By now, your Christmas decorations are stored in the attic . . . except maybe for that stray ornament like I just found, that somehow didn’t make it into the box, which may possibly roll around in the kitchen drawer until next year.

All the Christmas lights are removed from your porch roof—unless you’re one of those people who keep them up year-round. :)

Your holiday baking is finished and your houseguests have finally gone home.


Perhaps after such a busy season, it’s a good time for you to settle down by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand and consider the new year. 

A brand-new year is a precious gift—one you will never get back—be careful and prayerful about how you will live it out.

Recently, I ran across my list of goals from January 2017.

Some of my goals haven’t been realized and probably never will be. Some of my dreams haven’t come true. But as I read the list, I was amazed. Many of my goals, praise God, have been reached.

I believe the same can happen for you.

In this post, I want to inspire you to set specific, doable goals for 2019. I want you to write them down, pray over them and to believe that God will help you.*

Here are 3 simple questions to help you reach your goals in 2019:

1. What do you really, really want?

First, recall how God has blessed you in the past—it will inspire you. List the blessings you are the most grateful for. Get on your knees and thank God for each one. You may notice that God said “yes” far more often than you realized.

I’ve listed some personal examples below, not to glorify what I’ve done, but rather to show what God can do. Here’s how God said “yes” to my January 2017 list. I wanted:

  • For all of my children to graduate from college and be employed. (Yes! Thankfully, my kids are graduated and gainfully employed.)

  • To get in shape. While I really drug my feet on this one, I finally enrolled in a fitness class in May of 2018. At first, it was hard to get through the class without throwing up (the guy next to me actually did–I almost joined him). Now, the classes are a lot easier for me. While I still have a ways to go (I want to add another class per week), my goal of getting in shape is taking shape.

  • To be more intentional about spending more time with family. The more I prayed over this, the more intentional I became. I’m thankful for the time we’ve had together.

  • To serve a large number of readers with my blog. (Yes, it keeps growing!)

  • To spend more quality time with my husband. (Hiking on our anniversary trip to Taos–31 years and counting!)

Now, decide what you truly want in 2019. Make a list of the blessings you want and ask God for each one.

You know, it’s okay to ask for things. 

There is no limit to what we can ask God for.

Start your year with a list and a prayer. Break your goals into categories, such as achievements, growth, service, career, health, relationships, etc. Then set short-term, doable goals that will enable you to achieve what you want to do. (*Get the FREE printable worksheet to plan the new year below.)

2. Who do you want to serve?

First, recall who you served in 2018. If you make a list of who you served last year, you’ll be amazed at the lives you touched. This will encourage you to reach out and help others whenever you can. Did you help a friend with a project? Did you volunteer? Did you give? Who did you encourage? Who did you bless? Let your past service fuel you on to bless others this year.

For example, one of my quirky goals for 2018 was to serve someone I didn’t know. This is what happened:

This tiny group of new believers in another city read my book (Seeking a Familiar Face). Their leader contacted me and asked me to surprise them with an “author appearance.” Although this group was small in number, their hearts were big and their faith was strong. Sharing with them meant the world to me. It’s why I do what I do. When I remember how I felt that night, it makes me want to serve others more.

Now, decide who you want to serve in 2019:
Make a list of people and places where you want to serve, then set short-term, specific goals to make it happen. For example, if you want to teach middle-schoolers at church (bless you), set the short-term goal of signing up. Make sure each short-term goal has an end date. If you place it on your calendar, chances are you’ll get it done.

3. How do you want to grow?

First, recall how you grew in 2018. Personal growth is so important; it enables you to do greater things than you could do before. Take inventory for 2018: what did you learn? What skills have you gained? What talents have you refined? How can you use what you learned last year, for the new year?

For example, I wanted to become a better speaker in 2018. Here’s what happened:

Last spring, I went to a speaking class that required giving multiple speeches, being videotaped and critiqued. It was grueling. I left the first class in tears. I had to force myself to go back. But on the last day of class, I practically danced out of there, high-fiving the other students, hugging the teacher and feeling empowered.

Now, decide how you want to grow in 2019:
List the books you want to read and then set the short-term goal of buying them. List the art or business class that you want to take. Jot down the conferences you want to attend. Set the short-term goal of penciling in these dates on your calendar. Then make a deadline for signing up.* Consider how you can glorify God by using what you learn in 2019.

The Bible says, “God can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).

I believe that’s true for 2019.

So, go ahead and dream. Set some goals.* Ask the Lord to help you go after them. Include Him in every step along the way. Remember, dreams and goals are like living things—they can’t grow if they’re locked away in the dark. Define what you really want in 2019, and then courageously say it out loud—even if it’s only to yourself. Be bold enough to write your goals down and make a plan to reach them! ⠀

Happy New Year!⠀⠀

*Make 2019 a great year!

Click here to download this FREE goal setting workbook!

Includes an organized list of the questions in this post and writing space to dream & plan.