God has a plan. This world is not just whisking along by chance. Everything is proceeding to a predetermined goal. God's plan will be accomplished.
Planning is biblical. We must be flexible, because none of us is omniscient. When the wind changes we must be ready to change course. The sailor knows the best time to change tack is when he has momentum.
How do we set goals? I'll give some tips for getting started and some guidelines of goal setting.
1. Set aside time to plan
Our lives are busy! There are so many distractions! As Christians, if we are going to hear from God, we must intentionally set aside some time and get to a place where we can hear from God.
Begin by asking God to give you His plans.
3. Write it down
The dullest pencil is better than the sharpest mind. Make a list. Put it someplace obvious. I believe that if we do not write it down it will never get done. According to one study, people who write clear, concise goals are 95% more likely to accomplish those goals.
This may be the most difficult part! But twenty things will not get done. Trim your list of goals down to four or five. As you accomplish your goals you can add others to your list. Maybe as a motivator you should start by listing a few that you can accomplish quickly.
5. Pray again!
Read your list back to God and ask, "Lord, is this of You?" Will the fulfillment of your goals glorify God? God-inspired goals will require faith to accomplish. William Carey said, "If God is your partner, make no small plans." What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
6. Get started!
"By far the greatest time wasted is the time getting started." Procrastination is a sin! Start now!
7. Be accountable
Find one reliable, trustworthy person who will help to hold you accountable. Accountability is a great motivator!
"SMART" is an acronym for goal setting. I've taken the liberty to make some slight adjustments:
Many good plans die from a disease called "Terminal Vagueness." Write your goals clearly and specifically. State them in such a way that, when each is accomplished, there is no doubt.
Where you can, put a number on it. "Weight: 165. Benchpress 250. Tithe 10% of income." Know exactly what you're shooting for. It helps you track your progress.
Write down action steps for each goal. Break big goals down into smaller, more manageable goals. Set benchmarks. "Jogging 3 Miles by May, 4 miles by July, 5 miles by August, Run All-American 5k in September."
Are your goals worthy of you? Are your goals worthy of God? Will the accomplishment of your goals help you to reach your overall objective of glorifying God? Is the pursuit of your goals worth the investment of your life? "Is this worth dying for?"
5. Time specific
Have a deadline for reaching each goal.
One last comment: give yourself some grace. If you don't reach your goal, don't beat yourself up! Try again. Forgive yourself. Make adjustments. God is God, not your goals. Go again!
More to come on how to accomplish your goals.