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Setting Goals for the New Year
December 29, 2018
As we look towards a new year, many of us will set new resolutions and goals. Our hopes and desires might include financial objectives, including working toward long-term goals (like retirement) or short-term goals (such as funding a vacation).
While goals can sometimes feel intimidating or difficult to achieve, they are important tools because they provide direction and a sense of purpose. They also can help translate your thoughts and hopes into tangible steps, provide personal motivation, and help you maintain your focus in challenging or critical times.
So, what’s the best way to get started with goal setting? It can be challenging, but there are some specific steps you can take to move you forward.
Start with Prayer
Spending time alone with God to find out what He wants you to do or accomplish in the future is essential. During this time, read Scripture and pray, allowing God to speak to you. Write down your ideas, impressions, and desires, while identifying your perceived strengths, gifts, and abilities. Try to address any goal-setting barriers that are standing in your way such as lack of time, fear of failure, tendency to be overwhelmed with details, or a lack of self-discipline. Write them down and ask God to show you how to overcome these barriers.
Give Yourself a Goals Checkup
Goals allow us to follow God’s lead by acknowledging that He may want to do “something new” in our lives (Isaiah 43:19, NASB) and that He can do “far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20, NASB).
For the short term, you might ask yourself:
“What am I most concerned about for the upcoming year? What about the next five years or so?”
“Am I comfortable with my financial decision making, level of charitable giving, or how I’m managing my living expenses?”
For the long term, consider such questions as:
“Are there potential financial events that are causing me fear or anxiety?”
“Am I comfortable with my debt level?”
“Am I making progress towards my financial goals? Should I reposition my portfolio?”
As simplistic as these questions may seem, they are the foundation of your financial plan. Decisions regarding income taxes, your estate, cash flow, and charitable giving cannot be made adequately until you have settled your goals in your mind.
Consolidate your ideas and thoughts into ‘big picture’ goals that are measurable, realistic, challenging, and specific. For example, you might set a specific date by which you pay off a mortgage loan, or you may think about increasing your charitable giving levels by a certain percent.
Outline the steps you will need to take to reach these big picture goals, taking into account any barriers that exist. Establish a personal accountability system, and set a time frame or deadline for accomplishing each goal. Refer to your goals often, and chart your progress. Review them at least annually, and establish new ones as your financial situation changes.
Lastly, take heart in knowing that Scripture says that God will walk with us as we pursue our goals. In Proverbs 16:3 and 9, we find that if a man commits his works to the Lord, his plans will be established. We also find that a man makes his plans, but God actually directs his steps (Psalm 37:23). Our part is to commit our work to God and make plans. The rest is His part.
We at Ronald Blue Trust wish you a Happy New Year, and we pray many blessings for you and your family in the coming year.
Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.
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