It is the beginning of a New Year and I for one, love to set aside some time to reflect on what I achieved last year and then prayerfully set goals for the new one. I believe that setting goals helps to keep purpose and direction throughout the year. I don't like to look back and regret time wasted.
So I am curious. Do others tackle life this way? Do you plot our your year roughly and write down what you wish to achieve? I want to encourage you to try it if you haven't done it before. (Ok, I'm hearing "but if I set goals and then don't achieve them, I'll feel like a failure." I used to feel that way too, but if you push past the fear and don't put too high expectations on yourself, it will be beneficial.)
Here are some of the areas you can set goals in:
Spiritual Life - What changes do I want to see in this area of my life? Better prayer and devotions? Better self-control in some area? Learning to trust God in some situation? It could be any number of things.
Marriage/Family Life - How can I improve my marriage and what are some step I can take to achieve it? How can I improve relationships with my children? What can I impart to them this year? Are there any relationships that need some reconciliation and healing? What can I do to help this happen?
Personal Growth - this is to do with physical/mental/emotional well being. Do I need to exercise more? Do I need to shed a few kilos? Do I need to take more time out so I don't wear myself out so much? Do I need to find a job, or change employment?
Skills Development - What can I do this year to improve my skills for my career or for my ministry? It is important to invest in your gifts and abilities.
Writing Goals - Being an author, I add this to my list. I write down all that I wish to achieve for my writing career. How many words per day or week will I write? Do I just aim to finish that manuscript and write "The End"? Do I need to work on editing a draft or put together a submission? Do I need to find the courage to actually send something to a publisher? To I need to work on promotion and what events/articles can I plan to achieve this? How often do I want to blog?
There are so many things you can set goals for. I personally, set at least one in each section, and heaps in the writing one. But it is an individual thing. You do what works best for you. One thing is important - be specific. Rather than write something like "I want to read my bible more," quantify it - make it measurable. Eg "I will read two chapters of my bible per day."
Another way to step it up a notch, if you are not terrified of the whole process, is type out your goals and hand them to someone close who can follow you up every couple of months. That way you keep accountable as well and can get encouragement along the way.
Do any of you already do this? Please feel free to share your own tips and experiences. :)
Amanda Deed resides in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne where she fills her time with work, raising a family, church activities and writing historical romance novels. Her new novel, Ellenvale Gold was released at the beginning of November, 2011. For more information, see: