The Plight to Provide Valuable Content

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At the beginning of this year, my family had a goal-planning session. We snagged our laptops, packed our sleeping bags, and hit the snow-covered roads to reach our Airbnb for the night. We asked a lot of deep questions about how we envision the future and what we’d like to accomplish. It was a valuable time filled with much discussion and eating.

One of my goals involved blogging twice a week. Unfortunately, the beginning of the year was a rough start because I worked so much.

At work, we had a big rock crusher project that we had have designed, built, and set up by mid May. All of us engineers were putting in tons of overtime (I splurged and bought Starbucks the Saturdays we worked). Good news is, we got it done! Here’s what it looks like all pretty and set up at the site.

I like to say, if you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, just crush the rock.

More recently, however, I’ve been getting into the writing-twice-per-week plan but it is so challenging.

My biggest issue seems to be coming up with valuable material. I have doubts when writing.

I have to write frequently to build an audience and to build my skill of writing. But when I post, I’m afraid I’m not providing good material that is valuable to my readers. How do I get over that? Questions run through my head constantly.

Is this post so simple that my readers will be bored?

Will followers think I have no space to talk about this subject?

Does this post provide legitimate value to whoever is reading it?

These questions are why I struggle. But I must go back to the basics of this blog.

The basics of this blog

Master the Simple. Become the Expert.

It means doing simple actions today so that you can become the expert that people seek tomorrow.

That means writing about my own experiences and sharing the wisdom of others. That’s why I quote other people so much. I have limited life experience!

That means providing material from my own experience and from other people’s wisdom. That’s why I quote so many people. I have limited life experience up to this point.

But I will continue to write about the basics. This means tackling topics like

  1. Finances: If you don’t master that debt now, you will forever be saying “If I had more money, I could really help people!”
  2. Habits: If you don’t master the art of making habits, it will forever be difficult to maintain consistency in any action.
  3. Goals: If you don’t strengthen your goal-making and futuristic thinking, you’ll drift into opportunities all your life and your ability to grow intentionally will never fully develop.

What material do you find most valuable on this blog?

I want to write about topics that fit into these three categories (and a couple others) but I certainly want to write about topics that YOU find valuable to your life. Let me know in the comments below!

And of course, if you found anything in this post valuable, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

Thanks to Judit Peter from Pexels for the main image of this post!

This free email will give you the down low every morning

This is an email that I get every morning that updates me in an entertaining way of the happenings in the world. It’s a long form email but it’s easy to skim and pick up the information you find interesting or relevant. Plus it’s a great way to support the blog and won’t cost you anything!


The World Needs You to Love What You Do

What makes you come alive? Like really come alive?

I know people who absolutely love what they do. I have a friend who is an engineer and he was made for it. He comes alive when he’s designing a mechanical system that has to work a very specific way. I come alive when I begin to envision a story in my mind that can be told through film (I also come alive when talking drones). My cousin comes alive when talking about animal nutrition and the agricultural industry. My dad comes alive when he gets to help driven people obtain their goals. Bailey comes alive when she starts talking about interior design and decorating.

Everyone’s passions are different

This is the beauty of humanity — people have significantly different passions and interests. Some are in the arts, others are in the sciences. But everyone has a passion and we want to work in that passion.

You remember a blog post I wrote about finding your sweet spot? Your sweet spot is where your top talents and top passions align, and it’s what career coach Ken Coleman teaches every day on his show. Once you determine what your sweet spot is, it’s time to start pursuing it.

Remember: Master the simple

But mastering the simple comes first. Work your way up to it. My passion may be telling story through film, but I’m not the director of Marvel’s most recent record-setting film. I’m working on telling the stories of passionate people in the community (working on a video series for the future). My goal is to hone my craft and get good at the simple filmmaking strategies so that I can tell a great story in an engaging way. Start small. That’s what I’m doing!

This quote inspired this post. It’s by Howard Thurman, a civil rights leader in the 20th century:

howard thurman

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

Yes, the world needs certain kinds of people. But even more so, the world needs certain kinds of people who are passionate about their work.

What if everyone in this world was working on something they were deeply passionate about?

How much more impact would we have on each other?

How would it change the world?

I seriously wonder this every. single. day. It’s unrealistic, I know. But with every person we get into work they love, it creates a chain reaction of influence that’s impossible to measure due to its shear magnitude.

What are you deeply passionate about?

I seriously want to hear from you in the comments! I’ll respond. And as always, if you found this post had value, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

Thanks to Bruce Mars from Pexels for the use of the main post photo!

How to Live Forward Everyday (Book Review)

Image result for living forward

This blog post contains affiliate links.

Happy Resource Friday! I’m excited to share a book with you all that I loved (and happens to be an easy read).

It’s called Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy.

I like Hyatt because of the genuine nature with which he communicates his ideas and experience. I’ve read a couple of his books, but this one is the most exciting because it tackles the future.

I love talking about the future.

The premise of his book Living Forward is that if we don’t make a plan for where we want to go in life, we will drift in whatever direction life takes us. I wrote about this topic in a recent post.

It’s very similar to an analogy I heard on Ken Coleman’s career plan podcast. Most everyone wants to climb the company ladder, however, if you don’t plan properly, you may reach the top of the ladder only to find it’s on the wrong building.

Living forward starts with a “life Plan”

This book is all about developing your “life plan”; a plan that outlines how you want people to remember you, what goals you want to accomplish, and how you want to spend your time and money.

Here are the main points in developing your own life plan because everyone’s is different. None look identical!

1. Write your eulogy (I know, kinda dark)

This is an understandably weird-feeling step in developing a life plan. However, in an attempt to engineer your life backward, you need to know what you want to be said when you’re dead (nice rhyme, huh?).

This means listing out all the people that you care about whether they are God, your spouse, your children, your friends or your colleagues. What do you want each group to remember most about you? Your personality? Your service? Preparing one’s own eulogy is rather sobering, however, it really jumpstarts the thinking in relation to the rest of the life plan.

2. determine your life accounts

This falls into the chapter titled “Determine Your Priorities” and compares each priority to a separate bank account in which you can make deposits and withdraws alike. Hyatt gives a list of 9 basic life accounts to get you started.

  1. Vocational
  2. Marital
  3. Spiritual
  4. Intellectual
  5. Social
  6. Financial
  7. Physical
  8. Parental
  9. Avocational

The biggest thing to remember is that, in Hyatt’s own words, “Your Life Accounts are unique to you.” In the examples Hyatt gives from real people’s life plans, Life Accounts vary drastically from his suggestions to accounts like Creating, Pets, Teaching, and Adventure.

What’s most important to you? No worries, your Life Accounts can change over time!

3. develop an action plan for each account

Thanks to picjumbo.com from Pexels for the photo!

The action plan is where specifics come in. It contains several sections to provide context for your account. Again, these may vary. However, these are the general sections of the action plan.

  1. Purpose Statement
  2. Envisioned Future
  3. Inspiring Quote
  4. Current Reality
  5. Specific Commitments

Your action plan is where the change really starts. It gives you everything you need to begin a new journey. The action plan provides you a reason for that journey (purpose statement). It gives you an idea of what it will be like to succeed (envisioned future). It provides inspiration from others ahead of you (inspiring quote). It helps you understand how far you are away from that goal (current reality). And it gives you a list of actions in order to make the desired change (specific commitments).

keep looking at the life plan after you make it

The important thing is to review the life plan regularly. At least once a year, however, the more often you review it, the more your goals will be at the front of your thinking.

I loved this book. Go figure. If you have read much of my writing, you probably could have guessed it. I recommend this book to anyone who is afraid that where they are going in life isn’t where they actually want to be. Bailey and I are working on finishing up our life plans. Let me tell you, it gave both of us something tangible to talk about relative to the future and it also produced a TON of excitement for our goals.

What is your biggest life goal that you want to accomplish?

I want to hear from you! As always, give this post a like and give me a follow if you found the information in it valuable!

-Caleb

If you want to snag a copy of Living Forward, I recommend getting it from Thriftbooks. I got my copy for $4 and it is still in near-new condition. And if you purchase more than $10 of books, you will score free shipping straight to your house! I LOVE FREE SHIPPING.


2 Simple Actions for Growth in 2019

I find that it is too easy to focus on the big goals I want to accomplish in the coming year. The problem is when I think the big goals are the only things that will make a difference.

Contrarily, I believe that Mastering the Simple is what will make a difference because that is the foundation of Becoming an Expert in anything else. It’s the simple actions that will lead to bigger things. Make a simple goal of doing 10 pushups per day and it will create a positive habit that may grow into something bigger.

Here are 2 simple actions I am working on this year.

Action 1: Write one Thank-you note per week

Gratitude is a characteristic constantly attributed to successful people. Being grateful does something to you. Instead of focusing on what you want, it helps put what you have into perspective.

When you acknowledge what others have done for you, that makes a big difference in your relationships with them. People want to be acknowledged — by their boss, coworkers, family, friends, and even strangers. Maybe not always in a public manner but people do like to be acknowledged. A thank-you note is a thoughtful way of letting someone know what they or something they did means to you.

So I’m going to write 52 thank-you notes this year.

Action 2: Journal once per week

Well known leadership expert, Peter Drucker, said this,

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

In his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, leadership and personal growth expert, John Maxwell, wrote an entire chapter about the Law of Reflection. In it, he describes his process for reflecting. He reflects every week and at the end of the year, he takes an entire week to reflect on the year and what happened. Maxwell attributes much of his success and growth to reflection.

This is why I am reflecting in a journal once a week about what is going on in my life. My problem is I tend to do too much looking forward. I mean, that’s how things get done. However, if I don’t learn from the past then it won’t help me at all. Once a week isn’t much, I know. But last time I tried to do this, I told myself every day and it didn’t happen so I had to make some changes.

What are some simple things you’re doing that’ll make a difference?

I want to hear in the comments!

-Caleb

2018 Look Back — What Goals Worked and What Didn’t?

2018 is DONE! And now we are into a whole new year. A brand new start and yet another opportunity to give up on goals in January. So, to avoid that, we’ve been looking at analyzing the goals we made in the past year and figure out what worked and what didn’t. Okay, first thing’s first.

I missed the mark on a lot of my goals this past year!

But

this year held the most goals I have ever made. I jumped in, made some goals, hit some and missed others. But like I said in a recent blog post, I am trying to focus on those that I hit.

Wayne Gretzky, the hockey Hall of Famer, said this:

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Taking action is the most difficult thing about hitting goals. Good news is, action was taken. Now, let’s take a look at the goals I made in 2018 (click here for my post last year).

Goal Set 1: Financial

We did completely save the remaining money necessary to finish Bailey’s education (feels good!). And we also helped sponsor our youth group for our church’s summer mission trip which was rewarding to hear about after the trip.

Were these too easy? Maybe, maybe not. Bailey and I have talked about how we can change our financial goals to stretch us just a bit more in a few areas. More on this in a coming blog post.

Goal Set 2: Intellectual

I hit my reading goal of 4500 pages (about 12.5 per day)! This turned out to be an excellent goal. I haven’t ever read as much as I did this past year. As in, before I graduated from college, I probably had read fewer than ten books for the fun of it.

I completed this goal with seven days to spare. Towards the middle of the year, I was running about thirty days ahead of schedule. I was on track to hit my stretch goal of 5000 pages pretty easily but was slowed down tremendously by my second intellectual goal — writing a book.

Graduating from college, I experienced a lot of confusion surrounding the move out of my parents’ house, getting married, and starting a job. I’m still learning, but I wrote a book (called Graduated and Clueless) to help others in the same transition. Check it out on Amazon!

This goal was initially set to be completed by June 30th but I hit some roadblocks. Like the whole editing and formatting process took way longer than I thought. So I published it a month later on August 1st.

Goal set 3: Physical

Thus begins Caleb’s goal failures.

First of all, we didn’t hit our goal of going to the gym an average of ten times per month. It was closer to eight times per month. Not bad considering I have never worked out on a consistent basis. What we did find was that when the fall semester started, Bailey and I had a more difficult time of going to the gym regularly because I was getting up early to go to work and she would get home (very) late from classes.

It made it particularly hard to get enough sleep and get to the gym together. However, we did manage to change up our schedules a bit so so we could go more often. We’ve been talking about how we can make our physical goals a bit more achievable this year.

I did hit my benching goal of 175 lbs! This was exciting because I have rather long, gangly arms which makes some physical things more difficult than others (engineers know what I’m talking about).

I did not hit fifty push-ups in a row. Also, twenty-five chin-ups are unbelievably difficult to hit. So I didn’t hit that. Also, also, I didn’t hit my 500 miles of biking. I biked like 100 miles. It was so pathetic, I haven’t even added them up yet.

Goal Set 4: Spiritual

This was a tough one. Mostly because I get a slightly weird feeling when I make a spiritual growth goal. I think it’s because it feels like if I hit my goal, I wouldn’t strive to grow even more in my spiritual life. However, it was a great way to get more Biblical learning and spur growth in my faith than I would get otherwise.

In the first few months, I was great at getting to work twenty minutes early three times a week to read my Bible. I dropped off a bit during the middle of the year. After Bailey and I reworked our schedules in the fall, we read the Bible almost every workday morning together which worked well.

I did participate in a bi-weekly Bible study. I also served as an usher at church, joined the choir and am currently responsible for the website and monthly newsletter.

Almost every week, I listened to five sermons. Plus, over 1000 of the 4500 pages were in spiritual learning. The two that impacted me most were The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn and Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby (check out the list of books I read in 2018).

Reasons for goals

To be clear, I don’t say any of this to pump myself up for my spiritual goals (or any of them). This is all by the grace of God that I was able to hit any of these. I don’t want it to sound like “I did this good, spiritual thing!” or “I did that good, spiritual thing!” They were simply goals to help me grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Speaking of which, that’s why I do all of these goals. God has given me so much (not to mention taking away a lot of sin!) and this is one way I am striving to glorify Him with my life. It’s like the parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-30. One man was given five talents, doubled them and was consequently given more to manage by his master. Similarly, the man given two talents doubled his and was given more to manage. The last man was given one talent. He did nothing with it and was punished for it. I’d be thrilled if God used my life to give even more back to Him!

That’s it, Folks

That is a look back at 2018. And though I’m having a slow start to 2019, goals are being developed. In fact, my family just did a couple of days away to look at our vision for this year. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens this year!

What goals did you hit last year? I want to hear from you in the comments below!

-Caleb

21 Impactful Books I Read This Year

This morning, I FINISHED the reading goal that I set back in January! This year I read 21 books. Here’s a short clip of my opinion of each one!

One quick thing. I liked almost all of the books I read for various reasons. I try not to pick up a book if I think I’ll hate it. Thus, most of my opinions are positive. Every book was impactful, however, some were certainly more than others.

The Treasure Principle – Randy Alcorn

This was the first book I read of 2018. It really got me into a generosity mindset. It drives home an eternal perspective of material wealth from a Biblical worldview. If you like books that will help you grow in your faith as a Christian, this is an excellent choice. It is the reason Bailey and I increased our giving this year.

Intentional Living – Dr. John Maxwell

I loved this book! Intentional Living works through questions in each chapter designed to prompt action in the personal development arena. I’ve read a couple other books by Maxwell and they always incite a sense of urgency for me. In fact, in one section, he encourages the reader to write the book he or she has always wanted to write. This encouraged me in my own book-writing endeavors and I finished mine in July!

Linchpin – Seth Godin

This book is about becoming indispensable in whatever field you find yourself. The author discusses the benefits of working in an area in which you are deeply passionate. He talks about how each and every person is an artist, not necessarily in what they do but in how they do it. For a more in-depth analysis, read my book review about Linchpin. Godin is a deep thinker and the books I’ve read by him are very conceptual in nature. If you prefer books that tell you exactly what to do (you know, like “15 Ways You Can Make Yourself Indispensable at Work”), you may not like his style of writing.

Capital Gains – Chip Gaines

This book is an entertaining read. I like Chip’s quirky humor because I have a very quirky sense of humor as well! Literally, I’ve been told that I am well prepared for the job of a dad when it comes to jokes. Chip gives an overview of what he’s learned from business to family since he was in college. Kind of a memoir of sorts. Rather heartwarming if you like an emotional read.

Retire Inspired – Chris Hogan

This is an excellent book for anyone who doesn’t understand finances. I know so many people my age who don’t know how to prepare for the future financially. Retire Inspired puts in laymen’s terms the process for reaching financial security and achieving the dreams that you have. It really got me fired up for ensuring Bailey and I are saving enough for the future. As Chris Hogan puts it, “It’s not an age. It’s a financial number.”

The Power of Who – Bob Beaudine

This was one of the top two most mind-blowing books I read this year. The Power of Who is such an unbelievably simple concept. Beaudine talks about the six levels of relationships that everyone has. He says that networking isn’t everything because those who you give your business cards to don’t have enough emotional connection with you to help just because they care. He focuses on Who Friends. These are the people who actually care about you and want to help you in whatever ways they can.

Beaudine encourages the reader to go to his or her circle of Who Friends and ask for help in whatever way. If you’re looking for a specific kind of job, ask your Who Friends and see what comes up. Each of your Who Friends has their own Who Friends which gives you opportunities that you may have never gotten otherwise.

The Gates of Hell – Concordia Publishing House

This book’s subtitle is “Confessing Christ in a Hostile World.” This was a deep read. It compiles writing from various pastors who tackle some challenging topics. Some include the world’s view on sex, the church’s work, and the effectiveness of international mission. This is one of those books that can be difficult to understand if you don’t have a background in theology (which I don’t!), however, I liked it because it gave me a different perspective on how we as Christians are to communicate with those of other worldviews.

Platform – Michael Hyatt

This is an excellent resource guide from Michael Hyatt who has a lot of experience developing a platform online. If you aren’t interested in developing a platform (blog, YouTube channel, reader base, podcast following, etc.) you likely won’t be interested in this book. But if you do, it’s an easy way to get a TON of information about how to get started in blogging or developing a following on Twitter, etc. It has quite a bit of practical advice for building a platform without spending an unbelievable amount of time on it every day.

Talk Like Ted – Carmine Gallo

Personally, I want to work on my presenting and public speaking skills in general, so I picked up this book based on a recommendation from a podcast. Gallo gives an in-depth look at the characteristics of killer speeches given at Ted Talks. He covers nine simple ways of boosting the effectiveness of your next speech based on the highest-rated Ted Talks in history. It is worth the read!

All Marketers Are Storytellers – Seth Godin

Like I mentioned in the snippet about Linchpin, Godin has a very conceptual way of writing. In this book, he gives a lot of good information about how we can improve our effectiveness in our marketing. There isn’t a list of steps though, so if you like lists of how to move forward, you may not like it. But if you are a marketer, you’ll likely glean some valuable insight into how you can set up an effective marketing plan to hit as many eligible customers as possible. Also, you MUST read Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller if you want some mindblowingly simple strategies for improving marketing.

The Pumpkin Plan – Mike Michalowicz

Honestly, I got this book because the Kindle version was on sale and I heard about the author from a podcast I frequent. Plus, it was focused on small business so I gave it a shot. I really like books that put things into practical terms and this one fits that category. In it, Michalowictz talks about his development of the “pumpkin plan” after a conversation with a pumpkin farmer. The plan, in essence, is killing off the small pumpkins in order to invest all energy into the fewer large pumpkins. In business, he says this is “firing” those clients that require a ton of energy to serve and focusing all your energy on your best clients so you can attract more clients who are alike. He gives practical strategies for implementing the “pumpkin plan” in small business. This book comes highly recommended by me for those working on a startup!

The Christian ATHEIST – Craig Groeschel

Groeschel tackles the issue many people find prevalent in their lives — being a Christian Athiest. That is, as the subtitle so clearly states, “Believing in God but living as if He doesn’t exist.” I like Craig Groeschel quite a bit. I think he has thoughtful sermons that are very applicable to modern struggles. Also, he is an entertaining author — more than most. However, I didn’t find that this book helped me grow in my faith much. He makes some good points as he covers topics that many Christians face (forgiveness, doubt, fear). But being a Christian from a very young age, I know a lot of what he said, so I didn’t learn much of anything new. What he does well is reminding Christians how we are to model our lives after that of Christ.

Influencer – Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, Switzler

This is an excellent book for those who care about influencing others. The authors cover the ways people are influenced and give tons of examples and case studies to back up their claims. I liked the book and would recommend it. The challenging thing is that you and I encounter people every day that respond differently to influence. There is no cookie-cutter solution to the best way you can influence those around you and inspire them to do something specific. However, this books gives an great starting point.

A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating – Molly Fletcher

Molly Fletcher comes from the sports negotiating world and brings with her a lot of experience and advice. I read this after having listened to Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (an ex-FBI hostage negotiator) and was a bit disappointed with the organization of the ideas and recommendations. Never Split the Difference was a book that I would HIGHLY recommend for anyone to read. It gives very specific advice that applies to any situation. Plus, it comes from an ex-FBI hostage negotiator who couldn’t take no for an answer or people would die. I thought Molly Fletcher’s book gave a lot of great advice with stories galore, however, I thought the application was a bit lacking.

Experiencing God – Henry Blackaby

I LOVED this book. I wrote a blog post about it recently in which I highly recommended it as a faith-building resource (after the Bible, of course). Blackaby gets deep into Scripture as he encourages the reader to pursue God more fully. He gives practical methods to seek God’s voice through His Word, through prayer, through circumstances, and through His church. It completely changed my perspective on faith in more ways than one. If you want a deeply challenging book, give this one a read.

Everybody Always – Bob Goff

Bob Goff is someone who I would consider rather eccentric. Eccentric but caring. It comes through his writing which makes this book an entertaining read. In it, he talks about how we as Christians are to love “everybody always” as Christ does. This is another book that is a great reminder of how we can put faith in action, but I didn’t think it was a very deep book. It’s really focused more on action than theology.

The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod

I’ve been wanting to use my mornings more effectively. Elrod explains his S.A.V.E.R.S. method of spending time in the morning before his normal activities. This stands for Silence (essentially meditation), Affirmations (positively speaking to oneself), Visualization (mentally preparing oneself for the future), Exercise (getting the blood flowing), Reading (learning) and Scribing (writing and reflecting).

Some of these things seemed a little weird to me while reading them. But using the morning to positively start the day has helped a lot of people improve productivity so Bailey and I made a modification of “The Miracle Morning” for ourselves. For the last five weeks or so, on work days at least, we’ve been getting up early together to get our days kicked off right. This involves working out (or doing something active like pushups), reading the Bible together, praying, and reading a normal book. I’ve found that it has indeed helped improve my perspective and makes me feel somewhat productive before even starting my work.

How the Mighty Fall – Jim Collins

I love business books and Jim Collins as an author. I’ve read Good to Great and Great by Choice, both of which I would recommend to a business enthusiast. This book covers the consistent poor decisions made by great companies that fell into bankruptcy. Collins uses some excellent analogies in his books to paint a picture of the concepts he teaches. He continues the practice in this book which is why his writing never ceases to improve my understanding of good business strategies.

The 12 Week year – Brian Moran

In this book, Moran talks about how to improve productivity during the year by splitting it up into smaller chunks. This is because it produces urgency to get goals done instead of pushing them off till the end of the year. In his case, he recommends a “12 week year.” He also goes through steps to set up the reader’s 12 week year and to make the most of it.

I like the concept. We will see if I use it in the coming year to pursue my goals.

The $100 startup – Chris Guillebaeu

Ok, ok, I haven’t actually finished this book yet. But I have a week left before the start of the year! This is a motivating book for those interested in pursuing other passion-based streams of income. Guillebaue is an experienced side-hustler and gives practical steps for starting a business in this book.

I love it so far!

What’s next?

Wow! That was a long blog post! By writing it, I hope I motivated you (at least a little?) to get into reading more this coming year. The amount of information you can glean from experts is unbelievable and motivating. I can’t wait to hit the next set of books in 2019!

What books do you recommend I read?

I want to hear from you in the comments below!

-Caleb

Quit Making Your Goals Into God’s Goals

My goals are regularly self-focused. How can I make myself better? How can I increase my physical strength? What about my finances? What ways can I improve my relationships with others?

However, what I really haven’t considered is this: As a Christian, I claim that God is the Lord of my life.

But I haven’t asked God what He wants my goals to be for the coming year.

I routinely ask God to give me guidance for long-term direction. You know, general stuff like where to live and where to work. But not the smaller day to day goals.

Previous year’s Goal Strategy

It’s like this (a paraphrase of my goal blog post from last year):

“Ok, goal-making, here we come. I’ve got a goal to lift this much weight by the end of December. I’ve got to finish writing my book by the end of June. We plan to save this much for Bailey’s education by the end of October. And I plan to read this many books. Oh! And God, to satisfy you and make me feel better about myself, I’ll read this many spiritual learning books, listen to this many sermons, and read my Bible every day. Capiche?”

To be clear, I am not trying to take anything away from the significance of daily Bible reading, learning from other Christians through sermons and books, or even improving oneself through physical, financial, or personal goals. I believe it is more about the mentality with which we create goals.

Henry Blackaby, the author of Experiencing God, says this about our plans:

“Noah did not call on God to help him accomplish what he was dreaming of doing for God. In Scripture, you never find God asking people to dream up what they want to do for Him. He never urges His people to set impressive goals and generate grand visions for Him and His kingdom.”

The fact is that I tend to dream up things on my own. And to be sure, I ask God to help me accomplish those dreams. I don’t set goals and dream dreams that are out of line with God’s will. At least not on purpose. But I don’t necessarily pursue God as I plan my goals for the coming year.

New Mentality

I am trying to hold my goals for 2019 with open hands for several reasons. First, it is frequently difficult for me to understand what God’s plan is for me and my dreams. Because of that, I want to make goals that are glorifying to Him, but if he wants those goals to change, I don’t want my plan to be so locked-in that I’m not willing to change it to join Him in His work.

Secondly, when my hands are open, He can take the plans out of my hands and replace them with better ones. I wish I could say that’s easy, but it’s not. However, I am attempting to have this attitude.

Quit making your goals into God’s goals! I’m working on it by His grace.

Your Turn!

How do you think we can be glorifying to God as we create goals for our lives? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

-Caleb