I can’t remember any time that I’ve created a New Year’s Resolution. I’ve never seen value in financial or weight loss promises on January 1st…I know myself well enough that a resolution would not work well for me. However, I’ve always set new goals for the beginning of each year. When I was child, the goals were more simplistic, such as not being mean to my brother or being more helpful to my parents. Those weren’t tangible or measurable goals, so it would have been nearly impossible to determine if they were attained. As I got older, making the soccer team or getting particular grades became more measurable goals.
In adulthood, my goals have been fanciful. For instance, one year I made it a goal to say “bless you” to anyone who I heard sneeze…even if they weren’t close enough to hear me. Another year I had the goal to buy myself fresh flowers weekly, while years before that I went on a “no spending full price on clothes” for a full year. There was even one year that I made the goal to travel to a new location every month (that was a tad easier because I was already stationed in Europe).
The secret to effective goal setting is to make mini-goals, also known as objectives. It gives you milestones to check and re-evaluate how close you are to attaining the goals you have set.
Scripture is clear that goal-setting is not only desirable, but that God encourages us to practice growing through goal setting. Proverbs 21:5 (ESV) states, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”
Hence, a Biblical example of us needing to create plans to lead to better things. It’s important to remember that we have to put in some hard work to attain these goals. God’s will allows us to attain or fail to attain goals, but nothing happens at all if we don’t strive towards the objective.
It’s equally important to remember that our best planning is not a guarantee that we will achieve those goals. In James 4:13-15, James reminds us that we do not know what tomorrow will bring and that we should continue to lean into the Lord’s will for our lives.
We must set the goals. We must work hard towards the goals. We must recognize that God’s possible change of our plans are because His thoughts for our lives are so much bigger (and better) than our own…see Matthew 6:33-34.
Ultimately, God’s purpose for each of us will prevail. In Proverbs 19:21, we are reminded that “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord will stand.”
So what the heck is the bottom line for our lives in 2022? Set the goals, make them attainable and measurable, and then submit those goals to God for His blessing and intervention on the purpose He has for your life. Be intentional, but also know you have to be flexible to the changes God has in store.
It’s a new year…time to set some new goals.
P.S. I have two goals for 2022:
1. Read the entire Bible (I’m using a one-year reading plan that has me reading four chapters a day between the Old Testament and New Testament with a one day break each month).
2. Complete a 52-hike challenge throughout the year (the hikes can be back-to-back or once a week, at least two miles-but no upper limit to length, not on asphalt/gravel, can repeat trails, any friend/hiking partner/group can join me on any given trail, and the hikes can be anywhere in the world).