How to Set Godly Goals for the New Year

At the beginning of every new year, people make countless lists of resolutions and goals they want to accomplish in the next 365 days. Many times these goals never make it to the end of the first quarter and only rarely are they accomplished within the calendar year. And so we give up and decide not to set any goals at all. But maybe the key to accomplishing our goals is to set godly goals.

How to Set Godly Goals for the New Year
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What Are Godly Goals?

We know what goals are–they’re things we want to accomplish. They may be related to our health or personal growth. We have a list of things we want to learn and we make plans and set a timeline in which we want to learn them.

But many times when we think about setting goals, we focus on ourselves. What do I want to learn… what can I do to improve my life … what do I want to accomplish. Only rarely do we think about our goals in terms of the greater picture: our eternal salvation and the Great Commission.

Godly goals look external, as well as, internal. Godly goals look at the person God created us to be and the goals that can get us to be the best version of ourselves in relation to the work we have to do before Jesus returns. Godly goals look to God and ask Him to guide our path.

Why Godly Goals Are Important

Because of sin, human beings are naturally selfish. We think easily about our desires, our wants, our needs, our goals. We don’t like to think about what other people want or need because it takes the focus off ourselves.

But when we choose to set godly goals, we think about Christ and what He wants us to do. We think about our goals in relation to fulfilling our purpose and using our gifts to help others.

Christianity is about service. It’s about witnessing to others about the awesome God we serve. It’s about worship and drawing other people out of the darkness and into God’s marvelous light.


 

How to Set Godly Goals

As you begin the process of setting godly goals for the new year, here are five steps to follow:

1. Pray. As in all things, when you are setting your goals you should start with prayer. Ask the Lord to reveal where you need to grow in the coming year. Ask Him to show you where you are weak and could use a little help.

2. Give yourself time. Goal setting takes time. Allow yourself ample time to really think about what it is that you want to accomplish. You’ll also need time to allow God to impress you with the goals He has for you.

3. Write them down. Writing is an aid to memory so write your goals down–preferably somewhere that you will see them often so you don’t forget them.

4. Make a plan. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” After you have selected your goals, what are the steps that you need to take? Make them S.M.A.R.T.

Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timebound.

5. Get an accountability partner. One of the best things we can do for our goals is to hold ourselves accountable but that’s so hard to do. That’s where our community becomes important. Find a few other persons to come alongside you to help you accomplish your goals.

Maybe they will have different goals, but as you cheer each other on, you’ll be encouraged and strive to accomplish the goals you’ve set for the year.

 

SMART Godly Goals

Accomplishing your goals can be hard, especially when it seems as though it’s not going to work out exactly as you had imagined it. But we have to set SMART godly goals as we work on living up to our identity in Christ.

I would like to walk through an example of a SMART godly goal. Let’s say you decide you want to read the Bible cover to cover. Your SMART goal would look something like this:

  • Specific–I want to read all 66 books of the Bible.
  • Measurable–I will read one chapter every day.
  • Attainable–I will follow a Bible reading plan by setting aside 30 minutes each day to read.
  • Realistic–I won’t try to read the entire Bible in one year because I’m not able to commit more than 30 minutes each day at this time.
  • Timebound–At the end of 3 1/2 years, I will have read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

As you saw in the example above, the goal met all the SMART criteria. Each of your goals should meet each criterion as well, otherwise, you won’t be able to keep track of them or know when they are met.


Here are a few more posts on godly goalsetting:

What Does the Bible Say About Setting Goals?

After you’ve set your godly goals, you may find yourself becoming discouraged. But take heart, God is with you. These Bible verses will help you to keep going when you’d rather give up.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13 ESV).

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV).

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 ESV).

For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words (Ecclesiastes 5:3 ESV).

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3 ESV).

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised (Hebrews 10:35-36 ESV).

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:7 ESV).

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24 ESV).

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