It is amazing how time flies. We are already in the fourth week of the New Year. At this particular time of the year we make New Year’s resolutions, however many of these resolutions are just wishes that never become reality. It is therefore not enough to just make resolutions; it is more profitable to set goals. What is the difference between a resolution and a goal? A resolution can be defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something”, whilst according Napoleon Hill “a goal is a dream with a deadline”. For example a resolution is deciding to loose weight in 2014; however a goal would be to decide to loose 10kg by going to the gym three times a week, by the 30th of June 2014. There are different types of goals such as spiritual goals, financial goals, family goals, health goals etc. Goals can either be short-term, intermediate or long term i.e. achievable within 1 year, 2-5 years and 5 years upwards respectively.
Essentially, goals must be SMART i.e Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant and Time bound. As the year unfolds, it is a time to Reflect, Refocus and Review.
1. Reflect: It is time to reflect on 2013. Ask yourself a few questions. How would you describe 2013? What are the lessons learnt? What were your highs and lows? What areas of your life do you intend to improve on in 2014?? What are your dreams and goals for 2014?
2. Refocus: “If you fail to plan you plan to fail” What goals would you like to set for 2014? What milestones would you like to achieve? Maybe you want to spend more time with God by having daily quiet time or you want to give more or spend more quality time with loved ones. It is not okay to just think these, it is important to write them down. It is also important to ensure goals are SMART.
a) Specific: The goal must be detailed enough to give precise direction to the task in hand. It must be clear, easily understandable and unambiguous.
b) Measurable: The goal must be measurable. You need to be able to assess/measure whether you are on target or not. This enables you to track your progress.
c) Achievable: Your goal must be realizable or attainable i.e. capable of completion.
d) Realistic: It is good to dream big however you must also face reality. For instance it is unrealistic to set a goal to buy a plot of land by the end of 2014 in banana island, with a monthly income of N50, 000 with 5 dependents.
e) Time bound: Goals must have a specific time or period of completion. This would enable you to measure your progress periodically.
3. Review: On a final note it is not enough to just set goals; you must constantly review those goals in the course of the year and on a daily basis. A recommended approach is to write your goals in a journal and review them every day after your quiet time and commit them to the Lord.
As you plan ahead, it is also important to remember that you cannot achieve all these goals on your own. We must commit all our goals and plans to God. The Bible says in Proverbs 19:21 “many are the plans in a person’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”. However as you spend time with God and ask for direction, you will find that the goals you set will be in alignment with his will and plans. John 15:7 says “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you ask whatever you wish, and it would be done for you.”