Goal setting and the pursuit of goals is generally perceived as positive activities for any person or organization wishing to accomplish meaningful results. What is rarely acknowledged is the two disappointments that accompany the pursuit of goals. One of the two disappointments is that of failing to reach a goal. The other is when one successfully achieves a goal. Let’s take a closer look at these two realities.
Failing To Reach A Goal
Failure to reach a goal is understandably disappointing. You have struggled and invested precious time and resources in an unsuccessful pursuit. You may even be embarrassed or penalized in some way for not achieving the goal. It is difficult to not feel disappointment, even depression, when you dream and work for years toward an education or financial goal, only to not achieve that dream. The same can be true for churches. A financial or ministry related goal not reached can quickly spiral a congregation into self-pity and blame.
Reaching A Goal
Less acknowledged is the inevitable let down one experiences when a desired goal is reached. The very fact that the goal no longer exists creates a sense of loss. Once a goal is accomplished we lose our motivation. Many people put years of energy into making plans for retirement only to find themselves feeling lost and without purpose when they actually do retire. This can happen in churches as well. A church may accomplish a successful move, building program, or vision only to subsequently lose motivation, direction, and enthusiasm for the future.
Mitigating The Two Disappointments
The two disappointments associated with the pursuit of goals apply personally and to organizations, and to larger as well as smaller goals. The feelings involved are the same, though they may vary in intensity. Because the two disappointments are realities in life and in organizations, you and your church can take actions to minimize the disappointments.
- Pursue Multiple Goals Simultaneously: The advantage in working on multiple goals at the same time is twofold. First, if you achieve one goal you can immediately refocus your attention on the other goals. Second, you diversify your risks so if you do fail to accomplish one goal, you have other goals to take their place. Locking into the pursuit of only one goal sets yourself up for the inevitable disappointment associated with reaching or failing to reach it.
- Evaluate and Adjust: To avoid the disappointment of not reaching a goal, you should periodically evaluate and assess how realistic and reasonable the goal is in light of current circumstances. If it appears you are likely to fall short of your goal, consider adjusting some of the goal outcomes to become more achievable.
- Develop Multiple Interests: Through continual self-development an individual can acquire multiple interests and skills, making new goals easier to identify. Churches can schedule regular times for strategic planning and annual ministry planning to maintain a sense of newness, purpose, and motivation.
Posted on August 11, 2020