As 2015 comes to a close, many people are thinking about their resolutions for the New Year. For Christian men, setting goals and resolutions has the ability to not only strengthen us physically, mentally, financially, etc, but also to strengthen us spiritually.
Setting goals is indeed a biblical course of action and is recommended by God’s Word (Proverbs 21:5). It is how you plan your goals that can set the difference between success and failure. Let’s look at the key ingredients for successful scriptural resolutions:
Put God First in Any Goal
Before you start making goals, find out what God’s word says about it first. We don’t just serve God for the good things He gives us, but for who He is. Before putting any other goal first, make sure your primary goal is knowing God and learning to hear His voice. In Proverbs 3:5-6 it says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)
And again in Matthew 6:33, it says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV) Before you begin any plan, always ask God. Read the Word concerning the subject. Then, do what He says.
Set a SMART Goal.
In any discussion of goals, the acronym SMART always comes up. This is because setting goals during the New Year, especially for Christians, can become frustrating after a couple months if we did not evaluate our goals objectively.
Make sure your goals are are:
- Specific – A specific goal does more than simply say, “I want to lose weight.” It sets specific amounts, often during a specific amount of time, in a positive way, such as “I will lose twenty pounds after four months.”
- Measurable – Write down your goals. Habakkuk 2:2-3 says “…Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run.” (NASB) Be accurate in your notes with your time measurement. Set goals that depend on your actions for completing them instead of depending on outside circumstances.
- Attainable – Is your goal reasonable? Most people can handle five to ten goals at a time. Simpler goals are easier, but challenging ones can help you grow. Use common sense to determine the right blend for your schedule.
- Realistic – Setting a realistic goal means you have to be willing and able to work for it. You can set high goals, but make sure it is possible to accomplish.
- Time-Bound – A deadline helps to keep you focused with your goals. If you miss it, don’t beat yourself down. Make the necessary adjustments and learn from them. Always have a least one short-term and one long-term goal to work toward.
After you set your goals, bounce them off the men in your life to see what they think about them. Ask for input and see if they come back with advice on what to add, change, or even delete.
4 SMART Resolutions for Christian Men in 2016:
Spend 10 minutes reading God’s word 5 times per week. Having a consistent quiet time can be a challenge for many men, but being able to spend the time getting your mind and heart right before God before you do anything else has a tremendous impact on your view of God.
Start tithing. If you’re not tithing already, make a plan to make 2016 the year of giving. From your local church to causes that bring clean water to developing countries, be generous with your finances. The men and women who make up the Kingdom of God should be known for their generosity, so set that example.
Read through the Bible in 2016. Maybe you’ve tried before and fell off somewhere in April (or February), but this goal is a worthy one. There are countless ways to do it, but the simplest way to read the entire Bible in a year is just: 3 Chapters per Day.
Get an accountability partner. This one may not be easy, but if you can do it, it could be one of the most valuable things you’ll do in 2016. From accountability on how you spend time on the internet to having someone to study God’s word with, having another man who can challenge you and push you is a must.
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