Yesterday, I admitted the fear and anxiety churning inside as January 1st loomed closer. I wondered if I should even go through an elaborate goal setting process.
A lot of people dismiss the new year, or even treat it cynically. New Year’s resolutions? No one keeps them, anyway. It’s just a day on the calendar.
Attainable goals take dedication and patience. Learning to set them and follow through is both an art and a discipline. In my experience, it’s a worthwhile practice.
Letting January 1st pass without setting goals means not having to face all the fears and discomfort and junk that bubbles up when we attempt new things.
And I’ll just tell you, I’m tempted to join that camp this year. Life is going well. Why risk setting a goal and failing?
In a quiet moment, between the what if’s and indecision, came the reason: if I set goals that are within my current capacity, ones that I already have the resources for, I’m leaving God out of the equation.
If I set no goals at all, then I give in to fear. I start the year hoping only to stay where I am. I start the year with low expectations of myself and my God.
I won’t achieve all my goals, and I’ll have to edit them as I go, but I’m setting the intention and the direction.
As I think about which goals to set, I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. Instead of making it all about me, I’m seeking God’s wisdom and direction. I’m fighting the urge to rely on my own strength and set goals I already know I can achieve.
God’s vision is so much bigger than mine that He will ensure that the good He works in my life doesn’t stop with me. I can have a hand in so much more when I join mine with His.
So often I’ve set my hope in my own competency and striving, only to be sorely disappointed. Working hard and planning well are important, but tiresome and empty without God.
As long as I rely solely on myself and my goals revolve around my own gain, they will be empty.
I’m praying about what God wants my 2014 to look like, instead of telling Him what I want it to look like and asking Him to assist. If I’m honest, this might be the first new year I’ve gotten that order right.
I don’t want to accomplish only what’s possible within my own strength. I want the dreams God would give me, the ones that produce real fruit.
A few guidelines that are helping me so far:
- Honesty: no more setting goals I think will impress other people.
- Pencil: no more pressure to forecast an entire year with limited information.
- Daily: picturing what a small, daily step could look like so big goals feel more manageable.
How does the idea of setting goals that aren’t “all about you” strike you?