How To Uncover Your Grace-Filled Goals

“You can’t do it all and do life well. But you can choose to cultivate what matters. And that means letting go at times and making a mess.” – Lara Casey



Last week I shared why resolutions don’t work and how setting grace-filled, Jesus-centered goals is a better option. This week let’s flesh how to do this as I share the model and tools I use for goal setting.

Look Back To Move Forward

In order to know where you are going, you have to know where you are at right now. Think of the “you are here” maps in the mall.

The way I do this is to look back on the year just ending. I like to use the week between Christmas and New Years. But any time works. You don’t have to have your goals done by January 1. Check out for some great resources to help with this.

When I look back, I review the challenges and the good things that happened. Don’t miss this. Don’t get stuck focusing only on what went wrong. If you do, you are likely to stay stuck. Trust me; I learned this from experience.

Then I ponder what things remain unanswered or confusing and what lessons I learned. Next, I move on to why.

What Is Your Why?

I use a life word and a year word. If you are not familiar with this, you can check it out here. You can also find a great four day devotional for each of these at You Version.

My life word is my why. Why am I doing this? Why do I get out of bed in the morning? What fires me up?

I review my life word every year, but I don’t change it (it may change with seasons. Think ten years unless you hear otherwise from God). I used my life word to craft my calling statement (some people call it a mission or vision statement).

For the record, my life word is: inspire, and my calling statement is: “My calling is to inspire and guide others to be the unique individuals God created them to be and to leave His mark on the world.”

As you can see this is something that I absolutely cannot pull off on my own. I trust God to show up big time.

“Sometimes God likes to show up, and sometimes He likes to show off.” – Mark Batterson

My One Word

Whereas my life word is my why, my one word is my theme for the year. It is the filter I run decisions through to keep me on track. I also have a year verse that goes along with my one word.

Remember to seek a God word, not just a good word when looking for your life word and one word.

This year my one word is: Listen, and this year I actually have two verses: Proverbs 3:6 (MSG) and Hebrews 12:1-2 (NCV).

The 90 Day Year

I don’t map my goals out for an entire year as most conventional goal setting systems teach you to do. This just doesn’t work for me. I find it too overwhelming and stressful

Instead, I use what is known as the 90 Day Year. Each quarter I set half a day aside to sit with Jesus and ask Him where he wants me to be at the end of this quarter.

Note that I set no more than five goals for the quarter and usually just three.

To arrive at these goals, I spend a lot of time praying and asking Jesus questions. Then I Listen. As I pray I ask Him to bless, affirm, challenge, correct, or redirect me. And of course, all goals have to run through the filter of my life word/calling statement and my one word.

These goals get reviewed monthly for the steps I need to take to move toward reaching them. Weekly, I look at the steps I need to take to complete my monthly steps. Daily, I set three steps to take toward achieving my weekly steps.

Be Interruptible

If you are going to set grace-filled, Jesus-centered goals the number one thing you need to remember is to be interruptible.


Jesus is exciting and unpredictable, and if you trust Him completely, you need to be ready for change on a moments notice. It sounds kind of scary, but He will never lead us to do something in our own strength. If He asks us to do it, He has gone before us and will be with us as we move forward.

“This year believe for big things, dream extravagantly, expect God to do more in great ways, and make His name famous across the earth.” Christine Caine

Keep in mind that if your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. And by all means, remember it’s about progress and not perfection.

If you would like a list of the questions I ask when I am planning, please email me at, and I will send it to you.

I’m a writer and storyteller. Each week I write about and invite readers to join me on an extraordinary adventure to discover and live the unique story God has penned for each of us.

Don't Miss A Single Issue

Don't Miss A Single Issue

Join our community today as we journey together to discover and live our unique story. You will receive an email each time there is a new blog post (never more than once a week).