Woman writing in a journal at a desk

Goal-Setting To Fulfill Your God-Given Purpose

A boardwalk in the forest. First image for Goal-Setting to Fulfill Your God-given Purpose

Early this year, I purchased a scheduler in digital format that promised I could stay-on-track with my goal-setting. I decided that was exactly what I needed to be successful! For goal-setting to fulfill your God-given purpose requires intentional action.

The scheduler was broken down into doable steps and time frames. I eagerly filled out the goal-setting sheets. Fast-forward a few months (maybe even more) when I glanced at the scheduler icon on my desktop, clicked it open, and found myself scrolling through past months of empty plans.

I’d managed just a month of follow-through for my “stay-on-track” goal-setting. 

I wasn’t surprised. I’d failed before at keeping up with programs that promised formulas for successful goal-setting and achievement. Life is busy and distracting.

Between my job, planning a wedding, getting married, moving, figuring out a new career, figuring out life in a new town – weeks and months got away from me. I couldn’t also blame scrolling through Instagram and binge watching The Great British Baking Show, could I? 

SMART goals, long term goals, short term goals, STRETCH goals, “write a letter to your future self” goals — any goal-setting activity based on formulas that boast a successful life — I’ve tried many!

But in mid-life, what I am learning is we cannot succeed if our goal-setting formula relies on our own self-discipline to follow-through.

We may be enticed by popular books or podcasts on goal-setting that offer easy tips, but easygoing formulas provide only short-term success.

It’s our reliance on God that gives us our strength and our discipline for successful goal-setting and achievements. It’s our reliance on God that transforms us to achieve long-term change. 

Our commitment to God, our trust in Him, including with our goal-setting, is our pathway to fulfill our God-given purpose.

A rugged pathway surrounded by trees in the rocky mountains.

What are 3 keys to successful goal-setting to fulfill your God-given purpose?

I’m inspired by the late Charles Stanley (InTouch Ministries) who challenges us to plan, but seek guidance so our goals are not only for our own ambitions. He writes: 

“Few things in life are accomplished by accident, which is why it’s important for us to set specific goals. However, in our planning, we should always seek the Lord’s guidance and not simply aim for our own earthly ambitions.” Charles Stanley        

  1. Seek God’s Guidance When Goal-setting  

Seeking God’s guidance is crucial when goal-setting. Left to our own devices, we may not follow-through on our bible studies and meditation of God’s word.

Joining a bible study groups helps keep us accountable to seeking God’s guidance.

Fitting a bible study into our busy schedules is not easy, however worth it!

Recently I discovered BSF (Bible Study Federation), an international organization that offers group online Bible Studies (no fee) across many time zones. 

    2. Transform – Not Conform

“I knew I couldn’t be transformed unless I refused to conform.” Lysa Terkeurst, Made to Crave  

Along with seeking God’s guidance, we need to plan our steps to achieve our goals. There is nothing wrong using goal-setting tools such as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time) goals, as long as we keep God in the centre of our goal-setting. 

When we rely on God’s strength for discipline and self-control, He transforms our minds for long-term growth.

Sacrifice is part of successful goals, so it’s important, too, to learn when to say “no.” Instead of conforming to the world view of what you should do, be transformed by seeking God’s wisdom for goal-setting to fulfil your God-given purpose.

3.Don’t fall for the Easy Successful Goal-Setting Formula 

I love The MSG version of this verse that sums up why we are not to fall for what the market claims are surefire formulas.

 Matthew 7:13-14-13-14

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!

A top mountain view on a pathway in Nordegg, Alberta

Successful goals begin with a Grateful Mindset

It can be hard, of course, to do goal-setting when we may have failed at keeping up with our well-intentioned plans.

Why make specific goals when, in the past, we have failed? Remember we are not designed to succeed on our own.

Staying in God’s word with a grateful heart for all that He has done helps to keep our hearts and minds aligned to His will for our lives. 

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

Linking up with Let’s Have Coffee and #TellHisStory

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  1. Well, that is a LOT of change in a short amount of time, so I think you can cut yourself some slack for not staying up to date with your digital planner. 🙂 Just accomplishing the things you did accomplish is quite a feat in and of itself and took a lot of intricate planning so kudos to you, Lynn!

  2. Lynn, this was both a practical and inspiring post. “It’s our reliance on God that gives us our strength and our discipline for successful goal-setting and achievements. It’s our reliance on God that transforms us to achieve long-term change.” There is much wisdom in your suggestions for any stage of life. I so appreciate that you shared it with us!

  3. Lynn, I stink at goal setting. I’m happy you shared realistic and doable ways for goal setting. And I really appreciate those quotes those spoke volumes to me too.
    Visiting today from G&T

  4. “It’s our reliance on God that gives us our strength and our discipline for successful goal-setting and achievements.” And, fundamentally if we are not motivated by our love for Him and gratitude for all He has done, we will likely struggle to force our flesh to do what we want it to do. I am learning in my middle-age (that’s probably being generous) that I am pitifully inept at self-discipline, but keeping my focus on Him goes a long way toward inspiration.

  5. Thank you for your authenticity, Lynn. I have prayerfully considered how to move forward in planning to be more productive as a writer. One thing I have discovered is I think I’m a thematic planner i.e. overall big-picture person. I can do the next step of breaking things down to actionable items, but minute detail planning becomes cumbersome and seems to steal from my productivity. All that to say, I am trying to figure out if there is a way to plan so I’m more productive, but not over-plan resulting in cumbersomeness. I’m still praying through it, but I’m intentionally moving forward. And your multiple significant life changes call for permission to allow for adjustment.

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for your authenticity, too! Finding our unique rhythms for productivity takes time, and prayer. I found I had to stop comparing myself to productivity masters, and measuring my own productivity on how well I was doing performing their systems that often only partially worked for my personality. Space in my schedule spurs me toward more productivity than having it tightly scheduled. I value freedom, and the spaces provide that freedom of choice while still keeping me accountable. I’m sure God will keep moving you in the way He designed you to serve Him as you intentionally seek out His guidance.