Four Constructive Questions to Ask Yourself in January

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It’s January. In Chicago that means snow, cold, and ice, and we’ve had more than enough of all three in the first week or two of 2014. Is it spring yet?

Did you set goals for yourself at the beginning of 2013?  If so, did you meet them?  What are your resolutions for 2014?  Ho-hum.  Same old questions.

Keep reading for four genuinely constructive questions to ask yourself this January.

2013 was a fruitful and enjoyable year in many aspects of my life, yet some important plans, desires and expectations remain unrealized.  Have I failed?  Now what?

Conventional wisdom suggests that for better results this year I should improve my process, define and document measurable goals, set benchmarks for charting progress, and define action steps toward achieving set goals.  That’s helpful advice, but it first requires some wise goal-setting.

As I considered my goals for 2014 I found myself asking four different, and I believe more constructive, questions.

1)  What did I achieve learn in 2013?

I may not have achieved all of my desired goals, but I learned quite a lot while working toward them.  My stream-of-consciousness list of “things I learned in 2013″ includes book knowledge gained through study, wisdom gained through experience, and spiritual growth as I discover new truth about God, his ways and myself.  Turns out I’ve learned quite a lot in twelve months.

2) What would I like to accomplish learn in 2014?

This list is shorter.  2013 was a year of discovery for me and my husband, and much of what we have learned invites a response.  I want to learn how to best act on what we now understand. The more I learn the more I realize just how much more there is to learn.

3) What practical steps are necessary to learn what I want to learn?

This question will elicit an action plan similar to that which the typical goal-setting process would produce, but more holistically.  It presumes that personal growth, development, experience and spiritual transformation are at least as important as recognizable achievements.  I trust that the former will likely result in the latter.

4) What are God’s desires for me in 2014?

I may not have achieved my goals in 2013, but I am quite sure that God achieved his desires for me.  I planned for progress; God may have planned for patience.  I desired success; God may have desired surrender.  I wanted results; God wants a relationship.

Ultimately, God will teach me what I need to learn whether I plan for it or not.  2014 will be a fruitful year to the extent that I align my desires with His.  That sounds like an excellent goal #1 for the year ahead.

“Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for your are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”  Psalm 25:4-5

What do you want to learn in 2014?

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About Judy

At heart I am a student of truth, an observer of culture, and a communicator. Jesus is my teacher and my Lord. In pursuit of these passions, I read as much as I can, serve as Teaching Director for a Community Bible Study group, and write a blog in an attempt to synthesize it all. I take great delight in my relationships with family and friends, and I also enjoy long walks, bike rides and cooking. And did I mention that I like to read?
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10 Responses to Four Constructive Questions to Ask Yourself in January

  1. Cara Olsen says:

    We forget that it isn’t our job to make things happen, but to allow God the opportunity to educate us day in and day out. Thanks, Judy.

  2. Linda says:

    I really liked your number four– God’s desires for you… It’s the number one reason for pursuing anything in 2014 as well as the culmination of all our efforts. Thanks for making me “think” and not just “feel” my way through the start of the year. A pondering I will go!

  3. Caddo says:

    Learning is definitely achieving and accomplishing, in my book.

  4. Jeannie says:

    I love this part: “I planned for progress; God may have planned for patience. I desired success; God may have desired surrender. I wanted results; God wants a relationship.” That gives me a whole new perspective — thank you!

    • Judy says:

      You’re welcome Jeannie:). My perspective changed for the better as I compiled my “things I learned in 2013″ list through this process. Truly, I did learn about patience, surrender and relationship. I guess that’s where I needed to make progress:). Thanks for stopping by! Judy

  5. Laura says:

    Glad to see you blogging again Judy. I appreciate these constructive questions. The questions we ask are important, aren’t they? A small change in wording can bring a new perspective.

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