Is 2023 going to be your year? Or have you already given up on your New Year’s resolutions?
I want to start by telling you a confession. I don’t set any new year’s resolutions. Not a single one. I think resolutions don’t get us where we need to go. We need to set goals, and not just any goals, but SMART goals.
In addition, I don’t set goals for the New Year. I start at the beginning of my New Year, which is my birthday. So, I made it a tradition in the last few years to take a trip yearly on my birthday. My family goes with me, and we celebrate and enjoy a short vacation.
Then, the last three days I spend alone – just God and me. During this time, I pray and ask God to direct my path for the next year of my life and dedicate my life again to Him and what He wants me to do. This annual event has become my individual reset.
How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you think about what you want for the next year? Or do you regret turning another year older? I cherish turning another year older. That is not something everyone gets to do.
Getting SMART with Goals
When we set a goal, it needs to be a SMART goal. SMART itself being an acronym for goal success.
S stands for specific. For example, saying I want to save more money is not precise. However, saying I want to save $6,000 is specific.
M stands for measurable. A $6,000 goal is measurable. Using the previous example, anything that can be counted can be measured.
A stands for attainable. A savings goal greater than your annual income is not attainable. Set yourself up for a challenge but make it attainable at the same time.
R is for relevant. At the end of the day, we will only accomplish things that matter to us. The goal cannot be someone else’s goal for you. It has to be something you want for yourself.
T means the goal is time sensitive. Back to the example of saving six thousand dollars, we can make it time sensitive by adding within one. Make your goal motivate you to strive everyday not something to put off for some distant future.
Areas of Life to Set Goals
When I set my goals for the year, I set a goal in six major areas of my life – financial, spiritual, physical, intellectual, career, and finally, relational. We have already discussed a SMART financial goal. Let’s look at other areas of life and set SMART goals.
I love God, and God loves me. And He convicted my heart when I said He was the most significant thing in my life. And He said I should act like that in my daily tasks. Therefore, the first fruits of my day should be given to my Lord.
I do this by reading my Bible and praying. I plan to read through the Bible cover to cover every year for the rest of my life. This plan meets all of the criteria of a SMART goal. I started on my birthday with Genesis, and I should complete Revelation before my next birthday. This plan puts the Word of God into my mind and heart, and I pray daily to put it into action. So, I challenge you to set SMART spiritual goals.
A lot of people say they want to lose weight, for example. But saying you want to lose weight is very general. It has to be specific as well as relevant and attainable.
Someone could say that they want to lose 100 lbs. That goal is attainable within 1-2 years, but not in just a few days. At least, not without major surgery.
It can be challenging to measure intellectuality. However, it is possible to measure time spent learning something new. I plan 15 minutes of training on a particular topic every single workday day – six days a week. That is just one and a half hours a week – such a small price for limitless gains.
I love studying supplements. Can you imagine The Supplementarian wanting to learn more about supplements? I love discovering how these different products work in our body and spirit to improve our lives.
Now, what would an intellectual plan be for you? Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? Say you want to learn a foreign language, investing a few minutes a day every workday will result in tremendous knowledge gained as opposed to trying to cram at the end of a month or right before a trip. What little change could you make every day?
We all have relationships in life, and having relationship goals are essential. I like to take time to go out to lunch with my friends. I see at least two of my friends each month. It’s great to catch up with people. And it makes your relationship better when you stop and spend time together.
I also have weekly date nights with my husband. And I have bi-weekly date nights with my kids, where we eat out, enjoy time together, and talk about things that matter and some that don’t – just for fun. After all, life is about having fun, not just work.
Another goal area is career. So what is your career goal? Is it to get a big promotion? If you work for somebody else and you’re looking for a promotion, find books that will help you be a better employee or help you be better at whatever you do. Listen to podcasts or watch videos that will teach you those things because there is tons of helpful information available if you search.
My career goal for this year is to write a rough draft of a new novel.
Break Goals Down
Once we’ve set a goal, I like to break it down into a monthly plan, a weekly task, and then a daily habit.
In order to save six thousand dollars in a year, I need to save five hundred each month. I can go further and break that down to $125 per week. And that means if I save $25 a day, six days a week, I can meet this goal. At the end of the year, my savings account will be $6,000 fatter than it was at the beginning.
The SMART goal is now a very specific plan that can be implemented daily.
If we desire to lose weight, let’s look at this the exact same way. Let’s say we want to lose ten pounds in a month. This goal meets all of the criteria of a SMART goal. We can break it down further to 2.5 pounds per week.
We then determine what habits we need to add and take away to reach this goal. We could add habits like drinking water, exercising, taking weight loss supplements, and drinking nutritious and eating right.
If that is too many changes at once, I recommend starting with just one of those habits until it is truly a habit.
If you want to drink more water, start by measuring how much you are drinking now. A recommended goal is half of your body weight in ounces daily. So if you weighed 150 pounds, that’s 75 ounces of water each day. If you’re only drinking 15 ounces, increase that every week until you reach 75 ounces, and then continue at that level.
When that becomes second nature, work on doing other things, exercising more, and eating less. Yes, these can overlap. But make sure that you’re not losing one of those good habits as you start a second new one.
In addition, you may have habits that you need to stop. For example, if you are eating a cookie every day before bed, you may need to give up that habit in order to reach your physical goals.
What’s going to stop you from reaching those goals? The only real thing that will stop you is you. Are you ready to make changes? Are you ready to choose you?
What are the things you need to do to in order to accomplish what God has put on your heart for 2023? Because my theory is if you make this a distraction-free year, you will make it a goal-achieving year. And that may mean turning the TV off. Maybe it means gaming less. Maybe it means ignoring social media.
Bring It All Together
You can tie your intellectual goal in with your career, financial, and spiritual goals. It is wonderful when our goals overlap each other. This connection gives us a clear path when moving forward.
So, for example, we can say we want to earn a pay raise (career) and save that money (financial), all while using money according to God’s word (spiritual). We can also tie in our physical goals by specifying how we want to eat and how much money we will spend on food. The more your goals tie together, the easier it is to achieve them all.
Is there anything God has been directing you to do that you’re putting off? Perhaps this is the year to make those things happen. Now you know how to set SMART goals, the areas of life to set goals in, and how to break them down into something you do every single day. Don’t forget to download your goal worksheet and share some of those goals with others. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you’ll share some of your goals with us through social media or on our website.