Applying Our Goals to Everyday Life

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Episode Synopsis

Let your lifetime goals bring this new year into focus. Jani helps us plan for our year—month—week—even the day ahead of us by “making the best use of the time” (Eph. 5:16). Discover how to write short term goals that are “SMART.”

Audio Transcript

Jani Ortlund: Hello, everyone. I wonder how you all are doing as you walk through this discipleship series with me. I never thought I’d have the privilege and responsibility of discipling women through techno space. Oh my. But God has given us all this opportunity and I’m humbly grateful. Thank you to those of you who’ve let me know what’s working for you, as well as how I can improve this. We are in this together, pressing on toward Jesus Christ. To Him be all the glory. We get the joy and he gets the glory. Isn’t that a wonderful combination?

The Second Priority: The Body Of Christ

Well, in this middle section of my discipleship groups, I always focus on our second priority. Do you remember how we’ve talked about the three priorities? Do you remember what the second priority is? Yes, it’s the body of Christ, our Christian community. Priority One is Jesus. It’s always Jesus. We always begin by centering on him. And so we spent the first few weeks learning to spend daily time with him in Bible reading, and prayer, and meditation. Now, we’re going to continue to solidify those spiritual habits, while at the same time concentrating on priority two, which is the body of Christ, our Christian community. Hopefully, this will become very clear in the weeks ahead.

Take Some Time To Discuss Your Lifetime Goals

I want to start today with our teaching time, as well as with some accountability with each other. Now leader, I’m going to ask you to pause the podcast in a minute. And I want you to take some time to discuss with your group their assignment to write lifetime goals. What questions do they have? What concerns or anxieties? Share your lifetime goals with them, and then ask each of them to share, oh, at least three of their lifetime goals with the group. Sometimes it helps to discuss these together to see how others are pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, as Paul puts it in Philippians 4:14.

Then pray over your disciples, asking God to fulfill His purpose for you and for each one of the ladies in your group as he promises to do in Psalm 138:8. Go ahead now leader, pause and discuss with your group their lifetime goals.

Teaching Time: Developing Short-Term Goals

Welcome back. Remember that while writing goals can give us a sense of confidence and a sense of accomplishment as well, writing goals will not bring us happiness. Happiness is what we experience when we reach a goal. So in this lesson, we want to think about how we can best work at reaching our lifetime goals.

Let’s talk about developing short term goals from our lifetime goals. If you know Jesus, he is your elder brother, as Romans 8:29 teaches us. That makes you a daughter of the King of the universe, a member of the greatest nobility on Earth. We don’t want to be women who just drift along year to year, spinning our wheels. We long to live noble, beautiful lives. Remember what Isaiah 32:8 says,

“He who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things he stands.”

Isaiah 32:8

So I wonder what noble plans will you make for this coming year? What noble things will you stand on? This year ahead of us is a fresh new gift from God. Let’s steward it for him. King Solomon gives us encouragement on making plans. I’ve mentioned some of his words before.

“Ponder the path of your feet. Then all your ways we’ll be sure.”

Proverbs 4:26

Or Proverbs 21:5,

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.”

Proverbs 21:5

Hmm. Solomon says to “ponder and plan”. Let your lifetime goals help bring the days, the weeks, the months, this new year ahead of you into focus. God created you for a kingdom fulfilling purpose. Philippians 2:12-13. He promises His act of work in your life. Or think of Ephesians 5:15-17,

“Look carefully, then how you walk, making the best use of your time. Understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Ephesians 5:15-17

After you write your lifetime goals, carefully, break them down into measurable and sustainable short term goals. What do you want to look back on when New Year’s Eve rolls around again in 12 months? What do you want to look back on on March 1st, on June 1st, or September 1st.

How Jani Breaks Lifetime Goals down into Measurable Short-Term Goals

Perhaps it would help you to sneak a peek into my lifetime goals and see how I broke them down into measurable goals for 2022. Again, I need to ask you to go easy on me here friends. It’s a little bit unnerving to me to be this open with you. But I’m going to go ahead and do it.

As you know, I have 11 lifetime goals. All except one were written in January of 1975. I’ve shared them with you on a previous episode. Now, let me show you how I break them down into measurable and sustainable goal for 2022.

“Goals for 2022”

My lifetime goals are numbered, I keep them in a special section of my prayer notebook. At the start of each new year, I take out a fresh sheet of paper and I head it “Goals for…” whatever that year is. So I’ve done that for 2022. On this paper, I note which lifetime goals I want to work on this year. I can’t always work equally on all 11 of them. So for 2022, this is what my paper looks like. At the head is the topping “Goals for 2022”.

Lifetime Goal #1: “To abandon myself in seeking to know God by cent spending daily time with him.”

Now, for lifetime goal number one, which is, “To abandon myself in seeking to know God by cent spending daily time with him.” My 2022 goal is to spend one and a half hours with the Lord, first thing each morning in Bible reading, memory work, and at least 14 minutes in prayer. I know for some of you one and a half hours is impossible. For me as a 72 year old, it’s not. And so that’s what I want to commit to this year. And the 14 minutes of prayer will make sense to some of you who’ve heard previous podcasts, but I’m trying to add a minute to my intentional prayer with the Lord every day. And this year. I’m on 14 minutes. So that’s under Goal number one.

Lifetime Goal #2: “To make a life-long study of the Word, eventually be able to teach it.”

My lifetime goal number two is to make a lifelong study of the Word and eventually be able to teach it. And so for 2022, my goal is Bible memory, review the book of Colossians one time each week at least. I’ve memorized the book of Colossians in last year, and for this coming year in 2022. I want to memorize Isaiah 40 and 41.

Lifetime Goal #3: “To spend my energies, however God leads, showing God and His Word to people.”

Lifetime goal number three is to spend my energies, however God leads, showing God and His Word to people. So for 2022, my year long goal is to have finished this discipleship series, and pray about if I should continue with new podcasts after that, if so, what topics?

Lifetime Goal #4: “To love, respect and submit to Ray in such a way as to bring glory to God, the Body and Ray (1 Pet. 3:6; 1 Cor. 6:9-20).”

My lifetime goal number four is to love, respect and submit to Ray in such a way as to bring glory to God, the body of Christ and to Ray. My year long goal is, oh boy, not to scoff, or whine or complain to Ray or to God, about Ray’s idea to go down to one car and be a one car family again. My goal is to give it careful consideration and to pray and let God work in my heart. To be honest with Ray about my feelings though, and not to just be stoic.

Lifetime Goal #5: “To raise 3(+?) godly, faithful, loving, and self controlled children.”

My lifetime goal number five, is to raise three or more godly, faithful, loving and self controlled children. So my goal for 2022 is this, actually I have two of them: to plan and execute with excellence our 50th reunion with our whole family of 25 people, and to pray daily for each grandchild by name, using these verses, Psalm 45:16, Psalm 78:6-7, Isaiah 44:3-5, and 61:9, and Revelation 12:11. That’s for my lifetime goal number five, to raise three or more godly, faithful, loving and self controlled children.

Lifetime Goal #7: “To keep myself appealing to Ray in (different ways) in intellect.”

Now I have three more goals for this year. One comes from my lifetime goal number seven, which is to keep myself appealing to Ray in different ways. And this year, I want to concentrate on my intellect. So my goal for 2022 is to read six books this year, and I’ve noted them on a reading list I keep in my notebook.

Lifetime Goal #10: “To be able to play the piano for myself and others.”

Then my next goal for 2022 is goal number ten, to be able to play the piano for myself and others. So my goal for this year is to practice at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week.

Lifetime Goal #11: “To write five books.”

And then my 11th goal is to write five books and my goal for this year, 2022, is to finish To the 10th Generation.

Decide How You’re Going To Accomplish Your Goals This Year

Goals completed by March 1

Now the next step I need to take, I have taken, and you in your discipleship groups need to take is a very important part. Don’t just write goals for the year. I decide how best I can accomplish these goals by December 31. And then I write down what I want to get done in the first three months of this year. For me, this is what it looks like.

I have five short-term goals that I want to complete by March 1.

  1. Under my #2 Lifetime Goal above, I’ve written: “Memorize Isaiah 40:18-23” while continuing to review Colossians and the other verses I’ve memorized in Isaiah. But by March 1, I want to have fully under control the whole book of Colossians and Isaiah 40:18-23.
  2. Under my #3 Lifetime Goal above, I want to write out and record five podcasts early by January 15 to be used while I’m ministering in Britain in January and February. That’s very measurable by January 15.
  3. Under my #5 Lifetime Goal above, I want to contact each child regarding transportation costs to our reunion. And I want to contact the hotel to review and add any needed updates on the contract we have with them.
  4. Under #7 about reading six books this year, I’ve written: I want to finish Why God Makes Sense in a World That Doesn’t by our son Gavin. And I want to finish “Deeper” by our son Dane, that’s by March 1.
  5. And finally under #11, which is to finish my book To the 10th Generation, I’ve written: “Have my book proposal finished, all the revisions done, and it sent in by March 1.”

You can see how these are measurable. You can ask me on March 2, “Janie, please recite from memory, Isaiah 40:18-23. Or you could ask me if I finished my reading goal, or if my book proposal is finished, or, well, you get it. You make your lifetime goals, and then you write yearlong goals from them. And then you get very specific and write how you’re going to accomplish those through short term goals between now and March 1. What I want you to see is that a lifetime goal makes no sense at all. If you only keep it in the out-there-ness of the future, rather than bringing it into the up close and personal of your day to day life.

“SMART” Goals

An acrostic that I’ve found helpful for me as I think through my goals each year is this be SMART. For the S, make your goals specific. For the M in smart, make them measurable. For the A, make them achievable. For the R, make them royal (related to my nobility as a daughter of the king). And for the T, make them tasty. My goals have to be motivating for me, otherwise they just sit on the paper and I never accomplish them. Now pause the podcast and discuss in your group what you’ve just heard.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Royal (related to my nobility as a daughter of the King)
  • Tasty—motivating to me

Alright, ladies, I hope in your discussion, that you’ve been able to go through questions, maybe you’ve got some disagreements or suggestions among yourself how to do this differently. I just want you to be able to see and if you have questions, you can go on the website and see this written out. It’ll make more sense to you but leaders make sure you discuss this in your group and after you’ve discussed it fully take a five minute break.

Accountability Check-In

Now I want you to come back to accountability and your new assignment. First of all, leaders check with your group about their quiet times are you doing a read through the Bible together? Ask for a volunteer to share some of her experiences in her quiet time since you last met. How are their verses of meditation going? Review the books of the Old Testament together by memory. Keep saying them together so they’ll stay fresh in your mind.

Next Week’s Assignment

And then I want you to give your ladies this assignment for this coming week.

  • Continue with their six quiet times each week and meditating on their verse throughout the day.
  • Finish writing your lifetime goals.
  • And I want you to write goals for this coming year and also short term goals at least three. But I would write no more than eight short term goals. They have to be attainable. You have to be able to achieve them. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
  • Be ready to share at least three of them next week at your meeting. Three short term goals that you want to accomplish between now and March 1.
  • And then I want each member of your group to purchase a copy of the book Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You’re going to be reading this together as a group as we think about our second priority, our Christian community.
  • Also pray for each other regularly. Decide how you’re going to do that if you’re gonna draw names or pray over everyone in your group.
  • And then begin planning for an extended quiet time between now and March 1.

That’s your assignment. Now leaders take some time to share prayer requests and pray for each other. My prayer for you all is that God will restore your souls as you seek him together. God bless you.

Thank You

Thank you for joining us today. This podcast is generously funded through Renewal Ministries. If you would like to discover more about Jani and Ray’s ministry or make a donation, visit their website at If you have a question for Jani or would like to learn more about this podcast, please visit our website at

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About The Podcast

He Restores My Soul with Jani Ortlund seeks to encourage women with God’s renewing power for their busy lives. Episodes include relevant biblical teaching, stimulating gospel conversations with other Christians, and “Ask Jani” sessions where we talk about what’s on our listeners’ hearts.

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