Why Goal-Setting is Necessary

It’s that time of year where everyone seems to be setting new goals,writing out new intentions, and choosing a focus word for their year. I’ve talked to some people recently who don’t set goals, and I ask them why. They tell me things like “I can’t seem to follow through on them.” or “I write them, but then I don’t know how to actually make them happen.”

And I get it. I do. Of course, you all know that I LOVE to dream and plan, but I’ve also been one to get pretty bummed and disheartened when those plans don’t seem to be working out for me.

Take our finances, for example. We planned and followed many of Dave Ramsey’s suggestions, but yet we still couldn’t afford basic life necessities at times. It felt lame. Why couldn’t we get it right? We’d beat ourselves up for the times we had to use a credit card to make some purchases for important things like clothes our children needed or maternity clothes for myself, and honestly we were getting pretty religious about our finances if that’s even a thing. Rule following and not allowing grace for ourselves to just do the best we could. That, and our “plan” was results-based, not action based.

See, one thing about goals is that they could focus on OUR ACTIONS… what we can ACTUALLY DO, instead of the results we want. Sure, the results should be a part of the planning process, but when we only focus on the results, and for whatever reason they don’t happen, we get discouraged. So instead, our focus should be on the actions we take instead. We should be proud of our efforts and keep going little by little until we DO see the results we were after in the end. It’s really about having a GROWTH MINDSET, and not a FIXED MINDSET. We all have the ability to grow and change and get better. We are not stuck where we are now, but we have to do the work to get to where we want to go if we want to see it happen.

Anyway – sometimes when we do feel like we’re failing at something – and it makes us think
“Why even bother trying anymore? It’s not working.”

Well, here’s why. Two reasons.
1. God’s Plan is Bigger than our Plan.
2. Our Life has Purpose.

God’s Plan is bigger than our Plan.

We never know what He is working out behind the scenes for our good. We only see from our own vantage point (which is sometimes a skewed view) – We don’t always see from His big picture. That’s where faith and trust come in. When we believe, trust, and have faith that He is always working on our behalf we can know that He has good things for us. Even when we go through hard things and start to doubt, we need to take those thoughts captive and trust that He’s working it all out.

Here’s an example from our story… the short version if you can believe that. We’ve struggled with finances for nearly ten years – our entire marriage. We couldn’t seem to make our “financial plans” work. But we did do our part to not make things worse by acquiring too much debt that we knew we couldn’t afford. We lived below our means as much as we could and tried to steward what we did have well, even though many times, it did not feel like enough. We felt really burdened by our mortgage, and we proposed the idea to family for us to sell it and save money for a while until we felt like we could move forward towards another house. They agreed to let us live in their house in order to do this. We continued to make “plans” but really couldn’t see how they would ever work out. However, as we began to pray over these plans that seemed really great and would allow us to be debt-free in three years, God began to meet us in that and work on our behalf. We started looking for a home to buy, earlier that we had originally planned because we didn’t think we could afford a rental with our large family. The home purchase fell through because of needed repairs, but the very same day that we walked away from that option, God provided another way…. an ever better way! We weren’t looking for it, but it found us. It was a large-enough, beautiful home for us to rent where we could pay whatever we were comfortable with. A total God thing for sure! That’s how it usually happens for us… we start doing our part, making the plans, looking for what we can do with wisdom, and then God totally meets us with what we need and shows us that He was always working behind the scenes, even when we couldn’t see it.

Our Life has Purpose.

We all have purpose, and once we find that purpose it makes us want to LIVE life to the fullest and do that thing that we were created to do. We no longer want to “just get by” and keeping doing what we’ve always wanted to do…. just letting life happen to us. We want to see change and growth, and so we set out in pursuit of those things. We begin to live with intention and purpose, and to do this well – we need a plan. We MAKE life happen. It’s up to us to at least do our part.

It was hard for me to see Purpose in the middle of my depression. But God spoke it to me anyway. He reminded me of His plans for me and even gave me new ideas. I thought, “There’s no way. I can’t even function with the normal life responsibilities right now. There’s no way I can say ‘yes’ to any of that.” But still, there it was, and there it kept coming to me. My excitement for it began to grow, and my depression began to lessen. I had to choose to fight for my life and for my life’s purpose. Little by little, I’m inching my way towards that more and more every day. You can too. Ask God to reveal to you His ideas for your life… His plans and how you can be a part of what He’s already doing. He’s got something special for you too, something specifically designed Just For You, and you’re going to LOVE IT! 

 

My 2020 Word of the Year

Choosing Focus Words for the Year…. a Recap of the Past Few Years

My very first word of the year I ever set was “Intentional”. I wanted to be Intentional in the areas of life that were important to me – my relationship with God, my marriage, my parenting were among the top priorities. I didn’t do it perfectly… In fact, I was still trying to figure this whole goal-setting thing out then. My planners were a jumbled mess, and I remember a friend telling me how overwhelming my planner was to her. (That was back when I was trying to make a regular ole planner work for me and include all the things I need it to… it’s much better now that I’ve designed and created my own.) But I was working to be intentional, and it was the start of some pretty good things.

The following year, for whatever reason, I didn’t set a word of the year… but as the year went on and I struggled and learned through some things, I set a word of the year to summarize the year I’d had instead. I could’ve used the word Insecurity to note the struggle of the year, but instead I chose the word Identity to summarize the positive growth I had that year.

Then, the next year I chose the word Increase. It was a word that God gave me for the year, but after a miscarriage the month before, I did not see how it was going to be applicable to my life, honestly. But I kept that word at the forefront of my mind all year, and by the end of the year I began to see it. We had increase in our finances, in our family (baby #4 exactly one year after my miscarriage to the day), and especially in our relationships with God. We decreased, and he Increased. It was a pretty amazing year.

This past year, my word was Imagine, and it has been such an interesting word choice. I started my year full of hope and excitement for whatever God had in store for us, and about mid-year, I began to deal with depression and stopped dreaming at all. I felt so stuck in life in many areas. Things felt hopeless, and I couldn’t see how our situation could get any better.

With the help of my husband pushing me to dream again, renewed vision and purpose in my life and God’s plan for me, and the decision I made to pretty much fight for my life…. I began to Imagine again. I also began to see pieces start to come together, and my goals and plans right now are even bigger than they’ve ever been before!

Looking Forward to 2020!

And as I was thinking about praying about a word for this year – 2020, I decided I would stick with the letter I again for one more year. Maybe next year, I’ll switch to a different letter for the next five years.

I wrote down lots of words that begin with I and circled a few that jumped out at me. I looked up the definitions of those, and I looked in the Bible for further inspiration and a purpose behind one of these that would inspire me.

Some of those words were…

Inspire – fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative
I thought this might be a good one, because I really do hope that I can inspire you all as you read my posts, emails, or
listen to my podcast.

Initiative – the power or opportunity to take charge on a fresh approach to something
This one also would’ve been good, especially because of my renewed vision for My Purposeful Planning, and the
incredible things God is teaching me and I can use to help others.

Innovative – introducing new ideas; original and creative and thinking
Again, this one reminds me of the planner I just designed and am still adding to monthly – how it is such a neat tool
that helps people plan to be more purposeful in their lives.

But… I needed a word that would speak to ALL of my life – not just My Purposeful Planning. And so the word I chose for 2020 is IMMERSE.

immerse – to involve oneself deeply in what matters

Yes! I want to IMMERSE myself in the things that really matter to me… Jesus, my family, my purpose. I want to be so enthralled, engaged, fascinated, and involved with these that I hardly notice the unimportant things.

Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. 1 Timothy 4:15-16

My Word for 2019

I love the idea of having a focus word for the year. I started this back in 2016 with the word “Intentional”. That was the year I really began to use planning as a way to be more purposeful or “intentional” in my life. I didn’t choose a word at the beginning of 2017, but it was a hard year for me, and I learned a lot about my “identity” that year so I summed up the year at the end with that word. My word for 2018 was “Increase”, and I saw many aspects of that word throughout the year.

Just like I didn’t fully understand what God had planned for us in relation to my Word of the Year for 2018 until the end of the year, I’m sure it will be the same for this year’s word as well. While I already have my word for 2019, I don’t really know what it means for me yet.

I always like to tie a scripture in with my word of the year to focus on. This year, because I don’t know yet what is to come – I have three. So as the year progresses, we’ll see if we can narrow it down, or if God somehow just uses all three.

Last year, my word was Increase. God used that word in so many different ways – not just one. We saw increase in our faith, increase in our finances, and increase in our family as well with the blessing of a new baby. I’m sure it will be the same with this year’s word as well.

My Word of the Year for 2019 is IMAGINE.

Now to the one who can do infinitely more than we can ask or IMAGINE according to the power that is working among us. Ephesians 3:20

In this sense, I am going to IMAGINE the things that God is going to do. I think this is God giving me permission to dream. I’m going to imagine and dream big. Then, I will be praying those dreams back to God and see what He has planned. His plans and desires are always greater than our own. The bigger we dream and imagine, I believe the bigger things He will do.

Brethren, I do not IMAGINE that I have yet laid hold of it. But this one thing I do – forgetting everything which is past and stretching forward to what lies ahead of me. Philippians 3:13

This, I think, is in relation to the purpose that God has for us. We will not look to what we have done in the past or maybe even what we’re doing right now, but we will stretch ourselves (maybe even out of our comfort zones) to the bigger, eternal purpose that He has for us.

Then God’s peace which goes far beyond anything we could IMAGINE will guard your hearts and minds in union with the Messiah Jesus. Philippians 4:7

No matter what… we will have peace. It’s the unshakable peace that we cannot even fathom or understand, but it’s the one only God can give. No matter what fails or goes wrong or breaks or comes to an end, we will trust that God has it all under control.

The word Imagine is not a word I would’ve ever probably chosen on my own, but I’m excited to see what God has in store for us this year in relation to this word.

Do you have a Word of the Year? I’d love to know what your word is and how you use it to be more purposeful in your year.