The art of goal digging

It’s a new year! A new chance! A new chapter! What better time to make new goals?

You may be rolling your eyes, thinking of all the years you wrote down that New Year’s list of resolutions and a week later couldn’t remember what it was you had set yourself to do. It’s hard to maintain goals. It’s uncomfortable to ask a friend to keep you accountable. It’s frightening to add yet more things to your already overloaded table. So, what’s the point?

I’ll be honest. I have written New Year’s goals since I was at least a freshman in high school – if not longer. However, the main attraction of these goals was the opportunity to create a new list. Seriously. I love lists. I will write a list for no reason whatsoever. I love the little boxes or lines you draw next to each item. I’m on cloud nine when I get to check off a box. Okay, so I’m officially weird. I don’t care. The point is…I only wrote down goals for the enjoyment of the list, the business of it – for a long time. A couple of years ago, my thoughts and views on goals were challenged. What was the why behind my goals? Why did I make that reading list? Why did I write down lofty spiritual and relational goals? And why on this beautiful, green earth did I ever write down “run in that race”?

Everyone’s why may be different. But it is that why that drives us forward in completing those goals. If you are feeling discouraged about that long list of goals you just jotted down, remember why you wrote them. If there’s no why, there’s no point. Your why doesn’t have to be mind-blowing, surreal, or surprising. It can be ordinary, dull, and habitual. But it will still serve its purpose, and that is to drive you toward the completion or realization of your goal.

Goals challenge us. They help drive us forward and sharpen our character. They give us something to reach for, struggle for, cry over, rejoice over, get excited about. Each goal you make is a learning opportunity. If you succeed in realizing your goal – awesome! You have learned to persevere, to struggle and strive, and achieve something you didn’t have before. If you do not succeed in realizing your goal, you still learned something! You learned more about yourself, what you need to work on in the future, where to better focus. And that why will keep you going at it the next year.

It’s sort of like mining for gold. Without your pickaxe, it’s going to be pretty difficult to get that gold out of the rock. So, pick up your why and hammer away at all those obstacles surrounding your goal. It’s a New Year. Start swinging.


Emily Boulter is a Staff Writer for The Daily Runner.