This is such a great time of the year! Christmas is still in the air with all the wonderful times we could celebrate with friends and family. It is a great time to reflect on the the year that we have just completed. It should also be the season in which we begin thinking and planning for the new year.
Have you set any goals for next year? There is so much power in being intentional in what we want to accomplish and where we want to end up in life. We can either let life happen to us or we can create the life that we want to live. Goal setting is an important way to create our future.
In setting goals for the next year, remember that your goals should be SMART:
1. Specific– A general goal would be to, “Get out of debt.” A specific goal would be to, “Pay off one credit card.” Another specific goal might be to, “Double up on my car payments and pay it off next year.” We have a much better chance of reaching our goals if they are specific. For someone wanting to lose weight, a specific goal might be to lose twenty pounds or drop two pants sizes by the end of next year. Thinking like this helps us to focus on steps and not generalities.
2. Measurable– If someone wants to get in shape physically in the coming year, a measurable goal could be to, “Lose ten pounds by March.” If you can measure your progress, there will be no question about when the goal is met. Paying off a credit card with a high balance will require sacrifice and paying much more than the minimum payments. It is easy to measure progress, though, because the balance will start shrinking.
3. Actionable– A goal is actionable when I am willing to take the steps that are needed to make it happen. Am I willing to pay the price? Losing ten pounds is only attainable if I am determined to start an exercise regimen and watch my diet. The first action step to that goal might be as simple as joining a gym or buying a set of walking shoes. Do Something to take you in the direction that you want to go! Paying off the credit card will likely require us giving up some things so we can make bigger payments. Are you willing to be ruthless in doing what needs to be done? Goals will only be reached if we take action.
4. Realistic– If your goal is, “To earn $100,000 in the next year,” that is probably not very realistic if you currently only earn minimum wage and just work thirty hours a week. It might be more realistic to look at what you earned last year, and then consider how much you could make if you worked more hours, got a second job, or even found a higher paying job. If your goal is to get promoted at your company, what can you do to make that a more realistic goal? Could you get some extra training to make yourself more promotable?
5. Timely– What is your timing for reaching your goal? A year is a great time frame to work within. You can break the year down into months, quarters, or thirds depending on what you want to accomplish. When you set a date that you want to accomplish your goal by, you establish a deadline in your subconscious that helps push you towards it. There is something powerful about putting a date on a goal that makes it real.
I hope this helps you as you begin thinking about the New Year! Let me know if I missed anything. I’ll talk about the importance of writing our goals down in the next post.
Annie and I are serving the Lord in the US, India, and South America. Would you consider a year end gift to allow us to keep impacting so many people? Just click here to get involved. God bless you!