It doesn’t feel too good when you realize that the goals you set and achieved are taking you places you do not want to go. Especially when you realise that you fought hard for those goals. You took a lot of hits for them and expended a lot of energy to bring them to pass.
And you can’t help but imagine how far on your way to your best life you would be by now, if you had only expended your energy for the right goals. That is a gut-sinking feeling.
I am still reaping the consequences of a recent experience. I set goals and started working towards them, only to realize a year later that I had mostly achieved those, but I was starting to see they were not taking me where I needed to go. My vision for my life and where I was heading were two different things.
When that happens you get a choice. Keep moving that direction because you are too heavily invested, or admit that the goals were off, and create new goals. In my case, I kept going for another two years before God started nudging me in ways I couldn’t ignore. I knew I was off track, and I felt like I had wasted the last three years of my life.
Setting bad goals, is a result of not being clear of what your values are or what you were meant to do with your life. And sometimes we simply did not run them by what we do know of our purpose, and checking if they fit. Our values are far stronger than we think they are, and yet often far less obvious than they should be. So when we set goals that conflict with our values and purpose, we set ourselves up for stress, failure, and disillusionment.
In my case, the wrong goals were set in a time of disillusionment. It was a time where I was doubting everything I had thought I was created for. I had been clear on it most my life, but went through such a time of discouragement and disappointment that I wasn’t sure that I had ever known. My whole sense of being was shaken.
You need at least a sense of your purpose to effectively set goals that won’t disappoint. Now I am not saying that you need to have it all figured out. None of us do. God reveals what we need for today, and then we take a step. And as we follow what He reveals, we move into a still clearer sense of what that is.
And yet often, we have an inner knowing of the larger picture of how God created us. And we need to start down that road. The goals we set need to fall into that larger picture. It is okay if life takes a zigzag to our destination. It is called learning and growing in faith. But our goals need to complement what we believe God is asking of us. Not take us the opposite direction.
To be healthy is always an appropriate goal. So are many other goals. But even though setting a goal to win an Ironman may be a health related goal, if it is out of context with your larger values, it may become an obsession rather than a benefit. Winning an Ironman can certainly be an incredibly healthy goal, but if it causes you to loose sight of the rest of your life vision, it is time to rethink that goal.
I am best at building, challenging, and encouraging people. But in my disillusionment I set out to build a business. I am not saying I wouldn’t be good at that or that I shouldn’t do that. But in my particular case, I lost sight of the building people part as I focused on building the business. And that completely robbed me of my joy.
So eventually I got to the point where I drastically changed how I do business. Because anything that takes me away from what I do best, isn’t worth being a goal in my life. The more deeply your goals are in sync with who you are, who God is, and the purposes He designed you for, the more satisfaction the wins will bring you. They will bring greater fulfilment and happiness even if you have to fight harder for them.