1. Start with Prayer
If you set goals in the context of prayer, there is a much higher likelihood that your goals will glorify God, and if they don’t glorify God, then they aren’t worth setting in the first place. So start with prayer.
2. Check your Motives
If you set selfish goals, you’d be better off spiritually if you didn’t accomplish them. That’s why you need to check your motives.
3. Think in Categories
My goals are broken in five categories: 1) family 2) influential 3) experiential 4) physical, and 5) travel. The obvious omission is a category for spiritual goals, but that is by intention. All of my goals have a spiritual dimension to them.
4. Be Specific
If a goal isn’t measurable, you have no way of knowing whether or not you’ve accomplished it. Losing weight isn’t a goal if you don’t have a target weight within a target timeline.
5. Write It Down
I have a saying that I repeat to our family and our staff all the time: the shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory. If you haven’t written down your goals, you haven’t really set them. There is something powerful that happens when you verbalize a goal, whether that is in a conversation or in a journal.
6. Include Others
I used to have lots of personal goals, but I have replaced most of them with shared goals. Nothing cements a relationship like a shared goal. Goals are relational glue. I’ve discovered that when you go after a goal with another person, it doubles your joy.
7. Celebrate Along the Way
When you accomplish a goal, celebrate it. Whenever I write a new book, for example, our family celebrates with a special meal on the day the book is released. And I get to choose the restaurant!
8. Dream Big
Your life goal list will include goals that are big and small. It will include goals that are short-term and long-term. But I have one piece of advice: make sure you have a few big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAGs) on the list.
9. Think Long
The sad truth is that most people spend more time planning their summer vacation than they do planning the rest of their life. Goal setting is good stewardship. Instead of letting things happen, goals help us make things happen. Instead of living out of memory, goals help us live out of imagination.
10. Pray Hard
Dreaming is a form of praying and praying is a form of dreaming. The more you dream, the more you’ll pray. And the more you pray, the more you’ll dream!