Why I Stopped Focusing on Goals And Started Focusing on Life

I don’t set goals.

I have goals, sure. I have an overall purpose for my life. But a few months ago, after spending several months setting detailed goals and trying to achieve them, I decided I wasn’t going to do that anymore.

I didn’t want to live that way anymore.

Don’t Get Me Wrong; Goals are Good!

I am not saying that setting goals is bad. I am not saying that you shouldn’t set goals if you genuinely find that helpful and motivating.

God wants us to work hard. He wants us to live life with purpose. Just because He is in control doesn’t mean He wants us to float lazily along and trust that He will get us where He wants us.

I’m sure, for many people, goals are legitimately helpful and work well for them. But for so many of us, our brains don’t work that way.

Why I Don’t Do The Goal Planning Thing

It seems at first glance like it is the kind of system that would appeal to me: detailed goal planning, structured by life, year, month, week, and day. I’m the kind of organized, checklist-oriented person who seems to really enjoy something like this.

I tried it, and I thought it was fun. But as I was so focused on planning, I was missing out on life.

I’m a perfectionist. I spend so much time obsessing over succeeding at my goals that I don’t actually focus on living life. And if I fail, I feel really bad about myself.

Here’s what I’ve discovered: I am happiest when I stop focusing on setting obsessive goals and simply live life.

Here’s what else I’ve discovered: If I set rigid goals for my life, I am less open to God changing them. I have no idea what He has in store for me, and I want my life to have direction while still being open to His plans.

Planning goals isn’t living. Spending every day obsessing over a to-do list isn’t living. Living is playing with your sisters, watching movies with your family, reading, walking in the crisp fall air.

I have a general idea of what I want my life to be like. I know what I probably want to do in college and what I need to be focusing on right now to make that happen. I have a daily to-do list that I work through. But I don’t obsess over goals and planning if I can help it.

I just focus on living and growing and discovering God’s plan for me more each day.

love, grace


4 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Focusing on Goals And Started Focusing on Life

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Grace….I am delighted to read this blog and see how much you have grown. I remember when you were obsessed about getting everything done on your “lists” and in the right order. Aunt Mary


  2. castlesandpens13 says:

    I loved this post, Grace! I’m actually mainly the opposite of you, in terms of planning. I used to be an uber perfectionist, and probably still am a little bit of one (yes, I am quite high strung), however I’ve come to realize, through a huge transition in my life (way of schooling), I just need to live. By letting go a little bit, we’re letting God lead us even more. I’ve been able to just do what I love, and love what I do.
    I’m so happy to read this. It’s true that by setting goals a little too rigid, we forget who is really in control. Also, you’re last sentence was absolutely beautiful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. emily @ for the bookish says:

    I love this post, Grace! In fact, I really needed this today. Like you, I’m a major perfectionist. I like tidy to-do lists; for everyday life and for the future. Goals and plans for my friends and looks and basically everything I do and/or want to do. But then when I let my hair down a bit, I realize how good it feels. Besides, the more I relax the more I realize that I need to let GOD plan my life. Anyway, thanks again for this. Wonderful post, as always! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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