2020 is fast approaching: a new year, a whole new decade. Whilst we are blessed with a new beginning whenever we truly repent, a new year is still a wonderful time to set goals and aims. It focuses us upon the things we want to achieve, helps us to review our priorities and ensure that we begin a new year looking forwards rather than floundering in the things that have previously distracted us.
But, as Christians, we also want to ensure that the goals we are setting will bring glory to God, bring us closer to him, and align with his will for our lives.
So, there are a few things we need to take into consideration when setting our Christian goals for 2020!
What is your motivation?
When setting goals, it’s so important to ensure that we are not chasing after something for selfish reasons, or because we want approval from someone else. If we are doing something, simply because we want to, or because we think it will bring us some material kind of success, then it is unlikely that it is God’s will. This is why we should begin setting our goals by seeking his guidance. Spend some time in prayer, listening for God’s voice. Ask him to show you the areas of your life that he wants you to work on this year. If we base our goals upon one overarching aim of bringing glory to God, all our goals will then flow from his will.
This can sound really dull, setting our goals just because God thinks they’re best. But really, why wouldn’t you want God, the creator of the universe, setting your goals? The Bible tells us that his ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9); and it also tells us that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). He knows what is best for us, and by working with him instead of against him we are far more likely to find peace and joy in all that we are striving for.
Is your goal biblical?
After we have spent time in prayer, we may have heard clear direction from God, or we may still be unsure as to where God is leading us. Now is the time to turn to the word of God, to the Bible. God is the same today, tomorrow and forever (Hebrews 13:8), so the Bible is something that we can consistently turn to for guidance and direction. This is a great way to ensure that our decisions, and our goals, align with God’s will – because God never contradicts himself. For example, if you thought God was leading you towards something that would lead to sin: to lie, to steal, to hurt other people; then by looking in the Bible we can see that this is not something from God, as it goes against his word.
The Bible can also lead us to see some of the primary calls that God has placed upon each of us. These include the goal to tell more people about God (Matthew 28:16-20), the call to prayer (Matthew 26:41, James 5:13), and the call to study God’s word (Colossians 3:16). All of these are things that God has called us to aim for, so we know that it is always God’s will for us to improve in these areas.
What are your priorities?
It is easy to find lots and lots of different things that we want to achieve, and overload ourselves. Why wouldn’t we want to start exercising more, read the Bible more, pray more, attend 100 different courses, start 10 new hobbies and read lots of books? But we can easily start to spread ourselves too thin and, consequently, not achieve anything as well as we wanted to. Therefore, it’s good to limit the number of goals that we set for ourselves. I find 4 to be a good number, each in a different area of my life. This makes it easy to remember each of the goals, keep them in my head as motivation and therefore to make me more likely to achieve my goals.
Once you have chosen your goals, it’s easy to stay motivated for the first few weeks, but come February that initial passion can wear off. By finding a way to hold ourselves accountable to the goals we set, we are much more likely to stay motivated throughout the year. Accountability can come in lots of different ways: having another person that checks in on how you’re doing each month, setting reminders for yourself on your phone. Personally, I create trackers in my bullet journal that show me how I’m doing towards my goals – and act as motivation in themselves.
What kinds of goals are you setting?
Personally, I think it’s good to consider the goals you are setting based upon different areas of your life. Some ideas of areas of your life to consider include:
- Your relationship with God
- Your relationships with other people
- Your church community/involvement
- Generosity – giving & volunteering
- Your ministries to other people
- Using the gifts that God has given us
What Christian goals are you setting to help you glorify God in 2020?