How to Create Your Ideal Year

Do you know where you’re going next year? Do you know what you hope to accomplish?

It’s that time of year when people sit and make New Year’s Resolutions, dream up possibilities for the coming year, or pick a word or a verse for the year that will guide their way.

Sadly, most of the resolutions and dreams made right now will be over and done with by February. It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to think through the coming year and accomplish them.

next year

Before jumping into the next year, though, it is important to look back. In his book The Catalyst Leader, Brad Lomenick has some helpful questions to review your year:

  1. What are the 2-3 themes that personally define me?
  2. What people, books, accomplishments, or special moments created highlights for me recently?
  3. Give yourself a grade from 1-10 in the following areas of focus: vocationally, spiritually, family, relationally, emotionally, financially, physically, recreationally.
  4. What am I working on that is BIG for the next year and beyond?
  5. As I move into this next season or year, is a majority of my energy being spent on things that drain me or things that energize me?
  6. How am I preparing for 10 years from now? 20 years from now?
  7. What 2-3 things have I been putting off that I need to execute on before the end of the year?
  8. Is my family closer than a year ago? Am I a better friend than a year ago? If not, what needs to change immediately?

Here are six ways to set goals, keep them and accomplish them.

1. Be realistic. If your goal is to lose weight, losing 20 pounds in two weeks isn’t likely or realistic. It’s possible if you just stop eating, but that sounds miserable. The excitement of what could be is easy to get caught up in, but the reality that you will all of a sudden get up at 5am four days a week when you have been struggling to get up by 7am isn’t realistic.

2. Set goals you want to keep. I have had friends set a goal, and they are miserable. Now, sometimes our goals will have some pain. When I lost 130 pounds, it wasn’t fun to change my eating habits, but the short term pain was worth it. The same goes for debt. It will require some pain to get out of debt. You have to walk a fine line here. If it is too painful, you will not want to keep it. This is why our goals are often more of a process than a quick fix.

3. Make them measurable. Don’t make a goal to lose weight, get out of debt or read your Bible more. Those aren’t measurable. How much weight? How much debt? How much more will you read your Bible? Make them measurable so you can see how you are doing.

4. Have a plan. Once you have your goal, you need a plan. If it’s weight loss, what will you do? If it’s debt, how will you get there? What are the steps? If it’s Bible reading, what plan are you using? No goal is reached without a plan.

5. Get some accountability. Equally important is accountability. One of the things I did when I weighed 285 pounds and started mountain biking was I bought some bike shorts that were too small and embarrassing to wear. This gave me accountability to keep riding. Your accountability might be a spouse or a friend, but it needs to be someone that can actually push you. Maybe you need to go public with your goal and invite people to help you stay on track.

6. Remove barriers to your goals. Your goals have barriers. That’s why you have to set goals in the first place. It might be waking up, food, credit cards, working too late or wasting time on Facebook. Whatever it is that is going to keep you from accomplishing it, remove it. Get rid of the ice cream and credit cards, and move your alarm clock so you have to get out of bed. Whatever it is, do it. Life is too short to be miserable and not accomplish your goals.

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