By AJ Underwood:
It’s that wonderful time of the year again…the Holidays are over and we can look back on the year that was and remember, but we also look forward to the upcoming year and we make our dreaded New Year’s Resolutions. This year I want to encourage you to do something a little different, instead of making resolutions for 2017 let’s set some goals. Goal setting at the beginning of the year is a great way to start your year off on track, and writing them down somewhere visible will help to keep you accountable.
So, let’s talk about setting goals!! Most people when they set a goal, set what is called an outcome goal such as, “I want to lose 15 pounds” or “I want to get closer to God”. Which are both great goals to set and two that I believe most of us would love to accomplish!! However, the goal focuses on the outcome, which is to lose the weight or get closer to God. Instead when you are setting goals try and focus more on input goals. Don’t say “I want to lose 15 pounds”, instead say “I am going to stop drinking soda”. That allows you to focus on one physical input step that you can take toward reaching the outcome of losing 15 pounds.
I want to share with you 4 Input Goals I have made for myself and in turn share the hoped outcome from accomplishing those goals.
- Start my Year, my Week, and my Day with God
I am starting my year with God by making the decision to read through the Bible this year. There are many ways you can go about doing this, just pick it up and read or if you have the YouVersion Bible App there are a number of different reading plans for the whole Bible. Just remember if you are going to read through it make sure you have a specific strategy to achieve the outcome.
I am going to start every week with God by being at the Ridge church on Sunday mornings. Am I the only one that is just missing a bit or a recharge when I don’t go to church on Sunday and worship, hear God’s word, and spend time in that community of people that I love?
Then I want to be sure to start every day with God. What a perfect time to spend with God, then when you first wake up. Take that time to read a devotional, pray, listen to worship music, or whatever your quiet time with the Lord may look like. If you are going to be reading through the Bible in the year this is a great time to read that scripture and pray that God would show you something through it, besides it is just a great positive way to start the day.
When I keep myself to these simple input goals daily, weekly, and over the course of the year it will allow me to grow in my relationship and get closer to God.
“Successful people do consistently what other people do occasionally.” Craig Groeschel
- Read a Book a Month
I was recently moving my office in my home to another room and I noticed something odd. I have an entire bookshelf FULL of books that I have never read. Books on leadership, books on Student Ministry, books on faith, books on marriage, and even books on cooking!! After moving a bookshelf worth of unread books, I decided that all that book-weight was just going to waste if I didn’t crack them open and read them. So, I have made the goal of reading one book a month for the next 12 months, and through that input goal I hope to achieve the outcome of being a better follower of Christ, husband, father, leader, and Pastor.
- Pray with and for my Spouse daily
I know some of you may be thinking….”uh, duh”, but this is something my wife and I don’t do on a consistent enough basis, other than over a meal. To aid in this goal for Christmas I got us books 31 Prayers for my Wife/Husband, and for the month of January we are going to commit to praying through these books daily. I also want to encourage you to not just pray with, but to pray out loud with your spouse daily and through praying for/with your spouse, you are inviting God to be a part of your marriage and the envisioned outcome is a better marriage.
- Once a Week Family Night
Our family does our very best to make sure that we eat dinner together at the table (phone free – house rule) every night. Rather, I am more referring to an intentional night together doing an activity. Whether that be a board game, a puzzle, a Nerf battle, watch a movie, or go out and do something together. This will also be a great time to break out the Bible and read and discuss with your kids what you have read. Spending this consistent time with my family will be one of the best steps towards the outcome of my family growing closer together.
These are some of the input goals I have made for myself and my family for the year 2017. I challenge you to make some goals for yourself as well, and when doing so be sure that you make realistic goals that focus on the input versus just the outcome. Proverbs 16:9 says; The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Be sure that as you set your goals for 2017 that you always leave room for God to move, because with the combination of realistic input goals and God guiding you’re steps the outcome will be immeasurably better then you could ever plan for anyway. Happy New Year Ridge Church!!