CONSIDER THIS FIRST WHEN GOAL SETTING (By Janine Mick Wills)
In setting and executing goals, you can skip around the links of “Goal Setting for the Glory of God” or you can follow my step-by-step plan. For example, you might want to hop over to “Making a List. Checking It Twice”* or “Finding Role Models”*. But following a proven formula will yield better results.
It’s like baking a cake. Yes. You can pour in the batter before you grease and flour the pans. And yes. Your cake will bake. But you won’t get the finished product you desire.
When it comes to goal setting, one-size does not fit-all. Consider these five things:
- Your mode of learning
- Your personality
- Your natural talents
- Your gift(s) of the Holy Spirit
- Are your goals congruent (in agreement or harmony) with God’s will for your life?
We basically learn in three different ways. Some learn through auditory avenues (hearing), some are visual learners (sight), and some learn better through kinesthetic means (touch).
I learn best through a visual mode. I like to take notes, make lists, and draw pictures. When people start explaining things to me (especially my poor hubby), my brain just shuts down. It can’t process a lot of information at one time.
Next, our personalities are different. Some are calm. Some are introverted. Some are self-assured. Or some are like me. “Bouncy-bouncy-bouncy-bouncy, fun-fun-fun-fun-fun” (Tiger’s theme song, if you didn’t catch that). I’m always ready to go, guns a blazin’. My motto is, “If you’re not going with me, get out of the way.” So, if someone takes forever to do something, I’m either on the first ship out of there or I have to work very hard on my patience!
No personality is better than another. God made them all. And they all have a purpose within the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
As Kevin and Kay Brennfleck said in their book Live Your Calling, “Although you can work outside of your personality, doing so for long is stressful. You are most motivated and energized when you can be yourself.”
Another thing to consider when working on your goals is your natural talents. This is not to say you can’t initiate and develop a talent (i.e. Learn to play a musical instrument, play a new sport, et. al.). But if one of your goal setting starting-points is your talents, you’ll find more satisfaction and reach your goals faster if you capitalize on what you already possess.
“But, Janine! I don’t have any talents!” you say.
To that I reply, “Nonsense.”
God, our loving Father, has gifted all of His children with talents and abilities. He only asks that you use them for His honor and glory and not your own (Are you confused about the differences between a talent and a Spiritual gift? Click here for clarification: “The Differences between a Talent and a Spiritual Gift”).
There could be three reasons you’re not sure what your talents are:
- You lack the self-confidence to recognize them.
- You haven’t developed them.
- You are not using them.
If you’re not sure what your talents are, here’s five ways to find out:
- Ask your spouse, children, parents, or a trusted friend what they might be.
- Ask yourself, “What do I enjoy doing?” (If you’re like me, you might have to ask yourself, “If I had the time, what would I enjoy doing?”)
- Ask yourself, “If I could not fail, what would I do?”
- Ask yourself, “If you could take a course or class in anything, what would it be?”
- When someone brags on you, of what do they brag? The thing we do best is usually where our talent lies.
Before you get into the planning business, you need to evaluate how you learn, your type of personality, and your natural talents. Doing so will save you time, energy, and money down the road.
Another thing to consider before you start setting your goals is your gift(s) of the Holy Spirit. Like your mode of learning, your personality, and your talents, your gift(s) of the Spirit can guide you when setting goals (Find out more about your Spiritual gifts at “Goal Setting with Your Spiritual Gifts in Mind”*).
The most important thing to consider when goal setting is to make sure they line up with God’s will for your life. Our plans should be His plans. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will they keep me in a right relationship with God? (Mark 3:35)
- Can I ask God’s blessings upon them? (Romans 1:10)
- Will they give me joy and strength? (Romans 15:32)
- Do I know if they are God’s will? (1 Corinthians 1:1)
- Are my goals self-serving or will they serve others? (2 Corinthians 8:5)
- Will they give glory to God or please men? (Ephesians 6:6, 7)
- Will they cause me to sin? (1 Thessalonians 4:1-7; 1 Peter 4:2)
- Will they cause me to be grateful? (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
- Will they cultivate patience in my life? (Hebrews 10:36)
- Will I stick with them when they run contrary to the world’s thinking? (1 Peter 3:17)
- Do they have eternal merit? (1 John 2:17)
It’s heaven on earth when we’re in a right relationship with God by doing His will and growing in grace. When we “delight” ourselves in the Lord, He will give us “the desires” of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). When we commit our plans to God and trust Him to accomplish them, we not only can’t go wrong, we will succeed (Psalm 37:5)!
*These topics will appear later.