7 Quick Tips to Make the Best of Goal Setting

wirting goals_16732976_s“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” – Habakkuk 2:2-3

I like December, not only because it’s Christmas – the time we celebrate Jesus – but because it marks the end of a season. December to me is like to ending of an old chapter and the start of a new one.

I usually take the time during this month not only to celebrate with family but to plan the year ahead. As I start to think ahead, I spend time praying and seeking God’s direction for the New Year.

In my excitement to get going this year, I started search for what I could find to help me do a better job at goal setting. I found information in abundance but it would take time to compile a process that would work for me. I found paid products but they didn’t have a Christian worldview. I believe that if you are a Christian, any goal setting you do should always lead you to seek the Lord’s will for your life.

Here are some tips you can use to make the best of goal setting and experience a great year:

1. Seek God’s Will through Prayer
Start your goal setting process with prayer. Ask the Lord what His will is for you in the coming year. Listen to hear His plans. You may already know where God is leading you. Your dreams or desires, the things you love to do, the things that you are eager to change are all pointers to your purpose.

2. Take Time Out to Plan
It’s okay to think about planning but you need to actually do it. Make an appointment with yourself and God. Set aside a few hours, half a day or two days, whatever you think you need to get your goals down on paper.

3. Reflect On The Past
Don’t hold onto the past but embrace it. Review the year with the aim of learning form it. What did you accomplish? What didn’t work well for you? What can you do differently in the New Year? What do you have to be thankful to God for? At the end of this exercise make sure to let go of the past and get ready to embrace the future.

4. Dream, Dream, Dream
Yes, it’s time to dream, not a little but a lot. Making your goals does not need be so rigid that you kill your dreams. I often write a dream list first before actually setting my goals. Get a blank sheet and write down what your heart’s desire is. Do this before making any of your goals concrete.

5. Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals
I don’t think most people like to hear about S.M.A.R.T. goals but the truth of the matter is that this process makes your dreams become goals that would bring them into reality. You don’t have to set big goals and a lot of goals; but you need to write what works for you. That could be 12 goals or 3 goals but write them down anyways.

6. Find Your Why
Why do you want to accomplish the goals you’ve outlined? Why are they so important to you? It’s important to know your “Why” because when the going get tough, the reason behind what you are doing will keep you moving forward.

7. Be Accountable
Ever noticed how much you get done when you have deadlines and someone else to report to. Why? Accountability results in performance. Get the support of a friend or two or join a group of likeminded people who hold each other accountable for their goals. You will reap great success from such support.

8. Simplicity Is Necessary
Yes, this is tip No. 8 but this is important. Goal setting takes effort and many are often deterred from starting or completing the process. Another reason for not setting goals is that you may not know how to set goals and make them happen. The key is to keep goal setting simple and I have created a workbook just to help you do that.

As I mention earlier in this post, I was on a search for a simple goal setting process with a Christian world view but found none. As I thought about it I realized that I already had a process I was practicing for more that 10 years, but I had never compiled into one simple format. So I decided to do just that.

Now available in ebook format (pdf) is my goal setting workbook – the Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner.

If you are looking for a step-by-step guided process to goal setting, I’d encourage you to download the Living Success Goals Workbook.

Shopping Sprees … Debt Free & Stress Free

shopping groupThere are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they lay up their food in the summer. –Proverbs 30:24-25

Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. –Proverbs 6:6-8

A few months back I took a mini-vacation with my sisters and daughter. One night we were talking from one topic to another last night when we lighted on the topic of how annoying ants can be. Like when you know you have cleaned the kitchen to the max yet ants appear (seemingly from nowhere). Or when they appear, it’s not one or two but they seem to call every ant they know to come with them. My daughter commented on how interesting it is see some many of them working together to carry one little crumb back to their home. I then remember the scripture in Proverbs and pointed out that there something to learn from them. They store in the summer (good times) and make sure they have enough for the winter (cold and hard times). Then the Holy Spirit nudged me that this was exactly what we were doing. We were not only having some special family time but we were shopping and storing up food to send home!

Then I thought to myself, shopping sprees don’t have to be stressful or lead to debt. There were benefits to this kind of shopping:

  • It was purpose driven – to store up for the future
  • It was cost effective – to save on items that were generally more expensive at home
  • It had a relationship aspect – to spend time apart from shopping with family
  • It required discipline – not to spend more than the budget allocated
  • However, it was fun – especially when you enjoy the company of family or special friends

This storing up we were doing had its payoff in the future. We often took the two-fold approach of taking a vacation and stocking up for the future. During that time it can be exhausting making price comparisons, shopping and packing but at the end we know that we have set aside for the future.

You feel like to Proverbs 31 woman who looks to the future with confidence knowing that she has taken care of the needs of her household ahead of time. So shopping sprees don’t always have to end negatively, that is, with you being in debt and unsatisfied with your purchases. It can be done with wisdom.

What do you need to have these debt-free, stress-free shopping sprees that are a win-win situation always?

  1. Get physically and mentally ready to shop for long periods. If you’re like me and don’t like to shop a lot then you need to get yourself geared up for it.
  2. Plan ahead – write a list of what you need (and some of what you want). Ask God for wisdom in this process
  3. Estimate the cost as best you can – it is better to overestimate
  4. Save based on your estimate with some extra for other items you may buy that aren’t on your list
  5. Determine the best time of year or season to make the most of your buying power
  6. Have a shopping buddy and/or accountability partner that will keep you in check so you don’t overspend
  7. Try to buy the must-haves on your list first before buying any “I-wants”
  8. Access your purchases and if you realized you don’t need a particular item or it cost more that it does elsewhere; return it. If you can’t return an item consider gifting it to someone else who needs it and would appreciate it or sell it.
  9. Don’t shop for yourself only – consider others who are in need
  10. Certainly, give thanks to God for His provision and His wisdom to know how to shop wisely

During the holiday season, we tend to do a lot of shopping but the key in not in getting it all but in being a judicious shopper. It’s important to plan your gift purchases, don’t just wander into the stores hoping to find something that will work. Make a list, assign a specific dollar amount and stick to it. When you have reached your dollar limit, stop buying. Stick to cash only or debit cards and avoid using your credit cards.

Have a stress-free, debt-free Christmas season. Remember, Jesus is the best gift of all.