Did you know that it is biblical to set goals? As children of God we are designed to be fruitful and productive. We are created in the image and likeness of God; hard-wired to create, build, innovate, and design (Genesis 1:27). We establish goals by faith (Hebrews 11:6, James 2:20), trusting that God has given us all that we need to establish and accomplish our goal (Jeremiah 32:27).
When we come to a revelation knowledge that it is biblical to set goals and that we are hard-wired to successfully arrive at goal completion, we can establish personal goals with confidence knowing that they will be achieved. From there, it is vital to write out our goals. Research in neuroscience indicates that dopamine is the achievement hormone; it makes sure that we get to the goal. Dopamine narrows our focus and responds strongly to visual cues. Without visual cues there is no dopamine and no narrowing of focus (medium.com/Hack the Biology of Leadership: 2 Hormones Dictate Your Success).
Dopamine propels us to take action. Dopamine cause you to want, desire, seek pit, and search. It increases your general level of arousal and your goal-directed behavior. Dopamine makes you curious about ideas and fuels your searching your information (Psychology Today: The Dopamine Seeking-Reward Loop). Science supports what the Bible teaches. Embedded within us is the drive to seek, pursue, and attain.
So, how do we set goals?
1. Prayerfully meditate on the word of God and seek Him for guidance as you consider possible goals. This build our faith, confidence and strengthens our resolve to believe that we can do what we have set out to do, because we have a biblical foundation to construct our goals.
2. Envision the goal--See your goal, see yourself achieving it
The word of God tells us in Proverbs 29:18 that without a vision, the people perish
(H. 6544--para'): let go, let alone, be empty, vacant, unoccupied, unrestrained. When we are goal-less, we are directionless.
3. Be mindful that goals should be:
a. very specific
4. Write the goal
Goals must be written down; not stored as a mere thought or an idea (Habakkuk 2:2). Written goals are our focal cues.
5. Break goals into small, manageable pieces
It's easy to create a huge goal and quickly become frustrated and overwhelmed by our loftiness which is why it is important to work with small, manageable pieces. If my goal is to clean out the garage on Saturday, that may not be realistic. Admirable and ambitious, but for me, it may be too big of a goal and the time-line may be too narrow. Perhaps committing to work on cleaning out one section of the garage for two hours each Saturday in the month is more realistic.
6. Practice and repeat
Each time we make progress toward a goal, we feel excited and empowered to do more. Why? Dopamine. Each time we complete a small goal, we get a hit of dopamine. We feel a sense of satisfaction and reward that ultimately motivates us to keep going until the goal has been accomplished. Repetition is purposeful in goal achievement.
Father, in the name of Jesus, we thank you for your faithfulness in 2020. Although this was not the type of year that we may have scripted for ourselves, we acknowledge your goodness and mercy (Psalm 23:6) You have blessed us with hope. You have given us grace and strength. Thank you for your word that has been our compass through a dark year. You have illuminated our journey's path (Psalm 119:105).
We pray, Lord, that we would receive promises that you have given us as we look toward a new year. We thank you that we have been blessed with divine enablement to establish and achieve goals in our lives that lead us in the way of a life that is full of abundance, goodness, and satisfaction because it is rooted in you (John 10:10). As we prayerfully consider goals for the new year, we pray that you would lead us and guide us into all truth by your Spirit (John 16:13). Thank you for goals that are precise, achievable, and bring you glory. Thank you that you know the plans that you have for us, thank you that those plans give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). In Jesus' name, Amen.