And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2).
As Christians, we seek that spiritual transformation in our hearts and our lives. The problem is setting the right goals, and achieving those goals.
Michael Hyatt is a leadership expert. Having served as the chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the largest publishing companies in the world, Hyatt gained invaluable experience in goal setting and achievement. Today, Michael Hyatt works as a virtual mentor through his website and online courses to help others achieve their goals.
In a blog post titled How to Make New Year’s Resolutions Stick, published in 2009, Hyatt gives four strategies that are certainly applicable for one who seeks to be transformed in the sense that Romans 12:2 describes.
1. Keep your resolutions few in number.
Hyatt recommends keeping your goals few in number to keep them manageable and attainable. You want to be able to memorize your goals so that they can constantly be in the back of your mind. Here’s the application – identify an area (or several areas) in your spiritual life that isn’t what you want it to be. How can we improve to render better service to God? Focus on that area for now, then go from there. Maybe it’s that you need to increase your study time. Perhaps it has to do with your speech. Whatever it is, seek transformation in the word of God by identifying the issue and reshaping your life by the guide of God’s word.
2. Make your goals “SMART.”
“SMART” goals are not just intelligent or wise. SMART is an acronym. Our goals should be …
- Specific – Hyatt says we should be as specific as possible in identifying exactly what we want to accomplish.
- Measurable – You must have some means to demonstrate and evaluate that you are accomplishing your goals.
- Actionable – It needs to be something that you *do*. Hyatt recommends beginning each resolution or goal with a verb.
- Realistic – If you’re like me, the temptation is to somehow go from planning to dreaming beyond what I’m ready for right now. We have to be careful that we stretch ourselves without overdoing it.
- Time-Bound – You need to set a date for when you want to have this goal completed. Since we’re dealing with spiritual maturation, perhaps we should say that we need to set a date to check in and measure our improvement.
These SMART goals will help us find the clarity we need to become more like Jesus.
3. Write them down.
Michael Hyatt says that writing down your goals is powerful. Putting those goals on paper adds a level of authenticity to me. Once it’s written down, it’s official.
4. Go public.
Hyatt urges his audience to share their goals with other people. In the family of God, we know that God designed the church to be interdependent to a large degree. We confess our faults to one another (James 5:16), and we rely on each other to lift us up and encourage us (Heb. 10:24-25; Gal. 6:1-2).
Let’s wrap it up: Let’s give some quick examples of how some SMART spiritual goals might look. Instead of your goal being, “I want to increase my Bible reading,” make it like this: “Read through the entire Bible by December 31, 2015.” Instead of “conduct a Bible study,” write it like this: “Study the Bible with so-and-so by March 2015.” These are just a few examples that might help us get clear with our goals and make next year a year of spiritual transformation.