Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
My husband and I set aside time each year during this week to set our goals for the coming year. (Here are My 2012 Goals, My 2011 Goals and My 2010 Goals.) Yes, you read that right–goals, not resolutions. Resolutions seem to disguise themselves as worthy goals, however, resolutions have the reputation of never bearing fruit. They are lofty promises we make to ourselves and to others that don’t come with the same accountability as goals. Unfortunately, resolutions are not very sticky. In fact, they have about a 22% success rate, according to a UK study, with many people giving up on their resolutions early in the new year.
I often use this acronym as an aid in setting goals: SMART.
S – SPECIFIC GOALS
When setting goals, you need to set specific goals. For example, a worthy goal is definitely “saving more money,” but what is “more”? Think of a specific amount. Don’t think too broadly when it comes to any of your goals. “I want to save more money,” cannot be accomplished without a few details. “I want to save $10 each week at the grocery store” is more specific, and “I want to save $10 each week at the grocery store by using coupons,” is even more exact.
M – MEASURABLE GOALS
Be sure that set measurable goals–a goal has a clear beginning so that you will be able to see how far you have come and what you have accomplished. For example, if you want to have this specific goal: “I want my family to eat together four times a week,” then be sure to note the number of times you are eating together now. Going from zero to two times a week means you have still accomplished something.
A – ATTAINABLE GOALS
It is important that you set attainable goals–goals that are realistic and doable. Keep it real. At the same time, your goal must be challenging enough to motivate you to stretch yourself and strive toward it. If you want to read 12 books this year, and you only read two last year, look at the time you have to devote to reading and set your goal accordingly. Keep it real, but keep it risky!
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5)
R – RELEVANT GOALS
A relevant goal is one that answers the question: Is this worthwhile? (Source: SMART) When the question comes down to saving time or saving money, you must be careful how you set your goals, planning with your distinct personal circumstances in mind. It is important to pray through your goals and seek the Lord’s guidance as you determine what is relevant–and what really matters–in your own life.
T – TIMELY GOALS
You set a timely goal when you pair it with a deadline. For example, if you want to memorize 50 Scripture verses this year, then you have a goal of learning one verse per week. If you want to run your first marathon, then find the one closest to your area and get it on the schedule, planning your workouts and training accordingly. Trying to lose some pounds? Give yourself a deadline.
Here is a sample list of goals that meet the SMART criteria:
- Spiritual. I will take 15 minutes each morning to start my day with prayer and a devotional. (Suggested tools: The Power of a Praying Wife, The Power of a Praying Parent, Jesus Calling)
- Physical. I will work out three afternoons a week with my friend Sally at the neighborhood gym.
- Emotional. I will have coffee and girl time with a friend the last Thursday of every month.
- I will schedule one-on-one time with each of my kids for special Saturday dates. I will plan four per child, one for each quarter of the year.
- I will plan one date night each month with my spouse.
- I will plan for our family to volunteer as a family twice this year at our favorite charities.
- I will begin using coupons to save $10 each week at the grocery store.
- We will put aside $100 each month toward a family vacation at the end of the summer.
My husband Bradford offers these five suggestions for keeping your goals once you have them set:
- Weed your list.
- Read to be encouraged.
- Use your calendar to plan out your year.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people.
- Write your goals down.
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:2-3)
(Read Bradford’s full post HERE.)
What are your goals for the New Year? I’d love for you to share them with the Faithful Provisions community!