Do You Really Need to Set Goals this Year?
by Chris Rea
My entire life I have been told that the most important thing you can do at the beginning of the new year is set specific goals in the various areas of your life; goals that will help you grow spiritually, relationally or practically. I’ve always heard that people who write specific goals down on paper in the beginning of the year have a better chance, 42% to be exact, 😉 of accomplishing their goals than people who don’t.
Recently, one of our readers asked me this question: Do you really need to set specific goals each year in order to grow spiritually, relationally or practically?
My answer to that question is…
Yes and No. Let me explain.
I believe that everyone is wired a little bit differently. In fact, there are so many different personality tests out there that you can take to help you discover exactly how God has wired you, what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are.
Guess what my weakness is… following up on goals.
Guess what my strength is… getting a vision for something and going after it with everything inside of me until it’s accomplished.
For me personally, writing goals down on paper does not mean I will accomplish them.
One time I spent 4 hours at the beginning of the year creating a one year timeline of how I was going to write my first book. I wrote down monthly deadlines and how much I would need to write each day, week and month to hit my goal. At the end of that year I did not write even one page of that book! I didn’t hit one goal that I had wrote down at the beginning. That felt awesome.
The next year, without having any goals written down at all, I finished writing my first book in 3 months. I just got a vision for it and went after it! When and how I am going to publish it might take me another couple of years. But one day, I will just get fed up with having a book written that is not published and I will go after that with focused intensity until it is accomplished. Writing the goal down on paper didn’t help in this situation. But that doesn’t mean I won’t go after specific things each year with all of my might. That doesn’t mean that I have stopped writing my goals down on paper. It just means written goals does not guarantee success for myself. But once I get passionate about something, I will see it through to completion.
For me, the key is focused intensity on one thing at a time.
Conversely, my wife Megan, is wired completely different than me. She needs to get everything in her head written down on paper. In fact, she doesn’t do it just at the beginning of the year, she does it at the beginning of every single week!
Here’s a pdf of the “Weekly Goal Sheet” aka to-do list, she fills in every week. She breaks her tasks into 6 different categories and uses the right side column for meal planning.
She is the ultimate goal setter, and if it is written down it gets accomplished. She is much more methodical in her approach to accomplishing her goals. She can juggle so many different things at once as long is it is written down and she has created a system to accomplish it.
Our approach to living a full, well-rounded and meaningful life is completely different but both ways work. The important thing is to have an approach that works for you.
How are you wired?
Are you like me and you get an idea in your head, obsess about it, and go after it until it’s done? Or are you like Megan, and have an organized methodical approach for achieving your goals? It doesn’t matter to me how you accomplish your goals to grow this new year, the thing that matters is that you are aiming for something.
Zig Ziglar says, “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.”
This year, I want you to aim at something awesome. And to get there, you don’t have to be a conventional goal setter. But give yourself a gift 12 months from now and make sure, however you choose to do it, that you can look back in December of 2017 and see where you have grown and what you have accomplished.
And then, and this is KEY, take time to celebrate it! So many times, we focus on what we haven’t done, or we focus on what we need to do in the future that we forget to look back at the past and celebrate our accomplishments.
Your life is NOT small. You have been put on this earth to do more than just exist, you have been put here so you can live a full, well-rounded and meaningful life worth celebrating. You have been put here so you can develop your gifts and use them to add value to the lives of others.
Don’t rob this world of the value you could be adding to it in 2017. And to help ensure that you don’t, here’s an action step for you:
Figure out how you are wired by taking a personality test. You can check out the DISC test here. Then develop a simple plan that will empower you to live a full, well-rounded and meaningful life this year.
Want a few suggestions of areas of your life to grow in? Here you go:
Spiritual – bible study, prayer, church attendance, involvement, giving
Relational – being a better spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, parent, friend, boss, co- worker, son/daughter
Practical – finances, health, style, hobbies, house projects
We’ve got loads of posts to help you on your journey this year. Take a moment and look around and then be sure to subscribe so we can keep on encouraging and giving your No Small Life practical steps to living a life worth celebrating this year!
Until next time,