Stop Setting Goals

At the beginning of every year people set endless “New Year’s Resolutions.” Go to the gym, lose weight, start reading more often, kick a habit or even pick up a brand new hobby. You name it and there’s a goal for it. Well stop it! Stop setting goals….

At least when it comes to your spiritual life.

Now before you crucify this article (and me) for lunacy because you crush your plans every time, allow me to explain myself. Spiritual goals have the potential to be good. Read through your Bible in a year, pray more often, or get involved in church are all great targets to aim at.

The challenge is the failure rate created by goals for everyone who is not the type A walking motivational poster type person. Most of us well intentioned people start off with a blend of ambition and confidence. Then quickly fail within a few weeks, and finally give up within a month or two.

Then the next year rolls around and the cycle repeats itself all over again. Set a goal, try really hard, fail a few times, and then just give up. So you read the book on goal setting, watch a few Ted talks on how to accomplish your dreams, listen to some motivational speech from a guru on your best life now. Yet your plans still reached the same conclusions. They rarely work out.

Now that this post feels like a walking demotivational poster, and I’ve successfully torn the metaphorical walls down of goal setting. Let’s rebuild this house on a more solid ground.

Start a New Rhythm

Instead of spiritual goals for this year, implement new spiritual rhythms. Rhythms are habits you weave into the fabric of the natural course of your day. For instance, the reason most diets fail is because people decided to stop eating everything they have ever eaten and start eating stuff like kale (ugh gross). If that same dieter merely built a rhythm of healthy eating into their family’s lifestyle, they would find weight loss is a byproduct of their new rhythm.

Goals come and go. Rhythms become a lifestyle, and if you create goals before you set new rhythms, you are setting yourself up for failure. If you plan to read through your Bible in a year, and you never created a rhythm of daily Bible reading, then eventually you will fail on your self imposed challenge.

So for 2018, stop setting spiritual goals and start setting rhythms.

Here’s how you do it.

  1. Evaluate your current spiritual rhythms

    Are you making time to read your Bible? Is prayer a regular routine in your life?  Does church have a priority in your family’s schedule?Asking questions like these help you evaluate the current state of your spiritual rhythm, and progress isn’t available until evaluation is on the table (yep I just rhymed there).

  2. Think through/write down the new rhythms you wish to create.

    After you evaluate, start thinking through, writing down, and planning the new rhythms you want to create in your life.  Success comes when we evaluate and adjust. The start of a new year affords you the perfect opportunity to make spiritual adjustments.

  3. Start applying

    Take those new rhythms you just decided on, pray over them, and start applying.  As you weave these new habits into your normal routine, you will find they eventually become a part of you.  Goals will come and go, but these new rhythms will last a lifetime.

2018 should be the best year ever, and it’s not because you set a New Years Resolution.  It’s because the rhythms you create today will affect the rest of your life.  Make today the start of the best life possible.

Comment below with the new rhythm you plan on creating.

8 thoughts on “Stop Setting Goals

  1. I couldn’t agree more! My spiritual goal is to remind myself every time I start to worry about my incarcerated husband “God loves him more than me. That’s a lot of love!” That’s it. Everything else will fall into place with perseverance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great rhythm to create. I’m sure it’s difficult but there’s a lot of wisdom in doing that.


      1. I’m sure there’s wisdom in all of this…


  2. You are right. My constant goal is quality time to the Lord. I findI I get distracted and my mind wonders and I get frustrated with myself. It’s a battle for me. I desire my time with the Lord to be relaxing and a time for me to lose myself in him. I will try to just read a portion of scription rather than chapters. Are daily devotional ok. I feel like I am cheating. I feel like I should be doing more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. daily devotions are perfectly fine. Do whatever works best for you.


  3. David VanLerberg January 1, 2018 — 2:38 pm

    I set a rhythm goal a little better than a year ago and now reading the word every morning is as natural as brushing my teeth and combing my hair.
    Planned activities lead to accomplished goals.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love this David. That’s exactly what I’m talking about.


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