A Twelve Steppers Thoughts on Goal Setting


Can I blame my lack of ability to set long-term goals on 12-step recovery programs?  I mean, I have to blame someone, right? So, why not those folks who encouraged me to live “one day at a time.”

Maybe I can blame Elisabeth Elliott instead. I remember sitting in a meeting early on in recovery and when it was my turn to share what was on my heart I read this great quote to the group:  “Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.”

Incidentally, Jesus also encourages folks to live one day at a time too. (Matt 6:34) Can I blame him instead?

Or if I do play the blame game, would it be a good indication I may be in need of a recovery refresher course?

Okay, so obviously, I’m making fun of myself. But, I do struggle with making long-term goals and step one in recovery is to acknowledge I have a problem.

Hi, I’m Eileen, and I’m somewhat of a scaredy cat when it comes to setting long-term goals.

I’m fairly certain I know where this fear stems from.

  • I’m a recovering perfectionist. Recovering perfectionists have a slight aversion to failure. If we make a long-term goal and end up missing the mark then we’ve just let down (not only ourselves) but all of mankind. 😉
  • The experience of losing a loved one “prematurely.”  I came out on the other side of losing my mom to cancer slightly bruised up. I had a somewhat jaded attitude towards goal setting for many years after her death. Goals? What’s the point? Life throws you curve balls and look where it leaves you.

Over the years, I’ve had to learn how to live life as an imperfect, flawed human being in a world where I don’t have any control over what might be waiting around the corner. Folks, I’m getting better at this…but there are times when fear still likes to taunt me with lies.

I do plan on writing down my goals for the year 2015. I will do this because I know the years I’ve chosen to do this, despite my fears, have been the years I’ve been more intentional with my time and have made more progress up the path.

This year I will get my goals out of my head/heart and down on a sheet of paper but my focus will remain on taking deliberate and daily steps.

Here are two questions I want to get in the habit of asking myself everyday:

In light of my goals, what does it look like to live fully alive today?

What does it require of me today?

I will keep one eye on my long-term goals but, more importantly, I want to have solid answers to these questions and then take the necessary steps to live those answers out.

The other day I shared with you how I’ve had to learn that “perfection is not the goal, showing up is the goal.”  I believe this. And, I don’t want fear to hold me back from showing up and living fully alive in 2015.

Showing up is more important than finished goals. Showing up is the only chance we have of actually making completed goals a reality.

The daily journey matters most.

Have you written down your goals yet for 2015?

2 thoughts on “A Twelve Steppers Thoughts on Goal Setting

  1. C

    Very true, Eileen. Showing up is the first step to everything. Loved this post. Will try to work hard at my goals while enjoying every moment of it.

  2. Bill (cycelguy)

    In my book you said it all right here: “Showing up is more important than finished goals. Showing up is the only chance we have of actually making completed goals a reality.” Nothing more to add.


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