Last year I was home for New Year’s. I remember sitting in my friend’s apartment window with my three best friends in the world talking about our resolutions. For some reason, in that moment, I decided to set goals instead.
It’s simple really. A resolution is something intangible. It’s almost a wish. “I will…” fill in the blank. Workout more, eat less, stop smoking, etc. But it’s a shot in the dark.
So I wrote down my goals but starting each sentence with “By December 31, 2011 I will…”
It changed my life!
Suddenly, by mapping out my short term goals for my life, I was able to focus on meeting those goals. Several of the goals I actually didn’t meet – but I lived with more intentionality and came a lot closer to accomplishing them than if I had kept them as abstract resolutions.
Suddenly everything I was asked to do and the small tasks that came across my path had to fall in line with these goals. If I was presented with a project or an opportunity, it had to fall in line with my goals for the year.
“Practice guitar more” is a resolution, and one that I probably would have let drop fairly quickly. “By December 2011 I will lead worship from guitar” was something more practical. It meant I had a whole year to do it, and I did.
“Read more” is a resolution, and one that, again, is not measurable. “By December 2011 I will read 100 books” is a goal, one that can be spaced out to be met. (Note: this is one I didn’t meet but I read with more intentionality than I have in years past!)
“Work on credentials” is a resolution. “By December 2011 I will fulfill the requirements for ministerial licensing” is a tangible goal – that I also met.
“Workout more” is a resolution. “By December 2011 I will be able to run 13 consecutive miles” is a goal.
And on and on. This is something I hope to continue doing throughout my life. Taking January 1 not as a chance to break bad habits or pick up good ones, but a starting point for short-term goals that will lead to my long-term goals being accomplished.
Try it for yourself – in the weeks leading up to the new year, think about who you want to be at this time next year. Then start January 1. Set your goals high. Live with intentionality.
What are your goals for 2012?