What If We Didn’t Let Goals Lead Us?

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Right now, we’re being inundated by messages like, “New year, new you,” “Make this year count,” and “Plan your best year ever.” Part of me relishes these challenges—this is the year that I can do better, be more, and come into my own!

But another part of me shrinks back. It sounds so hard, not because I don’t want to put forth the effort, but because, in the past, I’ve viewed goals as taskmasters and slave-drivers, minimum standards to be met at all costs.

I’m tired of being pushed around by oppressive goals AND I’m tired of not having a clear plan and just hoping for the best. What would it look like to be led by something more than just goals?

Related: 5 Essential Steps To Make Plans That Don’t Fail

Goal-setting is supposed to be helpful, but we dread it.

I think our negative experiences from the past cause us to dread them. Here’s how it looked for me personally:

I made my goals all about who I’m not.

As someone who believes she’s Never Enough ( , goal-setting time made me take stock of all the ways I failed so that I could create goals to shore up weaknesses. I label this lack of self-acceptance as “self-improvement.”

I made my goals a way to prove my worth.

As someone who believes that she must perform to be loved, I valued goal achievement because it validated my worth. Reaching the goal made me feel talented and respected, while not achieving the goal made me feel terrible.

I made my goals define my success.

As someone who wants to be viewed as perfect, I used goals as a way to prove I’m successful. When I met my goals—or even better, surpassed them—I deemed myself a success.

However, those same goals served as an inner critic in my head constantly chirping about how I’m failing, that I need to try harder, and get it together.

Related: How To Plan Your Next Step

The bottom line is that goals can feel more hurtful to our hearts than helpful.

But friends, what if we were led by more than just goals? What if we’re led by the love of Christ?

Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

We’d accept how we’re wired.

As adopted daughters, Christ has wired us in a specific way for a specific purpose. He gave us the personality, gifts, and people for such a time as this.

What if we understood that we really are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) and one He’s happy He made (Zephaniah 3:17)? How might that change how we live?

We’d accept that we’re already fully loved.

As a child of the King, God loves us simply because we’re us. If we did nothing of note for the rest of our lives, God’s love still defines us and holds us together.

What if we accepted that we’re loved just for who we are? We are God’s people, chosen, holy, and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12). What would it look like to live like this is true?

We’d accept that goals don’t define success.

As a servant of Christ, our success isn’t determined by our ability to keep goals set on January 1. God defines success in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” Our faithfulness, reliability, and trustworthiness are what God’s looking for.

What if we focused on being God’s go-to girl instead of a goal-getter girl?

Let’s receive Christ’s love for us first and then seek to make a change.

Right now, we’re inundated by messages like, “New year, new you,” “Make this year count,” and “Plan your best year ever,” but we don’t have to let goals bully us around, tell us how far behind we are, or push us to the brink of exhaustion.

But how do we go about doing that? I’m not gonna lie, it’s easier said than done. I’ve created a free download of encouraging truths that will help you receive Christ’s love to make the journey a little bit easier.

Let’s accept that we’re loved as God made us, regardless of whether the world would label us a success. Once we internalize the truth that we’re fully loved, we can move forward. This year, let’s not be bullied by goals, but led by love of Christ.

Jill McCormick is the writer behind, a blog where she shares common-sense grace with the try-hard girl.

Jill’s married to her high school sweetheart Ryan. They live in South Texas with their two daughters, born 18 months apart. Most days you’ll find her with a book in her hand or a podcast in her ears. She starts and ends everyday with sprinkles: on oatmeal for breakfast and on ice cream for dessert.

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