Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost...?” (Luke 14:28)
Effective goal-setting is outlined in the SMART model:
- Specific: Instead of vague intentions that overwhelm with multiple life changes (“I want to get in shape and eat healthy and stuff”), a SMART goal focuses on one specific outcome at a time (“I want to start running with XYZ training plan”).
- Measurable: A SMART goal can be measured or tracked for progress and setbacks (“I ran a 10-minute mile last week; I ran a 12-minute mile over the weekend; I will gain those 2 minutes back by this Wednesday”).
- Attainable: While there may be a bigger-picture vision (“I want to run a marathon), SMART goals focus on breaking down the vision into realistic, attainable steps (“I will start by running 2 miles without stopping or walking”).
- Right: Identifying right things to do, SMART goals come from pure motives (“I will honor God with my body”), lead to healthy outcomes (“I will not over-train or injure myself”), and benefit others (“I will model better habits for my family”).
- Time-bound: To sustain motivation, accountability, and discipline, SMART goals are time-bound with predetermined deadlines for completion (“I will run 10 miles without stopping by the end of this summer”) to stay on track.
- What is one specific goal that will lead toward the change I want in my life?
- How can I measure my progress toward this goal?
- What makes this an attainable or realistic goal to work toward?
- Why is this the right goal to pursue during this particular season of life?
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3)
- From January-March, read Genesis-Judges.
- From April-June, read Ruth-Job.
- From July-September, read Psalms-Haggai.
- From October-December, read Zechariah-Revelation.
With a SMART goal broken down into an action plan (even one this simple), it doesn’t look so overwhelming after all! And the smaller we break down the action steps (for example, book by book or even chapter by chapter), the quicker we gain momentum.
To draft an action plan, first picture your end result: the completion of the goal you’ve identified, in the time you’ve set to complete it. Now, work backward from there:
- To complete this goal by the time I’ve set, what main things need to happen?
- How long will each of these main things take?
- In what order will they be completed?
- What needs to happen in the next year?
- in the next 6 months?
- in the next 3 months?
- in the next month?
- in the next 3 weeks?
- in the next 2 weeks?
- in the next week?
- right now?
Moving forward means taking the first step, then the next step after that, and the next step—and so on. So, what's the next step you can see from where you’re at right now? (Don’t worry, we’ll always be asking God to adjust the course as needed, as we go.)
Take another look at the “10 Personal Questions to Start 2019 Well.” Pray about it. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring your attention to an area where you need God’s help, to live in His purpose and grace. Then ask for His power to do it!
What specific, measurable, attainable, right, and time-bound goal has God given you in the year ahead?