If you want to “crush it” in 2019, you might be thinking of all the things you want to accomplish this year. You might be surprised to find that doing fewer things might be the key to making this your best year ever. I am an avid writer of New Year’s resolutions and goals. I find it disheartening, therefore, when I review my goals late in the year and realize only a few of what I considered to be priorities actually got done. I think part of the problem has to do with the number of priorities we pursue.
Determine Your Priority
The dictionary defines the word “priority” as:
Priority: If something is a priority, it is the most important thing you have to do or deal with or must be done or dealt with before everything else you have to do (Collins Dictionary).
That definition makes perfect sense. We get into trouble when we start listing out multiple “priorities.”
“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities. Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow, we would now be able to have multiple ‘first’ things.” – Greg McKeown, Essentialism
Many of us aren’t crushing it in our lives because we are getting crushed under the burden of too many “priorities.” Some of the things we pursue might be to:
- Help our church grow
- Lose weight
- Reduce debt
- Save a soul
- Have a deeper walk with God
- Get closer as a family
- Organize our garage (finally)
When these goals are listed out as equally-weighted priorities, it is difficult to generate enough energy to overcome inertia and get something amazing done in a year.
Let’s learn from how Jesus determined his priority: ” …And when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’ Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else— to the nearby villages— so I can preach there also. That is why I have come. ‘” Mark 1:37-38 NIV
Jesus had spent the previous day healing the sick. But instead of continuing doing what most would consider incredibly important work, he spent time in prayer, refocused on his priority and essentially said no to lesser “priorities.” He said yes to his priority of preaching the gospel. That is how he changed the world in only three years of public ministry.
When my wife, Pam, and I planted the church in Tucson, Arizona in September of 2012 I had written down a long list of goals to accomplish:
- 250 at our first service on 9/30/12
- 100 members by 12/31/13
- Financially self-supporting by 9/30/14
- 1st mission team sent off by 9/30/14
- 100 enrolled disciples at the University of Arizona by 9/30/17
- 10th mission team sent off by 9/30/22
The only goal we actually hit was the first one when we had 483 at our inaugural service. We didn’t grow to 100 members until our second anniversary on 9/30/2014. The rest are either “in process” or way behind schedule. In spite of all the apparent failure, I realize there was only one goal or priority that mattered: getting our church to grow to100 members. That has allowed us to build and plan for even greater things. Even though I had many “priorities” there was really only one priority: grow as fast as possible to a self-sustaining size. All the other goals either contribute toward that one or depend on that one.
Are you tired of setting goals and not hitting them? Are you hesitant to even set goals becauseyou don’t want to be disappointed why what you aren’t getting done? Are you ready to start crushing it in 2019?
You need to determine your priority this year. What absolutely must be done? What has to happen that is more important than all other valuable pursuits. We hesitate to think this way because we hear the mantra “maintain a balanced life” whispering in our ears. Jesus was able to heal and help people along the way and still maintain his mission to preach the word.
Here are some practical steps that can help you determine and accomplish something great this year:
- Determine your priority: What one goal, if it got accomplished this year, would bring you the greatest satisfaction and peace? Write it down.
- Make a “Stop Doing” list. Pull outa sheet of paper and write down the things you are doing which don’t contribute toward your priority. Commit to cutting them from your personal or church calendar. Everything you do must support your priority or it must be abandoned.
By definition, only one thing can be a priority. What is it for you? Decide to crush it in 2019.
Rob Skinner leads a church in Tucson, Arizona. If you want to grow as a person and as a leader, join him at the “Look Up” Small Church Leaders’ Conference this coming May. You can register at LookUp2019.Com.