New Year’s resolutions are a norm in our society. January 1st is a good time to “draw a line in the sand” and make life changes. Unfortunately, those changes often don’t last as long as the month of January. I know that goal setting is an important part of a successful life. So, how to we set goals that are attainable and that make it through the ENTIRE year?
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”Proverbs 16:9
I can’t begin the journey into the New Year without looking back. Actually, there’s a part of me that looks back every day. When I awaken in the morning, I see my husband and am reminded of the life we share. But, from my bed, I can also see a photograph of my life the way it was in 2005. It’s a photo of Terry, Zac, Gracie and me taken just a few weeks before Terry’s death. Each morning, I have the opportunity to give thanks for what I had yesterday as well as what I have today. Most goals begin with a look back.
Forget the former things;Isaiah 43:18-19
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
While memories can be seductive, I cannot live in the past. There was a time when all I wanted to do was live in the past. I didn’t want to move forward. January 1 was a horrible day that marked another year of loss. Setting goals for myself was the only way to move forward. Simple goals were all I could handle: going to work every day; walking around the block; journaling every day. These very simple things were things that I could accomplish and enabled me to move forward with my life. I couldn’t change the past, but with God’s help, I could live in the present and influence my future.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”Luke 14:28
Some of the most common resolutions concern losing weight, getting fit, saving money, etc. The first quarter of the year is known as “the fitness season”. It’s during this time that people are most interested in getting gym memberships, buying fitness equipment, hiring trainers and other avenues of getting fit. It’s easy to set lofty goals. When you are trying to lose weight, seeing the scale drop only a pound in a week is discouraging. Yet, the healthiest and best way to maintain your weight loss is losing an average of a pound per week. Some weeks, the best you can achieve is not to gain weight. But, I know I get discouraged when there aren’t BIG changes to see.
Money Management is another good place to goal set. Its probably not be realistic to set a goal of saving a $1,000,000 this year. (Especially if you don’t have a net income of more than that!) But, there are ways to save. Having money taken immediately from your paycheck to a savings account is a no-brainer for me. I don’t have to think about it and the savings will add up. For me, I need a savings method that I can access, but not too easily. I have a small investment account that is accruing interest and dividends. The money is deducted each paycheck and I’m often surprised when I look at the amount I have saved.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”Proverbs 16:3
One area of goal setting that is often overlooked is tithing. One of the hardest things for me to implement was tithing from the “first fruits”. I wanted to be sure that I had enough money to cover the month BEFORE I made my tithe. What I have learned through the years is the importance of making the sacrifice and tithing first. My husband is very conscientious about tithing on every bit of income we have. Being able to make an online payment has made this much simpler. We give the first part to God. Period. I truly believe that tithing should be an integral part of every believer’s budgeting plan.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”Philippians 4:8
As I look at the possibilities of 2021, I have set a few new goals:
- Daily goal setting and journaling. I’m not good at this. I’ve been through several classes that taught the importance of handling each day as an investment. This year I have invested in a Christian planner to use and I hope that it will keep me on track.
- Read through the Bible again (or more precisely, listen to the Bible). I have started an audio study that will take me through the Bible in a year. It’s amazing to me the new things I learn each time I do this.
- Find new ways to serve others. I will continue to serve on my church’s prayer team. I am also in discussions to begin a grief support group. I want to help support others who are dealing with the death of a treasured family member.
- Build the “artist” in me.
- Refine my watercolor painting skills with on-line classes, etc.
- Continue to quilt and sew to create usable pieces of art
- Learn to use my embroidery machine
What goals/resolutions have you made for 2021?
Have you subdivided your yearly goals into manageable monthly (or weekly or daily) pieces?
Will you be a more complete person at the end of 2021 by reaching your goals/resolutions?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”Hebrew 12: 1-2a