Five Goal-Setting Moves to Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever

It’s a new year, which means you are probably thinking about setting some goals. Do you know where to start? How many should you make? Setting goals is one thing; achieving them is quite another. So I’m going to give you five goal-setting moves that could make 2015 your best year ever.

Michelangelo has been credited as saying, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.” Our goals need to be realistic, but they should also stretch and challenge us. So let’s get right to those top five moves.

1. Put Your Goals in Writing

There is so much truth in this statement: A goal isn’t real until you put it in writing. Writing out a goal helps you articulate the specific details of a goal that is probably still fuzzy in your mind. This will keep you from revising the goal arbitrarily and adds some accountability. I write all my goals in Evernote, so they are handy and literally in the palm of my hand (on my smartphone). By reviewing your written goals throughout the year, you will be reminded of the goal and how you will measure success at year’s end.

2. Use This Template

My goal-setting template has morphed through the years as I’ve customized it to work for me. My current template includes ten categories: Spiritual, Service/Ministry, Physical, Mental/Educational, Social/Emotional, Financial, Marriage/Family, Work, Travel, and Other.

Just so you know, there is some logic to these categories, especially the first four. Spiritual is related to Jesus’ greatest commandment, to love God with all of our being. A typical goal here is to memorize a long section of scripture. The Service/Ministry category reflects the second-greatest commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves. Physical means loving God with all my strength or body. A lower weight or faster time on the treadmill is common here. Mental/Educational is about loving Him with all my mind. Just think of all the books you could read to make progress in this category. The Social/Emotional category is about loving the Lord with all my heart and soul. I’ve grown to enjoy the art and beauty of an opera because of some previous goals I’ve set in this area.

Every year I set one to three goals per category, as well as selecting a theme verse for the year.

3. Focus on Your Top Five (or Six or Seven)

Most experts say you should write down ten goals, and then scrap the bottom seven and concentrate only on the top three. Their point is that you need to focus. There is no doubt you will be most effective in this new year if you actually accomplish your goals. Set too many and it’s possible you will give up quickly or that a lack of focus will result in very little being achieved.

Yes, my template has the potential to generate a list of ten to thirty goals. So how are you to focus? My solution is to look at the whole list and pick the top five to seven, then copy them at the top. If these are the ones you believe will make the most difference in your life, then make sure you accomplish them.

4. Set Goals with Your Kids

I strongly encourage you to meet with your kids and help them set goals too. This is not meant to stress them out. You can make goal-setting a very exciting time by helping them to imagine what they might accomplish this year. If your son isn’t riding a bicycle yet, let him know this could be the year. If your daughter is barely reading, help her to understand the joy of reading a book all by herself for the first time. Maybe an older child who wants to go on a short-term mission trip can set a fund-raising goal.

We have found goal-setting time with our kids to be very encouraging for everyone involved. Think of it as your middle-of-the-school-year parent-teacher conference. As a homeschooling parent, you know your kids better than anyone. Let your children know you want them to soar like eagles, shine like the stars, explore creation, and fall more in love with Jesus Christ their Savior. Be open to how God will redirect their steps along the way, but help them to recognize that it’s good for man to plan a few steps.

5. Keep This Weekly Discipline

Okay, you’ve used my template, put your goals in writing, selected the top five to seven, and done the same with the whole family. Now what? A vital part of the process happens each and every week. Wise and disciplined goal-setters will look at their weekly to-do list in light of their annual goals. But the most effective goal-setters will ask themselves this question: What one thing should I do this week that will make all the difference in the world? This one task might be directly related to one of your goals, or it might bless a specific person in your life. Examples include:

• This week I am buying flowers for my wife.
• This week I am putting $100 from my paycheck into savings.
• This week I’m memorizing Psalm 1.
• This week I’m playing catch with my ten-year-old.
• This week I’m fasting on Wednesday.
• This week I’m visiting my friend in the hospital.
• This week I’m walking thirty minutes a day, every day.

But it isn’t enough to pick the most important move. If this is truly an action that could make all the difference in the world this week, then for crying out loud, make it happen! I promise you, this practice will put you on the road to being highly effective in meeting your goals.

Finally, it’s always a good practice to measure yourself at the end of the year. This is fairly simple. You have your list because you put it in writing, and hopefully, you will have marked several items as DONE as you went through the year. Although I wish I could accomplish everything on my list, the fact is that I challenge myself just enough that I never achieve a perfect score. You have to decide for yourself how much stretch will result in a proper balance of motivation and encouragement.

So what is that one thing you are going to do this week that will make all the difference in the world?

Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!

Davis Signature

© 2015 Davis Carman

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