Creating Bucket Goals

Practically Creating Goals for the New Year

by Justyn Smith / January 7, 2016

I’ve learned that our lives can be divided into buckets and a healthy person can manage up to about five buckets effectively. Each bucket can handle up to five sub-buckets. This helps create a healthy balance and boundaries. For example, here are my five buckets:

1. Personal
2. Family
3. Community/Church
4. Vocation/Ministry
5. Finance

I created challenging, yet attainable, goals for each bucket. Some of my buckets have up to 5 sub-buckets. For example, under my Family and Vocation buckets I have:

Family:
• Husband
• Father
• Son
• Grandson

Vocation:
• River Valley Family Ministries Pastor
• Writing/Speaking
• justynsmith.com

Those are my five buckets. What are your five buckets?

It’s important to think about the areas of your life where you want to set goals and see growth. If we are not intentional with our buckets, we find ourselves overwhelmed, lost, and never accomplishing our goals because we never set ourselves up for success in the first place. Here are some practical ways to develop and assess your goals.

Genuine Goals

Is your goal genuine? When writing goals it’s important to make sure your goals are your goals. You’ll never be truly driven or be truly fulfilled if you’re chasing someone else’s dreams. It’s okay to ask yourself this question: “Is this what I really want to do?”

As a believer, God is the only One who should ever trump that question. God is pretty good about letting us have the desires of our heart, especially when we’re walking in His will.

This statement is not implying that you shouldn’t reach the goals set out by your employer, etc. This statement has to do with guiding your personal goals and the direction of your life.

Also, make sure that the goal you are setting isn’t just something that everyone else is doing or something you saw on the fly and now you want to mimic. Take time and have an honest conversation with yourself and God. Don’t try to trick yourself into wanting it by feeling like you have to justify it. That’s usually a hint that it’s not genuine.

Be yourself.

Positive Goals

Think positive when you’re writing out your goals. There’s power in positivity and optimism. I believe Christ put that in us. Instead of focusing on the things you won’t do this year, focus on the thing you want to do.

For example, “I don’t want to waste my time this year” is a great goal, but has a negative tone to it. Reword it to something like “I will maximize my time this year to make a difference.”

Yes, it’s the same goal just worded differently, but it makes all the difference for some people. It’s the difference between a “budget” and a “spending plan.” They’re the exact same thing, but one has more of a positive spin. Everyone wants to spend (positive). Who wants to budget (negative)? Think about what you want to accomplish, instead of what you don’t want. Write out how you will do it—not how you will not do it.

Contradicting Goals

When writing goals it’s important to stand back and see if any of your goals contradict each other. Almost nothing will frustrate you more than contradicting goals.

Imagine setting a financial goal, but at the same time setting another goal that requires financial investment. These goals would have the potential of contradicting each other. You could have worked diligently at putting your money away only to become frustrated with your return. It could be even more frustrating to later research why something like that happened and find out that it’s because you’ve been investing money into a conflicting goal.

Avoid contradicting goals by:

1. After writing out your goals, go over them again. Read them aloud to yourself or have someone else read them to you. It’s amazing how different things can sound when someone else is doing the talking.

2. Have a close confidant take a look at your goals to gain another perspective. Because we are so passionate about our personal goals, we can sometimes overlook goals that contradict each other.

3. Expect realistic outcomes. Understand that you may have to readjust your goals. In the example used above, understand that you can both save and spend, but you probably cannot save and spend as much as you would like. Or readjust your goals. For example, you decide to save this year and spend next.

Avoid the frustration and going around in circles by not setting goals that contradict each other.

Written Goals

Now, write your goals down. When I first began creating goals for myself, I made a crucial mistake—not writing them down. Why didn’t I write them down? I didn’t write them down because I thought having them logged into the abyss of my brain was good enough. Well, it’s not. Even the Bible talks about writing a vision down and making it plain!

Writing out your goals is just the beginning and puts everything in motion. I’ll never forget walking into my pastor’s office and seeing these huge statements on his whiteboard; they were his goals for that year. It was brilliant! Every time he walked into his office, he would stare at those goals and that would help keep him on track.

When you look at your goals everyday, it causes you to think about them. You’ll feel good about your progress or convicted that you’re not sticking to your plan. Either way you’re thinking about them and that usually calls people to action. And to ensure that you see them, record your goals in a few spots where you’re forced to look at them.