Make no goals, have no regrets…

Okay, the title is not really the subject of the blog. It’s more like my confession. There are times when I don’t want to set goals for myself or my ministry or the church in general. As a matter of fact, that would be my default position. It’s something I have to fight against. But, in my mind, this is what seems to be true. If you make no goals then you have no regrets for not reaching said goals. And yet I also know that if you set no goals, you also have nothing by which to evaluate your efforts, except, well, your effort.

I can give you a rather painful example right now. You see, I am a Houston Texans fan. The Texans have lost 3 of their last 4 regular season games. This means they do not get a week off, and if they advance in the playoffs they don’t get to play at home more than once. They had a goal of securing home field advantage but they didn’t make it. Did they put in a good effort? At times. They showed flashes of potential. But, in the end, they did not reach their goal. They can still win the Super Bowl at this point, so ultimately they can achieve a higher goal. But, when evaluating their performance this incremental goal is a measure of how they are doing as a team. Effort is good, but it doesn’t always equate to success.

Goals are helpful and even necessary. That’s the lesson I am learning. Well, it’s a truth I have known but at times avoided.

So, now what? Well, in 2013 I want to set some goals – personal goals, ministry goals and church goals (that final one happens in conversation with church leadership). I can’t tell you what those goals are right now. It will take a bit of reflection and prayer to understand what my goals should be, in light of who God calls me to be and what God calls me to do.

The main point is, I do plan to set some goals – that’s my first goal. And the reason I know it needs to be done is because I regret (yep, there it is) not having set more measurable goals for 2012.

Of course, it took my wife’s review of this blog to point out that I DID accomplish some things this year. I saw a significant change in my weight. My eating habits have changed for the better. I have begun to challenge myself to develop even more as a leader and pastor. I have engaged some people in an intentional effort to help them grow as disciples and to allow them to help me do the same.

The reason I began writing this post is that I just wish I had been more proactive in setting some goals. I think that intentional effort can help keep me focused.

So, I guess the title of this post is not actually correct – make no goals and you may still have regrets. Make no goals and you have may not have a good way to evaluate your performance. And, by not having a good way to evaluate your performance you can miss out on the good things you were able to accomplish.

So, how about you? Do you plan to set some goals for 2013? Have you? Did you set some in 2012, and if so, how did you do? If you didn’t set goals, did you do some good things?

May the year ahead be one of strong effort and one where goals are met and even exceeded.

Holy high-five to you,
Mike

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