I always get excited at the approach of a new year. It’s like a fresh, clean canvas ready to paint with hopes, dreams, and possibilities.
My hopes and dreams used to be wishful thinking. I had things I wanted to happen, but I had no plan to get them. Each year, I would turn the calendar page over to January and wonder what had happened to the previous year. What had I accomplished?
It wasn’t until I read about priorities and goals that things began to change. I was able to put my hopes and dreams for a new year on paper and create action plans for each one. It was then that I started to see significant progress in areas where I seem stuck before.
I have continued to hone my goal setting skills each year, reading books that talk about time management, productivity, and goal setting. So, year by year, I feel like I am growing in each area that is important to me. And any growth, no matter how slow, is still encouraging!
I thought it would be fun to share with you my life planning process that I do each year. And to go along with it, I created a Life Planning printable in case you want to try it yourself.
Here are the major parts of the Life Planning sheet and how to get the most out of them.
Personal Mission Statement
Everyone needs a Personal Mission Statement! This is simply a short summary of why you think God created you and what your purpose is on this earth. To give you an idea, I’ll share mine:
“My mission is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever by daily cultivating an intimate relationship with Him, living in obedience to Him, and pursuing the priorities and goals He’s given me with passion and purpose.”
Notice that I took the first part from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Feel free to use phrases from Scripture, church creeds, or favorite quotes. Just make it your own and make it your rallying cry for living each day to the glory of God!
Along with a Personal Mission Statement, I also have a Life Verse. This is a verse that the Lord put on my heart to help summarize my relationship with Him and the kind of life I want to live. My Life Verse is John 15:5:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
This is a reminder that I am completely dependent on the Lord Jesus. He is my everything! You may decide you want several life verses (it’s hard to pick just one!). Just choose a verse that you want to reflect the theme of your life. My husband’s Life Verse is Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” He does not want to depend on his own strength or power for any part of his life. He wants to depend entirely on the Holy Spirit.
Theme Word or Phrase
This is simply one word or one phrase that you want to focus on the next year. Choosing one word really helps to focus in on the one area where you really want to grow. Here are some examples:
- Discipline – A great word if you struggle with motivation, consistency or self-control.
- Grace – A great word if you struggle with guilt or being too critical.
- Joy – Do you struggle with joy and trusting the Lord in all circumstances? Make this your focus for 2016.
You get the idea. The possibilities are endless. And it really does help bring your mind back to what you truly want to focus on. You’ll be amazed at the end of the year how you’ve grown in this area.
My word for 2016 is Renew. I want to renew every area of my life – my mind, body, relationships, etc. I printed out the word and put it on my bulletin board in my office to help remind me of my year’s focus each time I look at it. You could write it in calligraphy, create a bookmark, paint it on a smooth rock, or think of some other creative way to display your word.
This is a Bible verse to go along with your one word or phrase. I have a list of Scriptures I want to memorize this year, but my theme verse for the year is Ephesians 4:22-24:
“to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
- Your relationship with the Lord
- Your Health
- Your husband (if you’re married)
- Your children
- Your job
- Your extended family
- Your ministry (Bible study leader, Sunday school teacher, witness to others, etc)
- Your friendships
- Your Home
- Have lunch or coffee with 5 different women by June 2016.
- Send a note, email, or text once a week to encourage a friend – that’s 52 notes of encouragement in the next year!
- Host one special luncheon or dinner for your friends by next spring.
These 3 goals are specific and time sensitive and will help you take the initiative in building meaningful friendships. Try this for each priority that you wrote down. Think of the top 3 goals that you have for each priority, and then make each goal specific and time sensitive.