Guest Post by Bill Reichart

One of my favorite writings of Jonathan Edwards are his resolutions. Jonathan Edwards is widely considered the greatest mind that America has ever produced. And yet he wasn’t merely a man who had cognitive knowledge, but he also had a deep abiding faith and communion with Jesus. It was during his first year of ministry that Edwards began writing these resolutions.Here is a sample:

  • Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
  • Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
  • Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

For Edwards these weren’t resolutions the way that we think of them, rather they were concrete goals that became habits that were pressed down, in and through his life by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Studies and experts say that less than 8% of all resolutions that are being made now for 2015 will actually be kept. Resolutions are frequently broken and usually abandoned with one misstep or failure. In contrast, concrete goals don’t evaporate in the face of adversity, hardship or laziness.

In our ministry and organization we say that goals should be “S.M.A.R.T.” — specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed. If they aren’t “S.M.A.R.T.” than they will never materialize or be achieved.

I am looking forward to this 2016 with expectation and faith. But before I look forward and set goals for this coming year, I need to reflect back on this past year.

Here are a couple of questions I am asking myself:

  • What was the best day of the year for me?
  • What was the worst day of the year?
  • What unachieved goals do I have left over from this past year?
  • What one thing I regret from the past year?
  • What one thing would I do different from the year?
  • Am I happy with where I am right now in my life?

And here are some questions that I ask myself as I plan and set goals for this upcoming year:

  • What are the three things I really need to work on in my life this year? I should list (write out!) three S.M.A.R.T. goals under each of these categories:personal development, spiritual, personal health/fitness, finances, and relationships (ie., my marriage, children)
  • Is there currently anything (or any relationship) that I need to cut out of my life in 2016? I just can’t add stuff without eliminating too.
  • Where do I want to be in the next five years? And then, what can I do in the next year to get closer to making my five year vision a reality?

And here are an assortment of thought provoking questions:

  • What can I risk this year for God, something that apart from God it would look like foolishness?
  • What hobby can I start in 2016 (I need to develop a healthy diversion)
  • What books would I like to read in 2016?
  • What is my Bible reading plan for 2016? Click here for some options that you may want to consider

billReichart2Bill Reichart is an ordained minister within the Presbyterian Church of America. With over 25 years of ministry experience Bill has worked as Asst. Pastor at The Vine Community Church and was with Cru for over 16 years. Bill currently serves as the Atlanta Area Director with Christian Medical & Dental Associations and is the editor of Ministry Best Practices.

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