The ever serious Merriam-Webster defines a goal as 'the end toward which effort is directed'.
Goal setting is important. Moving towards something with intention is necessary throughout life. Planning and strategizing are imperative. But is setting a goal the most important part of success?
There are many paths to goal setting. SMART goals, CLEAR goals, FAST goals. But regardless which one I use, I seem to hit a wall. I have sought for years to understand why, as a wife, mother, teacher, speaker, director, etc., I continue to lack the measure of achievement alongside passion I so long for.
Then recently I had a great revelation: I rarely know what it is that I actually want. I can easily figure out what is needed. I can explain in my sleep the ramifications of something not being done. But at this stage of my life, especially because my personality tends to see everyone else's wants and wants to make them come to pass, I have not known what it is that I truly want.
If you don't know what it is you want, how can you have a goal? If you consistently decide that your goals are whatever the world desires, what the kids need, what the husband wants, what the bank says you can have... then you don't really have any goals. You have circumstances.
So if you don't know what you want, you do not have a goal. And if you have no goal, you will never achieve anything that causes you to intentionally move towards something that will bring fulfillment.
Stop setting goals that have nothing to do with what you want. At the very least, separate them between goals you MUST achieve and the ones you WANT to achieve.
Why in the world is it so hard to know what we want?! Especially with all of the roles we operate in as women in all areas of life... this is something that is so important for us to figure out so that we can get closer to making our wants and dreams become the intentional goals we move to and then walk in them as they manifest!
Let's dig into just a few of the reasons why what we want is not obvious to us:
#1 Unawareness- If you don't know you're in prison, then you can't get out of said prison. Some of us have no idea that we don't know what we want. We truly think we are doing what is it we want and achieving a level of success. And at some level maybe we are. As a mother I do want my children tended to and loved, to succeed at their personal callings in life and for my marriage and husband to thrive. But many times I find that because I want them to have what they want, I often sacrifice what I want. And this many years in, I have sacrificed even the thought process of what I want. I simply give them what it is they long for. Long story short, we simply keep doing what we think we want to do, but one day those things that we've held back and shoved down and ignored will rise to the surface and God help us all when lioness who finally turns into who she truly is after all that time hidden:
(photo courtesy of Unsplash)
#2 Shoulds- The most evil word in the dictionary! Obviously there are many things we do because they are required, necessary, healthy, worthy, etc. And yet, where do we land when we are ruled by the shoulds in our world? There must be a way to balance these things and still make time for our self care, our personal callings and gifts, the fire in our hearts, and the experiences in life that bring us joy. Should is the antonym of the grace we need in order to live wholeheartedly. There's a special and strategic blueprint that you can step into when you realize the importance of removing shoulds and in exchange make the wants line up with needs in a holistic way.
#3 Unbelief- Listen, if you don't believe what you want matters, and you never take time to pursue what your wants are, prepare for resentment to rule. And there is no person or thing that could every force you to believe you matter enough. Likely it will come to you after you realize that it has been stolen or after a fight for something that makes you passionate about standing up for yourself. The truth is that you need to dig into the roots of why you don't believe you can have what you want. Maybe you think others matter more. Maybe you think getting what you want always come with strings attached. Maybe you just struggle with a good measure of unbelief that you will ever get what you want so ignoring your wants is your chosen method of disappointment management. Well friend, all I can say is that if I matter then you do too. There's no difference between us. There's no difference between what you've done in life and what I've done. So if you think that others deserve good things but you don't, I challenge you to consider the fact that false humility is actually just pride.
#4 Overwhelm- Honestly, there are just too many priorities in a woman's life. How do we even decide what to do next? Well, we wait for the loudest voice to tell us. And if we are compassionate caregivers or responsible for multiple people/groups or we have more than one role to fill in order to make our world go round, we end up in decision fatigue and/or compassion fatigue. And let's be honest- when you are fatigued, you do not have energy to sit and think about what your own needs are. While I love a good bubble bath, 'Calgon take me away' is a farce.
Think on these things along with other reasons that may come to your mind. As you discover what is holding you back from knowing what your heart truly wants, you will be free to discover what is really in your heart and unlock the door to wholehearted living.
Girl, you've got this.
Coming up soon, we are going to jump into how our wants connect to our dreams and passions, the one MAJOR necessity to achieve ANYTHING, and the joy of belief.