Thursday, May 15, 2014


Photo courtesy of Luigi Diamanti /

By both nature and nurture I am a high achiever. In certain ways, I love to create long lists of ambitions; the more items to check off the better. The high of placing the Nike swoosh next to my accomplishments is elevating. Yet goals choke me.

I was trying to figure out a means to practice goals without the noose when I wrote "Overwhelmed with Goals?". One of the concepts was that by omitting the time-bound aspect of a goal and accepting that all goals will not be fulfilled, the suffocation could end. 

I felt disconcerted both while writing and after posting "Overwhelmed with Goals?" Disregarding crucial aspects of goals diminishes the power of goals as a tool for behavior change and achievement. My revised outlook is that when a goal would serve me well, I will make it a SMART goal (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). However, I am sick of being crushed by my myriads of goals. Consequently, I will only set goals that I have an actual intention and commitment to achieving at the present moment in time. I can still capture inspirations on paper, but I will re-label those “goals” as “aspirations.” It sounds like a minor difference, but my soul feels at peace with this differentiation and it is working well for me.

Currently I am boycotting goals. I need a reprise. I am trying dream seeking. Amazingly I have undergone more forward movement toward my aspirations than ever before. I am not going to pretend that I am a leading expert in this field; I’m not. Experts may hate the idea of un-goalifying.  But I know what I need for me and I suspect that some of you are in need of the same thing. There are four aspects of un-goalifying that came into play for me.

Authenticity – If my spirit is not completely on board with a change in my lifestyle; I cannot force it. I value authenticity too much. That used to make me angry. I thought I was unmotivated. Not so.

Have you ever stated an intention to do something that aligns with society’s values but if you are honest with yourself, you don’t actually care? For me, cooking, decorating, cleaning, and organizing were like that. There is value in all of those things, but these aspects of life are not integral to my development. Yet I beat myself up when I inevitably fail to follow through. I was overwhelming myself with goals regarding things I did not actually care about. God, in His infinite wisdom, graciously gifted me with indifference in some areas of life. This frees me up to focus on my purpose on this planet.

Balance – Sometimes the effort required to achieve my goals demands too large of a shift in my mental energy and time. It can be so tempting to make really ambitious goals. After all, why would you choose to set yourself up to lose just ½ pound a week when you could say you are going to lose 2 pounds a week? Perhaps you are deeply inspired to take control of your health, but that does not mean the right balance is for you to chase the most ambitious goal that experts decree as healthy? When I am ready to make goals again, I am going to take them seriously. No need to rush it. I can negotiate with myself until I find a balance that I am truly comfortable with. It does not matter if someone else achieves the same result in less time; I have to do what is right for me.

Filter – I used to think that what I needed was to hone in on a particular aspiration category such as health or finances. It frustrated me because I am a woman of many interests. Additionally, no revelation from heaven came about which direction to go. I felt angry because I thought if God wants me to fulfill his purpose, why is he not telling me what to do? I was looking for a specific path to follow; God is bigger than that. His response looked different than I expected. I asked for focus; he gave me a filter. Instead of an occupation, God gave me a purpose. That purpose is to liberate people from their fear and doubt into grace and love so that they may experience the peace and joy of God. I am here to experience and share liberating grace. However that looks.

Flexibility – With a broad objective like experiencing and sharing liberating grace, how do I move forward on a day to day basis? I desire to be a productive and successful person. Are goals the solution? Not for me. I will dream seek and move through my day with an open heart. I can have faith that God will use the Holy Spirit to shine a light on my next steps. There is excitement alongside the infinite possibilities; the outcome and direction is in God’s hands.

What do you think? Do you want to un-goalify your life? Are goals working well for you? Either way, leave a comment below and lets discuss.


  1. I agree, the whole concept of "goals" can be very intimidating and a bit brutal especially if it was an unrealistic goal to begin with. It's funny, because I've always wanted to be more artsy. I love looking at art and I often think, "I could do that!" The problem is, I'm very unmotivated when it comes to creating tangible art. Who knows, maybe someday I'll feel a surge of passion to create the next masterpiece but for now I think I'm content being a passionate observer.

  2. True true. I like that term "passionate observer."