What does God have in mind for 2011?

I haven’t a clue, but I thought that question might get your attention. I doubt that God makes resolutions. I’m quite confident that whatever He’s planning will occur exactly as He wishes. I’m a bit less certain about my own plans.

I’ve never been inclined toward “New Year’s resolutions.” They always seemed sort of frivolous to me. So many people join a gym or buy expensive exercise equipment, and by February the gym is empty and the exercise machine becomes a high-priced storage rack.

Last year I decided to develop a goal-setting process, and I like the results. So this year I’m refining the steps to make it more effective. If you’re frustrated with the notion of resolutions but would like to set some big goals, perhaps some of this will help. Here are some basics to get us started.

  • Choose a single word, or perhaps a two- or three-word phrase, to describe the goal. The word doesn’t need to mean anything to others. It’s a code to keep the goal accessible to you. As an example, one of my 2010 words was workshop. You can have more than one. Personally, I’m shooting for three each year.
  • Write the word and a clear description of what accomplishing the goal will look like. Be specific. Workshop meant that I would develop and present a multi-session workshop based on Relentless Grace.
  • Make it positive. We’re a lot better at going toward rather than running away. Adding something positive is easier than taking something away. “Get healthy” beats “lose weight.” “Drink x ounces of water” is better than “stop drinking soda.” “Walk twenty minutes per day” sounds easier than “stop watching television.”
  • Unpack it. Take it apart and list things that need to happen. Most goals involve multiple steps or processes. Be specific. Write them down, figure out where to begin, and maybe revise previous steps.
  • Use frequent small steps to make progress. Plan something daily. Set intermediate timelines. You can’t do it all on January 2nd.
  • Track it. Come up with a way to track progress. This might be a chart or a dated checklist, but we’re much more likely to stay on track if the progress is right in front of us. The more frequently you review progress, the better.
  • Tell someone. Explain the goal and your plan. Ask them to check in frequently to keep you accountable.
  • Don’t let perfect destroy good. You’ll make mistakes, miss deadlines, and fall behind. It’s not a failure until you quit, so start again.

I’m sure there’s more, but this will get us going. I’m working on my three words for 2011—I know two of them, and have one sort of rough-drafted. I’ll share more later, but now’s the time to start planning.

I want 2011 to be a year of growth, service, and passion. It won’t happen by accident.

Are you in?

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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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