Do you have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions? You’re not alone. We love the opportunity to have a fresh start, a new beginning. We resolve to do better this year in those difficult areas of our lives like health, exercise, and other things. At the same time, it can be disillusioning. Year after year you make the same resolutions only to abandon and forget about them. I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions. In contrast, setting God-inspired goals for the New Year is a powerful practice in our lives.
Dr. Gail Matthew’s research said, “You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals by writing them down.” I think that increases to about 75% if you write them down after having listened to God, heard from Him and prayed about them.
The likelihood of meeting those goals continues to rise if you keep them constantly in front of you. Even more so, if you regularly evaluate your progress.
Many of us are from oral cultures and writing things down takes a lot of effort. It’s worth the time invested, even if what you write down is short and simple.
This past week I went away for a prayer retreat. I took time to pray, rest, play, worship and listen to God. I don’t want to move ahead without Him (Ex.33:15). Nor do I want to set goals and make plans in my own strength, or according to what I think should happen.
I want to listen well. It’s vital that I hear from Him. His ways are higher than mine (Is.55:8-9). He holds the future in His hands. He’s my Boss, Director, and Commander in Chief. I must not make the mistake of moving in the flesh as I set goals for the New Year.
Have you scheduled time in the next few days or weeks to get away and pray? If not, find a way to carve out that time. I know you are busy, but this is very important. It could significantly change and impact your entire year.
Don’t rush into 2020 without clarity from God about what He wants you to focus on.
Ask God Key Questions
As you set aside that time, there are many ways to go about setting goals. This is how I begin.
Each year at the end of the year I first evaluate. Looking back at the past year, I ask God “How did I do last year? What pleased you about my life? What needs to change?”
Reviewing last year’s goals and activities, I assess progress. What can I celebrate that happened? What didn’t go as well as I had hoped? Why?
I also ask the Lord, “What do you long to do in 2020 and how can I join you in that?” Together with that key question, I seek Him for one key thing He would have me do that has the potential to bring about significant multiplication.
There are always many things I could do. I ask God to show me the ONE THING that He has on His heart for me to do that will bring about the most fruit in His Kingdom. When I hear this from Him and we settle on it together, that becomes a non-negotiable for my year. I will prioritize and give myself fully to that one thing. It takes the top position on my list of goals.
Focus on a Few Key Things
After you have that one big thing established, look at other areas. Consider not only your ministry goals but also personal goals. Michael Hyatt, author of The Best Year Ever, encourages us to consider various domains when setting goals. He breaks it down into the Intellectual, Spiritual, Physical, Parental, Marital, Vocational, Avocational, and financial domains.
I appreciate that. It brings balance. Be careful in looking at all these various areas, not to set too many goals. That is often my temptation. This year, I’m narrowing it down to six, my one big thing, and then five other goals.
Get rid of the clutter.
I am a motivated person. My heart is big and when I draw near to God, I am filled with passion for His work. Focus is crucial though if we want to make progress in launching Disciple Making Movements (DMMs). Dream big but stay focused on a few key things that will have a major impact on multiplying disciples.
Share and Pray with a Few Close Friends
Practice friendly accountability. We need encouragement and friends to cheer us on. After I have a draft of my goals for the New Year, I share them with my husband, my leader, and a few of my colleagues for input and prayer. Sometimes their insights change what I think. I go back to God in prayer and make adjustments.
If you have a team, be sure to include them in your process. Share your personal goals, dreams, and hopes for the team’s progress too. Be sure to get their buy-in and ownership as you set goals that will involve or affect them. The goals will be stronger if they are shared goals. Remember, you are more likely to go far if you go together.
Don’t Dream Too Small
When it comes to Disciple Making Movements, the biggest mistake I see people making is setting addition type goals. You will never launch a DMM with small “realistic” goals. Think multiplication.
If things really started to multiply, what would happen this year? Believe God for more. He is able. Multiplication is His way. Rapid, organic growth is on His agenda for you. As you set your goals, ask yourself, “Do these goals require a move of God to happen?”
If your goals are within your own ability to achieve, they are too small. Make faith-based goals that rely on God to move. They may force you to stay on your knees throughout 2020 to see them happen. That’s a good thing.
Our goals must put us in a place of faith and dependence on God, not self-confidence and self-reliance.
Commit and Go For It
After listening to God, drafting goals, sharing with others and revising, it’s time to go for it! Don’t delay. Get started. Commit yourself with all your heart. Give yourself fully to what God has spoken to you. Take action and begin.
I’m believing that 2020 will be my most fruitful year ever. God has incredible things ahead for us! In a few weeks Getting Started in Disciple Making Movements: Even if You Are Busy, Can’t Speak the Language Well and Have No Money will open for registration. It would be great to journey with you this year through that online course. Together, we can work to see your God-inspired disciple making dreams move forward.
I’d love to hear what your goals are for 2020! Share them in the comments below or on the Disciple Making Movements Facebook Group. Let’s pray for and encourage one another.