"Pray for me this New Year's Eve. I have less than 20 hours to lose 30 pounds, read through the Bible and write 40 thank-you letters!"
Haven't we all felt this way at some level or another on New Year's Eve?
The reason is that life is tough, and our natural tendency is to disengage and sit in neutral, which inevitably leads to sliding backward in various areas of our lives. Because there's really no such thing as neutral—you're either moving forward or backward in life.
Jesus told us He's coming back: "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me to give to each one according to his work" (Rev. 22:12).
So we want to be found faithful when He returns: "Most men will proclaim everyone his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?" (Prov. 20:6).
This is why setting goals is so important. Goals keep you faithfully engaged with what God has given you before He returns.
We break our goals down into five categories: faith, family, fitness, food and finances.
Faith – First and foremost is our faith. Neglecting this leaves us empty and without purpose. We've known dozens of professional athletes and entrepreneurial millionaires who were miserable when they reached the top—because they neglected their faith.
This is why every year, our No. 1 goal is to spend dedicated time reading the Bible and praying. Incorporating just 15 minutes of Bible reading and prayer is enough to transform your life immeasurably and place a purpose behind all your goals.
Family – If you don't budget quality time with your family, chances are you're growing apart and don't even know it. Date night with your spouse and movie night with the kids is an easy way to build your budget here. There are myriads of ways to grow with your family; just make sure this is at the top of your goal priority list.
Fitness – We've heard it said, "Most people spend all their health trying to earn wealth only to spend all their wealth trying to get their health back." That's good stuff. You've got to spend time and money on your health. If you neglect this, you'll lack the additional energy it takes to build your faith and grow your family. But it takes time, which is why we prefer high intensity interval training, or HIIT, as our preferred method of fitness. It's short, yet impactful. You only need 30 minutes of exercise (including stretching) to make great strides in your fitness.
Food – This is a tough one. Research shows that sugar is more addictive than drugs such as heroin and cocaine. The problem is, even if you don't have a sweet tooth, many of the foods you eat (like bread and pasta) produce the same negative effects as sugar. So overcoming this addiction requires serious discipline.
We try to live by the 90/10 rule (90 percent of the time we avoid all bread/sugar while budgeting 10 percent for cheat meals—mostly on date night and family time). The best strategy is to simply make it a habit to stay away from man-made foods, especially sugar and flour, while sticking to God-made foods. But go easy here—everything in moderation is key (see 1 Cor. 6:12).
Finances – Dave Ramsey says, "If you live like no one else, you'll eventually live like no one else." You have to be willing to live below your means, if at all possible, to get out of debt, build savings and start investing in your future. No matter where you are in the world of finances, there's always hope when you decide to set up a budget and live by it—even when it hurts.
One of the best resources on the planet to help you with your finances is Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. Invest in this; it will bless your family for generations. We applied these rules early in our lives (before Ramsey) and have seen them work firsthand.
Finally, you must remember that you don't have to accomplish your goals all at once. Just make simple strides—like swinging an ax five times on a large oak tree, setting it down and moving on with your day. Eventually, the tree is going to fall. Just stay consistent.
If you are intentionally faithful this year about your faith, family, fitness, food and finances, we guarantee you won't need an emergency prayer next year to accomplish your goals on New Year's Eve.
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