How to Set Goals That Come to Pass

Awhile back, I started a new practice of goal setting. Because my life is completely intermixed with my walk with the Lord, my goals are also prayer requests.

They also contain my dreams.

So for me, goals = prayer requests = dreams.

They are all the same.

The practice of goal setting has been so valuable to me that I want to share it with all of you.

What follows is how I do it. Your mileage may vary of course, but I hope this post inspires you to set your own goals in life.

Goals for the Year

1. I have a black notebook specifically designed for setting my goals (of course, a computer program or word processor can serve the same purpose. But I prefer a notebook.)

2. On a single page, I write down 10-15 goals for the year. I wouldn’t recommend adding more than 15 for a given year.

3. The goals are very specific.

4. The goals are not impossible nor unrealistic, but they aren’t a lead-pipe synch either.

5. Put a date on when I wish to see the goal fulfilled.

Here’s an example using three sample goals:

2013 Goals

* Book proposal is accepted for my manuscript (name) with an advance of at least (amount) by July 20th.

* Write (amount) blog posts and garner (amount) total pageviews by December 31st.

* Interview (name of person) on my blog before December 31st.

6. Review the goals every week and pray about them, asking God to fulfill them.

7. Sometimes you may have to adjust the date. Not a problem.

8. Put a check next to when the goal is fulfilled and add the date next to it when it was fulfilled.

Long Term Goals 

On another page, I have written out my life goals. Those are long-term dreams.

I don’t date my life goals because I wish to see them fulfilled sometime in my life.

I review my life goals and pray over them as well.

It is my belief that the act of writing down your goals, reviewing them regularly, and praying over them is extremely beneficial to seeing them come to pass.

Scriptures on Planning

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

~ Psalm 20:4

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

~ Proverbs 3:6

“The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.”

~Proverbs 12:5

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

~Proverbs 15:22

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

~ Proverbs 16:3

“Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.”

~ Proverbs 20:18

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”

~ Proverbs 21:5

If you set goals for yourself, share your method with us.

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  1. El says

    I struggled with goal setting after I became a Christian. Some would tell me to just give it to the Lord, others, would tell me if I don’t roll my sleeves up and make it happen nothing will – I was so confused. It seemed that some goals I pursued ended up contrary to the will of God. Thus, I wasted a lot of time “chasing the wind” so to speak.

    Now, after learning the hard way, I try to set time goals on things I CAN CONTROL. For instance, how much money I can save from a fixed income; how many times I can run in a week; steps to organize my entire house in 4 weekends.

    However, I have learned certain goals that depend on God’s intervention should not be time stamped. Such as the amount of money I want to make to provide for my family; expanding my ministry or opening a business etc. I have found that this list involves God’s timing and direction and usually takes longer (although God faithfully provides). Therefore, I can’t put a time frame around it. I have been burned a few times (great life lessons) and now I’m more apt to ascertain God’s will and direction when I realize I can’t solely control the outcome. A better way of saying that is I know when to pray now and when to roll up my sleeves. Thank God for mercy. I enjoy your post. They are very insightful.

  2. says

    Very timely post, Frank, as I’ve just done a mid-year goals evaluation this week. I’ve adjusted some of my major goals of 2013 to reflect the changes that our Lord has brought my way so far this year.

    I’ve borrowed goal-setting ideas from Dan Miller (set next year’s goals by Thanksgiving), Kent Julian (set goals based on major roles in life), Brian Tracy, and Zig Ziglar (whose system is integrated in The Performance Planner).

  3. Derek says

    Hi Frank

    How do you ajoin setting goals to following what the Lord wants, i.e. as jesus said, “I only do the things I see the father doing”?

    If goals are not aligned to what the Lord is doing are these in vain or supperfluous to what the Lord wants. Good works are God’s works?

    I dont know the answer to this, I would sincerely like to know your thoughts as I am very interested.

    Appreciate you brother

  4. Barry Cram says

    Frank thank you so much for all of your practical blogs. I am learning more and more every day. I read and took your advice on how to start a blog from scratch. From bluehost, to studiopress, to word count… I have learned so much from you. Obviously I would love you to glance at my blog (recording my missional journey), But I’m sure you get a billion requests every day… Just want to say I appreciate you…

  5. says

    I’ve just recently started writing down goals for myself and only in one area. I’m thinking that after reading this that I need to be doing this in all areas of my life. Thanks for the encouragement, Frank.

  6. says

    I think goal setting is important. I’ve started making mine prayer goals as well. I think it’s too easy to partition our lives from God, so we shouldn’t keep him from what’s most important to us.

  7. Steve Orr says

    I like the verse which says “Go to the ant thou sluggard.” Sluggard is such a fun word. My goal is to lift high One more weighty than myself. I’m an ant.

  8. Kalil says

    Thanks for the reminder. I have recently strayed away from reviewing my goals regularly so this post is right on time.

  9. says

    Glad you posted this, Frank. I’ve been learning to be more intentional about setting goals in the past year. It really does help move forward towards accomplishing and completing important things.

    I use the Evernote app on my phone to record and track goals. I tried using a couple of other apps (one was called Everest, I forget the other). Everest was pretty good in that it has you record the intermediate steps needed to reach a goal with estimated completion dates, but I decided to just do that manually in Evernote.

  10. says

    Frank, love your writing and thoughts on lifting up Jesus and not being “religious”. I have to say that when it comes to goal setting that more and more the Lord has been working in us to not plan beyond today. It’s been very strange, but setting any goal now beyond knowing Him more and seeking Him just doesn’t seem to be where we are. Maybe that will happen tomorrow. Ha.

    Blessings, in Him,

  11. says

    Nice confirmation for me. Just this morning on my “walk and talk” with God I sensed Him saying I need to get back to setting goals. I was asking God what do I need to do to expand my ministry and that was His response to my questions.

    Got home, showered and started my day checking emails and I read this post from you. Know that you are helping me hear God. I love it!

    in HIM,

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