Countercultural

Look Deeper, See Clearer, Run Harder

7 Goals for 2017 (and how to reach them)

As we step into a new year, I’m asking myself, “How can I grow closer to Jesus and continue in the calling He’s given me?” Here are seven goals I came up with to keep me balanced and moving forward in 2017. I believe they’ll help you, too.

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1. Read.

When I was in college, I read only what I needed to. Now that I’m out of college, I find myself more interested in reading all sorts of books.

HOW: This year, I’m hoping to go through The Rebelution’s 27 Books Christian Teens Should Read (I’m not a teen, but it’s still a great list!). A friend and I are also keeping one another accountable to Tim Challies’ 2017 Reading Challenge.

2. Eliminate Distracting Apps.

It’s not just forming new habits that move us forward in life. It’s also breaking bad ones.

One specific area I find myself often distracted by are apps on my smartphone. These little distractions we use to fill our free minutes are deteriorating our ability to focus.

HOW: This New Year I want to find new ways to focus, and one of those ways is eliminating my Facebook app on my phone. I’ll still use Facebook, but I’m tired of letting Facebook use me. Free yourself from distracting apps that fill moments but ultimately lead to less focus when it counts.

3. Develop one new hobby.

In your chase after a New Year’s resolution, give yourself some breathing room to expand your horizons. Hobbies don’t have to be part of our life calling, but they add enjoyment and discovery to our lives; they add knowledge and experience to our lives.

HOW: Silly as it might sound, my hobby in 2017 is to learn card tricks. It’s enjoyable, a skill, and takes my mind off my other work.

4. Find mentors and communities to spur you on.

Whatever your passion or goal for 2017, I guarantee you there’s a community out there with the same goal. Make the effort to find that community and get connected.

HOW: This last month I got connected to The Minnesota Christian Writers Guild, all because of a simple Internet search. Find community, and find mentors who will help you grow your craft.

5. Spend time with Jesus.

“What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” That question from Jesus should still ring in our ears today.

If you want to be a successful, start by prioritizing time with Jesus. That means intentional time, every day if you can, to come before Him in worship, the Word, and prayer. Don’t be like the rich fool who took great care of his wealth but not of his soul.

HOW: For me, that means using a daily Scripture reading app called Read Scripture.

6. Make goals for every part of life, not just one.

You might be confused why you should make even more goals for 2017, but I promise it’s for the best.

I believe I’m called to write, so my goals for 2017 should focus on writing. However, we’re all wholistic people. We have different facets to our lives that if left unattended will drag the rest of our life down.

HOW: I won’t give you my laundry list of goals, but I’ll tell you that I made categories for marriage, writing, work, ministry, and physical health.

7. Give yourself equal measures of drive and grace.

It’s so important that we take a balanced approach to resolutions. On one hand, giving drive and no grace leads to burnout. On the other hand, giving ourselves too much grace quickly reduces a goal to a good idea. It does take drive and discipline to accomplish our goals. It also takes grace to help us move past our inevitable failings.

HOW: Don’t let yourself burn out. Push hard, and take care of yourself.

At the end of the day, your calling is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength,” and to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Ask yourself if your New Year’s resolutions do that. Adjust your goals if necessary, then get after them.

  • Very interesting list – thanks for sharing – and I look forward to reading your blog in 2017!
    I esp like the eliminating apps one (VERY difficult to do but so important to recognise the call these things have on our lives). And also the spending time with Jesus one – in my first year of training for ministry one of the tutors was talking about “striving” in ministry and she said … “if you strive for anything, strive to make room for Jesus”. I have tried to do that – sometimes failed badly – but I will still try :-)