Enjoying The Journey · Time Management

What I’ve Learned From Setting Goals

At the beginning of the year, I set three specific goals for myself. You can read about those three things here, but they have to do with the three areas of playing the piano, cleaning the house and making friends. Now that I’m more than a fourth of the way through the year, it’s time to look back and see how I’m doing. I can say I’ve made progress and have had success in all three categories – but more than just playing the piano and keeping a clean house, I’ve learned some interesting lessons.

What I've Learned From Setting Goals

Setting Goals Gives Me Direction

Having goals set clearly in front of me helps me know how to use my time. I have never before set goals for myself – I always assumed I didn’t have time for extra tasks! Now when I have a few spare minutes in the afternoon, instead of heading right to Netflix or YouTube, my mind goes to a task I could be working on towards one of my goals. I pick up the phone to text a friend who is having a rough pregnancy or sit down to practice a new piano arrangement.

They also help me know what to do when I’m overwhelmed. For example: after a very busy two weeks, my house was in serious need of a good cleaning. Instead of feeling so overwhelmed that I darted from one task to another, I looked to my weekly and monthly cleaning schedule that told me exactly what to do. I worked through the next thing on the list, being able to check it off and feel like I’ve accomplished something!

Setting Goals Makes Me Available For God To Use Me

Maybe it’s just the specific goals that I set for myself this year – but I have really found this to be true! I didn’t set my goals with anything but self-benefit in mind (to be honest), but I have found such blessing from seeing God work through the things I set out to do. Here are a few examples:

  • When my house is clean, I feel totally free to entertain – even at the last minute.
  • When I have worked on new piano hymn arrangement, I’m available to serve in church – even at the last minute.
  • When I’m intentional with my friendships, I’m able to encourage others as I learn their needs.

Doing things at the last minute is not typical for me. I’m a planner and do not like surprises or changes of plans. You can see how God has enabled me to rise above that through entertaining and playing the piano. Since setting this goal in January, I’ve been able to play the piano at our church more than I have since we joined over three years ago! God has also brought several new friendships into my life this year – through ways I never imagined.

Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

I don’t share any of this to make you think I’m awesome. I’m not. Up until January, I wasn’t working on any of these things! I share it to encourage you that when you desire to do the things that are pleasing to the Lord, He will not only help you, He will bless you in ways you didn’t imagine.

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29 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned From Setting Goals

  1. Wonderful post, Whitney! It is so encouraging when we see that God leads us to set goals and then we watch Him work as we follow through on our plan. This is the first year in a very long time that I haven’t set yearly and monthly goals. It is all due to my heavy eldercare responsibilities; I have literally not had time to think about the year. So I’m very thankful that I have general, overarching goals in place reflecting God’s purposes for my life. Those are always in the back of my mind so I can be sure that I have God’s direction on my days.

    Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts today. They were a blessing and encouragement to me. Would you mind if I shared them at some point with my ladies’ Sunday School class?

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    1. God will certainly honor your faithfulness in caring for your family! Your goals right now might be “do the next thing,” and that is a good goal. ❤ You're welcome to share this with your class – thank you!

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  2. I had to laugh at your sentence, I do not like surprises. Oh Me…when I was your age a change in my plans would throw me into a complete tailspin.:) I have mellowed over the years thank goodness. But as you said, if you do not have goals, you will never accomplish anything. I have a friend who sits down with her husband at the beginning of the year and they set goals for the whole year…travel, financial etc. Marvin and I have not done that so far but in his retirement I think it might be a good way to cope with the major life change.

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  3. Great takeaways! Yes, setting goals gives direction. So true!

    I also don’t always love changes of plans. I have never thought of how goal-setting helps in preparing and getting ahead so that the changes in plans and more welcome and less disruptive!

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  4. This is all so true!

    I have never been one to set many goals, but constantly feel like I don’t have enough time. Just this week I set a goal to spend and hour each day of focused time on a particular area and have been able to get so much accomplished! I plan to continue to set more concrete goals. There is something about moving/workings towards a particular thing that is very motivating.

    I really like your 3 specific goals. I am now encouraged to find some time to practice playing my trumpet again. I remember choosing to play an instrument instead of being a cheerleader because playing an instrument was something that I could do the rest of my life. I haven’t played regularly at church since Inhad Henry. I love the You have had more opportunities to play simply because you were more prepared. I love the way God does things.

    I needed to hear that other people have to work at being a better encourager and friend. I NEED to be better at making time for encouraging a few specific friends. Thank you for this!

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    1. Hey Nikki! I hope you will be able to carve out some time for trumpet practice! And yes, I really have to work at being a friend. I am happy to sit at home by myself, especially after a busy week at work. I rob myself of the blessings that come from being involved in other’s lives!

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  5. I love that you’re checking in with your goals for the new year in the middle of the year. Great job making progress on all of them. So many people set goals and forget about them. Thanks for the reminder to revisit my goals and continue working hard on my word of the year INVITE 🙂

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  6. But you are awesome! You are made in the image of God and desire heart to use your house, your talents, and your heart for God reflect God’s awesomeness ;-). And it’s so true, a little effort on the front end creates room for God to “interrupt” our days and fill it with spontaneous goodness!

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  7. Thank you for the encouragement. Setting goals has been a goal of mine that I haven’t accomplished yet, mainly because I want to set some many of them but I also don’t want to fail at them.

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    1. I totally understand the hesitation! Pick just one or two and set a clear path to success – for example, my house cleaning schedule has really helped me stay on track and be successful with my housekeeping goals. You can do it!

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  8. Goals are a very important “roadmap” to help keep us on track. Sometimes, half the battle is just getting started!

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