Two things are constant for most people this time of the year. Looking back and looking forward. As we count down to a new year in anticipation of new promises, hope, and leaving the troubles of the past year behind us, we look back at what was and what could have been. Inevitably then we take the next logical step and make empty promises to ourselves for the new year.
I have never minced my words around new years resolutions. It perhaps started more as a way to rebel against what I saw as a rather stupid tradition that from the first time someone uttered "This year I am going to..." was bound to fail, mostly because those resolutions were festive-season-euphoria or alcohol-fueled.
But in the spirit of the season, let's review our Keys To An Achievable Outcome. This will set us up for stepping into our SMART goals. Goals we WILL achieve.
Make sure you set towards goals and not from goals. You must work towards achieving a specific goal, and not to avoid something negative.
Fully understand your current situation - Where you are now. This will determine your journey towards your desired outcome.
How will you get there if you have no idea where "there" is? Have a very clear picture and definition of what it is your goal aims to achieve.
It is easy to start a journey towards a goal, but unless you keep track of your progress you will not know how close you are to achieving it (or not). Set milestones that can affirm your progress, or help you get back on track if you miss them.
Is your goal agreeable? Do you truly desire your goal? Does it support your ultimate perfect life? If you do not really want it, what will motivate you towards achieving it?
The buy-in to your goal is key. Even if you did not come up with the idea you must believe 100% in the goal. Working on someone else's dreams and goals will drain your energy and move you away from your desired outcomes.
Does your goal fit in with your current life? When you see yourself achieving your goal, what features of your current life (people, places, feelings) fit into it, and which don't? What must be removed?
Decide and define your resources (both tangible and intangible) that you will need to achieve your goal. Look out for the recursive loop!
How does your goal affect your ecology(your environment and everything that is part of it)? Are people affected? Will it change relationships? The ecological impact can be positive or negative.
A Biblical View
We are all familiar with the Biblical account in Genesis 19, of Lot and his wife. After being told in no uncertain terms that they are not to look back Lot's wife (foolishly and longingly according to the Amplified version) did exactly that and turned into a pillar of salt.
The "looking back" or review we consider here is not quite the same.
The Bible mentions on numerous occasions that looking back, and longing for what was, and what we had (Nu 14:21-23, Luke 9:62) is not God's way. When we look back, it should be with the remembrance of what God has done for us, and what we hopefully have learned from those experiences.
In our process of review, it should be to seek opportunities for thanksgiving. This will also help us focus our trust in God
James 4:13-16 'Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.'
As you review your steps to prepare to set your goal, spend time in prayer, and seek God's direction for your life. More important than any of our NLP and goal-based reasons for doing something, we need what we do to be in line with what God has planned for our lives.
If we are not aligned with God's will for our life, then the plans we make are likely to fail or meet serious resistance.