So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

The previous verses talked about the mortality of all humans. The few short years we have on this earth. God is calling us to make the most of the time we have. New Years is a time where people make plans. They make plans on how this year they want it to be different than last year. And then January 2 sets in and we realize that the best-laid plans are easily distracted by busy-ness, stress and reality.

Strategy #1 – Set up a weekly goal reminder on your phone.

Recently I read over my journal from 2017. It started off with my intentions that I made at the beginning of the year. I had done the same thing in 2016. But this year was different, I accomplished very few of the goals that I was planning to accomplish.

What was different between 2016 and 2017? Both years I set plans as a family, Both years we cast vision on what the year will look like. In 2016 I did one extra step.

In 2016 I set an appointment on my calendar, once a week, an alert came up onmy phone. As a family we would review how we are progressing in our goals.

The lesson I learned is:

You have to check in on your goals on a regular basis if you want to stay focused on them, and accomplish them.

When I make yearly plans I include each of the goals my kids have – last year Heidi my daughter wanted to pass her level in swimming, which she did. If they are old enough, include your kids in this process. I include specific habits I want to do as a family, and as a married couple. What are the physical fitness, social, family, career, reading, spiritual, and financial goals?

Make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. goals

S – specific, significant, stretching

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, track-able

Strategy #2 – Short Term Financial Planning

This is a financial blog, and so I would encourage you that the basic financial plan is to make a budget. Sit down and talk with your family how this month will be in spending. There may be some hiccups in the process as you realize that the payments come due for your Christmas expenses.

Strategy #3 – Long Term Financial Planning

Most people over estimate what they can do in a year, and under estimate what they can do in 10 years. I want you to make 10 year and 20 year plans. Set out year by year what you hope to save/invest. Use an online compound interest calculator to discover the power of compound interest long term and put those numbers in your planning. This is when you can get excited!

Putting together a 20 year plan you realize that your kids will be going away to college in 15 years and how do you intend to help pay for that? Looking at options for educational savings accounts, where your money can grow tax free.

This may be helping them get a good job that they can pay for college, one of the reasons why we are encouraging our kids to take swimming lessons is that if they want they will be set up to take lifeguarding and be able to make a good income when they are going to school.

What does planning long term look like?

  • Funding your kids’ college education.
  • Paying off your house.
  • Achieving financial independence! Some people call this early retirement
  • where your residual income equals your monthly expenses.

I want to encourage you to make plans for every area of your life. What would it look like for you to be healthier in 2018? What will it look like to create more family memories. The more vivid details the more likely it will happen. I want to encourage you as well to think about your walk with God. What are your spiritual goals? Maybe it’s have more daily devotions in the morning. Perhaps it’s memorizing more scripture, or spending more time in purposeful prayer.

Remember: Vision => Goals=>Habits

Create an overall vision on how you want to make 2018. What are the specific goals that will help you get there? What are the specific achievable habits you will start on a daily basis to help you get there?

Nothing good in life happens without intentionality. I want you to be intentional about your life to get the most out of 2018!

FOLLOW UP: I would love to hear about your goals, put them in the comments section below.