At the start of a new year, we’re pressured to set lofty goals for the future. Read twenty books. Eat healthier. Get a new job. Lose sixty pounds. Learn to mountain bike. While intentional and ambitious goal-setting is great, we can often forget where our goals should begin and who they should focus on. We fail to remember who numbers our days and who orders our steps. Instead, as we begin with prayer, we make sure our goals are focused on God’s transformation of our hearts—not our own striving to mold ourselves into people who appear good on the surface.

As you pray through these questions, reflect on the past year and refocus on the year ahead. Ask God how he wants to transform you this year with these questions:

Where do I need to listen more?

Our world has become so loud, listening is becoming a lost art. If you’re a person who is quick to speak, maybe your verse this year needs to be James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

Where do I need to speak up more?

Maybe God wants you to cultivate boldness this year as you speak up against injustice and for God’s love for the world. Ask him to show you where he wants you to speak up and for him to provide the words when the time comes.

Where do I need to trust God more?

Do you have a hard time trusting God with your finances? What about your kids? Do you trust God to lead them and take care of them? Hold on to the truth of Matthew 6:25-34 to fight worry and cultivate trust in God this year.

Where do I need to pay more attention?

As time goes on, the essential things can fall by the wayside as the most urgent things beckon for our attention. Maybe you need to pay more attention to intentional time with your kids or your spouse. What about your time with God? Ask him where he wants you to refocus your attention this year.

Where do I need to express more patience?

Especially as we set goals, patience is important. Maybe your goal for the past few years has been to get a new job. How can you pursue this goal and express patience this year? No matter what the goal is, your patient pursuit of it will express trust and hope in God.

Let’s heed the wisdom of the proverbs that warns, “Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” (Proverbs 19:2) Instead of coming before God with our goals and plans—asking for his stamp of approval on our ideas—humbly seek his guidance and direction first.