Goal – an idea of the future or desired result that a person envisions, plans and commits to achieve.
At the start of a new year, we often reflect on what we would like to achieve. We create vision boards and goal trackers, buy new planners to write down our goals, our ambitions, our purpose for the year ahead. But where does God fit into all of this?
It’s easy to become conflicted in following God AND achieving goals with purpose. Granted, God doesn’t want us to forge ahead in pride without consulting Him for direction. But neither does He want us to sit around without acting, because He’s given us gifts and talents and has also said that we are called to do good works [see Romans 12:4-8, Ephesians 2:8-10].
Forging ahead without seeking God or sitting back and doing nothing can stem from fear or a lack of faith. However, setting goals and consulting with Him shows that we trust Him and believe that He is able to lead us while we are moving forward. Take Matthew 6:33-34, we’re told here to: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
To ‘seek the kingdom of God above all else’ is to put God first in our life, to fill our thoughts with His desires, to take on His character and to serve and obey Him in everything. This is so important; as we seek Him first, we also trust Him to fulfil His promise to provide for our needs, remembering that He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. The scripture then goes on to say ‘do not worry’. God knows that worry entraps the heart and fear fractures faith. When we spend time worrying about tomorrow it is time wasted; however, planning for tomorrow is time well spent. By carefully planning, we are able to reflect on our goals, steps and schedules while trusting God’s guidance.
Here’s some tips on creating 2021 ‘Goals’:
1. Write down the goals you would like to achieve.
Writing down your goals increases your chances of sticking with them. One way is to write down goals specific to certain areas in your life you wish to work on [ie. spiritual, financial, career]. Once you have a big picture of your overarching areas, you can break your goals down into smaller (quarterly) chunks [step two].
2. Break down your goals
Think about the smaller goals as stepping stones to achieve the overall aim. Sometimes the big goals are a bit vague, and so breaking these down will help you be more specific. Also, having several smaller goals will help you stay on track towards your bigger goal.
Each quarter [recommend doing this as you go along and to review your goals at the end of the quarter], write down how you will know you have reached your goals and when you’d like to have achieved it.
3. Create a plan of action
Now that the smaller [quarterly] goals have been established, create a plan of action. Even if you don’t know where to start – your first step could be to research ‘how to… sign up to… read…’ Ensuring that you have a process helps you stay on track and work towards your set goals.
And lastly [most important], leave room in your plans for the Holy Spirit and will of God. When we’re setting goals the Christian way, things may not go according to plan [and that’s fine]. Remember that God is at work, and remember that He is always directing your path [see Proverbs 16:9].