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How to Set Important (Not Urgent) Goals Based On Your Ways

“But the noble person devises noble plans; And by noble plans he stands.” (Isaiah 32:8)

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.” (Robert Burns)

You want to be a noble person with noble plans, you really do. But whether you’re a mouse or a man (or a woman), plans often go awry. Life and its urgent demands just keep getting in the way and before you know it a week, a month, a year has gone by and you just didn’t get done those important things. Fifty-two weeks of stuff has filled your calendar…the question is how much of it will count for eternity?

Let me give you an example. For years, I have been wanting to memorize Scripture, for a lot of good reasons. But for years, I didn’t do it beyond a week or so. I am happy to report, however, that this year I have memorized chapters 1 and 2 of the book of Ephesians and am starting now on chapter 3. Here’s how I am doing it and how you can, too:

  • Acknowledge God in Your Ways

  • Set Goals Around Your Ways

  • Build Your Calendar Around Your Goals

Look here to read about what I mean by “ways.”

Acknowledge God in Your Ways

This is straight up obedience to Proverbs 3:6—“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Write out a purpose statement for each of your ways. Here are my ways and my purpose statements for each:

The Way of My Faith: To be an obedient daughter, a devoted bride, and edifying living stone, and a responsible image bearer.

The Way of Me—To train my mind, maintain my body, and guard my emotions.

The Way of My People—To nurture relationships with my man, my kids, my grand kiddos, and my circle of friends.

The Way of My Stuff—To faithfully care for and manage my finances, my home, and my possessions

The Way of My Kingdom Assignment—To use my design of Teacher/Creative to illuminate wisdom to my tribe of Warrior Women to help them understand and step into their identity and assignment in God’s Kingdom.

Set Goals Around Your Ways

Now that you have a clear purpose in front of you, think of what you want to accomplish in each way. To simplify, I’ll just show you a goal for the Way of My Faith.

Goal: to memorize the book of Ephesians. More later, but I had to pick a place to start, so I picked my favorite book of the Bible, which I also happen to be teaching through on Sunday mornings.

Determine something in each of your ways that will move you toward fulfilling your purpose statement. Note: there certainly can be overlapping. This goal will also be helpful in keeping my mind sharp, which is part of the Way of Me purpose statement.

Build Your Calendar Around Your Goals

I started to head this section “Build Your Goals Into Your Calendar,” but, really, if these actions are the things that will count for eternity, then I need to start with them as non-negotiable priorities and work everything else around them! I break my calendar/planner into seasons, months, and weeks. I like to work by seasons rather than quarters because I find that each season-spring, summer, fall, and winter- has it’s own flavor and rhythm and it’s easier to set goals based on season. For example in the fall I have about a thousand grandkiddos playing football or cheering (actually nine out of fifteen), so I know I’m going to be doing lots of “My People” activities and I’ll go slower on “My Stuff.”

So my goal for memorizing Ephesians my be broken down like this:

Full year: memorize the Book of Ephesians

Fall 2024: memorize next 50 verses

Each week: memorize 1 verse and review all previous verses

If I find that I’ve set too high a goal for myself, I just adjust. For example, I’ve found that I can’t retain a verse per week. I build a little buffer in to give myself a little extra time, but if I can’t get it done I just reevaluate and adjust when I plan for winter. The main thing is to be intentional about moving forward and doing something.

Planning around my "ways" ensures that I'll be putting my limited resources into what matters for eternity. When my plans go awry, which they oft do, this strategy helps to bring it all back on track!


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