This is something that I have always struggled with and still have to intentionally monitor daily. As we change and life changes certain things become priority in certain times in our lives. For example, new parents make the new baby the #1 priority. In most situations it is what has to be done at that time but we need to make sure that we recognize and be intentional on looking at our life and adjusting our priorities/goals as needed. If the new baby stays #1 priority until they are 18 years old, other areas in your life may suffer, like your marriage, other relationships, your own physical health. Again, this is all about balance and knowing how to manage ALL areas of your life.
Let me start off by saying that a healthy balance is possible and that there are enough hours in a day. Change is required to find the balance that makes you feel accomplished and satisfied at the end of each day. Taking time to evaluate your life, relationships, goals, and needs on a regular basis ensures that you are spending your time wisely and will live the life that God intended.
First, write down your long-term goals (3-5 years). Now you may think “how is this going to help me in my daily schedule” but in order to get to your long-term goals you have to break it down to small, short-term goals that are manageable. Let’s work on one “practice” goal together.
Long-term goal (3-5 yrs) : This needs to be a big goal, it may seem out of reach right now but with time and effort it is possible!
- Be spiritually sound, right with God, closer to God
Short-term goal (1-3 yrs) : Think of 3 things that you can do over the next 3 years to help you reach your BIG goal. These short-term goals will still take time and effort but they don’t seem as BIG, still scary but they are things that seem like you could accomplish if you worked on them.
- Read the entire bible
- Find a home church (this may take a while but don’t give up)
- Join a bible study (until you find a home church that will have this option available, there are many online studies OR get a group of friends and start a study together)
Daily goals : Think of 5 ways that you can reach your short-term goals
- Turn your phone/TV off (completely) for 30 mins while you are in your quiet time
- Read a chapter of the bible and/or work on your bible study – 5-15 mins
- Start a journal, write down what went well today, what didn’t go so well, encouraging things that happened as well as your worries (then pray about it)
- Find a devotional that will help feel comfortable praying – 5 mins
- Make a list of local churches and attend a service to see if fits your needs (don’t get discouraged, keep searching)
The above goal will take at the very most 30 minutes out of each day. If you are thinking you don’t have 30 minutes out of each day, when you turn your phone and TV off…time magically appears to get more things done! Go through the above process for each long-term goal. I usually only keep 4 long-term goals (mental, spiritual, physical, relationship) at a time because that gives me approximately 15 daily goals. Your daily goals can be daily, weekly or things you do 3-4 times a week. All of these things are flexible and will change as you and your life changes. The important part is to write them down, evaluate them regularly and be intentional at living them out.
Remember, for your life to change you have to make daily changes. You cannot keep doing what you are currently doing and expect your life to change. There will always be excuses and things that come up but you have to make your goals a priority. What is important to you? Really think about it and be honest with yourself. Is Survivor important to you, who gets voted off / wins a reality show? If so, work that into your schedule, set yourself a designated amount of TV time. Is social media that important to you? If so, set yourself a certain amount of time to do that.
In order to accomplish our goals we have to be better at time management in our lives. We cannot sit in front of the TV or staring at our phones for 5 hours each evening and expect to be where we want to be in our lives 5 or 10 years down the road (trust me I am preaching to myself right now). We are going to look back on our lives and wonder “What did I do with my life?” Together, let’s make sure the answer to that question is meaningful and helps the world be a better place for our kids and grand-kids and not who won a reality show or who got more likes on Facebook. Together let’s change the world by first changing our own lives!
Here is something that my husband showed me out of one of his textbooks, Ministry Is… How to Serve Jesus with Passion and Confidence by Dave Earely and Ben Gutierrez (he is currently going to school at Liberty University). The below is geared towards ministry but I feel that it can be used in every aspect of our lives to help us stay on track on where we need to be.
“By Failing to Prepare, You Are Preparing to Fail” – Benjamin Franklin
If you are serious about reaching your ministry potential you need to have an aggressive growth plan.
- Set a few growth goals.Start with a few goals that you can work on every day or every week. Make them as simple, yet measurable, as possible. For example, “Read Bible 15 minutes a day,” or “Read two chapters a day.” Pick goals that address the areas in which you need to grow.
- Gather necessary tools.You may need some tools to get the maximum benefit from your growth plan. For me the key tool is my notebook/journal with my growth plan chart written into the back pages. I check things off every morning as I read my Bible, pray, and journal. Then I check off yesterday’s reading, exercise, and family relationship investments from the previous day. Other tools may be a good Bible, a prayer notebook, exercise clothes or equipment, and books. I have the Bible on CD and now listen to three chapters a day when I drive to work every morning.
- Develop a plan that fits you.Those who are effective in personal growth do not adopt someone else’s plan. They prayerfully develop a plan that fits them. Then they adjust their plan each month with new goals and disciplines. As you grow, your goals may grow. As your schedule changes, so must your plan.
- Schedule time to grow.Henry Ford said, “It is my observation that most successful people get ahead in the time other people waste.” Growth takes time. Make appointments with yourself to work on your growth plan. Earl Nightingale stated, “If anyone will spend one hour a day on the same subject that person will be an expert on that subject.” Try to find an hour or so a day to work on personal growth. This time can include Bible reading, prayer, book reading, and exercise. It can be broken into increments of 10–30 minutes. You may do some of it in the morning and some in the evening.
- Get started.The best time to get started is now. You have to sow in order to reap. If no seed is sown, no harvest will be reaped. You have to sow before you reap. You cannot cram for harvest. You need to plant in the spring, or you will never reap in the fall. Cutting corners and waiting till that last minute just won’t work. Start working hard now in order to enjoy the positive results later. Look at the time you spend on personal growth as seeds sown that will one day begin to yield a great multiplying harvest.
Ministry is Refusing to coast.
Ministry is Disciplining yourself for continual growth
Ministry is Planning to continue to grow and improve.
SAMPLE GROWTH GOALS
Grow mentally by:
- Reading a ________ a __________.
- Listening to _____ podcast(s) __________.
Developing spiritual fitness by:
- Reading the Bible ________ minutes daily or ______chapters daily.
- Praying ________ minutes daily.
- Journaling ______ minutes daily.
- Leading family devotions _______ minutes a day, _________ days a week.
- Fasting ______ days a month.
Increasing physical fitness by:
- Exercising _____ minutes _____ days a week.
- Sleeping ______ hours a night.
- Eating healthy by: eating less __________ and more ____________
Investing in relationships with:
- Disciples _________ minutes a day / hours a week.
- Mentor _________ minutes a day / hours a week.
- Spouse _________ minutes a day / hours a week.
- Children _________ minutes a day / hours a week.
- Other _________ minutes a day / hours a week.