7 Helpful Ways to Know Your Priorities & Make Plans for the Future

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 It's almost impossible to make wise life decisions when we don't know our goals and priorities. Here are 7 steps to help you know yours...

It’s almost here . . . the start of a New Year.

It always feels like a fresh start. A do-over for… Resolutions. Goals. Hopes. And Dreams.

Stephen Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has made a career out of encouraging people to list their goals and priorities and then schedule their lives accordingly.

But that can be easier said than done.

We live in a world filled with demands and distractions making it easy for us to spend our time frantically moving through each day just trying to keep up . . . striving to please the least satisfied and whiniest people around us and ending up exhausted and frustrated.

That’s why we need to know our goals and priorities and plan well.

The truth is, it’s almost impossible to make wise decisions when we don’t know…

Where to go? What to do? Who to include? What’s important?

So, in preparation for the new year, let’s take a look at…

7 Steps to Know Your Priorities
and Apply Them to Your Life

1. List possible priority categories in no particular order.

  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Faith
  • Career
  • Finances
  • Education
  • Stuff
  • Hobbies

2. Then list your specific priorities for each category.

  • Relationships – Spouse, children, extended family, friends, co-workers, neighbors.
  • Health – Diet, exercise, regular health screenings, add supplements, stop an unhealthy habit, start a healthy habit.
  • Faith – Read the Bible, pray more, join a church, join a small group Bible Study.
  • Career – Promotion, keep current position, become a better team member, increase sales, mentor a new co-worker.
  • Finances – Plan a budget, give to charity, pay off debt, invest, or save for a purchase.
  • Education – Get a degree, home-school your children, read the classics, take a class, teach a class.
  • Stuff – Simplify, organize, share, clean and keep up.
  • Hobbies – Daydream about what you’d do if only you had the time to do it.

3. This is important! Give your priorities an eternal perspective.

What if we evaluated our life choices based on whether they would make an eternal difference? Whether they’re part of God’s plans and purposes for us? Whether they show our love for Him and others?

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective. Colossians 3:1–2 (MSG)

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Pray for an eternal perspective as you think about your list of priorities.

4. Now, list your priorities in order of importance.

Grab a new piece of paper and list your priorities based on what you have determined is most important. Begin with those people and activities you want to give a greater amount of time, and end with those things you might consider giving up.

5. Make a list of short-term and long-term goals based on your priorities. 

Think about where you would like to be in five or ten years.

Pray for wisdom and guidance as you look toward the future God has planned and is preparing for you.

If you had to limit “extra” activities for yourself and your children which ones could go? Where do you need to adjust your finances? Would you like to finish your degree or get an advanced degree? This is the blueprint of your plan of action.

6. Examine your calendar, to-do list, and credit card statement/checkbook to make adjustments.

I’m looking at my planner from a new point of view. I want my relationships, activities, and finances to represent those things that are important based on God’s will for me this year.

Be honest. Be bold. Be mindful and prayerful.

7. And finally . . . practice saying “no!”

Expect push-back from the people in your life. There will be those who won’t like or agree with your changes. You may even live with some of them.

So, patiently talk with them. Listen to them. Pray with them. And ask God to give you the wisdom and courage you need to say “no” to the things that need to go.

 It's almost impossible to make wise life decisions when we don't know our goals and priorities. Here are 7 steps to help you know yours...

Before we get started, let’s pray…

A Prayer to Know Your Priorities and
Make Plans for the Future

Father, thank you for the blessing of a new year. May I use it well for Your glory by knowing my priorities and planning my days according to Your will maintaining an eternal perspective . . . a perspective that is focused on Jesus.

Jesus said, ” I am going to prepare a place for you[.] When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:2b–3) “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33) And, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

I believe those are the priorities You want for me. Please help me take those words of Jesus to my heart as I prepare my list of priorities and restructure my schedule over the coming days.

Please guide me by the power of Your Spirit and help me live for Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 It's almost impossible to make wise life decisions when we don't know our goals and priorities. Here are 7 steps to help you know yours...

I wear a bracelet each day that says “SEEK FIRST.”

It’s my reminder that above all else in my life I want to KNOW, TRUST, and LOVE the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Those are my priorities. Why?

Because when you and I KNOW Jesus we want to have a relationship with Him . . . a relationship that is personal and intimate, that SEEKS to KNOW and TRUST His will and follow it because we LOVE Him.

Oh, I know I’m going to fall short of doing that perfectly but I don’t want to give up. I want to make knowing, trusting, and loving Jesus my greatest priority.

I’m praying for you this weekend. May the Lord be with you, guide you, and bless you throughout the New Year.

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  1. What a wonderful guideline you’ve given us here, Deb, for prioritizing our lives to reflect our commitment to Jesus. That’s how I want to live my days!
    Blessings, and Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you, Martha! Your encouragement is always a blessing! I sure do appreciate you and your friendship. Blessings and hugs!

    2. Uwizeye Jemima says:

      You brought me through difficult time deb am really appreciate your job

      1. What a kind thing to say, Jemima! I’m so glad that the Lord was able to use me to encourage you! I’m praising Him for holding you close and for meeting your need. Blessings!

  2. Zoenitta Toler says:

    Prioritizing that i need prayer to straight my priorities out i has a older son in the group home he needs to be with his mother that she gets help she needs with her son he been in group home all of his life when he was little boy i was was young myself when i has him i has my first apartment in the project i has mother all ways help me out with her grandchildren she gone in the Lord now I need to get my priorities right with my son how get him out of the group home he needs his mother I don’t know what to to do here who going to help me with my son same help he gets from the group home they can he me with my son in the home he was doing good when he was little boy he was in autism classroom i really don’t know what happened to him why he don’t have his education like his basic skills and his independent on his own and do things for himself by have a job for himself so he can have his own money he was on disability when he was little boy it was in my name then from there it got taken out of my name went in my mother name then from there group home what really happened here can you pray for me and my son

    1. Joining you in prayer for your son and for you, Zoenitta. Thank you so much for visiting and for allowing us to pray for you! God bless you!

  3. I’m with you – the first and most important priority in my life is getting and growing a trusting, warm and intimate relationship with Jesus. I’m learning over the years that the most, the only important thing in life is, that what kind of relationship I have with the Lord. There are a tons of things I would like to do, but when I look at things from a heavenly perspective they don’t look that important anymore.
    Besides Jesus, my main focus is on my husband. To care for him, and to ensure that Jesus can use me as a good chanel to guide him to Himself.
    I have a hard time to schedule my days, let alone plan ahead for short and long term goals 🥴. Once I heard a really good sermon from Spurgeon about prayers. Part of the sermon was to put everything in prayer to God. So that’s what I’m trying to follow. There are dreams and desires I would like to accomplish but only want to follow His will for my and our life. My biggest prayer is to get a discerning spirit to recognize the Lord’s will in my daily activities 🙏😇💞
    Have a blessed day my friend

    1. What a beautiful prayer and goal for the year ahead, Gaby. I’m with you! Seeking the Lord to grow in our relationship with Him . . . that’s the most important most fulfilling goal in the world. God bless you as you surrender each day to Him in faith.

  4. Deloris Cokley Miller says:

    Dear Lord my prayer is to strengthen my thoughts and have more faith build my understanding that you can’t change a person and I have to change myself my prayer is that my son’s be men’s and raised there children stop using alcohol and substance getting their priority with the Lord in order and for all of us to spend more time with him amen.

    1. Joining you in lifting up this beautiful heartfelt prayer, Deloris. Thank you for visiting and for allowing us to join you in prayer. God bless you!