Here’s a surprising word that’s the secret to effective goal setting: Acceptance.
What? How can acceptance help with goal setting? Yes. It sounds like it doesn’t make sense, but I’ve learned over and over that acceptance is the key to successfully meeting goals. In fact, I want to share 5 acceptance mindsets that will transform your goal setting plans into completed accomplishments.
Each of these acceptance goal setting mindsets will finally set you free to meet your goals; are easily adaptable to any goals you make; and are ideal for those of us who deal with perfectionist thinking.
I want to teach you how to use acceptance to create powerful goals that bring real change. Let’s get started!
Isn’t Acceptance the Opposite of Goal Setting?
At first glance, acceptance seems the direct antithesis of goal setting. How can we accept ourselves and set goals–at the same time?
Let me explain by giving an example of how we typically set goals (and why we’re often unsuccessful at goal planning).
In short, most of us bite off more than we can chew. Our over-the-top goals–We plan to lose 20 pounds, run 4 miles every morning, start a new side business and learn how to sew all in the next month–set us up for failure.
When those lofty goals aren’t fully met, we find ourselves crashing down emotionally, perhaps even filled with cynicism and self-hatred.
We wonder, “Why do I even try? What’s the point of this anyway?” Which is a worse spot to be in than before the goal-setting started.
Let me show you how a bit of acceptance (and realistic thinking) can make all the difference when it comes to New Years goal setting (or anytime you need to set goals).
Let’s consider these 5 acceptance concepts for goal setting so that we can have peace, clarity and success in our goal setting. We’re going to look at the old way of approaching goal setting (without acceptance) and how a new acceptance mindset can make our goal setting more effective.
5 Acceptance Mindsets for Effective Goal Setting
Acceptance Mindset #1: Include small quick wins in your goal planning.
Old Way: We give our goals a overall “pass or fail” metric and don’t celebrate success along the way.
New Way: What if we purposely planned stages and milestones into our goal setting, and legitimately celebrated each little victory toward the overall goal? I would highly encourage you to identify a quick win aspect of your goal and tackle this first.
For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, your quick win goal could be to lose 2 pounds as fast as you can. Once you’ve accomplished this, set the next quick win goal (perhaps that’s 5 pounds). These little victories will give you the confidence you need to meet the bigger goal, and create a mindset of acceptance for the journey instead of a “pass or fail” mindset.
Acceptance Mindset #2: Separate maintenance goals from seasonal goals.
Old Way: We beat ourselves up for reoccurring goals. “Why can’t I just accomplish these?” we think.
New Way: What if we accepted that some goals will never, ever be fully met and are just maintenance goals? Some goals are just for this season, while others are goals we continually need to keep a priority.
For example, every year, healthy eating and regular exercise are at the top of my goal setting list, and that’s because I continually have to battle to keep these a priority in my life.
Accepting these as ongoing goals (and celebrating the progress that has been made over the years) has brought mental peace when I continue to see these goals year after year. Striving for progress (not completion) of these ongoing goals is the key.
Acceptance Mindset #3: Create realistic goals in light of your current life season.
Old Way: We sabotage ourselves by creating too many goals at once or by expecting ourselves to meet every goal perfectly (despite potentially limiting life circumstances).
New Way: What if we asked ourselves, “What are my limits in this season, and how can I use these to help realistically outline my goal’s completion?” We’ve got to accept what’s possible in light of other goals and outside life circumstances and celebrate that improvement, even if it’s not perfect.
Acceptance Mindset #4: Establish flexible goal setting plans that leave room for self-discovery.
Old Way: We believe, “I must create an iron-clad goal setting plan and stick to it.”
New Way: What if we considered that there are many, many ways to meet a goal? And then, what if we created a loose outline but left a lot of room for ways to discover how to meet that goal along the way?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve successfully met a goal by simply staying flexible to new concepts, tools or ideas that I discover along the way. They may not be how I expected to meet that goal, but these new avenues fit perfectly as I’ve had to abandon what I thought would work for what is actually working. What a wonderful way to welcome acceptance, freedom and joy into goal setting!
And speaking of joy in goal setting…
Acceptance Concept #5: Joyfully Embrace What’s Out of Your Control
New Way: We outline our goals in a vacuum in order to ensure our goal-making success and get frustrated when outside circumstances “thwart” our plans.
Old Way: Life–real, messy, and unpredictable–will continue to happen as we plug away at our goals. Mentally, we must give ourselves grace in this area. We must also build margin into our goal-planning since out-of-our-control circumstances are inevitable.
For example, our family had set a goal to save up for a motorhome. We’d been diligently saving extra money each month toward our goal. Then, fifteen months ago, my husband was laid off. We never got to purchase that motorhome (and I’ve had to accept that fact). But that large savings has sustained our family during this long period of unemployment, and so I still feel like that goal was accomplished.
I’m so thankful that we were able to save as much as we did because it has been our nest egg through this transition period! However, I had to choose to accept that our goal was thwarted and still decide to classify the goal as a success.
Next Steps: A Great Way to Balance Acceptance with Goal Setting
Friend, none of this is easy, especially if you struggle with perfectionism and need to have control over every aspect of goal-setting.
It’s wonderful that God purposely created us with a relentless drive to be better and to strive harder. It’s a good thing to be hard-working, to be focused and to be driven to idealism.
And yet, we can’t let these concepts steal us from being satisfied with the goals we are able to accomplish!
If you’d like an acceptance-centered, biblically-based way to set goals for yourself this year, I’d highly recommend Grace Goals.
Consisting of 5 mini workshops, this downloadable, 48-page resource is a unique hybrid of a Bible study and a goal-setting course.
With Grace Goals you will:
- Learn why grace is the enablement you need to meet your goals
- Begin to recognize and appropriate grace in your daily life
- Set practical, godly goals
- Be confident of God’s favor and power in your endeavors
- Develop a doable, personal plan for change
Grace Goals offers relevant information and then the opportunity to immediately apply that knowledge to each person’s individual situation through hands-on work.
You’ll also get access to a private Facebook group where you can share goals, find an accountability partner, and be encouraged.
If you’re in the midst of setting some big goals, I’d highly encourage that you check out Grace Goals!
I’m praying for you as you learn to weave acceptance into your goal planning too!