A (friendly) anti-goal setting perspective (for the non-planners everywhere)

Anti Goals Perspective via nadinewouldsay

I had a bunch of words brewing in me from mid November up until Christmas. But I never wrote them here because I could never get past about one sentence: you don't have to buy all the things.

That's actually the extent of it. So many promos. So many gift bundles. So many "deals". This year I didn't buy gifts for my friends and I used the smallest gift budget of my life. It was hard. And the people I gave to were thankful. And you know how many gift things I bought because of promos online? Actually zero. Because.

I'm feeling about the same — you don’t have to — about all the January goal setting posts I’m seeing. I think they are grand for people who love goals and who live well within strict routines but about 900% (aka an impossible amount) overwhelming for an #enfp like me. 

I like ideas and concepts and I do well with last minute pressure. My strengths flourish in dialogue and welcoming in others. But looking ahead at a whole year and trying to grasp at what I want done?


I've got some gals I meet with near the beginning of each year. We sit together and we make goals. And I love it. Because they know me well and I know that I'll hold myself more so to the concepts than the specifics. Don't worry, I know I sound like I'm writing a goal setting post. Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. Maybe this is more about breaking the rules and doing what works for you.

Last year I wrote down three concepts that I've stuck with:

1. Don't over analyze unless you're willing to communicate.

Life changer. Can we all live by this? I’m serious. It’ll change your life. When you have to either deal or let go, you suddenly realize a lot of things don't matter and that some things are worth having a discussion over.

Bitterness wanders away when you let go of letting things fester.

2. Live open to possibility.

This one had to do with dating and it helped me actually say no to someone who wasn't good for me and my dreams. Because I said yes to what God has said of me, I got to be open to some great upcoming things in my life that I likely wouldn't have gotten to be a part of if I was dating that particular person.

Outside of that moment, this one was hard to live out. I probably failed at it most out of these three concepts but I wanted to share it anyway because it sat in my mind. I remembered it most often after I got scared and said no to possibility.

3. Don't go to things out of obligation. Go for the joy.

This let me say NO to good and fun events for the joy! I also got better at saying yes sooner to things. Instead of waiting until I knew all possible events, I’d just say yes to what I wanted to say yes to. Freeing.

I also started some things I have wanted to do for years. I'm now hosting a small monthly dinner for five friends. I'm starting a Bible study in a few weeks. Those things will bring me joy and aren't because of obligation. They'll require me to say no to other things, for the joy.

Do you know how many goals I wrote down that I haven't done? 


I kept three of thirteen. I didn't keep ten. 

And I'm fully alright with that. 

Because those three concepts were really about freedom. And I’d rather live free.

All this to say, you don't have to write goals. You don't have to have clear vision. It's okay to live intentionally in the moment. 


You caught that right? It's not just living in the moment. It's about living intentional

I know a few things I'd like shifted in my life for the next year. I've got some big changes coming up that I need to do prep work for. I got sick in September and haven't been fully healthy since and am ready to do the work to get better. I've read the Bible in a year this year and I'm ready to shift into slower and shorter readings so that I can learn more. I'm leading a community group and a Bible study so I'm going to intentionally be slowing down some other social things. 

And yesterday at church, Matt Menzel shared how what will shift out cities is when the people of God live at rest in Him. Not at rest in a laziness way, but resting IN the Lord. So one of my major concepts I'll be pushing for in 2016 is rest.

All of those words in those past paragraphs? They're intentional.

When I meet with my friends next week, I'll be writing down specifics because it's healthy to aim for things, but I'll also be thinking through more concepts that I want to live by.

Specific goals? They don't work for me. I don't like routine and rules. I like structure with a lot of wiggle room. And it's okay if you do as well. 

And! It's okay if you like a specific goal planning life. 

Just don't frown at me when I don't post a pic of my new planner. Not because I don't like yours but because I use my phone calendar. Like a boss. Well, like a flexible, seat-of-her-pants, intentional, living free in the Lord boss. 

What do you think? Leave a comment letting me know if you like specific goals or if you function better with concepts? What resources work for you? My favourite resource is meeting with a friend and chatting through ideas! What's yours?