Once again, a new year has come and we have a fresh start at goals, dreams, and visions. It’s beautiful and hopeful. The beginning of a new year is a time when we can reflect on the past year and assess our successes and challenges, and it brings new hope for those things that we want to see happen in our lives, as we focus on professional or personal goals. Proverbs 23:18 says, “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” We are multi-dimensional beings and as such consideration for goals can include, social, physical, emotional, financial, spiritual, mental/intellectual. When we make changes in ourselves we become renewed.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
One way of creating goals is by using the SMART method meaning specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
What if this year you were set on gaining a stronger spiritual life and a greater relationship with Jesus Christ? What if you decided you were going to make this one of our top priority goals? Let’s take a look at how applying the SMART method to goal setting would work for this particular goal.
Specific: Answer the 6 “w”s: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and Which. For example, join a bible study group with others who are also interested in gaining a stronger spiritual life. You could even start your own group with friends or family members.
Measurable: Measuring progress by answering how much and how many. How will I know when I’ve accomplished my goals? You can measure your progress by creating a tracking system and rewarding yourself along the way. For example noting how many new scriptures you have committed to memory and ways you’ve applied them to your life. Perhaps you have determined to read the Bible by the end of the year by reading three chapters in the morning and three chapters in the evening and journaling and processing your relationship with Christ in the process.
Attainable: Your goal becomes attainable because you begin to focus in on ordering your steps to make it happen. Your view becomes clear and you begin to see and take opportunities that you previously may have overlooked. Your energy and growth through your experiences create in you a more abundant spiritual life making room for the expectancy of a greater relationship with the Lord.
Realistic: The goal is realistic when you are fully engaged to make it happen. You are not just dreaming about it but are also taking the action steps towards making it happen. The goal may require steps out of your comfort zone yet, you have set your mind and perspective to make it happen even if a little courage is required.
Timely: Allow yourself a reasonable amount of time to meet your goal yet, create a timeframe that also allows a little fire to be under you to keep you moving and motivated. For this goal in particular, determining how often you want to meet with a group and what you will focus on independently will work together to create a spiritual journey that is continuous yet gives you the ability to meet small goals along the way.
Remember to enjoy the journey for it is part of the experience that creates growth in you and what you have to offer others as they walk this path as well. As the Lord said in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”