Would it surprise you if I told you that 92 percent of people don’t actually keep their New Year’s resolutions? (according to research done by University of Scranton). In fact, by the second week of February, 80 percent of New Year’s goals fail, according to U.S. News article “Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail.” But it doesn’t have to be this way; I’d like to believe we set goals because we want to keep them, not because it’s the “thing to do” every new year.
Some people set outrageous goals that they simply can’t keep while others set vague goals they can’t remember a couple months after. Goal setting requires reflection and time to process what we want to do, what is realistic, and what we can execute with the time, ability, and resources we posses.
Although goals are important, it’s even more important to have the right mindset when setting and executing them. Goals can often become about ourselves, about what we can do and what we can accomplish as opposed to being about what God can do in our lives as we surrender our goals and the year ahead to Him.
Give Thought to your Goals
Whether they are spiritual, creative, or professional goals, give thought to your goals before creating or announcing them. Goals need to be specific. When your goals are specific, you can measure and track your progress with more ease throughout the year.
In the past I’ve set goals such as “read more” or “work out more,” but what does that really mean? But if I said read “2 books every month and work out 3 times a week on such and such days, then I would have a more tangible plan to accomplish my goals.
And once you are sure of your goals, write them down. Writing down your goals and having easy access to them is essential to help you stay focused. Every now and then you can glance back at them and celebrate your progress.
Commit your Goals to God
The one thing we shouldn’t forget when creating our new year’s goal is to commit them to God. In Proverbs 16:3, God calls us to commit everything we do to Him and He will establish our plans. The problem is that we can often think that God is only concerned with our “spiritual lives,” i.e. our prayer times, bible study, and church attendance. However, God does not compartmentalize our lives the way we tend to do. For example, I can often divide my life into silos, where areas such as school, work, and family are classified as “unspiritual” or neutral in nature. But christianity is not about only surrendering parts of our lives, but everything, including our goals.
So how do we commit our goals to God? Surrender them to God in prayer, making requests out of faith. And second, act on your goals. Don’t just do them for God, do them with God. Remember, God is intertwined in everything we do, so let’s glorify him with our goals.
Work Hard at Your Goals
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”- Colossians 3:23-24
God calls us to work at it with all our hearts as working for Him and not for human masters. In other words, our number one motivation for working hard at anything, including our goals, should be to please God. God is not so interested in your performance or results; He is more interested in your heart, your growth, and your character.
Hard work means consistency and dedication. This is why Stephen Curry is one of the top players in the NBA: he is dedicated to the game of basketball and trains for it consistently. Although he was considered an underdog by most NBA scouts, he proved the league wrong by winning two MVP titles and 2 NBA championships. He is a hard worker, a person with character who never gave up; and the best part of it all, he brings glory to God by his example.
So remember, as you set your goals, think thoroughly about what you want to focus on, commit them to God in prayer, and work hard at it. Don’t worry so much about the results; focus more on the process. Celebrate small victories as the year progresses and continue recommitting your goals to God, working hard at it, not for your own glory, but for His.