New Years is a great time to look back as well as ahead – and craft some goals and action items for the coming year.
Here’s a dose of reality, though:
Research shows that only 3% of people write down their goals.
Perhaps correspondingly, research also shows that 80% of people’s New Year’s resolutions are shot by February with an overall 92% never achieving their goals by the end of the year.
Oh dang! I’m not the smartest guy, but I think we may have found a link here…writing stuff down may be a key to starting off well with goal setting and follow-through.
Goals are actually somewhat of an artform in learning to strike a healthy balance of “big picture” with “action items”. To be honest, I’ve struggled with goal setting over the years. On the one hand, I’d have big ambitious things I’d want to do, but found that, in the face of such big goals, I was overwhelmed and I wouldn’t do anything. On the other hand, I’d try the opposite and get very specific with all I wanted to do...but I’d get bogged down with dozens of “to-do” items. Either way, it was paralysis.
About four (4) years ago, I received some breakthrough from the Lord and a simple “scorecard” came to mind. In very much a “report card” style, it helped me to be bluntly honest with myself, followed by some room for “big picture” reflection - with the outflow to a space to write down more specific thoughts – followed by a space to record some key action items.
Here’s a few snippets from past years as examples:
Life with God
Did well: Was honest with my emotions before God.
Needs work: More consistent time with Him.
Did well: Getting more rest (7+ hours)
Needs work: Make more time for reading, reflection, and writing.
“Personal and marital health was so much better this year, thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart and some practical marriage tools learned at LAM.”
“Physical health was good (ate healthier, exercised more), but work overload at the end of the year killed the momentum…how to fix?”
Consistent devotion time with God – before bed (morning hasn’t worked)
Be a friend – don’t expect someone to come to you.
As a #dadinthetrenches, life is busy and has seemed overwhelming at times. I’ve found that this scorecard has helped me cut through the clutter and keep things simple, yet has been practical enough to help me set action items to walk forward in areas I need to change.
But (and this is a BIG but), goals aren’t a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. It takes continual review and focus to stay on target.
The first year, honestly, I didn’t review the scorecard until the next year. The second and third year, I’d revisit the scorecard about once every 3 months to evaluate “how I’m doing.” The fourth year, I was reviewing about once a month. Honestly the last 2-3 years have been some of the best (spiritually, maritally, emotionally, etc.), especially this last year. I have a sneaky suspicion that, to be most effective (and it is one of my goals this year), a weekly review to make sure I’m keeping my priorities in line with my values will be most impactful.
Dads, #FatherhoodIsWar...if you’re looking for a simple tool to help you get some focus in the New Year, I’d like to share it with you for free.
Send me an email here and I’ll get it over to you ASAP!
For His glory,
P.S. Do please let me know how the process goes for you. Take a pic of your scorecard (in process or completed) and do one of the following:
Tag @dadinthetrenches on Instagram
Use the hashtag #DITTscorecard
I'll post some of the pics on the Instagram page to encourage us all!