Growing up, January 1 marked a few specific traditions in my family. Each New Year’s Day, my dad would take down all of the Christmas decorations, the family would eat black-eyed peas, and we would all set New Year’s Resolutions. I’m sure you have a few traditions of your own, too. I still continue to force down black-eyed peas, once a year, while holding my nose.
New Year’s Resolutions are a mysterious thing for me. Every year, as the calendar turns another page, we look backward to all that we accomplished —or didn’t. We look forward to things we want to be better in the year to come. Sometimes these are lofty goals for our career or weight management, or sometimes they’re to reconnect with old friends you haven’t seen in awhile. Whatever resolutions we have made in the past, they are all hoping to make our futures better. Why is it that we are so gung-ho about setting these new ideas for our lives, only to have them disappear so suddenly?
I read a book a few years ago that has changed the way I set goals, or resolutions. I would often set huge (yet attainable) goals, then not know when or how to reach them. After reading the book, I learned it’s the daily small steps toward better decisions that make the difference.
For instance, if my goal was weight management and I decided to take the stairs to my office every day—small steps quite literally—scientifically, I would burn more calories in a year than if I had taken the elevator every day. Or if I wanted to memorize more Scripture, memorizing an entire book of the Bible seems daunting, even one as short as Jude. But if I committed to reading and memorizing just one verse a day, by the end of the year that would be 365 verses!
Make Your Spiritual Goals Count
But where should we begin? How do I know what areas of my life I should focus on? Bible Studies for Life has created a short Self–Assessment that you can do in a matter of minutes. We’ve broken down 7 categories that allow you to rank yourself on how you did last year. The goal here is not to grade you, but to help you self-identify areas in which you may want to grow in 2018. Be honest with yourself, how’d you do?
Next, after you add up each category, I want you to take a look at those numbers. Are there any that are higher than you anticipated? Any that were lower? Reflect on the good, and what made them so good.
Now, for the goal setting. Dream big! Say, you want to memorize all of Romans (at 433 verses, you’ll need to do more than 1 per day). That’s a fantastic goal! Now, break that goal down into months. How many do you need to memorize each month in order to have your yearly goal met? Then do a weekly goal, then a daily goal. Suddenly, memorizing Romans at 1–2 verses a day doesn’t seem like such a daunting task.
Small, easy-to-accomplish daily goals, over the course of the next year, will add up to you tackling an incredibly big goal. And you’ll enjoy the journey over the year, too. Bring on 2018, we’re ready!
Click here to take the assessment.