There are very good reasons for goal planning. Biblically speaking, we should be setting goals and striving to reach them.
What the Bible says about setting goals:
- Luke 14:28-31 – We must think through whether or not a particular goal is worth it.
- Proverbs 13:16 – It is wise to plan ahead. That’s goal setting.
- Proverbs 15:22 – Don’t do this alone. Surround yourself with people you can trust, not just people who will say what you want to hear. Bounce your goals and ideas off of them.
- Proverbs 21:5 – Planning will be more likely to lead to success than just “winging it.”
- Colossians 3:17 – We always want to do our best for God. If we are doing things on a whim, we’re not doing our best.
We want SMART goals:
- Specific – We’ve got to be able to understand exactly what the goal is. “I want to be a better person,” is not specific. What do you mean by “better person?”
- Measurable – We need to be able to measure progress. How do we know we’re moving forward if we can’t measure? That’s another problem with the previous example.
- Attainable – It depends on you and you alone. “I want to go out with Taylor,” also depends on Taylor. Therefore, the goal is not attainable by your own efforts. Caveat: if this is God led (and your goals should be) and it requires God to intervene, that’s fine – as long as you’re sure this is God’s leading and not your own.
- Realistic – The goal should be something you’re capable of doing. I’m 38 years old and 5′ 7″. I will never plan in the NBA. A goal of “Become a starting point guard in the NBA,” is not a realistic goal.
- Time-Based – There should be some component of time to your goal – a clock to completion.
Example of “I want to be a better person,” changed to a SMART goal: I will perform one act of service at home, unprompted, each day for a month.
The only ambiguity is “act of service,” but this could be more stated as, “Doing something I know mom or dad would want done that isn’t on my chores list.”
Understand your motivation:
We tend to accomplish those things for which we have motivation. Most folks want to make straight As in school. However, they aren’t motivated to do the work. That’s why they don’t make straight As. Let’s attack the area you are most motivated. Rank the following from 1st-4th as to your motivation:
- School – Not just classes, but anything that goes on at school, including friends and extra-curricular activities.
- Church – Like with school, more than just “read my Bible and pray every day.”
- Home – Like with school, more than just chores.
- Me – What about me do I want to improve?
Be honest. Don’t put what you think others might want your priorities to be. Put what you really feel.
Write your goals:
Look at what you ranked #1 and #2. Write down a SMART goal in each area. Remember, these are your goals. They have to be what you want to do. Pick goals you want to accomplish the most. Later, look at #3 and #4 and come up with goals for those areas, too.
Write actions steps:
We can have goals, but we need to know how to move forward. Write down an action you can take this week that will move you forward in accomplishing each of those two goals.
Find someone who will hold you accountable:
Ideally this is your parents. Realistically, it may not be. My parents were not good for accountability. You want the following in a person who is going to hold you accountable:
- Someone who is trustworthy.
- Someone who has your best interests at heart.
- Someone who isn’t going to be afraid to ask you how you’re doing.
- Someone who isn’t going to let you off the hook when you aren’t getting the job done.
- Someone who is still going to support you, even when you falter.
- Someone who is going to be encouraging as you pursue your goals.
- Someone who you will actually listen to when they ask you about your goals and remind you of your commitments.