As we are all focusing on setting goals for the new year, I thought it was important to stop and take a moment to remember why we set goals in the first place. This reminder is as much for myself as it is for you, but one that holds so much power for intentional goal setting. Because setting goals is more about guiding yourself than an absolute thing. Sometimes that even means you won't reach your goals, and that you don't want to.
Sometimes you will set intentional goals for yourself and never reach them. This may sound disappointing and feel like failure, but sometimes there are situations when you don't want to reach your goals. There are times when it may be better for you to not achieve the goals you set for yourself. Even if the goals you set for yourself are great goals, life may take you in a different direction.
The point of setting intentional goals isn’t to try to plan your entire life. It’s to help guide you in finding His purpose for your life.
Goals aren’t set in stone. Just because you set a goal doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind, or change paths, or not get anywhere close to reaching it. When we sit down to set our goals each year, we think and dream and pray to try to figure out what we are supposed to do that year. The truth is that we don't always know. So even with being as intentional as you can be, you won't know where God is going to take you. That doesn't mean that goal setting is pointless or a waste of time. Goal setting is the best way to think through your year, makes dreams and plans for what you want to achieve, and set yourself up for a year full of purpose and intent. Goal setting is how we find our way. It's how we figure out where we are supposed to go from here and how to get there. It's just that sometimes our goals need to change over time as we walk through life.
I'm the perfect example of this. 2016 was a year of big goals for me. I dreamed of where I wanted to take my business. I planned for things to happen in my life. But it just wasn’t where God wanted me this year. And that’s perfectly ok with me because ultimately I want to follow His plan for my life. Instead of doing those things for my business and life, I had to scale back. I had to put some goals on hold in order to make room for bigger things (like having a baby!). I thought through my goals with intention. But as the months went by, I gained more clarity of where I should be focusing my time and energy and heart and my goals shifted with that. At the end of this year, several goals I set weren't met. In fact, my PowerSheets laid untouched most of the year too. But what I learned from not reaching my goals wasn't that it meant failure, but that it meant I was surrendering my goals to God to let Him take me where I needed to go instead of trying to force my own plan. And ironically my word for last year was surrender. When I set that word for my year, I didn't know how it would change my heart so much. That's the beauty of intentional goal setting.
This is encouragement for all of us to approach our goals with open hearts and open arms so that we can find our true purpose for this year. So that we use our goals to guide us in finding where God wants is to be and how he wants to use us this year. So that we aren't so chained down by the goals we set that we feel like a failure if we don't reach them. Because sometimes not reaching one of your goals means you've found something else that holds much more meaning for your life. That is what intentional goal setting is all about.