As you start thinking about and looking forward to next year and what you want to do and accomplish in the coming year, I want you to think about why you want to have goals.
As children of God, we each have an intrinsic need to grow and develop and become. But setting goals and stretching ourselves takes work and energy and discipline and discomfort—which are all things our brain would prefer to avoid.
So, why do we want goals? You don’t need to achieve and accomplish anything, and you don’t have to set goals or leave your comfort zone to be better or make your life better. But setting goals allows us to overcome our brains and become in ways we probably wouldn’t with them.
As spirit children of God, we have an intrinsic need to grow and develop and become. And so we get to work. We set some goals. We decide to contribute. We decide to grow. And that takes effort. It takes energy. It takes discipline. It takes discomfort.
And when we come up against all that, our brain wants out. Our brain says…there’s no reason for it. We don’t need to do any of it. And it looks desperately for the escape hatch.
But today, I want to give you some thoughts about why you might WANT to set goals, in the hopes that it will make a difference for you as you start thinking and looking forward to next year and what you want to do and accomplish in the coming year.
Setting Goals Won’t Make You Better
There is nothing you need to change that can make you better. Nothing. You are already whole. There is no such thing as a you that is better than the you that is right now. Just like other people cannot be better than each other, other you’s cannot be better than you.
There is nothing you can do that will add or subtract from your value or from your worth. Your worth is unalterable and unchanging at every stage of your being. And so we aren’t chasing goals or frantically trying to eradicate parts of us in order to finally be acceptable. The key for all of us is to go about our goals and our becoming knowing that we aren’t doing it to get better.
Setting Goals Won’t Make Your Life Better
Not only can you not get better, but your life won’t get better either. Our life will never, ever, ever be anything other than 50/50. And we aren’t trying to outrun the negative by setting goals. There is nothing that we can do or accomplish or achieve that will take away the mortal experience, that will protect us from the fragility of human life, that will keep us from disease or death or disappointment.
Why Do We Have Goals?
Setting goals is about who we become in the process of going after them.
And that as we do that, we get to bless the world a little too.
You have been given your time on earth—your time in the ultimate learning environment—and you get to use it not to become better but to develop more capacity to exercise your own agency over your brain, to develop more capacity to love when the alternative is so much easier.
There is no better path. There is nothing you will choose to do that’s better or more noble or superior. There is no goal that is more worthy than another. But when we set goals and choose to do things outside of our comfort zone, our brain protests, our brain puts up a fight…and that fight is the one we came to fight.
Whatever you choose to do, whatever way you want to grow and stretch and become, it is worth doing because you will have to confront your own brain and your own doubts and your own vulnerabilities and insecurities along the way.
And this is why I think it matters to set goals. For who you become and the things you have to choose to think and the things you have to stop thinking about yourself, in order to achieve them. And that is WHY YOU CAME.
Questions to think about:
No matter what your goal is or what your path is, the point is not what you do—it is who you become along the way because of what you will have to think to get there.
Changing the way you think, will change what you do. And yes, and that will change your experience of your life. But more importantly, changing the way you think will change who you become. And that is the work you really came to do.