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Set Goals for the Coming Year (by Stephen Simpson)

As we enter 2011, the inevitable question comes up, “What are your New Year’s Resolutions?”  Year after year, January 1st comes around and we are forced to take a look inward.  Our culture and society pushes us to evaluate our lives and identify areas that need change.

This is a good practice – especially for Christians.  As Christians, we are to be constantly evaluating our lives as a part of our sanctification.

Each year as I approach January 1st, I prefer to think of goals instead of resolutions.  I think the word ‘resolution’ has lost some of its meaning.  A resolution sounds so official and weighty.  It sounds significant and earth-shattering.  Yet, most of us have broken thousands of resolutions.  Breaking a new year’s resolution can often lead to discouragement.  You know how it works – you make this big resolution and then March comes along and you have miserably failed at keeping that resolution.  You feel like a failure.  My suggestion:  Stop making resolutions and start setting goals. 

Goals are different.  A goal is something to work towards.  Some goals are achieved and others are not.  However, not reaching a goal does not mean that you are a failure.  For example, if your goal is to save $10,000 and you only save $9,000 – you are by no means a failure.

Over the next several weeks, we (the writers on The Fountain) are going to share some of our 2011 goals with you.  In doing so, you can help keep us accountable.  Additionally, I encourage you to set your own goals.  Keep these suggestions in mind when setting your goals.

  1. Be specific.  “Be a better father” is not specific.  It is a good goal but it is not specific.  “Spend 15 minutes each day reading to my children” or “Take my daughter on a date at least once a month” are more specific goals.  
  2. Write down your goals and re-read them at least once a month.  If you do not re-read your goals throughout the year, you will forget them and subsequently fail to keep them. 
  3. Dream.  My grandfather used to say “Aim at nothing and you will hit every time!”  Dream big on at least one of your goals.  Shoot for the stars and then work hard at reaching that goal.  You may be surprised at what will happen. 
  4. Do not be afraid to fail.  If you reach all of your goals in 2011, then you did not dream big enough.  
  5. Share your goals. Tell someone about them. 

So, now it is your turn.  What are your goals for 2011?

Other Posts in our “Goals” Series:

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