Have you ever had someone ask you what your New Year’s resolutions were? Have you ever wondered why people take the time to write them? What are New Year’s resolutions anyway? New Year’s resolutions are goals for the new year. They can be formal or informal; written down or just mentally noted; very detailed or just an overview; short-term or lasting; personal or for a different audience (children, marriage, parents, friends, groups, co-workers, etc.); and can be applied to a myriad of aspects of one’s life (spiritual development, character development, skills development, boundaries, job, home, spending/saving, health/fitness, personal growth, etc.). So why is it done? Well, for the purpose of seeing change in one’s life, as well as getting closer to realizing one’s dreams or ambitions. Many folks go through life, from one day to the next, without giving thought to where they’re going or where they want to end up. They may busy themselves and feel as though they are productive. However, being busy does not equate to being productive or accomplishing a goal. It simply means filling your time with activities or responsibilities. But if we’re to arrive at a destination, it’s important to be intentional in choosing a route that leads to that destination. We must be purposeful in the way we live. Setting goals helps us to arrive at a desired destination or accomplish a goal by making and taking steps toward that end.

We are told in Proverbs that: “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5); “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans,” (Proverbs 16:3); and “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21). Truly, before sitting down to write up goals for the new year, it would be wise to seek God for His counsel in your plans. He will bless your plans where they’re in line with His will. We’re told that “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1). This tells me that I need to submit my heart to Him and ask that He direct it according to His purposes. Then I can go forward in making plans because I trust that He will give me the desires of my heart…or stated another way, that He will place within my heart the desires I should have within my heart. If my desires line up with the plans He has for me, my efforts will be blessed. Remember, Proverbs 16:9 states, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

When planning, it can be helpful to break your goals down into attainable objectives. In lesson planning, there’s a strategy called the ABCD lesson plan model. It makes writing objectives simple:

Audience: refers to the group of people who should be able to achieve the learning objective.

Behavior: refers to a measurable behavior learners should be able to attain through the lesson or section of the lesson.

Condition: refers to the context or situation in which students should learn.

Degree: refers to the level of achievement expected.

Some examples of goal setting may look like this:

-I will draw nearer to the Lord (may mean planning to spend focused time each morning in reading the Word, prayer, singing praise, scripture memorization, meditation, etc.)

-I will save money by shopping less each week (this may mean writing down a meal plan and walking through each recipe to make sure you have all necessary ingredients, therefore eliminating extra trips to the store, or putting a cap on how much you spend on groceries);

-I will treat my family members better (may mean being intentional in what you say, how you say it, being proactive rather than reactive, etc.

-I will get in shape (may mean that you need to make specific goals on dietary changes, as well as separate goals for working out);

-I will be more organized in my home (may mean putting aside time to declutter and planning to downsize);

-I will develop time management skills; etc.

If we desire to see changes in our lives, we must be intentional about moving in that direction. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” I’d like to encourage you to seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal areas in your life that He desires growth or change. Then, that you ask Him to help you make and reach those goals! May the Lord go with you as go forward in your New Year endeavors!

By Zivanka McRae