for the New Year

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve enjoyed seeing all the posts about New Year’s resolutions and goals.  I don’t have a great track record of setting goals (and sticking to them!), but this year I’ve been inspired to do a little planning and goal setting to challenge myself.  So when I went to a mom’s group meeting the other day, I was excited to find that the topic dealt with doing a “reset” of our schedules for the New Year.

Incorporating God-directed goals and priorities into our daily lives was the main focus of the discussion. I came away from the session with a blueprint of how to shape my goals for the new year.  Here are three takeaways that have changed my thinking about the goal-setting process.

1. Make a “God-first” schedule for your day.¹

When I’m making plans, I tend to be task-oriented and centered on my to-do list.  I’m focused on  my work schedule for the week, errands, my kids’ activities, etc.  But I was encouraged to plan a “God-first” schedule for my day.

What does that look like? Being intentional about spending time in prayer and Bible reading and study.  Focusing on His priorities, like marriage and family, loving others and sharing the gospel.  And being intentional in living out His purposes during the day.  And when I’ve taken those priorities into account, then I can move on to plugging the day-to-day details into my schedule.

So here’s my new perspective for the new year- instead of looking *down* and plotting a list of must-do’s, I want to look *up* to Him first, both in planning my day and in striving toward my goals.  For me, this will mean:

  • Finding ways to slow down and look for opportunities to be a blessing.  I’ve let busyness creep into my daily schedule, which means I’m missing out on ways that I can extend myself and the gospel to others.
  • Seeking Him instead of fooling myself that I conquer my aspirations on my own without His guidance.

2016 is full of new opportunities, and a God-first perspective will get me started off on the right foot!

bible, bible study

2. Time in God’s word is beneficial.  Period.

“Just 15 minutes a day, in a chair with an open Bible, will bring great benefits.” ¹ There are so many days when I wake up late and start tackling the day instead of getting into God’s Word.  Or I have a few free minutes in the morning,  but I reach for my phone instead of praying.  And then later I find myself wondering why my pride and anger are taking over so often.  And why I’m feeling distant and out of sorts in my relationship with the Lord.

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”  John 15:7-8 (ESV)

So it was encouraging to hear this reminder about drawing close to Him.  That a consistent investment of time with Him will have the priceless benefit of a close, abiding relationship.  And I’ll be laying a necessary foundation of faith underneath my aspirations and goals, because without a relationship with Him, any successes I achieve will only be empty!

So I want to make focused time with God less hit-or-miss this year, and seek Him for a closer walk.  Time with Him is too precious to miss!

My final takeaway was the most powerful:

3. “Who do I want to become?” ¹ It’s easy to get in a rut of thinking in the short-term when I’m making goals, especially as I’m balancing a family, job, and other responsibilities.  But the things that I’m working on today can result in long-term returns.

So instead of thinking of today’s goals and to-do’s as “What needs to be done?”; instead, have the perspective, “Who do I want to become?”

For instance, as I’m working to make time with Him more consistent, instead of thinking “I really need to do Bible study today;” change it to “I want to become a woman who glorifies God and has a close relationship with Him.”  If you do this, you’ll be giving yourself a glimpse of how today’s task is adding to your long term intentions.

If you have a health/fitness goal, instead of thinking first about what you need to do that day (exercise or cut calories), change your perspective to who you want to become.  Establishing that “I want to become a healthy woman who takes care of the body that God has given me,” will probably give you extra motivation for the task that you’re doing today to achieve that goal.

I’m so glad to have this blueprint as I plan out my goals for 2016.  I’ll be sharing them with you in an upcoming post – I think that the accountability will help me be more disciplined!  How about you – are you into goal-setting? I’d love for you to share what you’re working on in 2016! 

¹Hybels, Bill. Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul.  Click here to read the FREE first chapter.

(Photo credit: Jordan McQueen; Aaron Burden)


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