What do you want? What do you REALLY want?

“I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein

Many leaders, churches, organizations, and businesses set goals each year. The most popular time of the year occurs in January. Sometimes these goals are called New Year’s resolutions. How about you? What is it you really want? To lose weight, read more books, get that promotion at work, travel to a new destination, break a bad habit, save more money, pay down debt, spend more time with family and friends, live a healthier lifestyle?

After working with leaders in all types of organizations for many years, I have found two keys to actually achieving our goals. First, invest the time to clearly articulate the goal. When I was in the business world I taught a process called S.M.A.R.T. goals for years. When I transitioned into the church world I adjusted the acronym to S.M.A.R.T.E.R. and included the process in my book, Time Management for the Christian Leader. The second key to achieving goals is to share them with someone who can both hold you accountable and provide encouragement along the way.

While there are many words people use to form the acronym SMART, and I think they are all good, I use the following words to make up SMARTER: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results-Oriented, Time-Based, Eternal, and Recorded. Let’s take a quick look at each of them.

Specific – You need to answer the question, why should this goal be accomplished? In my experience this is both the most important element of any goal AND the piece that gets skipped over the most. Resist the urge to move past this too fast. Christian comedian Michael Jr. has a great video explaining the power of “why” – click HERE to see it.

Measurable – This is the element which makes your goal quantifiable. How much? How many? While this is usually an easy area for most goals, there is a danger. The number is NOT the goal! It is only a measurement of the goal. However, when there is no “specific” or the “why” is unclear – then the number will often become the goal.

Actionable – Will the goal drive you to DO something? Locate a listing of action verbs and be sure there is at least one of them in all of your goals.

Results-Oriented – At least some of your goals each year should move you closer toward the vision God has for your life or your organization. No one needs more work. We need to be fruitful in our efforts.

Time-Based – Be sure there is a clear completion date in all of your goals. Not only will this help to create a sense of urgency, it will also allow you to break the goal down into smaller steps.

Eternal – Is there potential for this goal to advance the Kingdom of God? Is there room for God to work? While this might not apply to every goal you set, if you are a Christian or are setting goals for a church . . . I’d strongly suggest that at least some of your goals contain this element.

Recorded – Write your goals down. [electronic or on paper] Without a written record of the goal, it will tend to be vague and may even shift over time.

“Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” – Fitzhugh Dodson

Do you really want to achieve your goals? Find someone to hold you accountable!

Accountability is born when two or more people know about a commitment.

Working with a professional coach is a great way to add accountability for you individually or for your church or organization.

Here are some suggested next steps: tm-book-cover

  1. Contact Ken Willard to see about hosting a Time Management for the Christian Leader seminar at your church.
  2. Read Ken’s book
  3. Contact Ken about coaching you and/or your church as you set goals and to walk with you toward achieving those goals.
  4. Check out my church leadership online webinars at:

You don’t have to do it alone. Together we can achieve your goals!

Take a step today!


2 thoughts on “SMARTER Goals

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