While we are still in the single digits of January I wanted to post this list that my mother-in-law sent me. (Thank you Margaret!) It’s a great list of questions (written by Don Whitney) to ask yourself . This list will help guide you through some very important goals for the year.
1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
Copyright © 2003 Donald S. Whitney.
I’ve always loved to make lists. Whenever I have a lot to do, I feel the strong urge to sit down with a pen and paper and create a list. It’s just part of who I am.
You’ve heard the saying….”Plan your work, and work your plan”, right? Well planning is very important, but it is only 50% of the entire task. You must put your plan into action for it to work.
I have made a lot of lists in my life. However, at times, I have not followed through on all the items on the list. This is where it causes a problem. A list is great, but it means nothing if you do not act out what is on the list.
The same is true for acting without a plan. Acting without a plan is like going on a road trip without a map. You’ll either get lost, or end up somewhere you did not intend to be. Sound familiar? For a good portion of my young adult life, I was in this state. I was on a life road trip without a map. I would make a list of to-do’s, of groceries needed, of projects due, Christmas presents, etc. What I did not make lists of, were the more important things. Life goals, work goals, priorities, etc. This allowed life to lead me, instead of me leading my life (with God of course).
It’s not only important to make a plan, it’s extremely important to make the right plan. You must have God involved in all of your plans and you must move each plan to action. If you engage God, plan early and often, and follow through…..you will be on your way to a proactive life lived out intentionally.
Here are my steps to successful planning (and action):
- Start with God – Each day spend time with God. Read your Bible, pray, and listen (really listen) to what it is you hear God telling you or leading you to do. Keep a journal of what you hear God tell you, and any thoughts you have after spending time with Him. It’s great to look back over your journal and see where He has been leading you over time.
- Create a Life Plan – Prepare a list of the goals you have for your life. You need this as the ultimate guide to keep you focused on the most important things in your life. You can create a Life Plan which is very helpful. Click here to read about it on Michael Hyatt’s blog.
- Check Your To-Do’s & Commitments - Avoid planning activities or making commitments that do not in some way promote one of your goals. Even resting can be one of your goals. Sunday can be a planned day of rest. That is still a life goal. They do not all have to be related to activity. Resting is Biblical and even God rested on the seventh day.
- Break It Down – Start with a yearly list, then a monthly list, then a weekly list, and then finally break out your plan into daily to-do’s.
- Modify Regularly – Once you start planning, continue to tweak and alter the plan as needed. New goals may appear and changes will need to take place. Life changes and so must your plans. Remember you are creating a plan of action for your life, but your guide is God. If He decides a different route needs to be taken, then you must plan and follow accordingly.
- Work the Plan – This is so crucial to any of this working. If God is leading you somewhere, then follow. To follow you must act. You must put your plan into action and work hard! Do not forget this part, without it you get nowhere. Not working your plan or putting it into action is like going on a road trip with your map in hand, but no car, bus pass or airplane tickets. You will go nowhere. You can have the best plans, but they mean nothing without action.
- Stay on Course – Continuing to stay focused on your plan, God’s leading and any changes that need to be made will help you stay on course. Keep working at it…and you will get where God intended you to be. It will be where you were meant to be. Not lost somewhere without a map, or worse, without any way to get there.