Smart Goals in the New Year

My 2022 goal highlights include hiking the Grand Canyon down and out in one day, checking off another presidential library, reading thirty-five books, moving across two states to start a new ministry position, and taking a few trips with my adult children and their families by land and sea. I had a full and blessed year.

The new year is a great time to set new goals for yourself and your church. But if not careful, we often become overzealous and create unrealistic goals only to be disappointed before January is over. Take gym memberships for example, they skyrocket the first of the year and level off. So is there a way to set realistic goals and stick to them longer than a few weeks?

The Way I See It… Finding a good system to track progress toward goals sets you up for success. One system for goal setting is the SMART acronym. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely. If you’re not familiar, here’s how to use it.

Specific – Describe what you want to accomplish in detail. Announcing to your church you want to grow in 2023 is too vague. What do you want to grow – spiritual formation of people, Sunday morning attendance, missional giving? Being specific leaves no gray area for people to guess.

Measured – Quantify your goal with a number or percentage. Do you want to increase missional giving by 10% or $20K? Assigning a number to your goal allows you to track it throughout the year.

Achievable – Setting lofty goals is admirable, but realistic ones get accomplished more often. Is it realistic to run a marathon this summer when you get out of breath walking to the mailbox now, or is a 5K more likely?

RelevantYour goal should align with the overall mission of your church. Ask yourself if this goal helps you accomplish where you are headed overall or does it distract? 

Timely – Giving your goal a deadline allows you to evaluate whether or not it was successful.

Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Start this new year praying for new things in your personal life and your church that move you closer to Him. What new direction or endeavor does God have in store for you in 2023?

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