The Thing About Goals and Resolutions


2015 is ticking to its close.  As it does I am finding that I am at a weird point in my life.  For the first time ever my entire career is stretched out in front of me.  There will certainly be surprises on the horizon but the meta plot is set.  I know what my vocation is, who my wife is, what my children look like and what my long term calling looks like.

For that reason, for the first time since my freshman year of college I have tons of goals and aspirations.

I have been meaning to read 100 books in one calendar year for some time and I think this year I can pull it off.  I have started to write two books, one a fictional satire of Christian marriage conferences and another a non fiction work on theology, worship and video games.  I could get both written this year or maybe just one.

At church we are launching a discipleship and leadership training program that I have huge expectations for.  Beyond that, our worship attendance could easily double in the next year with a bit of hustle.  We have launched committees to overcome certain obstacles and one year from now they may have conquered giants.  Then there is the ongoing building and facility updates.

In greater ministry areas, I am building a network of people to help plant churches in Salt Lake City.  (Contact me if you are interested).  We are talking about hosting a summit that would produce a strategy for doing so and I hope to have at least planned that by this date next year.  I am also helping a pastor friend establish a non profit to help fund his ministries and there are several other things I could mention.

All that to say, 2016 could very well be “The Year I Hustled.”  And I hope it isn’t, “The Year I Worked Myself to Death!”

But as an athlete I am no stranger to goals and resolutions.  I appreciate their incredible value in keeping us motivated and on target. I know goals and I know how to set them and how to achieve them and how to react when I fail in meeting them.

That last one is what I wanted to share a bit about today.  One of the most valuable lessons I learned about goals, I learned from my coach and another athlete.  That athlete had a goal to qualify for the provisional for nationals.  When he achieved that, my coach immediately made him set another goal.  So he wanted to get the automatic qualifier.  When he did that, he set another goal, to place in his heat and go to the finals.  When he did that he set another goal, to place in the top 5 of the finals.

That last one didn’t happen.  I don’t think he ran well at all, actually.  In disgust and disappointment, he mourned to our coach in disgust that not only had he failed to get his goal but that he hadn’t even come close.

Our wonderful coach said to him, “What you are talking about?  You wanted to qualify for nationals and you did.  You wanted to get to the finals and you did.  Sure you set a goal you eventually couldn’t get but that is the whole reason we set goals, to find our limit and you had an awesome season where you discovered your limits.”

I think you should have an awesome life where you discover your limits.  I think that involves setting good goals.  I think you should hustle your buns off attaining those goals.  When you meet your goals, I think you should celebrate and tell everyone.  (That isn’t pride, by the way.  Pride is taking credit for things you didn’t do or failing to rejoice when others achieve their goals too.)  Then I think should set more goals and work your tail off to achieve those too!

But if you do that, eventually you will find your limits.  You will hustle your buns off to place last at nationals.  New Year’s Eve will count down and you will have only completed 98 and a half books.  Your discipleship program won’t produce disciples.  You will lose 55 pounds when you wanted 60.  You will only be able to do 78 pushups at one time.  You get the drift.

When those limits are found, you should rejoice as well because, after all, you didn’t even know it was possible to do 78 push ups at one time!

Happy New Year!  May 2016 bring you great hustle and great payoff!




One thought on “The Thing About Goals and Resolutions

  1. Thank you for your thoughts. I am not a goal setter and married a non goal setter. I think great of failure has kept me from seeing goals. I appreciate the perspective of discovering limits instead of failing.
    I’ll be praying for you and our church this year.

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