The Care and Keeping of Goals

I love to set goals.

I do not, lamentably, love to follow through with them.

I’m a dreamer, not an implementer.

One of the goals I have therefore set for myself this semester is to graft into my character at least a hint of follow-through ability, because otherwise when I am 50 years old, I shall still be dreaming wildly about all the change I am going to help enact in the world, and shall beam magnanimously on those who are actually implementing said changes, whom I will unfairly and untruthfully consider my partners in action.

With that fear looming, I’m developing semester goals that will stretch me, but which are attainable. I won’t bore you with all of them right now, but I spent this morning selecting the 5 non-academic books I am going to read this semester.

1) “When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Yourself.”

Authors: Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert

Purpose: I am all about community development, and have considered it as a career option. It still might be. This book (with a foreword by eminent community developer/champion of racial reconciliation John Perkins) will hopefully reignite that passion, which has begun to fade in my ultra-busy, middle-class, over-intellectualized, focused-on-emotional-rather-than-physical-needs environment.

Multi-tasking: I may be joining the missions committee at church within the next few months, and this is the book they are currently reading. First of all, I love that they are reading it. Secondly, I’m hoping that this will give me some of the pressure/structure I need to actually finish it.

Attempt Number: 1

2) “The Brothers Karamazov.”

Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Reason: I love literature, I love the classics, and when I started reading this book over the summer, I was all but giddy over the 300 pages I was able to devour. Then I allowed my poor perseverance to raise its ugly head, and there went task completion.

Attempt Number: 3. I started it last Christmas, but ran out of time before the break ended. Then I started it over the summer, but ran out of character before I finished it.

3) “Amusing Ourselves To Death.”

Author: Neil Postman

Reason: I. Love. This. Man. His works are thought-provoking, analytical, and humorous, and this one has been on my “To Read” list for far too long.

Attempt Number: 1.

4) “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement.”

Author: Lots of big name Christians; edited by Ralph Winter.

Reason: It’s interesting, it’s informative, and it contains information that I may well need someday.

Attempt Number: Pick a number, any number. I read part of this book for a class I took at Taylor. Then I bought it intending to read it my senior year of college. Then I trucked all 5 pounds of it along to South Carolina, intending to read it when I got there. Then I intended to read it when my roommate took the Perspectives course last Spring. Let’s see how this attempt goes. If I did half the things I intend to do, I would be ruling the world by now; or at least be the next Neil Postman.

5) “Sin and Grace in Christian Counseling.”

Author: Mark McMinn.

Reason: I read a book by Dr. McMinn for one of my classes in the Spring, and absolutely loved it, so I have added several of his books to my “Read Someday” list. This one was chosen for the semester because I tend to struggle so much with guilt and grace in my own life that I know I need to develop a more Biblical perspective (and lifestyle) with regard to each of them before I start to guide clients.

Attempt Number: 1

So there’s a breakdown of one of my goals for the fall. . .what about you all? Do you want to read a book, become more organized, wean yourself of a bad habit, develop your patience, maybe strike up a conversation with that cute girl from Spanish class?

What are some of your goals for the semester, and how do you plan to attain them? I’d love to read your thoughts.


7 thoughts on “The Care and Keeping of Goals

  1. I’m going to stop wasting time.

    …Well, not completely. I think that would be impossible. But my goal is to drastically reduce the amount of time I spend doing things that are pointless and useless, and also stop leaving my homework as long as possible before it’s due.

    I think I need to make a longer list of fall-quarter goals, though. Hmm. Something to think about.

  2. Ok, Lauren. You are awesome. Seriously. I want to encourage you because 1. you are in graduate school 2. i couldn’t hack it. 3. jealous in some ways that I didn’t have what it takes;) 4. you shouldn’t beat yourself up about not following through with everything you want to do. you are in graduate school. and it is HARD, intense, and requires so much of you.

    Enough of me going on and on. Maybe it is the fact that I am in denial over my own inabilities to follow through. My one goal for this semester is to get my eating under control. Cause’ it is out of control. You probably wouldn’t recognize me. I have gained 15 pounds.


    1. Allison, you are such a sweetheart–I wish you could get a ‘Lauren’s eye view’ on how encouraging you are to me. πŸ™‚ Let me know how your goal accomplishment goes! I’m trying to keep from stocking my freezer with Dove chocolate for mid-semester stress-relief. πŸ™‚

  3. My goal is to write down my goals in a place where I’ll remember to look later, so I don’t continue forgetting my goals.
    The ones I remember are: Re-learn how to upload changes to my website and do it often enough to remember how to do it again.
    Start a blog.
    Be disciplined!
    Thanks for your inspiration, Lauren!

    1. How are your goals going, dear Anne? I would love to read your blog once you get it up! I love your website, and am excited to see what you could do with a blog. πŸ™‚

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