January is the time people often think about their life purpose and goals. Sometimes, they re-visit regrets or dreams they once had. Living intentionally is important to be a healthy, balanced person.
I’m guessing you want to live with purpose and not waste your life. Because life is challenging, feeling overwhelmed is pretty normal for many people. God allows life to stretch you, but He wants you to stay close to Him and follow Him. He intends to kindle hope by walking closely with you. God gives wisdom, counsel, and power to help you succeed.
It is never too late to think about these ideas and jot a few notes. You need a plan to keep from floundering. Your plan needs good action steps that you carry out. I want to show how simple it is to set up a 1-page Goals Sheet to keep you on track. It’s not a complicated system.
How God Made You
God cares about your dreams. He put many of those things in your heart. God wants you to have a year of forward momentum. And He wants to help you live simply, flexibly, focused, effectively, and freely. He wants you to live intentionally. The only way you can successfully do this is to put Him first – always – in everything. The Lord is your Big Rock, and He goes in your life jar first! Ask Him for wisdom, and He promises He will give it to you. (Js. 1:5-7)
I have some simple questions for you:
- Have you developed some goals for the New Year?
- Have you thought about a life theme for the year?
- Did you identify areas you need to grow in or develop?
- Do you have reasonable, measurable objectives in place to help you get traction?
The 1-page Goals Sheet has helped me for decades. This little page has kept me focused and encouraged, living with purpose each day. I keep my Goals Sheet in a plastic sleeve for protection and quick access. I also have the file on my device.
Here is a preview example I made up so you can see what a 1-Page Goals Sheet looks like. (Sections of this tool have been blurred out until we get to “how to develop” that section.) This preview example helps you know what to aim for. You may want to change some aspects to design your Goals Sheet specifically to your life.
Don’t let this 1-page exercise be overwhelming. If you invite God to guide you and pray your way through this exercise, you will notice hope rising as you take steps to reclaim the management of your life.
Before you start your Goals Sheet, explore and brainstorm. Get the ideas inside you to the outside. Identify things. Think yourself onto paper (or an electronic file).
I’ve included links to worksheets with example writing to better illustrate each section in this article. Use the links for tips and ideas to get started.
Think Yourself Onto Paper
If you are a pen and paper person, start jotting. If you are a computer or ipad kind of person, pull up a doc and start typing. Most of what you write as you process ideas will not go on your Goals Sheet. Use the 4 concepts below to help you start developing thoughts. Just start writing to prime your pump. Once you start, you will be surprised at how much comes out. Here is a downloadable blank worksheet you can fill out on your device or print and fill out by hand. Use this worksheet as we go through all the steps to fill out each section.
To manage your life, first – establish 4 basics:
- Approach – How you approach a new year “makes” or “breaks” daily living. What has your approach been?
- Perspective – This sets the tone for everything. Attitudes, thoughts, dreams, hopes, experiences, etc. What kind of perspective have you had?
- Priorities – Your priorities determine where you spend your resources, especially your time. Have you taken time to identify and prioritize what is in your life?
- A Plan – Your plan keeps all the moving parts working properly. It needs to be clear, yet flexible. It needs to be achievable and measurable. Do you have a plan?
Click on the worksheet below (ESTABLISH BASICS) to see an example of a person interacting with these 4 basics in their current life.
Now, interact with these 4 concepts by using your downloadable worksheet.
ASK GOOD QUESTIONS
Next, ask yourself these kinds of questions to help you identify where you want to make progress. You may have additional questions to ask yourself.
- What is on your mind these days?
- What is broken that you’d like to fix?
- What do you want to work on?
- What hopes are inside your heart?
- What do you hope to accomplish or change?
- How . . . . .
- When . . . .
- Why . . . .
Refer to the example worksheet (ASK GOOD QUESTIONS) to see how to use good questions to get good answers.
Now that you’ve seen an example, write your questions and answers on your downloadable worksheet.
SHORT LIST FOR YOUR GOALS SHEET
Review your brain storming on your own worksheet up to this point. Highlight, circle, or underline the main ideas you want to address. Use these main ideas to develop a short list of areas you will work on this year. Here is the example worksheet to click on. (SHORT LIST)
This short list goes on your Goals Sheet. But it will go a bit further down on the 1-page document. So wait till I tell you to do this. For now, just write out your short list.
Take a step back and look at everything you’ve written, highlighted, listed. Notice common themes. What stands out from your observations and ideas? How can you funnel this information into 3 – 4 words to become your theme for this year? How will you live in your domain, using your will, to live your daily life?
Here are a couple of examples to help you see how to choose a theme:
Example 1: if you are lonely – or just had a loss – or you don’t know what is going on with your friends – maybe choose a theme like “Comforter and Friend.” Repeat that tiny phrase in your mind as you navigate your circumstances this year. It helps you regain balance. Jesus is your Comforter and Friend.
Example 2: Perhaps lots of people place expectations on you. You hear many voices telling you what to do. Your own voice – and even God’s voice – gets lost in the noise. So, choose a theme for the year like – “His Voice Only.”
Look at the example worksheet (THEME) to see a theme developed and selected.
Now, choose a theme for yourself for this year by putting your thoughts into a short phrase. Your theme is the first item you actually enter on your 1-page document.
We are now ready to begin creating your own Goals Sheet for this year.
Create Your Goals Sheet
From this point forward, we will move back and forth between the downloadable blank worksheet (above in ESTABLISH BASICS) and this downloadable template of the Goals Sheet. The Goals Sheet will become your final product, so continue to use the worksheet to formulate and organize your ideas. Then you can transfer developed and refined work to the Goals Sheet template. Here is the example Goals Sheet mentioned above if you get stuck or confused.
First, place the year and your theme at the top of your Goals Sheet. You should repeat your theme every day and pray through it, applying it to your life by faith.
Ask the Lord to give you at least 1 verse to claim for the New Year. Look at the example worksheet (VERSES) to see the development of a verse to claim.
Now, select at least 1 verse to claim for this year. This is the second thing you add to your 1-Page Goals Sheet. Repeat this verse every day. Ask God to build the verse(s) into your life.
On your worksheet near the top, you addressed 4 basics: approach, perspective, priorities, and plan. Read what you wrote for perspective. Pray over what your perspective should be according to Scripture. In many cases, it will be almost the opposite of what you wrote when you were first identifying your current perspective on the worksheet.
Then, read the worksheet example of developing a new or better outlook. (PERSPECTIVE)
Now write a new perspective for yourself. – Perspective is the third thing that goes on your Goals Sheet. This is the only one of the 4 basics that will go on your Goals Sheet. Perspective affects everything.
With all these ideas you’ve developed, it is time to develop a prayer that expresses what is in your heart. Hold yourself to high standards and reverence as you direct your statements to God. Speak positively and in faith. But also be honest, transparent, and submissive. For an example of a prayer, click on this portion of the worksheet. (PRAYER)
This is the fourth item for your document. Enter your prayer on your Goals Sheet template.
By now you will have done about 1/2 the work and have 1/4 page of thoughts to propel you into this year. It should look something like this: example Goals Sheet. Notice the sections you worked on are un-blurred. Next blog, we will finish your 1-Page Goals Sheet by developing Step 2.
Meanwhile, prayerfully review what you have developed today. This week as you wait for Step 2 to come out, ask God to open your eyes and your understanding of yourself and His plan for you – so you will be ready to finish your Goals Sheet.
If you are a big-deal planner and organizer, I encourage you to use a full life organization system for your approach. I recommend Michael Hyatt as the top “go to” person for tools and resources. He is the best!
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