As with every New Year, family and friends have been talking about their resolutions, visions, and goals. Many of us have God-given dreams and desires that are untapped or plans that have not been executed. The pounds we vowed to shed last year still linger and books we wanted to read remain untouched on our nightstand. Resolutions are nice but rarely produce success because they are vague. This year, let’s go beyond the good intentions and create a plan that will help us achieve those things that are on our heart. But where and how do you start?
A good place to start is by creating SMART goals. The acronym SMART stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. When creating goals for the New Year here are some things to consider:
Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish? This is the first question you’ll have to answer when making goals for the New Year. It’s the Who? What? When? and Where? Unclear and vague goals produce mediocre results as best. You will need to define your goals in such a way that there is no question as to what you have set out to achieve. A bad example is “I would like get into better shape physically this year.” A good example is “I will lose 15 pounds in 6 months by training for a half-marathon in the spring.”
Measurable: Can you assess your progress? An important part of managing your goal and your progress towards it is the ability to measure it. You will need to answer the questions How much? How often? How many? Having a standard of measure is how you will determine whether you are on the right track. The best way to come up with the answers to these questions is to work backwards from the end game. If your Specific goal is to read 15 new books by December 30 of 2013 you will need to do a little math. Time divided by the number of books = how often you should be ending one book and starting another one. In this instance, it’s about every 3-1/2 weeks. I have found this disarms the goal’s power to overwhelm and determine if it is indeed attainable. This lead us to the next thing to consider.
Attainable: Is your goal within your reach? Goals are designed to motivate us and push us towards our God- given potential. God wants us to dream big and trust Him to accomplish what he put in our hearts. Creating attainable goals is important in preventing us from becoming discouraged. I believe that God can meet our needs when it seems like all hope is gone and connect us with people outside our reach to accomplish His plan. What God can do in our life is infinite so it’s through prayer and seeking Him that we should ask if a goal is attainable. A goal of becoming a millionaire in 3 months is not likely attainable. The goal of becoming a millionaire with 8-10 years by starting a business, developing your leadership skills through seminars, intentionally networking and gaining marketing know-how in your niche is attainable.
Relevant: Is your goal relevant towards your life’s purpose? Is this important? The goals you create should be in line with your personal/family mission statement. If you don’t have one now is a good time to prayerfully consider doing that. Consider the legacy you want to leave and what you want your family to be known for. It will be easier to create goals and make decisions when you have a mission statement because it will answer the questions “Why am I doing this?” and “What should I be doing?”
Time-Sensitive: Is there a deadline for completion? Without a target date for achievement, a goal can get put off indefinitely. You will always find a reason to defer its completion if not give up completely. It is important to decide by when? Is a short-term goal? “I am going to take a 12-week photography class in September so I will be able to take pictures of my children for our Christmas cards.” Does the goal span the course of the year? “I will read the Bible in a year following You Version’s chronological plan starting in January and ending in December.” The time it takes to reach your goal may span many years but never the less it is important to know what that deadline is.
Consider creating 2-4 goals in each of the following categories:
- Family and Home
- Financial and Career
- Physical and Health
- Social and Cultural
- Mental and Educational
- I personally have found that the key to success is revisiting my goals on a monthly basis to see how I am doing. Throughout the year you can add and remove goals as you see fit. For example, if you start out the year with the goal of paying extra towards your mortgage each month it may no longer be applicable if you are able to refinance from a 30- to a 20-year mortgage. What if you develop a love of running while meeting your physical goals and get inspired to run a half-marathon? Just add it to your list. It is good to be flexible but the key is to remain consistent, working towards what you want to accomplish.
Need help getting started creating your SMART goals? Download a FREE template here!
What are some of your goals for 2013? Let us know here.
Kimberly is an enthusiastic and dedicated founding member of the Circles of Faith team. She is known for her creativity, strong faith, and commitment to living life with purpose and passion. Kimberly is a writer and community builder whose desire is for hearts to be healed, minds to be renewed and women to be connected in fellowship just as God intended. You can follow Kimberly in her journey to discovering the Sweet Spot of God’s success for her everyday life on her blog at Living in the Sweet Spot. or on twitter @kimberlyamici. Click here for her full bio.