In my last post, I included a poem I wrote entitled, “A New Year’s Petition.” I hope the piece inspired you to depend on the Holy Spirit help you to make progress in the areas of your life where you want to see change. However, once you have earnestly sought God and made your “New Year’s Petitions” know unto Him, it’s time to be about the business of goal setting. In a church Bible study, we recently talked about goal setting, and then I stumbled upon a blog post about setting goals by Michael Hyatt, author of the book, Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World. I don’t think this was a coincidence. I believe the Holy Spirit is trying to help me to get to a new level in 2017.
Mr. Hyatt talked about the importance of writing down your goals using the “S.M.A.R.T.” acronym. This idea was first written down in November of 1981 by George T. Doran, former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company in a paper entitled, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” You may have heard of this method of goal setting, but I would like to reiterate it here just to remind you of what the elements of a good goal are. If you want to effectively set goals for the New Year, these are the essential characteristics that need to be present:
S – Specific: What do you want to accomplish and why is the goal important?
M – Measurable: How can your progress be measured so that you will know when you have achieved the goal?
A – Action: What action(s) will you take in move toward reaching your goal?
R – Realistic: Is the goal something that you can really attain?
T – Time Constrained: In what time frame do you want to accomplish the goal?
After reading the post, I went into diagnostic mode to determine why I did not reach more of my goals last year. I recognized the following issues that tripped me up, and I hope this will be helpful to you as you strive to make your own New Year’s resolutions (or should I say New Year’s petitions) come to pass:
- I had set too many goals. Michael Hyatt says you need to set only a few goals and focus on them exclusively. This year I will narrow my goals to six major things I want to get done versus twenty. I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me to determine what goals are most important.
- I failed to review the goals regularly. You need to keep your goals in front of you so that you can be reminded of what you need to be doing. I wrote goals down for 2016 in my journal and didn’t look at them again until January 1, 2017. This year, I will review my goals daily upon rising as I start my day. I will ask the Holy Spirit to bring to my remembrance the goals I have set and for direction regarding what I need to be working on at any given moment.
- I did not specifically include action items to support the goal. It’s important that you write down what you will do because this is a part of the formulation of the plan to reach your goal. This year, I will write down what action I will take to reach each goal. Furthermore, I am determined to take Spirit-led action and pray that God will help me to avoid the distractions of the enemy.
- I didn’t write down the significance of reaching the goal. If the goal is not important, why even bother writing it down? If you can cite why it’s important, you will be more motivated and successful in getting what you want. This year I will write down my goals and the importance of reaching them. The ultimate question is, how will these goals help you to fulfill your God-given purpose?
- I had no accountability. If there is no one to hold you accountable for what you say you will do, you will be less likely to reach your goal. Therefore, get an accountability partner or find a group of people you can talk, meet, or pray with regularly. Choose people who are serious accomplishing their goals, and work together to keep each other on track. This year, I plan to become a part of an accountability group so that I can accomplish more this year.
Now that I have laid my soul bare, I have a question for you: what goals are you setting for yourself this year? In what ways is the Holy Spirit asking you to come up higher? Pray, ask for direction, set those goals, and get moving. Let’s see what we can accomplish with God’s help in 2017!
What goals will you set for yourself this year? What do you need to do differently to increase the likelihood that you reach more of your goals? Please leave a comment below.
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