As we entered into last year, I posted on why you should make plans and not resolutions. It is because resolutions are merely intentions while plans have direction. (You can read it HERE).
This year I want to persuade you to consider making S.M.A.R.T. goals as you begin the year. Some leaders have changed the meaning of some of the letters but I like the traditional meanings. So make your goals:
Specific: like resolutions, non-specific goals tend to be mere intentions. It is much more likely that you will fulfill a goal like: “I want to walk 20 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after work,” rather than having a goal “to exercise more.”
Measurable: one thing that enables you to press on to accomplish a goal is to see that you are making progress toward that goal. However, that progress cannot be noted if it cannot be identified. Using the goal above, at the end of a week you will know if you have walked three times during that week or not.
Attainable: making goals that lie outside your ability (physically, financially, relationally, chronologically, etc.) is a recipe for failure. You will only discourage yourself if you realize down the line that your goal is simply unattainable.
Realistic: how high will you shoot and how hard will it be for you to accomplish your goal? Your goals should be challenging because challenging goals encourage motivation. You need to be willing and able to pay the price necessary to see the goal accomplished.
Timely: your goal should have a time-frame associated with it. Otherwise, it can fade away to “sometime” which means it may never be accomplished. Making your goals time-bound is one way to make you accountable to yourself and move toward your goal.
For those who are believers in Jesus, goals are always subject to the will of God. As the Apostle Peter writes: They do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God (I Peter 4:2).
S.M.A.R.T. goals, lived out in submission to the will of God, can make for a profitable year. What goals have you made, or have you considered making, in your life for this year—spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, in ministry?
Wishing you many encounters of the glory of the grind in 2013!