Goals, Plans, and Jesus

December 21, 2017
Goals, Plans & Jesus

Can I ask you a question?

What’s keeping you from reaching your goals, or making changes in your life?

I don’t mean the obvious surface answers. I have tons of those. But digging deeper, there  is always something.

This year a friend of mine challenged me to look deeper. To do an honest evaluation of where my life was, and where I wanted it to go. So I did.

Can I just be honest with you? (I hope so, because that’s what I do here.)

I’ve been kind of running on autopilot for a while now. Life is hard, but I trust in Jesus and I’ve just been rolling with the punches. And that’s okay. Sometimes that’s all you can do, and sometimes that’s the best you can do. And that’s where I’ve been. But I’m ready for so much more. I want more. I want to thrive for Christ.

I Want More From Life

I want to go from one beggar showing another beggar where to get some bread, to a baker who can freely give bread to others because I am so full of what Jesus has to offer. I want to breathe Jesus in and then breathe Him back out.

That’s a pretty big wish list coming from a girl who can barely get out bed some days because her head hurts so bad, but my God can do it. He is God after all.

Some people choose a word or slogan for the year, and I do that sometimes. For 2018 I picked out “Point to Jesus.” That’s what I want to do. No more, and no less. I just want to point to Jesus. I have a few other goals written down, but if I point to Jesus, I will count the year a success.

But every goal needs action steps, or it’s just a dream. So I have put a lot of thought into how to reach your goals, and what you’ll find below is what I’ve labeled my recipe for success.

Do you have big plans for 2018? Check out this recipe for success... Click To Tweet

2 Important Goal Setting Tips

1.) Have a Why

Don’t set an arbitrary goal without having a reason.

Every goal should have a motivating factor behind it. If you want to lose 100 pounds, know the why. Is it so you can look good in a size 6 dress or is it just a random number? Do you want to work out three times a week because that’s what your friends are doing or do you want to be healthy enough to play with your kids?

Set goals that matter, and you will be more likely to reach them.

2.) Identify Your Priorities and Flexibility

How and where do you spend your time, energy, money, and emotions? That will tell you a lot about who you are at the core. I’m talking about beyond the bills and obligations. When you clock out of work and you are just too tired to do anything else, what’s your fall back? Do you want that to change? You can set all the goals in the world, but if you aren’t willing to change anything, goals mean nothing.

You have probably heard the definition of insanity that says, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” While the origin of that quote is unknown, there is truth there. Especially when it comes to setting goals. We can set goals every year, but if we aren’t willing to make any changes, then we can’t expect to reach them.

That’s hard for me. I like things to stay the same. So when setting goals, I have to be realistic. I have to identify what will have to change in order to meet that goal, and decide if I really want it.

3 Action Steps To Help You Accomplish Your Goals

1.) Break It Down

The best action step takes a goal from something you complete over time, to something tangible.

Goals, Plans, and Jesus - check out this recipe for success.One of my goals in 2018 is to be healthier. The exact goal doesn’t matter, but even beyond my migraines, I want to be healthier overall. I need to be. For my kids, for myself, for my ministry. It’s important, but not my driving force.

Thus, my action steps include drinking more water and walking more. But I didn’t just leave them there, I broke them down. I want to drink at least three glasses of plain water every day (yes, I know you are supposed to drink eight – I’ll work up). So, my action step is to drink one glass of water before or at each meal. For walking more, I want to have 4K steps in before lunch, and if I don’t, I will walk until I get them before sitting down to eat. And then I will take an afternoon walk each day after lunch. (I love my FitBit.)

Those are just examples, but I have done that with all of my goals. From writing goals to Bible study goals, you can break down action steps for any goal you have. Just make sure they are practical action steps for goals that really matter to you so you will stick with them.

That’s part of the reason I’m starting with three glasses of water instead of eight. I’m not a big water drinker, and if I started with eight, I would get burnt out faster than a Texas winter. It’s better to start small and ease into larger goals. So even if your goal is to drink eight glasses of water a day during 2018, maybe starting with three isn’t a bad idea.

2.) Write It Out

Every good goal should be something you are comfortable writing down. Write down your goal, and your reason why. Then, write out your action steps. If you have a good planner, pencil in any action steps that take time out of your day so you see them as real events — written commitments — not just ideas. If you make a daily to-do list or checklist, make sure your action steps are on it.

3.) Start Now

There is nothing magical about January 1st, Monday, or even tomorrow morning. If we are serious about making a change, that change has to start now. If we set a goal, why not take the first step towards reaching it today?

If you want to drink more water, go get a glass. Do you want to walk more, go do it. Don’t wait for tomorrow morning so you can hit your 4K before lunch, go ahead and start where you’re at. Get up and go for a walk now. There will always be another tomorrow. And we will never reach our goals if we keep putting them off.

If you want to be more organized, take a step towards that. I don’t know what your goals are, but there is always a step you can take today. (Unless, of course, you are reading this at midnight or with a sleeping baby on your lap, in which case you get a pass.)

3 Must-Have Tools I Use & Recommend

While good intentions and a solid plan will take you places, some great tools can make all the difference. I’ve already mentioned a few throughout this post, but here are three more that I just couldn’t do without…

1.) A Good Planner

A good planner is a must. I ordered the new Jesus-Centered Planner for 2018, I’ve already filled out a ton of upcoming events, and flipped through almost every page. The Jesus-Centered Planner is like the Passion Planner meets the Christian Planner. And I love it! Every week it has a place to write down what you are thankful for, and every month it asks how you can focus on Jesus more. But one of my favorite aspects is the built-in Bible reading plan. It tells you want to read every morning. It also has a weekly prayer prompt, and a weekly activity to help you focus on Jesus.

I will add that last year I used (and loved) the Christian Planner, but I really like being able to plan out my day hour-by-hour. One thing I will miss about The Christian Planner is the places to write sermon notes. If they would have had hourly time stamps instead of the morning, afternoon, evening, segments, I never would have looked for something different. The way it is now, I just have a separate notebook I will be using for sermon notes.

If you don’t have a planner you use and love, I would highly recommend either one of these planners. I know many of you are probably way more tech-savvy than I and use digital calendar, and if that works for you, that’s awesome. But I need a physical planner so I can see my week.

2.) Phone Alarms and Reminders

This may sound like a no-brainer. But if you want to drink three glasses of water before lunch time, set an alarm on your phone so it buzzes around 10 AM so you can check your progress. Either that, or get one of those fancy new water bottles that remind you to drink more (yes I want one, no I don’t have one). If you constantly get caught up doing something and forget to go walking at lunchtime, set an alarm on your phone. Phone alarms are great for all kinds of things beyond just waking up in the morning.

I used to have time-boxing software that did something similar, but it took up a lot of space on my computer. Time-boxing is a time management method that really helps increase productivity. And it’s part of the reason I like having my day scheduled hour-by-hour in my planner. You can get time-boxing apps for your phone, but simple alarms on your phone work just as well. If you have never heard of time-boxing, this article by Microsoft might be helpful.

3.) An Accountability Partner

Okay, I’m not sure if this qualifies as a tool or not, but I don’t know what I would do with out my accountability partner. She keeps me grounded. We talk via Skype or over the phone every week just to touch base. There is grace when we meet deadlines, but we will never give up on our goals, because there is someone there constantly asking about them.

A good accountability partner isn’t easy to find, but it’s definitely worth investing in. So, if you don’t have one, start looking. You can look local, or online. I found mine through Facebook. It was actually through a second party. A mutual friend was starting an accountability group of sorts and we both signed up. The group didn’t work out, but my accountability partner and I both stayed strong, and here we are years later, still meeting faithfully. Through thick and thin. I am so thankful for her. So definitely, if you don’t have an accountability partner, start looking.

2 goal setting tips, 3 keys to action steps that work, 3 must-have tools, & Jesus. What more could you need to make #2018 your best year yet? Click To Tweet

So Where’s Jesus in All of This?

For years I wouldn’t make goals or plans because I wanted to leave room for Jesus to move.

James 4:13-15 says, Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'”

We can set goals, and still let Jesus move.

That’s exactly what James was saying. Not that we shouldn’t make plans or set goals, but that we should do them with the understanding that God is ultimately in control.

Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” I believe that with every fiber of my being, and I want it to be true. I want God to establish my steps.

So, I have set some goals for 2018, goals that will help me draw closer to Jesus, life goals, health goals. I have made an action plan to accomplish those goals, but ultimately I know that they are in God’s hands. If God wills, the end of 2018 will find me fruitful. And no matter what, I pray it will find me praising His name.

We can set goals, and still let Jesus move. #GiveMeJesus #2018 #NewYearsResolutions Click To Tweet

Several years ago I read The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan and it changed everything for me, because Jesus is my one thing. I’m sure, as entrepreneurs, they never expected that when they wrote the book, but that’s what I got out of it. It was the beginning of the end of my author coaching career. And it has helped me set goals that drive me towards Jesus.

Anyway, it’s a great book whether you are a Christian or not, and I would highly recommend it. It will definitely help you define your priorities and set goals that get you places. So if you’re looking for books to add to your reading list, you can pick up a copy on Amazon here.

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14 Comments

  • Reply Melissa December 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Such an awesome verse to focus on for the new year and always! Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” My goal for 2018 is “Growth” and then I have that broke down to all areas of my life – Spiritual, self-worth, marriage, family, career, and blog.
    Melissa recently posted…Teaching and Defining SharingMy Profile

  • Reply Sarah December 21, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Heather, this is great.Last year when I set a particular goal I put as a daily reminder on my phone, and it really helped me. Thanks for these tips.

  • Reply Emily December 21, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    I love your tips! And your phrase of point to Jesus. I definitely want to do a word this year, too! Still have to come up with one, though. 🙂

    • Reply Heather Hart December 21, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Normally I am still praying about my word/phrase clear up until New Year’s Eve, but this year it was just super clear to me what I wanted next year to be about.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Gratitude MomentsMy Profile

  • Reply Julie December 21, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Great post! I’m going to pin it so I can come back to it the week between Christmas and New Year’s while I’m planning the next year!

  • Reply Lindsey Renee December 21, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    So good! I love how you break it down and then tell why it’s so important to to that step in order to make it a goal. But I really like how you turn it back to Jesus in the end, that if God allows them you will accomplish them. Because with Him girl we can do anything. Thanks for sharing your goals for 2018:) Praying God keeps your eyes on Him.

  • Reply Debbie Erickson December 22, 2017 at 8:31 am

    What an awesome post, Heather. I think when we look at the BIG picture when trying to plan our goals or reach our dreams, we can become discouraged and tend to want to give up, but when we set our goals in smaller chunks–one day at a time–then things begin to run more smooth and become reality. Like you setting a goal of 3 glasses of water instead of 8. I’m not a big water drinker either, but I do drink water throughout the day. I love the goals you’ve set for yourself. Thanks for this post! ~blessings

  • Reply Kristi December 22, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    I use phone alarms a lot! They help keep me focused

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