Goals & Patterns

Happy New Year to all of you! Like many of you, I am beginning the year by assessing what I accomplished – or failed to accomplish – in 2019 and setting goals for the year. I don’t really like the whole “new year’s resolution” thing. Most of the time “new year’s resolutions” are not well thought out. Often, they are just emotional responses that just amount to wishful thinking. They are mostly just statements of what we wish we were.

Goals, on the other hand, identify what we are actively working on – which is significantly different than just thinking about it and wishing it were true. Goals certainly aren’t the “be all – end all” solution to everything, but, when properly set, lay out a roadmap for fruitful action. Useful goals should flow from a thorough assessment. How can you really know what you should be working on right now if you don’t have a clear understanding of where you are right now? I believe this is where I have failed in the past. For about 20 years I wrote down different versions of basically the same goals – covering several areas of my life - with very little success. I got so frustrated with myself that for a couple of years I just stopped writing down goals. What’s the point of just failing at the same thing again?


At some point, I began to wrestle hard with the obvious question: Why was I unable to make any significant progress toward these things that were so important to me? That forced me to dig deeper and really examine the root causes behind my stagnation. It forced me to look at my own patterns of behavior and patterns of operation. I had to learn to identify the unfruitful patterns of behavior that consistently pushed me in directions I didn’t really want to go. The patterns that caused me to repeatedly stop or just gradually fizzle out before I got anywhere near my stated goals. For example, after years of being an athlete, I have steadily gained weight for the last 25 years. Eventually, my workout logs told me that I had a pattern of falling off after about 3 weeks of working out. This went on for years. Start and stop, start and stop! Only in the last few years did I really dig in and acknowledge that it was my poor sleep habits that were causing this problem. I knew I had developed poor sleep habits during my years of working the 3rd shift, but I always thought I could push through it.


My point is, I repeatedly wrote down fitness and weight-loss goals without understanding that I wasn’t ready to pursue them. That’s why I repeatedly failed so miserably. There were other “preliminary” goals that needed to be conquered before I could ever be ready to make any real progress in the fitness area. I could easily give you similar examples in other areas of my life – including my music, but I think you get the point. (I actually do share some of my musical struggles in my IGTV video embedded below)

Btw, I am now in week 13 of my present fitness journey. I haven’t made it this far since 1997. I’ve got a long way to go, but this time I have done some extra work before getting started.


My pastor used to say “you have to fight the right fight and then fight that fight the right way”. As you set your goals for this year, I strongly urge you to do some deep self-examination and look at your own behavior patterns. How are you operating? Do you manage your life in a way that is consistent with your goals? If not, then you should set goals to specifically address that now, then work on your larger goals.

Leave a comment

Add comment