"If you shoot for the moon you'll land among the stars!" I remember reading that sign, probably in a high school guidance counselor's office. The idea, have big hairy, totally irrational goals, and you'll probably go somewhere far. I'm convinced that this kind of thinking is precisely the way to accomplish nothing, or right next to it. So, in line with that bad advice, here's some more to make sure that you absolutely never accomplish anything you want to in 2013, and some tips to avoid doing just that.
Only make goals Big goals that are unaccompanied by a plan and an accountability structure are about as useful as a life jacket in the desert. There's even new research to show that big goal making is, by itself, pretty much useless. So, before you get out a fresh, clean sheet of paper and write down a list of crazy dreams, pause. Do you have any kind of plan? Is there an accountability structure in your life to make sure things like this get done? All goals and no plan make you sure to fail.
Don't compete your list I'm a goal-oriented man. I can't tell you the pleasure I get from scratching something off my to-do list. But here's what I've learned about goals all alone—they'll kill me if I let them. Make a big goal and then don't do it. Don't lose those 5 pounds. Don't read your whole bible. Don't do whatever you said you'd do, and watch what happens. If you have any kind of soul, you'll feel pretty bad, maybe even crushed. Then, all your energy is sapped for accomplishing more of what you should be doing. Don't turn your goals into your gods. God's your God, and he has grace for you to help you get everything done you need to do.
Compare your goals to others This is a great way to accomplish nothing. This one is bad for two reasons. First, if you actually do achieve more than most, then you're looking to others goals to make you feel good. Do this, and you'll get lazy with your own high-capacity ability for achievement, which God gave you for his purposes and glory, not yours. The other reason this is a sure-fire way to goal failure is if you achieve slower than others, then comparing will only discourage you. Comparing your list to another's list is foolish because you're you, not them. To do this is to wish yourself to be other than you are, which is sin. Goals for the future should be God-centered, not man centered.
Don't plead with God for help Go ahead. Try to accomplish something, even something for God, on your own. And even if you do accomplish something, God won't be honored. That doesn't work. Again, goals should be made prayerfully and hopefully, relying on God not only for the wisdom to make them, but also for the power to accomplish them. Instead,pray, asking God to give you help.
Lord, make me a secure, God-centered goal setter and achiever. Tell me what to do, give me grace to do it, and let me satisfied having done it for you, without reference to anyone else.