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It’s day 5 of our life planning series. We’ve attempted to take it step-by-step, in a simple format, to write a plan that will help us achieve some specific goals for the new year. You can find more complicated plans, and certainly finds some, which will help you more. This one is intentionally simple. I like simple.

If you missed any of these posts, be sure to catch up by reading:

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Today we have our final step — and it’s a good one. In fact, it’s my favorite step in writing a life plan.

It might possibly be yours too!

The last step in our life plan is:


In fact, you must!

It’s critical to any long-term success.

Build a reward in for the completion of each of your goals. The size of the reward can be based on the size of the goal and the size of your budget, but it should be enticing enough to keep you motivated.

It’s been said that what gets rewarded gets repeated and that seems to be true from my experience.

Find a way to celebrate achieving your goals this year.

Using our hypothetical goals, here’s an example of what this might look like:

Lose 10 pounds – Buy a new outfit — or two.

Improve my marriage communication – Plan a special vacation together or eat at your favorite restaurant.

Pay off my credit card – Buy a new couch — but pay cash for it.

Read through the Bible – Give a Bible to someone who needs one.

Write a book – Get a weekend away to do nothing — absolutely nothing.

These are just hypothetical. You can come up with something better for you for celebration. It is important that you reward yourself though.

Obviously you may need to get help accomplishing some of these rewards, but that’s part of the beauty of Step 4. As others are included in your progress they will be enticed to help celebrate your win.

That’s the planning process. Simple enough?

I’d love to hear from you if you are going to attempt this process. Leave me a comment.

Here’s hoping for an extra productive new year!

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 23 Comments

  • pastor tim walker says:

    I just ran across this series of blogs and enjoyed it so much I'm sharing it with my entire leadership class. Thank you!

  • Kiley Hawkins says:

    Here you go! Thanks for writing:
    1. Take Jenny on a date 52 times – Spend at least one hour with just Jenny with no agenda or tasks. Talk about our relationship, what we’re struggling with, what we’re happy about, etc.
    Decide together on the best night of the week to date
    Setup babysitting for these nights at least the next four weeks
    Develop questions to answer on date nights
    Celebration: Spend $200 on the house every quarter ($70/month)
    2. Read through the Bible – Read through the entire Bible using a yearly plan. Take my time, and don’t get too ambitious.
    Pick a Youversion reading plan
    Plan to get up at 6:00 am every morning to read
    Read daily portion before reading 200 pages for today
    Celebration: Purchase a cool copy of Scripture ($20/month)
    3. Create a budget every month – Get with Jenny and write down a budget on paper for every month. Then, follow through and stick to the budget.
    Set a time each week to review budget with Jenny
    Write down income and expected expenses on paper
    Keep budget in same location and review weekly
    Celebration: Purchase $20 on Amazon every month
    4. Read 200 pages every week – I’d like to spend more time reading and less time in front of a screen. If I can read 30 pages in an hour, I would need to spend an hour each day to get through 200 every week.
    Pick two books to begin with
    Decide what time each day is best to read for an hour
    Create a list and keep track of what you’ve read
    Celebration: Purchase a club chair at the end of the year ($50/month)
    5. Be intentional with 10 relationships – I want to be very intentional with relationships. I want to list 10 people and build a plan for knowing them better, investing in them, and growing closer to them.
    Choose 10 people
    Get a notebook for their information
    Set a weekly goal for each of these relationships
    Celebration: Get really good birthday presents for each of them ($50/month)

  • cathy says:

    neva tot of rewading meself after accomplishing a goal. great guide for the year.

    want to have consistent daily devotion wth my husband every morning and evening and apractically applying lessons in our marriage.

    reward – celebrate our success by testifying to other couples of the benefit of having close fellowship with God in marriage

  • Casey Prince says:

    Ron, Thanks for this great process. Last year was my first year setting goals and it really helped, but I didn't think through them as thoroughly as your process forced me to. This year, I will be even taking things to a whole new level!


  • Cindy B says:

    Thanks for these blog posts this week. They are very helpful. Although, I think I've set too many goals. Here's the unedited version. Is this too many?
    1. daily devotions consistent: bsf study, read psalms, pray before getting out of bed in a.m.
    2. be more healthy: reduce sugar intake, take pilates/cardio class, get to bed by 11pm, make wellness doc appt.
    3. professional development plan: i want to be thriving and using my skills to help others. Current job role needs clarity and/or explore other opportunities. This goal is a big one. Too many thoughts to write down here. praying praying praying.
    4. increase relational unity: love & respect others like Jesus does, forgive those who have offended me, read Peacemaker by Ken Sands, withhold any unkind or critical comments about people.
    5. have fun: clean out my pateo, get furniture & grill and invite people over for cookout, travel plans include a trip to London in the spring, the beach in late spring, summer missions to Bolivia, fall trip to NYC and/or DC, and trip to Canada in Dec. to spend post Christmas w/ extended relatives.
    6. ministry focus: I want to serve intentionally and am praying about mentoring college girls and be available for God to use me wherever. still exploring this one.
    7. surrender & acceptance in areas of my life I thought would be different: write out scripture verses on cards (i call them truth cards) to have available when lies attack my thinking, surrender dreams to God and trust His perfect plans.


  • Michael Bunker says:

    I’m beginning a personal life enrichment mentoring program with the pastor of my church, and as a starting point we are using this life plan template to follow.
    My specific goals are…

    1. Read the bible through this year

    2. Lose 25 lbs by July 1st

    3. Strengthen my speaking and witnessing. abilities

    4. Honor my word and finish my tasks

    5. Be more finacially involved regarding my famimlies affairs.

    I’m excited going into this year. I can’t wait to see what God will do in my life, when I make and acheive these goals

    Thank you for providing a tool I can use to accomplish this

  • rdale says:

    1.Weight at 200lbs or less Dec 31, 2011 – I want to be down to 210lbs before March 1 by eating less, trimming lunches and exercising more.
    a.Limit fast food lunches to twice a week max
    b.Push-ups M/W/F, situps T/R/S, treadmill Sunday / Wednesday.
    c.Smaller portions at dinner / dessert.
    REWARD: Apply to be a Firefighter

    2.Improve my marital communications – I want to be less ready to raise my voice with my wife. To understand her better and realize we are one, and to be less ready to get upset with her.
    a.Write down things I think of during the day to discuss with her in the evening.
    b.Train myself to pay full attention when we’re talking.
    c.One date night per month.
    REWARD: Dinner at Carabba’s for two

    3.Continue my education – Begin my Master’s program in August.
    a.Determine path (EM or MDIV) by April and apply by May.
    REWARD: Buy a model airplane

    4.Read the New Testament – Spend study time, not just reading.
    a.Use Project345 app on iPad to read a chapter five days a week.
    b.Spend one lunch time per week in a longer study.
    REWARD: Give five Bibles away.

  • Amy says:

    I have always lacked "follow-through". It's been something I've often beat myself up about. So in setting my goals for the year, I made sure I included some that are critical steps toward my future, rather than just things that would be nice to see happen. I think giving them a little weight will encourage me to see them through to the end. Also, all of my goals pretty much have their own celebrations built into them, so this step should be pretty easy : )

  • 4himcamper says:

    My 2011 Goals (to be added to my Blog later today):

    1) Start process of losing 30 lbs (my post baby belly and the baby is 8 yrs old) by: Drinking more water (Mark Hall of Casting Crowns has a resolution for drinking more water that I'm a part of), Eating more Fruits and Veggies, Watching Sodium intake, find ways to exercise and make time for it (possibly Tues, Thurs, and Sat.), Get plenty of sleep.

    2) Finish Bible study on Discipleship and get it in a rough edit form for a book/study: on non-homework day (finishing up grad school in April) read Bible verses on discipleship, read ancillary sources related to the particular verse(s), organize thoughts using Evernote & Onenote, Start getting a format into Word, get info reviewed by pastoral friends, get some of that info on blog weekly (possibly starting in Feb)

    3) Improve communication skills through better articulation of feelings & better enunciation by: practice speaking out loud when alone, practice talking slower, practice enunciation, work on expressing feelings while staying in control

    4) Read more of the Bible on a consistent basis for change (not just to finish the Bible) by: praying before reading, remembering to read for change through taking notes & asking How It applies, reading in mornings before 7:30 am, praying @ end including requests @ this point

    As for celebrating-I hopefully will have a job when these goals are accomplished so that I can celebrate in style (bargain shopping for clothes that fit and a nice dinner at my favorite restaurant which happens to serve natural/organic food)

  • Brian Notess says:

    This year will be huge milestone for me- I want to simply build a community that helps church-planter's produce fantastic media that communicates their vision and the gospel.

    My wins are simple:

    Help a church planter = Win!
    Connect with media pros = Win!
    Provide great resources = Win!
    Create community and conversations around media and church-planting = Win!
    Make enough money to pay the bills = Win!

    Some of these are more measurable than others, but this year will be make it or break it for me.