2021 Goals

Will you make some goals for the coming new year? It may be a way to intentionally grow or strengthen a weakness. Here’s a path you can follow to make the most of your effort.

Examine your responsibilities. As you look through each segment of your life, consider what your priorities are and what could be even better.

Imagine a step forward in each area of your life. You may come up with a list that includes things like this:

  • Spiritual – Need to find concentrated prayer time rather than sporadic and occasional
  • Home – Start meal planning sooner than 15 minutes before each meal
  • Church – Exercise hospitality
  • Education – Take a class at the rec center to learn a new skill
  • Community – Volunteer at a local organization
  • Health – Walk 10,000 steps a day

As you review this list of possible steps forward in each arena, look at them in light of your current life. You know that a major work project is starting mid-January, so extra classes will probably not fit well with the extra effort needed there. You also decide to hold off on the volunteering until you do more research and find a good fit.

Looking at the remaining options, you feel they are equally attainable; so now it is a matter of choosing which one you will do now. Sometimes two work together well, as prayer and hospitality can support each other as you are motivated to pray for those you welcome into your home. Other times, a single focus would be better, allowing you to pinpoint your effort and set yourself up for success.

Remember: Don’t worry about the possibilities you don’t choose. They put you ahead of schedule the next time you sit down to evaluate. Remember that one step forward is better than none. And I assure you, no one can do everything all at once. Steady, gradual improvement over time will add up.

So let’s say you choose prayer and walking as your immediate goals. Great! Now how will you go about reaching those goals?

Start on the action plan. Brainstorm ideas that would support your success.

Is getting up a bit earlier enough to create the time in your day for prayer? Would a prayer journal help keep you on task and visibly show daily time? Do you need to hire a sitter or teach young children quiet time? Write done your ideas so you can choose what will work best for you.

Decide how you might like to get your steps in. Does early morning work best? Do you already have a device or app to track your steps? What habits need to change, such as where you park at a store or church? Can you combine your prayer and walking time, which would let each goal support the other?

Pick the ideas that you think will work best. Set up your reminders and schedule, as needed. Communicate any changes that you may need others to know.

Now you can work the plan you created! You have a goal and know the steps you need to take to reach it.

On Purpose

Do you do things on purpose or do you allow yourself to be carried along by the stream?

When we look at our days, we can throw up our hands and give up, saying that it’s out of control and there’s nothing we can do.

OR

When we look at our days, we can accept what is out of our control and take responsibility for the rest.

The catch is that we are responsible for how we use our time, whether we respond well or try to avoid that responsibility. The choice is ours to work diligently or not. The attitude we have is also our choice.

Think about this:
Being carried along by flowing water works great IF you want to go where it’s going. If you have another direction or endpoint in mind, the flow is working against you.

So do you know where you should go?

The danger in floating along without knowing the destination is that we may have an unpleasant surprise or disaster coming any minute.

If you have thought about where you are going and what it takes to get there, you are set up to handle the surprises that do come along the way. With purpose, you have reasons and guides for how you adjust. You can keep moving in the right direction, even if that involves a little detour.

  • You can love your neighbor with purposeful acts, or you can wish that an occasion comes up at a convenient time.
  • You can make time for priorities, or you can hope that they fit in somewhere.
  • You can set up an action plan for a responsibility, or you can assume that it will all work out somehow.
  • You can work to be kind with deliberate acts and words, or you can just want to be kind.

Why are you doing what you are doing today?