At the beginning of each year, I ask myself a few simple questions as an exercise that is absolutely crucial to my growth and success in the new year. Here are five questions you can use to kick off your new year planning.
1. What Was the Biggest Milestone or Accomplishment Last Year?
Identifying the biggest milestone of the year helps us to focus our energy for the next twelve months. Documenting all the ways we trusted God to get us through in certain situations, and watching his hand move in ways we never imagined builds our faith and strength for the year ahead.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
2. What Challenge Did I Overcome Last Year?
Sometimes looking back on our challenges and struggles can give us a chance to remind ourselves just how strong we really are, how God is always there to strengthen us and guide us. Remembering these things can serve as an encouragement that even when hard times happen in the future (because we know they will), they will not consume us.
For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)
3. Who Did I Surround Myself With?
Whether you are 25 or 65, the people you spend your time with have a huge effect on your happiness, your future, and your sanity. If you spent a lot of time with people who were a detriment to your life, your mission and your peace of mind pray about how much of your time and your mental energy you give them in the new year.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
4. How Did You Spend Your Time?
To have any growth in life, we have to dedicate time to it. For spiritual growth, we have to dedicate time for worship, prayer and reading the Bible. For physical health, we have to dedicate time to prepare healthy meals and exercise. And for the health of our business and our ministry, we have to devote time and focused attention to it.
Pray and ask for guidance on how to spend your time in the new year.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
5. What Are My Three Big Goals For This Year?
Sure we can have 20 goals if we wanted to. But I love to simplify and love things in threes. Every week I identify the three most important things that I will work on as my priority. Every morning when I start my workday, I identify three things I need to focus on above all else. Likewise, every year I also like to find three big priorities for my life in that year.
Pray for clarity on what your big goals should be for this new year.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5)
After going through these questions be sure to share what you discovered in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this article on Facebook!
Alli Worthington is the author of Breaking Busy: How to find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy, speaker, blogger, and the Executive Director of Propel Women. Alli has helped individuals, small business owners and Fortune 500 companies be more successful. She lives outside Nashville with her husband, Mark, their five sons, rescued dog and cat who moved onto their doorstep. You can connect with Alli at AlliWorthington.com.