This is the last week of the year, the time when most people make plans, have dreams and make wishes for the new year. Some will even write down “New Year Resolutions.” The problem is most of these plans, wishes, and resolutions will be forgotten before January is over, except for a small group of people. They will go beyond wishful thinking and make plans, be proactive, and set SMART goals for the year. And by the end of 2019, those will probably be the ones celebrating their successes instead of counting their losses. However, even among this group of successful people, a smaller minority will stand out, making the best of the opportunities that God sends their way by setting goals every year and developing a clear plan to reach them. Here is how they do it.

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What it Takes

Setting goals year after year works best when we take time to look back at the immediate past, assess the present situation, and then begin to envision the future that God wants to give us. Among other things, successful goal setters ask ten simple questions that help them focus on the right priorities and direct their limited resources in a way that glorifies God and give them the best results.

Look Back

Evaluate the year honestly and objectively, but don’t be too hard on yourself. It is important to find sources of encouragement to motivate you forward and push you upward.

  • What were your greatest achievements this year?

  • What were your failures? Think about what you missed and mistakes that were made.

  • What lessons have you learned?

Assess the Present

The next step is making an honest assessment of where you are now, the resources you have and those you still lack. These are questions only you can answer.

  • Who can you count on to help pursue your goals? That includes the team you lead, peers, superiors, coaches, mentors, etc.

  • What are ongoing projects you are working on? Are they priority? Are they sustainable?

  • What are the greatest opportunities you have for growth?

  • What are the greatest obstacles you are facing right now?

Envision the Future

The last three questions will help you to dream and write down the things you sense the HolySpirit leading you to do next year.

  • What do you need to do that will move you closer to your vision?

  • What do you want to accomplish next year (for God, for your family, for yourself)?

  • What are priority tasks, goals, and projects that will bring you the greatest results?

Write it All Down

Of course the most important part of this whole process is writing it down. I believe this point can’t be stressed enough, so I will highlight it for you.

Goal setting only works when we take time to write down our goals in an articulate and intelligent way.

Until you commit your goals to paper, they are only wishful thinking. So, get pen and paper ready. Let’s dream big and plan hard.

Happy New Year to you and your dear ones. I hope and pray our posts help you deepen your faith, grow your leadership, and broaden your influence.