Tired of Failing at Goals?

Goal CollageLately, I’ve been spending some time setting goals and praying about the year ahead. I love the fresh start that the New Year affords us but have to admit that I’ve never been very good at setting  — or keeping  —  goals. Identifying priorities is not one of my strengths. I feel almost paralyzed at the prospect of it all. What if I set the wrong goal and I’m boxed in for the whole year and I can never change it?! (Silly, I know.) So goes the thought process in my head.

If at First You Don’t Succeed …

Well, this year a few things are different. First, I joined the Compel writers and speakers group from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Using one of their tutorials, I actually set six smart goals that I feel rather hopeful about. Whether I follow through with them remains to be seen, but they are realistic, specific goals. For example, rather than “Write a book this year,” one of my goals says “I will write a Kindle book on Prayer Strategies as one of my four special projects for this year, and I will work on it on Friday afternoons.” See what I mean by specific? Through this training, I realized that being specific will actually give me a chance of succeeding and hitting at least some of my goals.

The second thing that happened is that I stumbled across a totally different way of approaching goal setting. One morning this week I had the Today show on in the background as I was eating breakfast. My ears perked up when I heard Al Roker and Natalie Morales mention goals, so I tuned in to hear what they had to say. They introduced their guest, motivational speaker Jon Gordon. Jon didn’t sound too hopeful about the whole process of goal setting as he cited the following statistics:

  • 9 out of 10 people will fail at their resolutions
  • 50 percent of us will fail by the end of January

I could just see my smart goals going up in a puff of smoke.

Instead, Jon recommended a simple goal-setting process he calls One Word: God gives him one word for the year that becomes his focus.

Hmm. That sounds easy enough, yet powerful. He said in the last three years that he, his family, and now many others (including sports teams, businesses, and schools just to name a few) have done this, it has revolutionized their lives. Here’s the simple three-step process he says will help you choose your word.

Look in. Look up. Look out.

I decided to check out the One Word website to download a free action plan to take me through the three steps of choosing my One Word for the year. Incidentally, I bought the book One Word That Will Change Your Life that Jon wrote with Dan Britton and Jimmy Page, which I really like. It’s an inspiring read and only takes about 50 minutes to get through.

And the Word Is …

So, back to me. God gave me my word for the year: Listen. Already it’s changing how I go about my day. I’ll share more about that after I’ve lived with it for a while.

Does this mean I’m going to drop my smart goals? Nope. I’m still excited about trying those out, too, and will update you on that progress in about a month.

What about you? Where are you in setting goals for 2014? Are you a believer, or do you think it’s a waste of time? Will you choose One Word? If so, I’d love to hear it. Please share in the comment section below. If you’d like to watch the Today show segment with Jon, I’ve embedded it below.

Happy goal setting (or not) and pray on!

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Online Bible Study: The Simple Life

New! Online Bible Study at Only By Prayer

Fresh from our Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks 2013 Writers and Speakers conference, Mary and I are flush with ideas God has given us for Only By Prayer. We’d like to share with you one of the big things that will going on here this fall:

Imagine doing your Bible study with your small group without ever having to leave the comfort of your home, dorm room — or back deck. If this sounds like your kind of study, we would love for you to join our first ever online Bible study. This  six-week online Bible study starts on Wednesday, September 11, and will help you to simply your life by:

  • Focusing on the One
  • Living in the present
  • Embracing simplicity

We will be using Cynthia Heald’s Becoming a Woman of Simplicity Bible study. To simplify the process, you will each purchase your own book from your local Christian bookstore. We’ve also included a link to the CBD online bookstore if your prefer to purchase it that way.

Christian Book Distributors:

066634: Becoming a Woman of Simplicity Becoming a Woman of Simplicity


A Bible Study for All Levels of Maturity

Challenge your faith by choosing one of three levels of involvement.

  1. Level 1:  Study. Simply complete the work in your Bible study book.
  2. Level 2: Community. Complete the work in the Bible study book and participate in weekly community conversations (blog/Facebook) about what you’re learning.
  3. Level 3: Opportunity. Complete the work in the Bible study book, participate in community conversations, and complete application activities that will be emailed to you.Simple Life pin#2

In addition, each Wednesday evening from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EST, Jane and Mary will host an optional call on Talk Shoe that will include a teaching time on that week’s lesson. But remember, you are free to do your work at any time during the week that fits your schedule.

Sign Up for The Simple Life Bible Study

The cost to participate in the online Bible study (same price for every level) is only $5 (in addition to your book fee that you purchase). If you’d like to join us in this fall’s study of The Simple Life, please click on the button below. You will both pay and register through this one button. Once you have signed up, you will be emailed a link to confirm your registration. You must click on that link to be put on the list for the Bible study.

Thanks so much for your participation. Feel free to invite your friends! Please click on the link below to register and pay. You will be given the option to pay either with Pay Pal or with your credit card. If you don’t have a PayPal account, simply click the option that says “Check Out.” Clicking on that will then open another screen and one of your options will say: “Don’t have a PayPal account?” Click on this option, which will bring up a screen that will let you either pay with a regular credit card or open a PayPal account.

Questions or problems with registration? Click on this contact button to email Jane.

Click Below: The Simple Life Online Bible Study