Are you ready to plan your new year with purpose? There are 6 simple steps you can take to overcome the hard and the busy.
“In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)
We are standing at the threshold of a new year. My heart is filled with anticipation and hope to serve Jesus well. My organizing mind goes into full-blown excitement as I consider the possibilities with my calendar and a stack of sticky notes mapping the year week-by-week. I see myself, by God’s grace, celebrating at the end of next year with goals complete.
But, the reality might be that I never write that sticky-note planning session in my calendar and it never gets done! Let’s face it, life is hard… and busy.
I get tired just thinking of all the work and willpower these goals will take and how many times I’ve failed. Instead, I grab a muffin from the pantry and curl up with a good book.
Wait… erase that last paragraph. How about right now I lead you through six simple steps and together, with the Lord, we plan our new year with purpose and ease.
Step number one is to dream on paper. Use questions like these to spur your imagination:
- If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you try?
- With God’s help, what new skills do you want to develop this year?
- What is something you always wanted but have never achieved?
- What have you secretly dreamed of happening but never told a soul?
Record all this on paper. Make it in list form. Draw pictures. Categorize. Be free to have fun and write everything.
Have you ever heard the saying, “If God gives you the desire, He’ll equip you to do it?” The first step is knowing what your desires are. Getting everything on paper helps you see what’s in your mind.
Continue dreaming by inviting God in. “What do You want for me this year, God?”
The journey ahead is unknown, but as Christians, we can approach it with confidence, knowing that our steps are ordered by the Lord. Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) reminds us, “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” If God places a desire in your heart, he has plans for it.
The more time you spend in the Word of God and talking with Him, the quicker you will recognize His voice and hear from Him regarding your heart’s desires.
Now that we have all the desires on paper, let us embark on this journey with our hearts aligned with God’s purpose.
Whenever your heart’s desires are God’s will for you—it will require that you depend on Him. Spend time in prayer. Ask Him to reveal His will to you. Have ears to hear.
Make your goals a reflection of your journey toward Christlikeness. Philippians 3:14 (NIV) inspires us to press on toward the goal: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Let our plans reflect our commitment to walk in God’s purpose. May we align our desires with his purposes.
After consulting God and aligning our desires with His, I like to choose one goal per quarter and one focus per month. This requires breaking down the goal into doable tasks.
Take one goal or focus at a time and try mapping it by doing the following:
Draw a circle in the center of the page with your goal written in it. Draw spokes out of the goal circle for each step this goal will require. Then, draw spokes out of each step with the specific tasks.
Finally, add these tasks to your calendar.
The beautiful, but often forgotten, part of setting goals is the transformation they create for us. We become more like Christ on our journey by working to accomplish the goal.
Through our attempts, failures, prayers, and our weakness, we are transformed. This transformation, this “becoming more like Christ”, is the ultimate reason to set a goal in the first place.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” James 1:2-4
Use prayer, meditation on God’s Word, and fellowship with other believers along the journey. Take time to notice the miracles around you and the transformation within you.
Psalm 119:105 (NIV) assures us, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Make the Bible your guide as you navigate the challenges and blessings of the goal.
One of my biggest challenges is remembering that I set a goal. A few days or weeks in, I’m off to new and exciting things. If we set up a way to remember what we wanted to do, why we wanted to do it, and how we planned to do it, we will have more success.
One simple method to remember our goal is to tie it to something you already do. This is sometimes called habit-stacking.
If you read your bible regularly, place a sticky note as your bookmark with your goals written on it. Every day when you open your Bible, review your goals.
If you brush your teeth every morning, hang this reminder on your bathroom mirror. Every morning read your goals aloud.
Add a scripture and the reason WHY you want to accomplish this to your sticky note for another layer of enforcement.
Don’t forget to check in as you move along this journey. Ask, “What is God teaching me? Where do I see Him growing me, stretching me, and making me more like Him? What do I need to adjust to accomplish this?”
In His Word
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” Proverbs 21:5
In Your Life
Are you a dreamer? A goal setter? Have you ever wondered if God has an opinion on goal setting?
As you consider this, go to God himself. Ask Him what He dreams for you.
Use goal setting as an opportunity to grow in your walk with Him, to conform to His image, and to carry out His purpose.
Dreaming and setting goals is an avenue to do what God has called us to do.
If you want to dream again, check out Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It. Author Bob Goff is on a mission to help people recapture the version of their lives they dreamed about before fear started calling the shots.
Why not use this year to record your adventure in a Growth Book. Discover how God uses your goals, desires, and dreams to transform you.
Tracy Hoth is a Christ-follower who leads and coaches women to “organize their homes and lives in 12 chapters” in her Organized Life Academy. She is also the host of The Organized Coach podcast and creator of the Organized Coach Academy. Connect with her on Instagram.