Most people live by happenstance. Everyday life is a series of actions without much planning. Are you ready to open your mind to the endless possibilities of a simple challenge to make personal goals?
A person who exemplified a life of setting and achieving goals was John Goddard. Glenn Van Ekeren gives this summary of Goddard's achievements:
"In 1972, Life magazine published a story depicting the adventures of John Goddard. His story was one of undying determination filled with personal purpose. When he was fifteen, he heard his grandmother say, 'If I had only done this when I was young.' Determined not to spend his life playing the 'if only' game, John Goddard sat down and decided what he wanted to do with his life. When he finished writing, 127 goals existed.
John Goddard decided there were ten rivers he wanted to explore, along with seventeen mountains he wanted to climb. He decided to become an Eagle Scout, visit every country in the world, learn to fly an airplane, and dive in a submarine. He wanted to retrace the travels of Marco Polo and ride a horse in the Rose Parade. This was just the beginning. John Goddard committed himself to reading the Bible from cover to cover, reading the entire works of Shakespeare, Plato, Dickens, Aristotle, Socrates, and several other classic authors. He planned to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and yet have time to learn to play the flute and violin. Marriage, children (he had five), and a stint with church missions were also in his plans, along with a career in medicine.
In 1972, John Goddard, at forty-seven, had accomplished 103 of his 127 goals. Goddard exemplifies the excitement of determining a purpose in life, setting goals, and pursuing them with determination" (The Speaker's Sourcebook, Glenn Van Ekeren, Prentice Hall, p. 1988, p.185).
You may not have much interest in exploring rivers and climbing mountains, but how would you answer the question, "What are my life goals?"
Points to build on
When you know and understand your life's mission and foundational values then you have a basis for developing personal goals.
Where would we begin to find examples for how to develop goals? Obviously, the life of Jesus would be a great place to start. So, you pick up your Bible, searching for passages dealing with Jesus' formative years, but you find little information. The entire life of Jesus from ages twelve to thirty is summarized in one verse: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Luke 2:52And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. See All...).
This verse contains important instructions for people in the developmental years between twelve and thirty. A key phrase is " and Jesus increased ". These were active, happy years of personal growth and preparation. This verse then gives four basic areas of life in which Jesus grew: " in wisdom "--mentally, " in stature "--physical health, " in favor with man... "--socially, " in favor with God "--spiritually.
Let's look at how your life fits into these four areas:
Spiritual - This area of life is your relationship with God, faith, worship practices and religious beliefs.
Physical - This area encompasses your health and appearance.
Mental - This area of life includes your attitudes and mental abilities.
Social - This area encompasses your relationships with others.
Each area of life affects the other three. If you're suffering from obesity and lack of energy (physical) it's difficult to maintain relationships (social). If you're not participating in prayer (spiritual) you'll suffer from a lack of direction and purpose and suffer in all other areas of life.
When you struggle with lack of purpose you need to ask, "What is out of balance in my life? Am I living on course with my life's mission? Am I compromising my foundational values? Is my life spiritually, physically, mentally and socially balanced?"
Here are some steps to help answer those questions:
1. Create and review a life mission statement.
2. List your ten most important foundational values. Pray for God's guidance in establishing your life's goals.
3. List your ten most important talents and abilities? Ask three people who know you well to help you in making a list.
4. Luke 19:11-26 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.  He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.  And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.  But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.  And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.  Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.  And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.  And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.  And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.  And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:  For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.  And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:  Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?  And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.  (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)  For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
See All...: This parable by Jesus illustrates that God requires us to use our God given spiritual gifts.
- How can you apply this principle to your talents?
- How can you apply your talents to helping others?
5. Create short term, intermediate and long term goals in each of the four areas of life.
1. Once you know your mission, standards, values and priorities you're ready to set goals.
2. Your life encompasses four intertwined areas: spiritual, physical, mental and social.
3. To live a balanced life you must set and achieve goals in each of these four areas.
4. Goals should include using your God given talents.
5. Goals should be reviewed regularly to see if they reflect your mission and values.
Proverbs 21:5The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want. See All...: "The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty."
Proverbs 16:9A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. See All...: "A man's heart plans his ways, But the LORD directs his steps."
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