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Toward December, I was almost dreading the start of another year. It wasn't that the closing year had been bad; in fact, it had been a really good one. But I was worried about goal-setting, or, more accurately, goal-failing.
It happened every year: I would heroically set goals in January - new habits I wanted to develop, besetting sins I hoped to conquer - only to have reality set in around the end of February when I hadn't made any progress. Ultimately, with feelings of frustration and failure, I'd throw up my hands and give up on accomplishing any of my goals for that particular year.
Last year, I wondered if setting goals was even worth it. But then I came across an online resource that piqued my interest, something I'd not known about before:
Created by Arabah Joy, a blogger I follow and trust, Grace Goals promised to be a different kind of goal-setting project, one that drew ideas and support directly from the Bible and that focused specifically on finding the grace needed to succeed.
Since nothing else had worked, I bought a copy for myself, printed it out (because I do better with pen and paper than reading from a screen), and set to work. Could refocusing my thinking be the missing key that would help me complete my goals for the year?
This past year, with the help of Grace Goals, my follow-through was completely different. Instead of a long list of unfinished goals, I actually studied the Bible instead of just reading it. I finished and published my first full-length ebook, A Place Prepared (it had been in the works for over 3 years). Jon and I were able to get our startup off to a great start. And I completed my first-ever Whole30 challenge.
While I didn't complete everything I had hoped - I still need to work on cultivating a gentle and quiet spirit and want to deepen my prayer life - Grace Goals made a definite impact on my year.
One of my biggest takeaways from Grace Goals was finding Biblical motivation. One of the reasons I'd previously failed to follow through on my goals was my lack of focus. I set goals with a selfish agenda instead of finding Biblical grounds for them.
As an example, one thing I've failed to do is to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. I've been wanting to be healthier for selfish reasons - mainly to improve my appearance for others. But for this coming year, I've chosen again to make health a priority, but this time my focus is on Christ - if my body is the dwelling of the Holy Spirit, I need to be a good steward of it and do what I can to keep it healthy for His sake.
Grace Goals opened my eyes to setting Biblical intentions all while relying on God's grace - not my own strength - to accomplish them. The end result was a year of completing the tasks I set out to finish, not a defeating list of neglected attempts.
Should Christians approach goal-setting with a different motivation? Absolutely. And God's Word will help us do just that. When we seek His will and help, He will enable us to overcome the sin strongholds in our lives. He will strengthen us to accomplish great things for the glory of His name.
Note: If you feel like you could use a Godly, helping hand with your goals for this coming year, Grace Goals is biblically-based stepping stone that can help you pursue a grace-filled focus to your goal-setting this year.