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Discouraged with Goals? Try This.

I am all about evaluating life, looking at what’s working and not working, adjusting, tweaking, letting go, settling in-whatever goals our life needs for the season we find ourselves in.

The letdown that happens when we fall flat on our faces in our hyper effort to suddenly be perfect today in things that we were bad at as recently as yesterday?  I’m not so much about that.

I would be lying if I pretended that I don’t pay any attention to the New Year or have any thoughts about how I want this year to be different from last year. I do have thoughts on that and definitely tend to be a bit quieter, listen a while longer, open my eyes a bit wider in an effort to discern what my Daddy may be saying for a new season like the unfolding of a new year. I do. But the last few years I’ve intentionally determined not to let myself feel a lot of pressure around goals.

Having said that, I submit to you this dark, fuzzy photo that I was delighted to try to capture in my dimly lit living room one morning last month.

My littlest princess is one that I usually need to wake up then convince that she wants to get up.  On this particular morning, she came stumbling out into the living room, eyes only slits but her smile huge. It got even bigger when she saw that her Daddy hadn’t left for work and was sitting on the couch. She didn’t wait for an invitation but grabbed a blanket and climbed up. She settled in for the long haul, snuggled up close and fully enjoyed every second of his attention. He held her close and rubbed her back. He wanted to know how she was doing and what she was looking forward to that day.

Watching and listening to them was a holy few minutes for me.

Holy in that I sensed my Daddy inviting me to climb into his lap and settle in.

Holy in that he delighted to spend time with me and wanted to know what was going on in my heart.

Holy in that he wrecked my heart in seeing his for me.

Look at that grin!

Back to discouragement with goals.

It’s nearing the middle of January, the time when the adrenaline starts wearing off around our goals for the year. Often we start to realize around this time how our goals require daily effort, daily showing up, daily making difficult choices. And we want to quit. We’ve screwed up, and it’s only the middle of January.

May I kindly make a suggestion?

Don’t quit. Don’t get discouraged.

Give yourself a break, reevaluate and tweak where you need to, but don’t quit.

And more than that? Climb into your Daddy’s lap. Stop doing, stop running and climb up. Instead of rushing off, settle in and snuggle up. Tell him how you feel and listen to what he’s saying to you. Let his delight for you sink into your heart.

This is the most important place for you to show up this year. This coming into his delight even with your bad morning breath, this slowing down to feel and listen and enjoy, this knowing deeply that he is for you. This is where your secret sauce is. This is where the courage and endurance and joy are found for the goals and shifts that you want to see implemented this year.

And you know what? Yes, God gives us a brand new year every 365 days, but he also gives us a brand new day every 24 hours. Just give today your best then get up tomorrow with a brand new opportunity for a fresh start. Let yourself start over every day instead of quitting and hoping for better results next year.

For sure spend plenty of time in his lap. It’s a great cure for discouragement.


What have you discovered with your goals that helps you stay on track and focused even when you’ve messed up and are fighting discouragement? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.

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