A New Start
Last year at this time I had written about reflecting on your year in order to step into the New Year. That article can be found here. In order to step forward into setting expectations for the new year, it is important to pause and reflect beforehand. Be sure and take a day or so just to reflect.
Fresh starts are important. After being in education for nearly 30 years, I have come to value new semesters, end of and beginnings of school years. With each new start, has come a renewed feeling and path. I do like fresh starts. There is something about the new that gives me hope and a renewed sense of expectation.
I will admit however, that I have rarely been moved by “New Year’s Resolutions.” To list a set of resolutions was not motivating for me. I have also often struggled with goal-setting in my life. Over the last few years, I have been on a journey of goal-setting that has been more effective than resolution-making. What transpired was an two-part exercise I tried out in my group. Each man felt challenged by these steps and, it has — in turn — helped me with my goal-setting at the beginning of a new year. Hopefully, this two-part method can be helpful in some way for you as well. Use it as needed. It may only be a helpful prompt.
Here is the two-part method I have used of late:
Note: I reiterate that it is important to begin with reflection. It is hard to move forward in growth without reflecting where I have been. Once I have really let sink in where I have been and what I have accomplished, then I am ready to move forward.
- Step one – What do I want for myself in this coming year? This general brainstorming. Just the wants, no steps yet.
- Step two – What kind of man do I want to be? My reflection time revealed who I have been. How do I improve on who I am? It is important for me to step fully into the man God made me to be.
- Step three – Envision that man.
- What do I do as that man
- How do I act as that man?
- What is the first thing I do when I get up in the morning as that man?
- How do I treat others as that man? (Family, friends, co-workers, etc.?)
- How do I treat myself? Am I taking care of my needs in healthy ways?
- What does my walk with God look like? How do I improve that?
- Step four – Based upon the characteristics of the man I want to be, what goals would I set for myself?
- First, I brainstorm and list any goals that come to mind.
- Second, I become more specific with those goals.
- Third, I look over the list and make sure they are both challenging and realistic.
- Step five – What would keep me from reaching these goals? This very important. If I do not look at what will keep me from reaching my goals, then I go into the year with blind spots. I must look at both external barriers as well as internal barriers. What about me; my fears, flaws, selfishness, etc. will keep me from reaching my goals?What outside forces will get in the way?
- Step six – What pain must I experience in order to grow and meet my goals? Pain is important for growth. I remember Proverbs 21:30 when stepping into growth pain; “Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.” All the great ones had to struggle.
- Step seven – What are my first actions I will take towards my goals for the year? By when will I have taken the first action step? I must set a date and be specific.
The second part only drives it deeper. I use the four quadrants of the Jerusalem Cross as a guide:
- KING – What is my vision, dream, and/or expectation for the coming year?
- SAGE – What steps will I take toward fulfilling the vision, dream, and/or expectation? What is the plan?
- WARRIOR – What actions will I take now and in the future to implement these steps and fulfill my vision, dream, and/or expectation?
- LOVER – Who’s heart(s) and needs do I need to consider when I implement my plan? How do I consider my heart and needs? How will I meet my internal little boy’s needs
Many of us step into our goals and plans only using 1-2 of the parts of ourselves. The goal here is to step in with our whole self.
Hopefully this will prompt you to some sort of goal-setting for yourself for the coming year. All or part of this method could be used for both long term and short term goal-setting. The important thing to note is to start somewhere. Give yourself grace. Be who God made you to be. I hope you step into the greatest year to date.
By Byron Myers
Byron completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2009. His deepest desire is to help people believe in their God-given goodness and live lives of integrity, authenticity and feel loved and accepted.Byron is the author of the ebook, Weekly Devotional Thoughts: Weekly Applications of God’s Word. Byron is the High School Principal at Midland Christian School in Midland, Texas and a successful Business and Personal Life Coach. You can follow Byron at Weekly Devotional Thoughts.
Photo credit: Creative Commons