I love to plan. Setting goals and planning for them is something God has gifted me with. It helps me run my household, it helps me home school my kids. There is just something about the process of planning out a course of action that works for me. I do not like to fly by the seat of my pants, it stresses me out.
I love the holidays for many reasons, one of which is that I find it to be a great time for introspection. Yes it’s busy, but I think about Jesus coming to be born so that he could save me. It makes me want to set goals for the new year, to give more of myself over to God’s plan. Here is the process I go through to set spiritual goals for the new year.
Pray About Your Goals
If you are hoping to set goals for your spiritual life that honor God, include him in your process. Begin praying today that God would show you areas of your life that need to change. Ask for input on the growth that he hopes to see in your heart. Meditate on Jeremiah 29:11 and ask that God help you stick to his plans.
Set Specific Goals
Make sure that you are not vague in the goals you choose. If you set the goal to read the Bible more, take the time to decide what that will look like in your life. Maybe you want to choose a Bible reading plan that will take you through the Bible in a year. Be as specific as possible! Once you choose a specific plan, make a plan for including it in your day. You might have to get up 20 minutes earlier. Will you read on the weekends, or will those be make up days? Think through the specifics of what it will take to achieve the goal you choose and make a step by step plan for it.
Set Attainable Goals
Make sure that the goals you choose to attempt are within your reach. Yes you want to stretch yourself. But choosing ten goals that really stretch you might be setting yourself up for failure. Prayerfully consider what you can really do. It might mean letting go of a current commitment to make time for the goals you want to reach. Picture the end of 2019. What things do you want to look back on that filled your year? Are they meaningful, and lasting activities, or fillers?
Set Goals With Measurable Success
This goes with being specific, but I feel it is equally important to consider. I have had many years, that I set goals I did not meet. But because they were measurable, I could see progress at the end of the year, and it was still encouraging. One example, is that at the beginning of this year I set the goal of reading eight books for myself. This was to be books to encourage my faith, or help with parenting. Because I had migraines through the first half of the year, I couldn’t concentrate to read, but I still know that I read six books for myself. This is a step in the right direction since I often end up reading to my kids, and don’t often choose personal reading.
Be Willing to Try Again
If God lays a goal on your heart, and you stumble to complete it, try again. Even if you aren’t able to finish the goal, progress is progress! Honor God with your attempt, apologize if you need to, get up and try again when you fall. Notice I say ‘when,’ I don’t know if I have ever reached all the goals I set for myself in a year, I’ve never had a year where God didn’t include surprises that I didn’t see coming.
Some Free Tools to Help You Set Goals
- The YouVersion Bible app has tons of Bible reading plans. There are so many and they are free. It tracks your progress, and lets you link with friends if you want to start a plan with an accountability partner.
- Bible.Is is also a great Bible app. The most awesome feature of this app is that you can download the audio Bible either book by book or in its entirety. This lets you listen anywhere. Maybe you could listen to the Bible in a year just on your commute to work.
- BibleGateway is an excellent online Bible website. Print off scripture passages to memorize or post around the house as reminders of goals you set.
These are something new I have been trying for myself! I made printable planner inserts for the Christian mom. They are sized to fit in a Happy planner. They include a worksheet to set goals for 2019, a Bible reading checklist, a sermon notes page, scripture memory worksheets, and a spiritual habit tracker. I made these to help me have my goals and especially my scripture memory at my fingertips at all times. I always have my planner with me, and I love that I can use it for my spiritual focus as well as running my house. You can find these worksheets in my shop.