As we head into a new year, I want to help you think through life planning. I believe in purposeful living, and that means you have to be intentional in where you spend your time. We are told in Ephesians 5:16 to "[make] the most of our time."
Here is a reality I have experienced personally and in observation of so many others. Most likely, the degree of success you experience this next year will be directly proportional to the direction you head your life and how intentional you are with the decisions you make. If you have an idea or goal of where you want to go, and a plan of action coupled with discipline, you are more likely to achieve your desired results. You can't control many of the things life brings you, but you will have a better chance of achieving what you want in life if you create some organization to help you reach those dreams.
I also believe simple is good, so for the next few posts, I want to offer segments of developing a one-year life plan. I'll break it down a little each day to keep it from seeming overwhelming. At the end of the series, if you follow along, you'll at least have some plan of action. The key is you are doing it far more than how you do.
This is not a complex life plan. If you don't know me, you wouldn't know I prefer simple. If it's complicated or too involved, I'll opt out quickly. My goal here is to keep it simple. I think with something simple you feel you can and will do, you have a better chance of achieving success than with something complex that you are never going to do.
I should be transparent here. I've posted this series several times over the years. There are far better models out there than the one I'm sharing with you, but I keep bringing this forward, because I hear from people who have incorporated it and found it helpful. But you'll notice some of the comments are from years past.
I'm praying God allows many of us to realize dreams and goals we never thought possible.
Step 1 in Writing a Simple Life Plan
1. List three or four goals you want to achieve next year.
Think through several areas of your life where you would like to see improvement. Areas such as:
- Marriage or relationships
Include a stretch goal, such as run a marathon, read through the Bible. learn to fly a plane, get out of debt, start a side business or write a book, but limit yourself to three or four. In my opinion, if you have too many goals, you'll burn out trying to reach them, and too few will keep you from achieving all that's possible. You can add more goals later if you have initial success in these first goals.
At this point, the goals can be very general. They shouldn't all be "stretch goals" —limit those to one or two, but they all should be goals designed to take you somewhere you want to go in life—somewhere you hope to improve.
Take some time today and list your goals. Remember, no more than four. No less than three.
Here are some examples:
- Lose 10 pounds. (I went specific here, because most have an idea of a number on this particular goal. You can simply put "lose weight" at this point if that's one of your goals.)
- Improve my marriage communication.
- Pay off my credit card.
- Read through the Bible.
- Write a book.
In the next post, we will take this a step further.
Are you up for the challenge? Do you need something like this? Have you ever written out a plan for the new year?
(Side note for those who are thinking, God is in control of my destiny, so I'll just let Him direct my paths. I don't need a plan. I couldn't agree with you more about God being in control—as He should be. All our plans and goals are futile without His input, but read through the Bible and you'll see countless illustrations of how God allows men and women who seek Him to create a plan of action; sometimes for good and sometimes not. There are times God gives us clear and direct instructions and other times—and I would even say most times—God allows us to figure out the best course of action based on the wisdom and experiences He has allowed us to have.)
Of course, all of this should be done by committing your plans to God first. For help and an example of that, you might read this post: "7 Ways to Make Your Prayers More Effective."
Ron Edmondson is the CEO of Leadership Network. Previously, he was a pastor, revitalizing two churches and planting two churches. He loves assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life.
This article originally appeared at ronedmondson.com.
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