Why You Should Stop Focusing on Goals This Year

(Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash)

I don't know about you, but I struggle with goals. Sometimes I set them and forget about them. More often than not, I never meet them. I feel like a failure most of the time.

Of course, the problem isn't with goals. Goals are a wonderful tool. I've even started using Michael Hyatt's Full Focus Planner, and love it. Highly recommended. But if you've been disillusioned with goals, I recommend trying a different route this year.

One of the best books I've read this year is Atomic Habits by James Clear. There are many books on habits. I also enjoyed this one. But what I loved about Atomic Habits is how motivating and actionable it was. It got me thinking about habits for those of us who lead a worship team in a local church.

I won't go into too much detail about habits in this article. I'd recommend picking up one or both of the aforementioned books. For our purposes here, this is the main idea:

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

The power of habits is in the power of automation."

Habits enable us to automate important tasks so we don't have to think about them. Based on experience, much of local church ministry is spent reacting. We set goals, but often fail to meet them.

Instead, we put out fires on a regular basis. Finding a drummer for next weekend, picking songs for this weekend, and responding to emails eats up most of our time. Rather than being proactive about our schedules, we react to everyone else's demands and don't focus on what's really important for the areas we lead.

"You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems." —James Clear

Goals won't get you anywhere if your systems are broken.

Here's what I mean:

  • What if instead of having a goal of adding five new team members this month, you created a system of regular recruitment?
  • What if instead of a goal to get ahead in your song planning, you created a system for staying five weeks ahead in your song lists?
  • What if instead of a goal to do a live recording, you created a system of regular songwriting appointments with your team?
  • What if instead of a goal to communicate with your team, you create a regular communication system of emails, text messages, phone calls on certain days of the month?
  • What if instead of a goal to increase congregational engagement, you created a system to review your creative service programming on a monthly basis?

Every singular goal can be exchanged for a regular commitment.

You no longer need to rely on willpower. It's a system. It's on the calendar.

Imagine if you didn't have to think about scheduling because it's on your calendar to schedule from 9-10:30 on Mondays. Imagine you didn't have to think about recruiting because it's on your calendar to make phone calls on Thursday afternoons.

Make your calendar a sacred space. Keep the appointments you agree to. This creates sustained productivity over time.

What's also great is these activities become regular appointments. Then you're not recruiting only when it's crisis mode and you have no drummers. It's a regular rhythm. You're not picking songs last-minute, you're regularly maintaining a habit of staying ahead.

I'd love to hear from you. What are you struggling with in your team? What would change if you went through the process of creating a habit in that area?

Let's talk about it in the comments.

David Santistevan is a worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This article originally appeared at davidsantistevan.com.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.


Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. Enroll in the FREE Mini-Course to experience Dr. Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

NICL Training offered in FL, TX and GA - Learn everything you wish someone had taught you about business and ministry before you finished seminary. Gain the knowledge that will help propel your life and ministry to the next level as you implement practical lessons from Dr. Rutland's training. Training Dates and Details.

The NICL Online is a brand new option for those church and ministry leaders who cannot attend the in-person training. Now, you can receive all 60-hours of Dr. Rutland's training from the comfort of your home or ministry for a full year. Learn more about NICL Online.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders