“Pray for me this New Year’s Eve. I have less than 20 hours to lose 30 lbs., read through the Bible and write 40 thank you letters!”

Haven’t we all felt this way at some level or another on New Year’s Eve?

The reason is because life is tough, and our natural tendency is to disengage and sit in neutral, which inevitably leads to sliding backward in various areas of our lives. Because there’s really no such thing as neutral – you’re either moving forward or backward in life.

This is why setting goals is vital for successful living. Goals keep you moving forward.

Since New Year’s is only a few days away, we’ve decided to let you in on our goal-setting grid that moves us toward success in the areas of life we feel are vital. We made it as practical as we could in effort to get you kick-started on setting your own goals.

Get your copy of the Benham brothers’ first book, “Whatever the Cost: Facing Your Fears, Dying to Your Dreams, and Living Powerfully,” right now!

We’ve narrowed our goals down to fit into five categories: Faith, family, fitness, food and finances.

Faith – First and foremost is our faith. Neglecting this leaves us empty and without purpose. The prophet Haggai encouraged the people of his time in this, saying, “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied … and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes in it” (Haggai 1:5-6).

No matter how many goals we accomplish, without a right relationship with Jesus we are “putting our money into bags with holes in it.” We’ve known dozens of professional athletes and entrepreneurial millionaires who were miserable when they reached the top – because they neglected their faith.

This is why every year our No. 1 goal is to spend dedicated time reading the Bible and praying. Here’s our Bible-reading schedule we’ve used since we were 12 years old. Incorporating just 15 minutes of Bible reading and prayer is enough to transform your life immeasurably and place a purpose behind all your goals.

Family – If you don’t budget quality time with your family, chances are you’re growing apart and don’t even know it. Date night with your spouse and movie night with the kids is an easy way to build your budget here.

A simple way to do this is to make a standing date night once a week, twice a month, or whatever you can reasonably do. Even if you don’t have the money, just go on a walk or do something exclusively with your spouse. As for the kids, there are a myriad of ways to spend time with them (Bible studies, trips, etc.), but a simple, fun thing we do is dinner and a movie (or board games) at least twice a month, and often weekly. Our kids love it and have grown to cherish the time we spend together. But you’ve got to plan it and stick with the plan or it won’t get done.

Fitness – We’ve heard it said, “Most people spend all their health trying to earn wealth, only to spend all their wealth trying to get their health back.” How true that statement is.

You’ve got to spend time and money on your health. If you neglect this, you’ll lack the additional energy it takes to build your faith and grow your family. But it takes time, which is why we prefer high intensity interval training, or HIIT, as our preferred method of fitness. It’s short, yet impactful. Thirty minutes of exercise (including stretching) is all you need to make great strides in your fitness.

Here’s an example in minutes:

1-5: Brisk walk warm up

5-10: Light jog

10-15: Stretch

15-25: Tabata workout (20 sec intervals of air squats, pushups, burpees, sit-ups)

25-30: Stretch

(Here’s a good Tabata timer. Work 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds. Do four rounds for each exercise and work up to eight as you get in shape).

Food – This is a tough one. Research shows that sugar is more addictive than drugs such as heroin and cocaine! The problem is, even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, many of the foods you eat (like bread and pasta) produce the same negative effects as sugar. So it requires serious discipline to overcome this addiction.

We try to live by the 90/10 rule (90 percent of the time we avoid all bread/sugar while budgeting 10 percent for cheat meals – mostly on date night and family time). The best strategy is to simply make it a habit to stay away from man-made foods, especially sugar and flour, while sticking to God-made foods. But go easy here – everything in moderation is key (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Finances – Dave Ramsey says, “If you live like no one else, you’ll eventually live like no one else.” You have to be willing to live below your means, if at all possible, to get out of debt, build savings and start investing in your future. No matter where you are in the world of finances, there’s always hope when you decide to set up a budget and live by it – even when it hurts.

One of the best resources on the planet to help you with your finances is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Invest in this – it will bless your family for generations. We applied these rules early in our lives (before Ramsey) and have seen them work firsthand!

Finally, you must remember that you don’t have to accomplish your goals all at once. Just make simple strides – like swinging an ax five times on a large oak tree, setting it down and moving on with your day. Eventually, the tree is going to fall. Just stay consistent.

If you are intentionally faithful this year about your faith, family, fitness, food and finances, we guarantee you won’t need an emergency prayer next year to accomplish your goals on New Year’s Eve!

Media wishing to interview Jason & David Benham, please contact [email protected].

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