2019 hovers around the corner. New beginnings excite me, yet they also cloud me with anxiety. I’m afraid that events won’t pan out as I hope or that I won’t accomplish anything. Without goals, I reach the end of the day (or the year) and wonder how I squandered the hours.
At the same time, if I make goals as resolutions with check-off charts and strict time parameters, they hit my hands like rulers and wag their heads at my failures. So how do I set goals without sitting under the judgment of resolutions? I stumbled upon an effective way to manage my daily time while studying Philippians 4:4-7, so I thought I would try it for a year’s goal-setting.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The daily plan I’m using consists of three sections: Anticipations, Worries, and Delights (AWD). Below shows the plan in action for one of my days a few weeks ago. Anticipations list known events, chores, and goals for the day.
- Facilitate Meeting
- Lunch with friend
- Prayer with different friend
- Vacuum, mop, clean bathrooms, drinks, chairs/tables set-up, music, paper goods for evening event
- Host East Hill Bible Study & dinner
In the next section, Worries, I write the anxieties that plague me about my list of Anticipations. The section of Worries incorporates prayer referenced in Philippians. I think of this as “altaring” my goals, or surrendering my plans on the altar, accepting whatever happens with trust and allowing God to alter my plans. Here are the Worries for the Anticipations listed above.
- Only 2 of us will show up to the meeting; it will be uninspiring and we’ll pray only about people far removed from us
- I’ll be late for lunch; my conversation will not be encouraging
- With my other friend, I’ll talk too much or ask the wrong questions that will not draw her out; we’ll run late
- I’ll get flustered preparing the house for dinner and study; the study will not be inclusive; the study will be mental and not applicable
- I’m tired
The final section, Delights, I complete at the end of the day or the next morning before I begin my new day’s AWD. Delights tell the stories of what actually happened. Below is the recap of my day in the example above.
- 4 of us attended the meeting! All participated with heartfelt and thoughtful insights in Scripture and prayer. I thought it our best meeting ever.
- I was 6 minutes late for lunch with my friend (because the meeting went so well); our conversation was mutually satisfying.
- My friend I met with for prayer and had open conversation. I was able to give the gift of listening, which was my desire.
- I snapped at someone between dinner and study, revealing my frustration and unkindness.
- The question of the night probed hearts and led us into things that mattered, but the study deteriorated some after that. Mostly, I disappointed myself and my reaction.
Mulling over Delights helps me recognize God’s hands at work. I am prompted to give thanks about things that went well, to pray about things that did not, and to try again those things that did not get done.
I will use this system in goal planning for the year, 2019. I’m adding a column for notes to break down Anticipations into detail and another column for rough dates when needed for planning. Below is one item’s AWD for my year.
Coastal Module of Master Naturalist Program
- Final project
- Ongoing friendships
- Car pooling
- Carry the knowledge forward
- Spiritual impact
Time frame: March -April
- My project will be a bust or eat too much time
- I won’t come out of the program with any friendships outside of class
- I won’t use what I learned
- I won’t be an influence for good
- I will commit to something I regret
- I won’t give back at all
Delights: to be seen!
If you don’t like resolutions, try the AWD method for a couple of days. If it works for your days, you may find it helpful for your 2019 year planning. We won’t know completely until the year is over, but we can complete Delights as events pass. Allow the Lord to plant, then pick and delight what grows and clean out the flowerbed where weeds or nothing grew! There is no failure in this type of goal-setting, only learning and growing.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.