How to Make 2024 Your Best Year Ever

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.

Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau understood the power God gave us to choose how we spend the short time we have on this earth.  You can be different, you can achieve things that you’ve dreamt of.  The New Year is an encouraging period because we can select at what level we want to live, how we will live and what kind of people we will strive for.  I love December and January for this reason.  I spend days scribbling my dreams for the new year and what I’d like to accomplish.  Here’s how I do it:

  1. Review your goals from last year

One of the most important steps is to look back on last year and ask yourself how did you do?  Did you hit any of your goals?  Where did you fall short?  Do your best to review the past without judgment.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Simply ask yourself, “What is getting in the way of hitting my goals?”  What can you do better this year?  I thank God for the good that happened in the previ0us year.  I look at what I didn’t get done and then I set up a plan to live my best year so far. 

  • Ask yourself, “What would get me excited this year?”

I agree with Tim Ferris, author of the Four Hour Work Week, who wrote that happiness is a vague target when making goals.  Instead, he counsels his readers to ask themselves, “What would get you excited?”  As you dream about the future, what one goal, if you achieved it, would get you the most fired up.  You can usually sense it in your body.  You want to pay attention to this sense of excitement.  Unless a goal triggers something deeply motivating, there is little hope in accomplishing it. 

  • Set balanced goals

What I mean by balanced goals is goals that support your complete life.  We all have a multitude of roles and responsibilities.  I want to succeed in my career and family and finances.  I won’t sacrifice my family at the altar of money.  I set goals that help me move forward in all the areas that I consider important.  Here are the categories I set goals for in 2021:

  1. Spiritual
    1. Who do I want to become?
    1. What do I need to start or stop doing to grow?
    1. What can help my inner world develop?
  2. Family
    1. How can I be a better husband?
    1. How can I be a better father?
  3. Money
    1. What are my savings goals?
    1. How can I make more money?
    1. How much do I want to give to God?
  4. Health
    1. How will I eat?
    1. How will I keep my body fit?
  5. Mission
    1. How can I make a difference making friends and reaching people for the gospel
  6. Career
    1. How can I excel in my job?
    1. What do I need to learn, what skills do I need to gain?
  7. Fun and Adventure
    1. What bucket-list items will I check off this year?
    1. Where and when and for how long will I go on vacation?
  • For every goal set a system to support the goal

One of the best books I’ve read recently is Scott Adam’s, How to Fail at Almost Everything and still Win Big.  One idea he shared revolutionized my goal-setting.  He shared that goals without a system to accomplish them makes you feel like a loser.  If you’ve ever set goals only to stare at them all year long as you make no progress accomplishing them, you know what he is talking about.  By definition, a goal is something yet to be accomplished.  Until it is done, you can feel like a loser.  Some of us have solved this problem by not using goals at all.  That isn’t the best solution.  Instead, you need a daily system that will carry closer to your goal every day.  Let me share with you some of my own goals so that you know what I’m talking about:

  1. Spiritual:  Imitate Paul and multiply disciples, leaders and churches
    1. Wake up at 6:00 am daily and have a “Miracle morning”
  2. Family
    1. Meet each of my kids weekly for breakfast or lunch
  3. Money
    1. Pay off personal loan and then create three-month emergency fund
  4. Health
    1. Record Weight Watchers daily until I get to my target weight
    1. Exercise five times or more per week for one hour
  5. Mission
    1. Start a weekly online Bible Talk
    1. Create a close small group to reach professionals in their prime
  6. Career:  Become an expert in small church planting, growth and leadership development 
    1. Program and follow church calendar and plan
    1. Write 1,000 words a day, 1 video a day, 2 podcasts per week
    1. Daily and monthly time with my disciples
  7. Fun and Adventure
    1. Schedule a two-week National Parks Vacation
    1. Cross the Country on a motorcycle
    1. Hang Glide
  • Post your goals in a place where you will read them daily

Have you ever written down goals and then lost them or discovered them years later hiding at the bottom of your drawer?  Don’t let that happen to you this year.  Type up your goals and then post them where you can see them and pray over them every day.  If something unprecedented happens, like a global pandemic, you have the option to change them.  However, don’t lose track of your desires.  God is able to do more than you can ask or imagine.  Don’t let faithlessness get the best of you and allow you to settle for low expectations.  Set goals and systems up, post them, pray over them and prepare for your best year so far.

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