January is the time of year when many people set New Year’s resolutions, or goals that they will accomplish. Resolutions are usually for changes in behavior, like joining a gym, but often those changes in behavior are so dramatic that they are not realistic.
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Let’s talk about goals and setting ourselves up for success.
Wisdom in Proverbs
“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” Proverbs 14:8 (NIV)
The Book of Proverbs has many verses about wisdom. A person who is wise is prudent, or they make decisions with care. They have a long-term perspective instead of focusing on immediate gratification.
Guidelines for setting goals:
- Begin with Prayer
- Decide what you want to accomplish?
- Set goals that are healthy and realistic
- When you set goals, count the cost.
- Support system
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
What are your dreams?
What has God placed in your heart to accomplish?
What have you been called to?
These are some very important questions to reflect on.
I love prayer because it is our one on one connection with God! He cares about aspects of our lives, including our decisions about the future. Before you make any decisions, take some time pray and ask God for guidance. God is always concerned about our prayers about personal growth and goals.
Dear Lord, I am coming to you now with a grateful heart. Thank you that I can talk to you anytime, anywhere! I am asking for guidance as I think about my next steps in my life, career, personal life, spiritual life, etc. My desire is to bring honor and glory to You. Please place Your dream for me in my heart and let me be obedient to Your calling. Amen.
As you pray about what goals to set, you will feel peace about what steps to take. Write down your goals and 3-5 steps you need to take to achieve that goal. Goals are easier to accomplish when they are broken down into smaller steps. Celebrate small victories along the way.
For example, when I was still in high school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. In order to reach that goal I knew I needed to attend college and earn an education degree. To prepare for college, I needed to do well in my high school classes. To get experience working with children I volunteered to be a Sunday school teacher and summer camp counselor. Then, I applied to colleges that had solid education programs.
A wise person will carefully think about what they want to accomplish and then set goals that are healthy and realistic.
Here is one example to clarify: Physicians recommend that people lose between 0.5 and 1 pound per week. Setting weight loss goal more than that is unhealthy and unwise. Instead of the numbers on the scale, focus on healthy habits like drinking more water and getting more exercise.
If you want to purchase a house you need to set up plan for saving up the amount of the down payment. If you want to attend school you need to take into account the cost of tuition, the amount of time required for commuting and studying. Take those things into account when you are setting goals so you can be prepared. Goals and achievements are well worth working for! The sacrifices that you make are well worth it!
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)
Support is important for goal attainment. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for support: recruit friends to walk with you during lunch as part of healthier living or ask a classmate to be your study partner. Other tolls can be helpful, too. Use an app for budgeting. This will help you keep on track and keep the big picture in focus.
Prayer and planning will set you up for success!