How do you want your life to look one year from now? Perhaps you are going through a life transition and want to navigate the journey wisely. Or maybe you just want 2015 to be better than 2014. Like many people, you probably have some area in life you want to improve so that you can look back in a year with satisfaction knowing you are progressing toward what you really want for your life. If so, here is my seven step process for making your desire for change become reality.

Pause – In order to make good plans and decisions you have to stop and pull away from the daily routine of life. So before January ends, set aside a couple of hours where you will not be distracted and can think, pray and plan.

Evaluate – After you pause you want to look at the major areas of life and think about what you’ve been doing in each area. I start with areas like spiritual life, physical health and family life.

Give thanks – Before I look at what needs to change I try to be thankful for what I have enjoyed or experienced in the past year. If it is a season of change, like my daughter’s getting married and leaving the home, I give thanks for the many memories and thank God for the opportunity I have to be her dad.

Learn – I ask myself, “What can I learn, both good and bad, from what I’ve been doing?” This usually has more to do with what I can learn about myself rather than my methods. Things I examine are my attitudes, my assumptions, my personality and ‘wiring’. This self knowledge is extremely helpful in understanding why a method does or does not work for me in living out a specific intention or achieving a specific goal.

Plan – If something is working well I acknowledge this and stay committed to it. If an area is not where I want it to be I create a list of other options that could work. I try to keep this planning process fun and open ended. I’m not looking to create a list of definitive steps right away but possibilities for living with intentionality in a particular area. In fact, as 2013 came to an end, I worked with a coach in the planning process which helped me identify some new goals for 2014 in the three areas I mentioned earlier – spiritual, physical and family.

Take action – Now that I’ve considered what I could do in the planning stage, it is time to write down what I will do for the next season of life. These are the actions that make me most effective to what I believe God is calling me to do in my overall life both personally and professionally.

Be accountable – I’ve enlisted my wife as my accountability partner for following through on my actions to reach my goals. We already spend ‘date’ time together weekly and often discuss our goals and how we are doing. This will be a natural part of that discussion together.

In order to show you how this looks practically, I thought I would share two of my 2015 goals in each area. These aren’t grandiose but they are clear so I can tell if I am achieving the goal or not.

Spiritual goals: Two of my spiritual goals are to pick a New Testament book each month and spend time reading, meditating and discovering it. I will do this for 3 months and evaluate whether I will continue this as part of my devoted time or try something different. The second spiritual goal is to be aware of my ‘being’ with God or rather God ‘being with me’ and not simply getting caught up with the details of the day.

Physical goals: Two of my physical goals are to lose 10 pounds by May and to add more movement into my life. I’m glad to say that my wife and I joined a local gym on January 1st and I’ve been there a number of times already. I also used the ‘Quick Start’ guide from a nationally known weight loss program and have seen some great results after the first week.

Family goals: Two of my family goals are to write four letters to my oldest daughter over the next four months to continue to prepare her for life and marriage. A second family goal is to spend time with my youngest daughter each week teaching her how to play the guitar. This is something she expressed interest in learning and it will give us a great chance to connect doing something fun.

As 2014 is just getting under way, let me encourage you to do what I did. Follow this 7 step process to have a life that is much more effective and has greater satisfaction. You can download a complimentary copy of the 2015 Goals Worksheet here. If you would like to schedule a spot coaching call please Email me and mention “spot coaching call” on the subject line. I’d be honored to walk you through the 7 step process to set the goals that will make 2015 your best year ever!