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Some find it hard to put God and goals in the same sentence. But, God desires for his children to reach their full potential and live life abundantly (John 10:10)

More importantly, God believes in us more than anybody. But, it is important to acknowledge God in everything that we do and everything that we are trying to achieve. I love Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) which says

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him. And He shall direct your paths. 

I definitely believe in making your goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time – Based. I am sure you probably have seen that acronym a thousand times. However, I do think there are other things to take into consideration before you make your vision board or scribble your next goal on a post-it note. 

If you are a woman of faith, then I encourage you to do a little pre-game before you make your goals smart and official.  Recently,  I have tried to be more intentional and focused about my goals. While I may not always incorporate the SMART method, I have found four strategies that have enabled me to stay motivated.

So, before you start planning your next big achievement, I want you to think about a new acronym – GOAL



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  • God First

  • Observation

  • Accountability 

  • Love

Let’s take a deeper look, at these four suggestions

God First

I must admit that I am one to get excited about goals And New Years resolutions! However, sometimes my excitement can push me so far out there, that I can forget to take a moment to talk to God.

 I firmly believe that God gives us good things. And, we can have the best intentions to accomplish our goals. However, God and goals should go hand and hand. And, most importantly God should come first. We must also understand that our goals or desires may not be a part of God’s plan at the moment.  Timing is truly everything.

Let’s take for example my journey to getting my Master’s Degree. It was something that I always wanted to obtain. An advanced degree is a good thing, right? It was not a matter of if for me, but a matter of when. I felt that it was time for me to get started in 2010. And, I remember “asking” my husband about whether I should start grad school. He politely raised his concerns and suggested I wait. But, I was adamant and decided to proceed further.


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Let me tell you that grad school was such a struggle for me. It definitely felt like blood, sweat and tears. Although I did finish, I cannot say that I used or really needed this degree. It certainly has not reaped the reward that I had hoped. 

However, I have plenty of student loans to show for it (sigh). But, I also know that I didn’t ask God what I should do in this instance. And, I ignored His signs to wait even when my husband talked to me.

So, remember in Christian goal setting, you should always keep God first. Be in prayer about those things that you want to pursue and perhaps seek Godly counsel. And, if you are steered in a different direction than what you thought, take heed.

Some, bible verses to chew on are Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a future. and Proverbs 16:3, which says “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

 Observation


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What do you desire? Is it to lose weight? How about saving money? A better marriage? Whatever your goal maybe, this suggestion is all about finding mentors and/or inspiration to motivate you with any of your goals. 

Before you commit, you should talk to someone who has achieved your potential goal. Or, maybe you find someone who is currently in the trenches. Ask them questions concerning their time commitment and motivation for goal completion. Consider their thoughts about the hardest part of squashing your similar goal and other best practices.

 Whether or not you decide to have an actual convo with someone, you could find and observe a few goal models on social media. One of my goals is to become 100% debt-free. I have found so many Instagram accounts and pins on Pinterest that motivate me to continue towards my goal. Some of my faves right now are Sugar and Money, and Journey to Launch. On those days, you feel like giving up, you will need this type of inspiration to keep going. 

During observation, you will also want to “open books” concerning your goal. Opening books is more than just a physical copy. If you  prefer e-books go right ahead. In our digital world, there are plenty of options. I also like listening to podcasts that are based on my goals. It doesn’t matter the format, this step is simply about gaining information.  I suggest no more than 3 “books” to get started.

It goes without saying that one of those books should definitely be your Bible. As we discussed earlier, it is essential that we are reminded to put God at the forefront. There are plenty short and sweet devotionals out here to start or end your day. I personally love Youversion plans for this because it is right on your phone.

The observation stage is important because it can help you assess the compatibility of your goals. You may find your potential goal is not for you or timely. And, that is okay too. But, don’t get stuck in observation either. Set a date when you will determine whether your potential goal is truly right for you after your observation.

Accountability

When you are thinking about accountability,  I know you are getting serious. So, here are five ideas to incorporate accountability. 


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  1. Yourself – Okay, I know what you are thinking. You will be too lax on yourself. And, I know in the past that I have been. Yet, this past year, I decided to be more dedicated to accomplishing my goals. Sometimes, you will not be able to hold yourself accountable until you are backed into a corner. However, I created a sheet to help me stay accountable. Now, anytime I think about giving up, I think about my goals worksheet. And, that provides me with just enough mojo to keep going. But, you have to be able to bet on you. There may be times that no one will understand the vision but you and God. 

  2. Partners – I always suggest being prayerful about this one. It doesn’t just have to be your besties. But, it needs to be people in your life that you communicate regularly with. They will pray for you and encourage you. Most importantly, they will not always look to agree with you. For instance, my husband is definitely one of my accountability partners.

  3. Goal Specific Groups: Sometimes, friends and family will not get it. And, that’s okay. My husband has been the same size since high school. So, he doesn’t always understand my love affair with Coke and bread. Although he does serve as an accountability partner, I still love to have a few people in my life that totally get it. So, I have found groups to share struggles and successes. You can just do a search via Facebook and find a number of  groups, with your potential goal. When I decided to complete the Bible in a year, I looked up groups on Facebook. I found a couple of groups that are now a source of inspiration.

  4. Social Media/Blogs – So, I want to disclaim you don’t have to share your life story on social media. However, I have a few  friends, who  share their goal journeys through Instagram. Now, if you are not ready to be that vulnerable, I would recommend creating an additional account. I have seen alot of IG profiles in the debtfree community, who only post information and keep their identity secret. You may also choose a blog format. Blogs are great to incorporate more details concerning updates and accomplishments.

  5. Coaches – So, this idea could actually cost you money. If you are not ready to spend $$$, then please see the previous four tips. And, if YOU are not completely motivated and committed, you will be wasting your money. (If you are interested, ask me about my six month stint with a personal trainer.) However, a coach should be an expert in the area that you are trying to goal crush. I do believe coaches could push you to reach even higher heights.



Love

TThis is it. If you are at this stage, you are nearly ready to marry your goals. Before you put a ring on it, please understand that the vow you make is only the beginning. I guarantee you that you will have all the emotions through your fight to the finish line. But, you must love your goal on the days you are crushing it as well as the days where you are sucking.

 Remember, the good days and stay focused. You will want to write out and complete a couple of statements starting with “I won’t give up until…”

You will then refer back to these statements when you feel like throwing in the towel.

 Although you can incorporate a timeframe in this goalsetting stage, it is not focused on a date of expiration. So, if you went through all the steps. You should have realistic deadlines. However, if you find that you did not reach your goals at the end of a specified date, you can commit to continue with your goals and implement new strategies.

 Think about it this way, how much more pressure do you put on yourself with a deadline? Does it motivate you to finish, or do you give up all together? If you are prone to giving up, then this is a suggestion to take note of.  The love stage gives flexibility and grace, but always has the end in mind. So, you can move forward if you miss a deadline.



 God and Goals: What’s Next

Now, I think you are ready to turn your GOAL into SMART. My goals worksheet is a great way to start and is a free download. It does include some timeline components, but remember to mix in a little love and grace. 

If you need some extra motivation head on over to 31 Bible Verses about Setting Goals. It never hurts to have a few scriptures to lean on as you are working toward your goals. 

Peace and Blessings,

Shannon


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