Six Simple Ways to Make Goals That Matter

Like I talked about earlier this week, I just finished my first six months of the intentional pursuit of goals and growth, using Powersheets.

And I have definitely learned a lot about how to set goals, how to make them happen, and how to start fresh every month.

As I wrapped up my first set of Powersheets, I took some time last week to look at all the worksheets I filled out in January -

all about my core values, what fires me up, what I want less and more of in my life, and what goals will help me become the person God made me to be.

What was so encouraging to me was that all the ideas I wrote down six months ago are still true today.

My life vision is still to-

  • abide in Jesus
  • become a wife and mother who serves her family with love and joy
  • use my skills and talents to build up God's kingdom
  • invest my heart and time in relationships
  • refuse to let my life be wasted

I know a lot of people set goals or resolutions at the beginning of each year - and by summer time, have forgotten all about them.

And you know what? Sometimes that's ok! Maybe those goals didn't really line up with your heart's passions. Or they were a fad that seemed interesting for a month or two but weren't actually making your life any better.

I've learned a few things I want to share with you about how to make and meet goals that matter.

1. Discover what your core is.

That means knowing who you are, who God created you to be, how he has gifted you, and what your underlying passions are. How you express all of that may change throughout your life, but your core values and passions remain the same.

2. Create a life vision. 

Who do you want to be in ten years? In twenty? If you don't know where you're headed, any road will take you there - and you will waste time and energy making goals that don't get you to the right place.

3. Accept that you can't do it all. 

Saying yes to one thing means saying no to another. If you decide to focus on healthy eating one month, you might have to put something else on the back burner (no pun intended). And that's ok! 

It can be so overwhelming to listen to everyone telling us through TV, internet, blogs, social media, church small groups, or mom's night out that we should do it all, right now. But doing that will make you a crazy person - and not in a good way. It's ok to limit yourself in order to focus on that one thing God is calling you to.

4. Break down big goals into small steps.

If we set big goals - graduating with a new degree, designing a new website, memorizing a book of the Bible - without seeing the small steps, we'll be too overwhelmed to start. Take that big project or dream you want to make happen, and write down every small action you can think of that will get you there. This will give you a roadmap of what to do next.

5. Just start.

Don't wait for life to calm down or for the stars to align or to feel better about yourself.

If it's really important to you, you will make it happen. It's that simple. 

What's sad is when people's actions reveal what their true priorities are. A woman may say, I'd love to spend more time with my neighbors. But if she spends two hours every evening watching television and doesn't take action on what she says, her true priorities are revealed. She'd rather entertain herself and be comfortable than build relationships. 

If your priorities are really as important to you as you say they are, take action on them today.

6. Take time to review.

Whether it's at the end of the day or week or month, set aside time to reflect. Look at what happened and what didn't happen. What got in the way? Was it your schedule? Did you get distracted by social media? Did you realize halfway through the month that this goal didn't actually fit into your life? What made a good week such a success? 

Then consider how you can incorporate the lessons learned from your failures and successes into your plan for the coming days.

Those are six steps you can take to make and meet goals that really matter. 

After spending time journaling and thinking about the past six months, these are the goals I think God has given me to focus on during the rest of 2014.

  • PRAY - focus on building a praying life that delights in finding God in every moment and consistently spends time with Him
  • COMMUNICATE - learn new habits of speaking with and about my husband that encourage, give life, and speak truth in every situation
  • TRANSITION - say good bye and find closure in leaving our life in Cambodia, and rebuild it in Kansas City with friends and family, while surviving reverse culture shock
  • FIND the JOB - start working again as a registered nurse in a job that is challenging and fulfilling, yet still leaves me time for ministry and family
  • ReBRAND - uncover my underlying theme beyond writing about Cambodia and help Journey Mercies evolve along with my changing life, while designing a new site and brand

What about you? Do you have any suggestions or ideas for making goals that matter? What keeps you from pursuing your passions and priorities in life?