How to Set Goals When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Last week I had a mental image of myself holding my coffee. Except instead of it being 30-year-old me, it was 50-year-old me.

It was a powerful image that I stopped to take in. Fifty. That’s only twenty years from now. My boys will be grown; even this tiny six-week-old will be twenty. Life will be drastically different.

There will be many things that happen in those twenty years that I have absolutely no control over. Thankfully, I believe that God is sovereign and ruling over all and I can trust Him. But there are some things that I do have control over and I believe that God expects me to steward those things.

In a large part, I get to decide what person I will be when I am 50. I get to decide by how I spend my time. It’s all well and good to say that I want  to do certain things- to be certain things- in twenty years but it’s another thing to do them today. And that’s the only way I get there in 20 years: I do them today.

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start with goal-setting. What’s most important? How do you find time to accomplish these goals? Where do you even start? Maybe when you hear conversations about goal-setting you feel overwhelmed or confused even though you’d like to accomplish some things.


Here’s a tip I learned from Jess Connolly.

Think of who you want to be in twenty years. 

Of course, twenty years can be a lot of time to consider. So think of three years.

Who do you want to be in three years?

Really, stop and picture yourself in three years. How old will you be? Where will you live? Where will you be spending your time? How old will your kids be? What do you hope to have taught them? What job will you have? What will you be wearing? What skills will you have learned? What relationships will you have developed?

Now, three years is still a long time. So cut it down to six months.

Who do you want to be in six months?

Think of yourself in December. What will you have done over the past six months? What will your priorities be? Where are you investing your time and energy? Answer all those same questions that you asked yourself about the three years.

Your goals for the next six months are in those answers. 

What do you want to have done with your kids? Write those things down. What books of the Bible will you have absorbed? Where will you have spent your time? What will you have cut back on or eliminated altogether?

There are your goals. You don’t need a complicated formula. You don’t need a five-year plan. You just need a vision. If you want to have studied Acts and Romans by Christmas, guess where you start reading tomorrow? Find a few commentaries. Print out those passages of Scripture. Pick a section to memorize and then get to work on it. If you want to start reading with your kids every day, pick a time of the day to read. Start today. Grab a book off the shelf and pull the kids into your lap. Print off a calendar and mark off every day that you actually read with them. Do ten minutes of a class or ten minutes of cleaning every single day. Don’t overcomplicate it; you don’t need three hours a day for each goal that you set.

I’m actually redoing my goals for this year to finish out this next six months. I’ve hit several things on my original list for this year. The time for some of them (like that garden!) is past already. But that doesn’t mean that I have to sit around and wait until New Year’s again. This is the day worth living. And it’s adding up to who I’ll be when I’m 50 or 35 or when I turn 31 in January.

Stop and think about your vision. Then write a few things down and get to work.




  1. Great article! We can’t be something tomorrow that we aren’t working towards being today.

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