Perhaps you found your way here after evaluating last year’s successes and failures. Perhaps setting goals is new to you, and you’d like a little help. Or perhaps, like me, you hesitate to set real goals in the first place because you’re desperate to avoid any kind of failure.
If you consistently make and break New Year’s resolutions, or if you often find your enthusiasm waning halfway through the year, then these methods for setting goals will help!
5 Methods for Setting Goals
1. Before you make an attempt at setting goals, spend time in prayer.
First, if you have an area of your life that needs improvement, God is probably already nudging you. The best goals are those the Father wills for us, and to remain aligned with His will requires a little soul-searching and time spent praying. If you already have some ideas about goals you should set, ask Him for confirmation!
Second, after you finish setting goals, continue to pray over your God-dependent efforts.
For example, when working on getting healthier last year, I often asked the Lord for strong lungs and strong knees so that I could continue working out. I asked Him to give me the desire to eat right and the desire to exercise. I even asked Him for strength to continue in the middle of some of those workouts.
When I quit praying for those things for a time, I struggled and wasted several months going nowhere.
2. Support your goals with scripture memorization.
Often the Holy Spirit reminds me of verses I have memorized at key moments, such as when I’m tempted, struggling to trust, or avoiding obedience. He even brings to mind verses to encourage me in my efforts.
When working on a goal pertaining to a weakness in your life or a desire to achieve something new, find and memorize a few key verses to motivate and encourage you.
And on the heels of scripture memorization…
3. Expect and prepare for opposition.
I’ve mentioned before that as soon as we aim to make positive changes in our lives, Satan is sure to try us. When we finish setting goals, we instantly become walking targets! Doubt easily sets in when we fail to prepare for spiritual warfare.
Even friends or family may unintentionally discourage us because they fail to understand our goals, or perhaps they just don’t agree with them! Either way, if we expect and prepare for rough seas at first, we won’t be easily deterred when storms blow our way.
4. Start with small steps.
Change isn’t easy, especially if you are trying to undo a life-long habit! Even if you’re simply adding a new habit, real change takes weeks – some experts advise 30-40 days or longer.
Don’t be ashamed of your baby steps!
Use the small start to build to bigger changes.
Starting small after setting goals allows you to focus on one thing at a time so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, start by exchanging an unhealthy afternoon snack for a serving of vegetables. Once you’ve mastered that step you can move on to a bigger step.
The verse below comes from the days of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. God’s faithful were few in number and faced discouragement at every turn. Theses were His words:
“Also the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech. 4:8-10a, NASB, emphasis mine)
Don’t despise the day of small things. Instead, celebrate every small victory!
5. Break loose from perfectionism by embracing grace.
I’ve written before about disliking the process of setting goals (and being afraid to get too specific) because I’m afraid to fail. I hate failing! As a perfectionist, I must recognize how this all or nothing mindset limits me.
The only way to break loose from perfectionism’s chains is to view myself as a work-in-progress woman.
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6, NASB)
Rather than avoiding the process of setting goals altogether, I purpose to show myself grace!
I know some current goals are going to be long hauls, especially this weight loss journey. Whereas a setback might have caused me to give up for good previously, with grace in mind I can see the work in progress rather than individual or isolated failures.
* This post makes use of affiliate links. Jen is an affiliate for Grace Goals and will receive compensation for any purchase made through the affiliate links on this blog at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the ministry of Being Confident of This!
My favorite tool for grace-filled goal-setting:
Do you really want lasting, godly change? If so, I highly recommend Grace Goals, a new scripture-based goal-setting workshop developed by my friend Arabah Joy (affiliate link).
Grace Goals contains 5 Workshops to help you identify your greatest desires and develop a plan for pursuing them. Grace Goals also targets the tools you need to succeed and (the most important part, in my opinion) helps you understand how faith plays the greatest role in achieving real change!
Here’s what Grace Goals includes:
- a printable workbook
- 5 mini workshops
- practical assignments for each workshop
- printable pages to help organize your thought
- access to the Grace Goals facebook support group (so helpful for that accountability and encouragement you need to succeed!)
In addition to Arabah Joy’s lovely writing style, you will also enjoy the thought-provoking questions she asks. These questions get to the root of why setting goals is important and how we can best go about setting goals rooted in faith.
The best part? It’s completely based on Scripture!
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Wishing you a fruitful New Year!