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Note: Since our theme this month is on leadership, and a big part of leadership involves setting and reaching goals, I decided to pull this post from the archives. It's a 2017 review of an article posted elsewhere, about New Years Resolutions, but the principles are still valid today! For more info on moving your church toward its goals, sign up for our Laws of Leadership class. Free through July!

Everywhere it seems, people turn the tradition of setting New Year's resolutions into something of a joke. And while it is true that not following through on commitments is a temptation that is "common to all" (I Corinthians 10:13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.), it seems to me we should take our goal setting a bit more seriously.

Goal setting is an important part of the growth process, as it challenges us to stretch in intentional and strategic ways. And that stretching can lead to great blessings in our life. Furthermore, our failure to follow through on our commitments is not really funny. It reveals fault lines in our character that need to be corrected.

One of my favorite quotes is found in the book Education, where it says: "success in any line, demands a definite aim" (p. 262). The converse is also true. To quote an old chinese proverb: "he who aims at nothing is sure to hit it"!

Goal setting is important to me. I practice it. And I encourage others to as well.

Here are some tips to help you in your goal setting. It's from a recent article by Michael Hyatt entitled The Beginners Guide to Goal Setting. Michael was formerly president of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and has since gone on to form a company where he offers to be your "virtual mentor". I have found many of his blog posts quite helpful. Anyway, here are his 5 suggestions:

1) Keep your goals few in number. No more than 5-7 at most. No sub-goals either. :) Most people can only stay focused on a few things at a time. Set too many goals and you lose focus.

2) Make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound. He gives several examples of good and bad goals to illustrate this acronym.

3) Write it down. There's something about the act of documenting our goals that makes us far more likely to achieve them.

4) Review your list often. He suggests weekly--each time asking, what's the next step I need to take to move toward this goal. The answers to that question can be worked into your weekly planner. That is where the real rubber hits the road.

5) Share them selectively. While some advocate telling your goals to everyone you know, he recommends sharing them with individuals who are committed to helping you achieve them. Friends like that are worth their weight in gold!

If you haven't yet written out any goals for the New Year, consider taking a few moments to do that soon. Grab a pad of paper and have a prayerful conversation with God about what to aim for in the coming year. Let's all start the New Year with a clear direction and intentional plans. Then watch how God will bless.

Want help following through on your goals? Sign up for ROCKET. This year's challenge is going to give you a step by step plan for how to fulfill your most important goals, and make it your best year yet. Get ready for exciting, all new content!


Do you set goals? What process do you use? What have you found most helpful in reaching your goals? Share a thought in the comments below.

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Posted by Dan Vis on 07/29/18
Yes, you are right Qing, this was posted during REVIVE. What an amazing experience that class was! I too find myself having to be a little flexible with my goals at times. But fortunately God is flexible with us!
Posted by Qing Ling on 07/29/18
Timely to review how far we have come since REVIVE, for those of us who completed that course half a year ago. A mid-way reflection opportunity. I have been assessing my accomplishments throughout the year since I set some goals down in January...i have slacked in some, but made progress in others. Persevering in prayer and having faith that it will all even out by the end of this year :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/26/18
Happy to share these David. And yes, it does link to our class on leadership, doesn't it? Of course, with church leadership, we can usually only focus on one or two goals at a time--as it takes more work to get everyone on board. But it still boils down to achieving a series of goals.

I'm sure you are not the only one who struggles with that Jackie. But God is good, and like you say--He's "more than able" to help. I'm sure God will open doors for you in ministry as you continue to seek Him!
Posted by Jacqueline on 07/25/18
Thank you for helping us to be accountable and always learning
Posted by Jacqueline on 07/25/18
I have a problem following through.God is more than able to help me in this process.i need to grow in my knowledge of Christ. My dream is to be a medical missionary or Bible worker for him..
Posted by David Jeffrey Grabe on 07/24/18
Greetings, All my FAST Friends in Jesus' Enabling Name!
Thank you Pastor Dan for this timely post on Setting Goals for yourself!

This is so helpful and aligns with what you have shared with us in the class on Leadership!

Thank you Valerie, for the terrific enlightenment on Isaiah 50:7For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.! And let's remember what were told in vs. 4,5:

"The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He awakens me each morning, He opens my ear to hear as the learned. The LORD God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back..."

He will surely "guide us into all truth"..."Shew us things to come."(John
16:13)and "will direct our paths."(Proverbs 3:6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.) In thought, and words, and deeds...

Have a blessed day all!

Exodus 33:14And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
Deuteronomy 33:25Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
I Samuel 7:12Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/23/18
Glad you found this helpful Carole! It is great to experience God's leading in our life and ministry, isn't it?

And excellent verse Valerie! We can't really be determined without some goal to aim at, can we? Excellent supplemental point to this article!
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 07/23/18
"Success in any line, demands a definite aim". No aim, no success. Isaiah 50:7For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. gives us clear information about how to do this. Whenever, I read the words, " I set my face like a flint.." I think of Jesus who did not allow Himself to be distracted from His Father's purpose-our salvation. May we all be so focused today.
Posted by Carole Bliss on 07/23/18
As a prayer coordinator with another lady, we have to set goals. We come together every three months with a new set of plans. We have prayed over what we present to one another.
As an Elder, I pray for God's help, to do what He wants me to do.
Thoughts come into my mind, and I feel God has led me in this ministry.
Soon I need to find out what I should do in the next year or so.
With God, all things are possible.
This is an excellent and practical message.
Posted by Dan Vis on 02/02/18
Hi John! I think the biggest hurdle to knowing God's will is being willing to know it. Sounds like you are there already, praise God! Thanks for being a part of FAST!
Posted by John on 02/02/18
Please pray for me, whenever I set up goals something happens and I end up with totally nothing. My request from you brethren pray for me to know God's will for my life, I am ready to go whatever way God choses for me.I am 100% sure that God is able to do it. Thanks Pastor Dan and God bless you abundantly.
Posted by Tyler Crouch on 01/01/18
I have been struggling to make goals but it is difficult to make goals unless you have an aim in mind. I do see I have several flaws in my character and 2017 was a year showing me those flaws need to be righted, the will needs to be surrendered, and I need to be more like Thomas Edison in looking at failures. So I am looking forward to the ROCKET 🚀 FAST Mission experience!
Posted by James on 12/31/17
Yes I sure do agree that we should always want to go father having new goals, my prayer is that will go places we have been before and meet people we have never seen before. God bless. James
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/29/17
Nice word, and nice verses Joyce. And so excited to hear how God is using you. I like your point about how the more we do the more we are able to do. What a great motivator!

And yes, we're hoping to add the ability to memorize hymns to the Engine this year!
Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 12/29/17
My new years resolution goals revolve around these 2 verses Habakkuk 2:2And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. and Isaiah 40:31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. . I have chosen my word for the year to be RUN. I may not have time to make many posts on FAST, but I am still here! I have taken the job of being a Bible School instructor for VOProphecy and am involved in the meetings this January - Revelation Speaks Peace, so I am running. May God bless all of us doubly in the New Year and as I have learned the more that I physically run, the more energy I have and the more I memorize the more I can memorize and be efficient. A website I recently came across is and goes with this verse in Colossians 3:16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. My prayers for all of you and this site are added to my prayer list. Happy New Year!!
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/26/17
Will do, Dan. May God guide us all.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/24/17
Fiona, I'm planning on take the first 10 days of January to fast and pray for a clear plan for 2018. It's already coming together actually--I'm just looking forward to a few days to relax and enjoy communion with God, to make sure my focus is lined up correctly. Let's pray for each other and our entire FAST community during these days that God will do something special in ROCKET 2018.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/24/17
Thanks, Dan, for the article. It is a good reminder to focus the mind, and have a plan for the new year. I shall work on my goals ...
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/21/17
Thank you Busi! That's one of my favorite verses. And yes, we just keep our eyes on the Lord, expecting Him to guide us to bigger and better things...
Posted by Busi Maguga on 12/21/17
Deanna. Blessed by your message and even found a devotional for 2018, otherwise I would have go through the Chosen for the 3rd year..(found Gems every year). Dan .. May the good Lord guide us along. Pastor. 1 Corinthians 2:
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. We shall continue in Faith..
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/20/17
Hi Qing!

Always great to see you online! :) I really like that tagline of "climbing higher", esp when you put it together with "Rocket 2018" where we'll be blasting off to even great heights! In fact you can sign up now!


I just uploaded the sign up pages and the facebook promo. Trying a few different things this time around. Let's hope everything runs smoothly as we don't have a lot of time to get the word out to people.

Let's all pray 2018 will indeed be our best year yet. For all of us...
Posted by Qing Ling on 12/20/17
Thank you FAST for being such an amazing resource, helping people to Climb Higher - II Samuel 22:34He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places. came to mind when thinking of your tag line - God is our ultimate Provider who is taking us on this incredible journey of climbing higher - every single day. Looking forward to another year with GOD and FAST Missions.
I'm still working on applying what we learnt in Life Focus - I'm sure the Rocket 2018 course will consolidate a lot of what was learnt in Life Focus also. I haven't found my Word/Goals for 2018 yet. Will pray for our global FAST team who are in my shoes also - I know God will speak when we give Him the chance to.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/20/17
What a powerful quote, Deanna! Thank you for sharing that.

I know I've mentioned it a couple times in the comments already, Valerie, but I hope you will take our ROCKET 2018 course. It is going to explore the whole process of goal setting from start to finish in a way that will help to ensure your success in carrying them out.

The quote you added is so appropriate. Keeping the aim "steadily in view" reminds me of our Life Focus challenge we did earlier this year. I should add that in to one of the readings somewhere!

Sounds like God is really giving you some clarity, Darci! That's right along the lines with the process we'll be following in ROCKET 2018. I won't say more here, but I think you will love the class!
Posted by Darci Ziegler on 12/19/17
also I have decided that some of my goals are not SMART goals and need to be restated and at least one is really not a goal at all but a stating of my overall focus. That can be like an umbrella under which all the other goals can be organized. I think I will draw this and I will include the quote that Deanna Dekle put in her post above.
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 12/19/17
Deanna, your reference from Conflict and Courage is so timely. Leslie, you made a keen observation. I think the very title of this week's memo had me hesitate because I have set goals on top of goals but I am having a more intentional outlook on my goals. As Dan mentioned, it is good to have fewer, realistic goals than too many. Also, I really have taken to heart the first words from Education, 262, "Success in any line demands a definite aim."   I add to this that the aim has to be followed by a belief in the target: "He who would achieve true success in life must keep steadily in view the aim worthy of his endeavor."
Posted by Carole Bliss on 12/19/17
I Love the above message. If we are willing and open to His Spirit, He can so so much in us, for His Glory.

Posted by Deanna Dekle on 12/19/17
Lamentations 3:22,23It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. . . . They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. I was so encouraged by Dec. 19, devotional in Conflict and Courage. Trust and faith-goals can be met and God will take us far past even our expectations:

"There are many who, though striving to obey God’s commandments, have little peace or joy. This lack in their experience is the result of a failure to exercise faith. They walk as it were in a salt land, a parched wilderness. They claim little, when they might claim much; for there is no limit to the promises of God. Such ones do not correctly represent the sanctification that comes through obedience to the truth. The Lord would have all His sons and daughters happy, peaceful, and obedient. Through the exercise of faith the believer comes into possession of these blessings. Through faith, every deficiency of character may be supplied, every defilement cleansed, every fault corrected, every excellence developed."

Wonderful promises!!
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/19/17
Great goals Carole and Ann! Glad FAST can be a part of your lives. Goals do help us stay focused and accomplish more. Looking forward to the first 10 days of January where I will be doing a big revamp of my goals. We should be well settled in to our home by then, and have the opportunity to start looking down the road a bit!
Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 12/19/17
I have frequently set goals and written them down. I don't usually look at them often but when I do I am gratified by the progress that GOD has made in my life. Over the years I have wanted to memorize scripture and have done so a little, this year with FAST I have made great strides by God's power, I am now at 200. PTL Being more organized about it will definitely help and I have been thinking about it so now I will be more purposeful.
Posted by Carole Bliss on 12/18/17
I like the idea of writing. down our goals. It motivates one to follow through with the goal. I want to continue to memorize scripture, share with others.
A life of prayer and abiding in HIM. Doing my best to live a healthy lifestyle.
Learning to listen to His Spirit.

Blessings to all,
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/18/17
Darci, that should be the way it is--as we get closer to God's will for our life. Our priorities change less and less. But there will be specific applications that change. The projects. In our Rocket 2018 program we'll be exploring the differences between those kinds of goals, plus a third kind revolving around personal habits.
Posted by Darci Ziegler on 12/18/17
This year I think I will be continuing with last years goals with just a few tweaks. I do feel that I have made progress but the same things are still what is important and needs to be kept in my focus. I am glad for fast reminding me to refocus and sharpen my attention to these goals.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/18/17
Great post Leslie! You are going to love the kick off class we have planned for 2018. It deals with many of these same key principles.

We're calling it Rocket 2018! I'm praying it is as big as last years!
Posted by Leslie Caza on 12/18/17
Normally by this time there are a lot of posts. Perhaps most of us just don't set goals or we don't know where we want to go or maybe we don't believe there are options or maybe all we can see are the obstacles. Been there. Only recently have I dared to dream beyond my possibles. Life is too exciting and I want to chase every rainbow, but gold metalists must focus. That's where I'm at right now. Multiple goals but each in its time and choosing not to let face book or a thousand other minute robbers slip in. I think I used to set more goals but with more technology came more distractions. Time to think about outcomes and follow as the Lord leads, instead of chasing rainbows with mere vertual pots of gold. .
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/06/17
What a powerful word Mercia! I saw you chose this word in our post on One-word-resolutions. A good thing to stay focused on. :)
Posted by Mercia Goredema on 01/06/17
I have set my main goal FORGIVENESS this year its very difficult especially at my work place, there are so many things going on. I ask for prayers to help me to overcome and not be distracted by other peoples deeds. I do not blame anyone, I try so much , that is why I really need to Holy Spirit to guide me each day. I have mad it a habit to talk to Jesus and just say silently, I trust you Jesus, Please help me. Thanks Fast Missions
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/04/17
Thanks Busi! That's exactly what I like about these suggestions. And a great verse on the importance of this.

Welcome Kjersti! Glad you are enjoying your conference!
Posted by Kjersti Holtedahl on 01/04/17
I will tel you how blessed i am evrery new year I am lucky going tu the scandinqavian conferance whwer we studi the bibel and tell testemonys.
Posted by Busi Maguga on 01/04/17
Thank you Ps Dan for this article, it has been challenging for me to keep the momentum on set goals. At times past i dropped the ball on a few. hence the idea of few goals set and weekly tracking appeals to me, also holding on to the following promise:

I Corinthians 14:40Let all things be done decently and in order.
Let all things be done decently and in order.

Even noted yearly Goal revision, thank you Fiona.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 01/04/17
I appreciate this topic, and everyone's comments. At the beginning of the year it is good to revise my goals.
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/03/17
Connie, you put it really well. Setting goals in areas we know are God's will is simply fine tuning our life. It's a constant effort. Like Paul put it, we press toward the mark! Philippians 3:14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Posted by Connie Sunderland on 01/03/17
Usually the goals I set are goals that God wants me to accomplish. I don't ever question is this what God wants me to do? It is just fine tuning and improving parts of my life God would want improved. Like, drinking enough water is definitely something God wants me to do. Getting enough sleep is something God wants me to do. Most of the things I need to work on are things I already know are right. Memorizing scripture is definitely something God wants me to do. "Laying aside every weight..." Less of the world and more of God.
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/03/17
Thanks Christine! Appreciate you taking the time to post that quote here for everyone. That's exactly the one that came to mind. One of these days we'll add the option of memorizing quotes and hymns to the memory engine. :)

Sherry, love your short term and long term goals! REVIVE + Journey = Good combination! And yes, getting an accountability partner is great...

Hi Helene, didn't recognize you without seeing your last name. (Please update your profile). I actually have 5 goals for 2017 as well. I like the number 5, esp if I can connect my goals somehow with my 5 fingers. Makes them easy to remember. We did the same in our church--5 core values, each related to a specific finger. I'll save that for a different blog post! PS. Please update your profile and say hi to Jay and the rest of the family. :)
Posted by Gloria Bernard on 01/03/17
Your welcome, Christine. I had been trying, in my own strength to lose weight for 28 years. I was a yoyo dieter. But, that's all they were, diets. I finally recognized my helplessness, and cried out to God. He showed me that it was my wrong choices of food. I used to try to cut back on this or that. God showed me that the foods that I loved were the problem.
It was difficult at first to walk past those items in the store that I loved, but as I submitted myself to God's control, it got easier, now I can walk past the sweets and cakes in the store like nothing now. I go straight to the produce section. I went from meat eater to vegetarian, to vegan.
May God bless you in your walk, Christine, and all those who have joined this class.
Posted by Christine Godfrey on 01/02/17
Dan this is the quote you were referring about earlier to @STPHN0511, making plans but surrendering them to God to be carried out or taken up. I found that quote very encouraging as often my plans seem to get blown out of the water by unexpected one off situations, in which I find I need to reschedule my day. "Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, “Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.” This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ. – "{SC 70.1}

@STPHN0511 I like that line "reset my goals daily with God first thing in the morning." That really sums up the quote from SC.

@THANKFL I like what you said, about God setting your goals. I must admit I haven't actually asked Him first up to choose my goals, although my goals are usually of a spiritual nature, but even in that I think it is a good thing to ask God first, as our reading for Day 1 "Ask God" talked about.

And thanks @GLORIABERNARD for your testimony re weight loss, how often we do things like trying to loose weight by our own will power. It never works. Appetite is so connected with our ability to appreciate spiritual things.

Thanks everyone for all your comments which have been a blessing and encouragement to me.
Posted by Christine on 01/02/17
Thnks Sherry...good idea...blessings!
Posted by Helene on 01/02/17
Writing down five basic goals. Trusting that the Lord will work through these to improve my relationship with Him, and my effectiveness in life. Appreciate prayer that He will empower all of us to persist in pursuing the goals He has told us are worth setting.
Posted by Sherry Olson on 01/02/17
I have never consciously set out to set goals because like Christine, life happens and I forget what it was I wanted to accomplish or it just seems like too much effort. I know goal setting is important and you see successful people do it all the time. I guess that speaks volumes about my laziness, but I don't have much confidence in being able to do anything right, though through Shelly Quinn's book of Life Affirmations I am learning to claim God's promises over my life as though they are already truth; as God tells us He does (Romans 4:17(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.)
So my first short time goal is to accomplish Revive 2017 to completion. My long term goal will be to finish Journey!
I also think that a mentor who can set with you and help set reasonable goals that fit the SMART acronym is very helpful, so perhaps Christine, you and I should pray that God will bring us someone like that into our lives so we can be a more successful person and thereby able to serve God more fully. :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/02/17
Really glad this information could be a blessing!
Posted by Karen I Woodall on 01/02/17
Thank you Dan for that tip as to following the steps in which God gives me in carrying out His plans for me will be a powerful change in my life. I want to do His will for me!

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