HOW TO SET GOALS as a CHRISTIAN
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:6 (NLT)
Having goals for things we want to do and working towards them is an important part of being human. The path towards our goals may not always run smoothly or be easy, but having goals, whether big or small, is part of what makes life good. It gives us a sense of meaning and purpose, points us in the direction we want to go and gets us interested and engaged, all of which are good for our overall happiness.
Think of something you want to do or work towards. It can be a big thing or a small thing – sometimes it is easier to get going with something small. And it often helps if it’s something that’s just a little bit beyond what you currently can do – goals that stretch us can be very motivating!
Write it down
Carefully. Writing down our goals increases our chances of sticking with them. Writing down is how you will know you have reached your goals and when you’d like to have achieved it by. Ask yourself: what it will ‘look’ like and how will you feel when you’ve done it? How does it connect to who or what you value in your life? Describe your goal in specific terms and timescales e.g. ‘I want to plant lettuces, carrots and peas in the empty patch in my garden by the end of May’ rather than ‘I want to do some gardening.’
Give them to God
Proverbs 16:3 (NLT) “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed”. Verse 9 tells us, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps”. Telling someone we know about our goals also seems to increase the likelihood that we will stick at them. This is called accountability.
Break your goal down
This is especially important for big goals. Think about the smaller goals that are steps on the way to achieving your bigger aim. Sometimes our big goals are a bit vague, like ‘I want to read the entire Bible in one year’. Breaking these down helps us be more specific. So, a smaller goal might be ‘reading a book monthly’ or even ‘a chapter a day’. Write down your smaller goals and try to set some dates to do them by.
Having several smaller goals makes each of them a bit easier and gives us a feeling of success along the way, which also makes it more likely that we’ll stay on track towards our bigger goal.
An ancient Chinese proverb says that the journey of 1000 miles starts with one step. Even if your goal isn’t to walk 1000 miles, thinking about the first step on the way will really help to get you started. Even if you don’t know where to start there’s no excuse – your first step could be to research ‘how to.
Working towards our goals can sometimes be difficult and frustrating – so we need to persevere. If a step you’re doing isn’t working, think of something else you could try that still moves you forward, even a tiny bit. If you’re struggling, ask people you know for their ideas on what you could do. They may help you see a different way. Thinking about different ways of reaching our goals makes it more likely we’ll be successful. If you’re really stuck – take a break and then re-read the goal you wrote down when you started.
If you need to adjust your goal – that’s ok too. Then have another think about a small next step…
When you reach your goal take time to enjoy it and thank those that helped you. Think about what you enjoyed and learned along the way. Now, what is your next goal or project going to be?