What is on your list of UN-goals for this year?

In this episode:

Reaching your goals might be more about what you will give up than it is about what you need to add. Your UN-goals are just as important as your goals.

Inspired Life

I have been talking about goals in January—because that’s what people talk about in January right? I think there is always something about a new year that makes us stop and think. Even if we aren’t goal-setters. It’s really an opportunity to put a time frame on what we have always wanted to do.

I haven’t officially made a fancy list of goals for this year with any measurable action steps. As I continue this series next week, I’ll explain what I am working on instead. But before I do that, I think it’s important to talk about our “un-goals.”

I have discovered that what I put on my list for what I want to accomplish each year isn’t the motivating factor that leads to my getting them done. It isn’t the action steps that I write, unless I DO them.

What it really comes down to is asking myself what crowded out my ability to take those action steps last year. And the year before that.

Imagine a beautifully crafted plan of action with steps broken down by month ,and week, and even by day. Imagine those steps are perfectly actionable. Except they aren’t. Here’s an example:

When I wrote my first book, The Repurposed and Upcycled Life, it took me more than 5 years. But the bulk of it wasn’t written over 5 years. I TALKED about it for 5 years and worked on it sporadically. I had plans and action steps. Instead, here are some of the things I worked on during that time:

  • Making homemade hand-stamped greeting cards
  • Sewing quilts
  • Watching television series on Netflix
  • Reading novels
  • Making beaded necklaces and earrings
  • Painting stuff I found at yard sales
  • Going to networking meetings and out to lunch with friends
  • Volunteering for women’s ministry, and at the kids’ school, and worship team
  • Growing and canning my own vegetables
  • Tending flowerbeds

Most of those things are not bad things at all. Here are some others:

  • Reorganizing and shuffling around possessions I didn’t need
  • Volunteering for things out of guilt
  • Shopping - because I had a coupon or “store cash” to use
  • Browsing social media without a purpose

Don’t get me wrong – I’m saying again that these things are not bad.

But if I say I have a goal or a dream, and time goes by and I still can’t find space to get it done, it means that my actual “goals” don’t align with my “dream goals.” It means I left no room in my schedule to take the action steps.

When I finally got serious, I finished the book. But it meant removing some things from my regular habits.

Since then I have discovered that I can write a book from start to finish in 5 WEEKS. Weeks. I did it on assignment when a ministry hired me to write curriculum for a Bible study. I wrote 75% of a rough draft in a week sequestered at a retreat center (book coming out this year).

As we continue, I’m going to give you some practical tips for how you can create un-goals for yourself.

Life, Repurposed

I made a short list of 5 big things I would like to accomplish before the end of this year. So how do I make room for them to happen? I create space for the action. Here are some tips for how you can make it happen with your goals.

First, make a list of the non-negotiables in your life. Here are some possible examples:

  • Date night with spouse twice a month
  • Family night once a week
  • Family suppers 3 times a week
  • One day of the week for Sabbath rest and no work (me time, self-care, worship, sleep, etc.)
  • Sleep
  • Hobbies that inspire my creativity (with balance)
  • Exercise
  • Church

Then make a list of all of the activities you do regularly. Include your hobbies and family activities – everything that fills your time.

Now, go through that list and put a star next to the ones that are non-negotiable.

Next, make a list of 2-5 BIG goals you’d like to accomplish this year. No more than 3 is ideal, but you might have more. Just remember to be realistic. These could be habit goals (exercise 5 times a week) or achievement goals (write a book).

Now, as you look through the items that you haven’t starred on your list of regular activities, which ones are less important to you than the big goals that you want to accomplish. This is hard, because many of those are things we like to do. But if you have no space in your life for what you want more, you can’t have it all.

In order to pursue the bigger goals that God has placed on my heart, I have given up these things:

  • Growing vegetables and canning. I use the farmer’s market and the grocery store now.
  • I got rid of many bins of supplies and kept just enough to do a small project on a weekend retreat here and there.
  • Hand stamping cards. I kept a small stash of supplies, but got rid of most of the supplies.
  • Making jewelry. I have a few supplies that I could part with now that I haven’t used them in a long time.
  • Networking groups. I’m selective now because I realized those came with obligations to fulfil the meet-ups after the official networking meeting. That led to 5 lunches per month sometimes where the other person wanted to “pick my brain” —an expression I hate by the way.
  • Lunches and coffee dates with friends. I have SOME, but I’m careful about how many. I want to stay connected, but there is a cost. I want it to be meaningful.
  • Some volunteering. Instead of saying yes to everything, I now volunteer only in one area at church where my skills are uniquely fit.
  • I have been purging my house so that I no longer need to spend time shuffling things around.
  • TV shows. I have a small selection of television shows I watch now. I rarely watch the news.
  • Some reading. I listen to more audiobooks now so that I can “read” while I make my lunch.

It will take more than just crossing something off a list. For example I had to purge some craft supplies in order to stop doing some of those things. I had to seed the garden down in grass. Well, my hubby did that for me.

Un-goals are the things you WON’T do so that you have the space to do what you WANT to do.

Remember, it’s about truly weighing your priorities in order to make space for your new and more important goals. I know you can do this!

Send me a direct message or an email when you do it!

Recommended Resources

If your biggest challenge is saying no, this book is a great resource. The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa TerKeurst addresses the idea of living with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and aching with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul. She urges readers to learn to say yes to God instead of everyone else.

  • Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love.
  • Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no.
  • Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process.
  • Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your best yes today.

This is a great place to start – especially if you don’t know how you can possibly make space for what you think your goals should be.

What is on your list of un-goals for this year? Reaching your goals might be more about what you will give up. I can’t wait to hear what happens in your life when you eliminate your un-goals!

When you send a direct message on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, tell me something you’ve noticed from my bio that we have in common. I love to get to know new people through those private chats!

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(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. ) *This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.

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This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

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