It is just a few days into the new year and I wonder how many of you have dropped the resolution(s) you made for 2023? Or maybe you never made one to begin with. How often do we make goals only to feel like a failure when we can’t keep them? Maybe resolutions are dumb and we are actually setting ourselves up for failure.
This was my sentiment for many years. But then I learned how resolutions can be an important tool in my life. Now these goals are leading me closer to Christ. Discover how.
Why Set Goals?
Goals or resolutions provide focus. Just like how you have a destination when you’re driving your car, goals give us something to move towards.
When Set Goals?
January 1 is not a magical date to begin goal work. When the Holy Spirit lays something on our hearts to focus on, we need to act – immediately. So whether it is mid-January, June 10th, or September 13th, if the Holy Spirit is showing you something, then today is the day to set your focus on growing towards your goal.
5 Steps to Making a Good Goal
My New Year’s resolutions continually failed because I didn’t include God. I strictly thought about what I wanted to change or accomplish. Goals or resolutions must be intertwined with our spiritual life because we can’t separate our spiritual life and our to-do lists. Below are five questions that I use when creating a goal that I truly want to see come to fruition.
1. What do I desire in life?
As a Christian, our goal should be to bring God glory with every decision we make, word we say, action we do. Having this as our foundation changes every goal or resolution we make.
2. How am I currently not glorifying God?
Typically the Holy Spirit reveals this to me in my Bible time and in my relationships (marriage, parenting, friends). For example, He showed me that my issue with food and taking care of my body wasn’t really about the number on the scale. I had to get to the heart of the issue. When I truly look at the number staring at me, I discover that I am choosing the immediate over long term. It really isn’t about the cookies, chips, or cheesecake. I am indulging in my wants over having self-control. This understanding, driven by the Holy Spirit, created a mind shift in my weight-loss process.
3. Admit that this area needs to change now.
Alcoholics Anonymous first step to recovery is admitting your struggle. This is when repentance and forgiveness can take place. Admit to God where your flesh is ruling and seek forgiveness for this sin. While we’re at it, let’s stop calling sin a “struggle.” I’m guilty of this too, but scripture tells us it’s a battle, a war, to overcome sin. Thankfully, we’re not doing war alone. We have Jesus and the Holy Spirit right there in the thick of it with us.
4. Name Your Why
Set a goal that is identity focused. By this I mean, think about who you want to be in Christ and who Christ wants you to be. Traditionally called sanctification, this life long process is how we are continually being transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. This becomes the “why” of your goal. But what does this actually look like?
Here is an example:
Me-focused goal: I will exercise because I want to lose weight and be more fit.
Identify-Focused Goal: I want to get healthy so that I have the energy to play with my kids and not get too tired. Or, I want to get healthy so that I have the strength to serve at church. Or, I want to get healthy because my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19).
Write the why down around your home so that you can turn to it when you get discouraged or lazy.
5. Baby Steps
Set a doable schedule and take baby steps toward meeting your goal. Instead of promising to get healthy by exercising 5x a week for 30 minutes, eating 500 less calories, and drinking more water, choose one small thing you can be successful at. Here are some ideas:
- Set an alarm and drink 1/2 cup of water every hour
- Exercise for 15 minutes every day – go for a walk, stretch, cardio, etc.
I have learned that I do better with goals set for every day of the week vs some days. Then, as you become successful with these small steps, you can expand the frequency or time.
When You Mess Up
We all make mistakes. We oversleep, get busy, or are just plain lazy. So let’s prepare what we can do when we mess up.
Melanie shared this wisdom in the podcast: How would you speak to your daughter if she messed up on a goal she set? Would you shame her? Blame her? No, you would offer encouragement, prayer, and ask questions to set her up for success. Isn’t that what we need to do for ourselves?
While we mess up, we need to understand that we can’t fail because of who we are in Christ. Mistakes are simply reminders of our need of a Savior.
What Do You Want?
While taping the podcast, Melanie asked me a question that went deep to my heart. “Heidi, do you desire to eat Peanut M&M’s or do you want to be more like Christ?” In the moment that I crave them, peanut M&M’s are very important to me! But when I evaluate them compared to my goal to bring glory to God, peanut M&M’s seem really foolish.
Now that’s not saying eating a random M&M is a sin. But when I know that it isn’t the right choice at the moment, it is.
So, what is your goal? Leave a comment or share on the Parenting to Impress private Facebook Group. I would love to hear the process you went through to create this goal and how the journey is going.
New Year, New You – Really?
Discover what Melanie and my goals are, what led us to choose these points of focus for 2023, and what we have learned during the goal-setting process.