It can be easy to live our lives mostly out of reaction to what happens or comes our way. And while that is not necessarily all bad…there are so many things we can’t control in this life that we do have to learn how to react well to…we also need to learn to approach life with intentionality; to have a plan, set goals, and seek to be purposeful.
Plans and goals don’t always work out the way we want them to, because again there is so much in life that we can’t control. BUT, when we make plans and we set goals and we seek to be purposeful, we are living our lives with intentionality. Doing that gives us focus and purpose, keeps us on track when we might want to get off track, and even helps us better navigate the changes that life brings our way.
Now that we are in a new year, you hear a lot about the idea of “new year’s resolutions”, trying new things, and moving forward into what the future holds. Entering a new year brings this kind of thinking out in our society, and we should take advantage of that in our own lives by seeking to approach this coming year with intentionality.
Here are a few suggestions for how to go about approaching this new year with intentionality…
- Pick a word for the year. A word that will give you guidance and focus. For example, CHOICE. Picking a word like this provides a constant reminder that what we do in this life involves choice; who we hang out with, where we go, what we do, how we react, etc. It is also a word that can encourage us to seek to make the right choice in all circumstances.
- After picking a word, choose some key scripture verses/passages to go with your word. This takes the word you chose beyond just being a good word…it gives it a spiritual focus as well. It helps you to be focused on God’s Word in your life. For the word CHOICE, some verse ideas could be: Joshua 24:15, Matthew 4:19-20, and Colossians 3:2. The verse doesn’t have to include the word itself, but it should encompass the idea of the word.
- Write out a list of goals, dreams, and plans for this coming year. Make sure to write things that you will be able to accomplish or keep track of fairly easily, so that you will have victories to celebrate. BUT, also think big and write some things that will challenge you and require you to trust God in ways you may have not had to before. Also, remember that it’s ok to not accomplish everything, or to allow some of your goals, dreams, and plans to change during the year…life happens, and we must learn to give ourselves grace as well as be flexible to make adjustments.
- Find a friend who you can share what you wrote down with. That friend should be someone you trust, be someone who continually encourages you throughout the year to stay focused, prays for you, and will even help you as you need.
- One other idea that some might like and some might not: Pick a “theme song”. A song that really speaks to your heart, causes you to worship the Lord, and is a good reminder of your word and it’s focus. Music speaks to us in a powerful way, which is why picking a song can be a good piece to this.
During the year, keep track of all you wrote down, what was accomplished and happened, and what you’ve learned. At the end of the year, look at what you wrote down celebrate the past year’s accomplishments and lessons learned. Don’t just record or celebrate only the good either…not all life is positive, but we can still learn from difficult times and even celebrate what we made it through and how God gave us the strength in hard times. And then use that to begin looking forward to being intentional for the next coming year.
Let’s learn to live our lives with intentionality. Let’s not just live in reaction to what comes our way (yes, it is good to learn how to react well…I’m not saying neglect that part), but rather let’s dare to dream and plan and create goals for ourselves. Let’s live with purpose…let’s live with intentionality!
I’d love to hear other ideas for being intentional. Feel free to comment with other ideas you have.