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Episode 80 - 11 Jan 2021

3 Approaches to Goal Setting

At the start of a new year, we are all reconsidering what it looks like to set goals. In this episode of the Church Leadership Podcast, John and Adam are joined by John Cox (Director of Staff Development and Special Projects) and Caitlin Van Wagoner (Senior Director of Communications) to discuss 3 different approaches to practical and effective goal setting. For show notes and more, visit

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Episode Summary

God has given all of us time, bodies, jobs, relationships, and resources that we are called to steward for His Kingdom and His glory. Goals give us a way to make sure we are stewarding those things faithfully over time. So, as you start thinking about setting goals, remember to give yourself grace.

With that, here are 3 approaches to goal setting..

3 Approaches to Goal Setting

1. Set strategies rather than goals
  • Sit down with a stack of note cards, pen, and your Bible. Pray that the Lord would bring to mind what you want to see happen this year. Consider what you want to start doing, stop doing, do more of, and do less of. Nothing is too random. Write every idea down on it's own card. For example, you may have a card that says "Eat less fast food" or "Start gardening." Try to continue until you have a few dozen ideas.
  • Next, sort the cards into themes or "strategies." For example, if you find yourself with several ideas having to do with home maintenance, you should try to come up with a strategy that pertains to stewarding your home well.
  • Finally, pair your strategies with Scripture and prayer. The end result will be guiding principles and tactics you can let inform your decision making, rather than explicit goals you will either succeed or fail at.
2. Keep it Simple, Short, and Habitual
  • The more goals we have, generally the less gets done. So, in an effort to keep it simple, for each of the main areas of investment in your life, be it marriage, work, fitness, social life, children, etc, pick a singular goal for each that will most move the needle in that area of your life.
  • Shorten the time frame on your goals. Rather than focusing on year long goals, try to come up with 30 day goals or 90 day goals. This creates an urgency and prevents you procrastinating. It also helps your prioritize what is most important and what you need to accomplish in the near future.
  • Lastly, focus on building small habits. Consider the simple behaviors that if done habitually over time, will eventually help with the end results that you desire.
3. Envision your Future and Help (and Be Helped By) Other People
  • For every major category in your life (once again, marriage, work, spiritual life, friends, etc), imagine the person you want to be a year from now. Imagine the person you want to be and try to describe the emotions, desires, hopes, and experiences of that person. What change have you seen happen.
  • Then find one key habit that will best help you achieve that future. Don't worry about if it is a year long goal or something tracked for 12 months. Instead, find whatever might help you take a step in the right direction.
  • Bring other people into your goal setting, but only share your goals with those who will actually help you out and hold you accountable in your goal setting.
  • Lastly, come alongside other people who are wanting to achieve their own goals. Do what you can to help them and you will likely find additional motivation to take steps in your own.
Hosted By
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John McGee

Sr. Director of Watermark Resources

A tarnow
Adam Tarnow

Cohost of Church Leadership Podcast