Welcome to 2014! It seems like just a short time ago I put away the Christmas decorations and I just did it again. Each new year comes with all kinds of hope and unknowns. Many people will say “I hope this year brings…” fill in your own response. For many their hope is for better health, a new job or a little stability in their lives. Not many people will take the time to write down their goals and make them a little more real. A lot of research has been done on goal setting and one thing that is commonly said is that if the goals are written down, they are more likely to be achieved. Leaders who work with their people to identify goals for the new year are really helping them get the most out of their work. Employees who are achieving goals important to them become very satisfied with their work and thus are happier. Goals should be set following the SMART principles – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely (time specific). What about each of us? We too need to set goals that meet the same criteria. What is it that you want to achieve in 2014? Create a timeline to get things moving. What will you have done by the end of March? What about the end of June? Be specific with yourself but make sure that you can achieve it. Don’t set a goal to get your degree by June 30, 2014 if you have two years of classes to take. Setting goals is like making a shopping list; you are sure to get everything if you know what you are shopping for.
“…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
This verse is great advice to start the year – forget about what is behind. There is nothing we can do to change what we’ve done (or not done) but we can focus on what is ahead. Don’t dwell on the past. This time of year can be so hard on people; sometimes filling us with regret for what we’ve done or great remorse for the things that we didn’t do. Put all of that behind you and give those worries to God in prayer. Get it off your chest and out of your system so you can focus on what God has planned for you. The prize that Paul talks about in this verse is a life of worship in Christ that will lead to eternal life with the Triune God – Father Son and Holy Spirit. God wants us to be happy and will guide our lives toward the final goal but we have to let Him. Keep your eye on the prize of eternal life by keeping His word close to you, spending time with Him in prayer and keeping your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior. You can have goals for this life and God wants to help you achieve them when they align with His plan. He may make course adjustments that don’t make sense to you. Trust in Him. God will not lead you astray so leave the past behind you and strain toward what is ahead. Have a great 2014!