I have noticed a lot of similarities between the September back-to-school rush, and New Year’s Day. Except instead of resolutions, in the fall most people set new goals, or try to readjust their schedules to take advantage of a new season.
This is an excellent idea, and the perfect time to do it.
In a psalm written by Moses, he tells us to understand the value of our days, and be as wise as we can with what we do with each day God has given us (Psalm 90:12).
The Apostle Paul echoes these thoughts:
Be very careful, then, how do you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
One way for us to make the most of every day is to wisely set some goals. Here are four tips that I’ve discovered to help me.
(1) The fewer the goals, the better.
Craig Groeschel said, “To do more things, do less things better.” I totally agree. I would suggest limiting yourself to just 1-2 goals at a time. Then put these one or two goals on your calendar first. In other words: Don’t prioritize your schedule, but schedule your priorities.
(2) Don’t fall into the sacred/secular trap.
So many people—even Christians—think that there are spiritual goals and non-spiritual goals. But the Bible says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Every goal you set is a spiritual goal, because every goal should help you live your life wisely, in a way that honors and glorifies God.
(3) Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.
You may have heard these before, but I really like to use them. Make your goals:
- Specific—not “I want to eat better” but “I want to eat two servings of fruits or vegetables each day.”
- Measurable—have a way to track your progress toward your goal. How many pages did you read? how many calories did you eat? how many minutes did you work out?
- Achievable—don’t set a goal to run 5 miles a day if you’ve only been a couch potato. Ramp your goals up little by little in a way that’s achievable for you.
- Relevant—I like to ask a “so that?” question about each of my goals in make sure it’s moving me forward. “I want to exercise for 20 minute three times per week, so that my blood pressure comes down, so that I can live medicine-free, so that I can….” I think you get the idea. Keep going to make sure your goal is relevant for your life.
- Time to review—set a date to revisit your goals and see if you need to adjust anything.
(4) Make a “stop doing” list.
You cannot do everything, so focus on the important, not the urgent. And remember not everything can stay on your calendar. For instance, if you want to read more in the evenings, you may have to eliminate some TV time; if you want to exercise in the mornings, you may have to eliminate that second cup of coffee.
Just a couple of verses after Moses challenges us to make the most of every day God has given us, he asks God for His help—May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.
May God give you wisdom as you make new goals, and may He bless the work of your hands as you implement your new strategies.