What If You Don’t Have Big Life Goals?

posted by Andrea | 08/9/2019

big life goals

I recently received 2 similar emails from readers asking how I go through the process of setting BIG yearly and/or monthly goals for myself, my business, house projects, etc. (and then how I go about working towards those goals). 

Both readers sheepishly lamented the fact that they felt like they had no “big goals” for their lives.

They felt no need to do BIG house projects.

They didn’t have huge aspirations for what they wanted to do with their lives (outside of what they were currently doing).

They didn’t have a “dream job” or a big fancy career they wanted to pursue.

They didn’t have any huge financial milestones they wanted to work towards.

They were simply happy and content with their current lives… but at the same time, they felt like they needed to have big goals in order for their lives to have purpose.

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As many of you know, I love thinking and talking about goals… so it’s probably no surprise that I received these emails asking about goals. However, what might be a bit more surprising is that I can actually relate to these 2 readers!

Yes!

In fact, I’ve had a post in my drafts folder for several weeks now about my lack of BIG goals for my life! 

The truth is, I’m much more of a small, everyday-goals type of person.

For the last several years, I’ve actually felt a little guilty about the lack of new BIG goals, projects, and ideas I’ve had for my business, my blog, and my life.

It’s not that I don’t care about my business or my blog, or that I don’t do anything fun or exciting in my life. It’s just that I’m honestly really REALLY happy and content with how things are right now.

I’m happy with how much (or how little) time I need to devote to my blog to keep it running.

I’m happy with the work/life balance I have at the moment.

I’m happy with the progress we’ve made with home renovations (even though we’re still stalling on our laundry room progress)!

I’m happy with how full (or empty) our family schedule is, and I feel my “plate” of to-dos is manageable.

This does not mean that my life is perfect or that I never want anything to change ever again… it just means that FOR NOW, I honestly have no big goals for my life.

However, I DO still set goals on a regular basis.

When it comes to setting monthly or weekly goals, my goals are super simplified.

In fact, sometimes I even think of my daily to-do lists as mini goals for my day. I just keep plugging along until I cross all those miniature goals off my list.

And if I don’t get to them today, they’ll be first on my list for tomorrow. 

What if YOU currently don’t have any big goals?

Maybe you don’t have a big goal to lose a specific number of pounds, but instead, just want to eat healthier and incorporate more activity into your day.

Maybe you don’t have a big goal to pay off your mortgage several years early, but instead, just want to pay an extra $5 or $10 a month.

Maybe you don’t have a big goal to move up in your career or land your dream job, but instead, just want to keep doing what you’re doing really well.

Maybe you don’t have a big goal to renovate your entire home, but instead, just want to swap out a few decorations or move some furniture around.

Maybe you don’t want to be a master chef or baker, but just want to grow and expand your kitchen skills and knowledge. 

Maybe you don’t have a big goal to travel the world or visit every continent, but instead, just want to take a few local day-trips with your family or friends.

Maybe you don’t have a big goal of reading 100 books in a year or journaling every day, but instead, just want to read and write somewhat regularly.

Maybe you don’t have a big goal to find a perfect cleaning schedule and meal plan for every single week, but instead, just want to keep up with the laundry and eat at the table more often than not.

I could keep going and going and going with more examples… but I think you get the idea.

THE POINT IS…

Just because you don’t have a BIG goal doesn’t mean you still can’t set goals for yourself on a regular basis.

Your life and your days can still have purpose and meaning without the addition of BIG goals… I promise!

 

And if you DO have big goals? 

Good for you! I have lots of experience working towards and accomplishing big goals and it feels AMAZING! 

Keep in mind though, it’s not a bad idea to break those BIG goals down into smaller, more manageable chunks so you don’t get totally overwhelmed and give up (yes, I’ve had experience with this too!)

What are some of the small, but important, goals on your list?

top photo credit: Ashely Baxter on Flickr

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23 comments

  1. Mary

    08/12/2019

    Great post! After a lifetime of goal setting (and achieving), I retired last year. Everyone asked me what I was going to do in retirement and what was next for me. This blog was great because for the first time in my life, I have no big goals. And it is wonderful!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — congrats on your retirement! Enjoy having no huge goals for a while!

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  2. Charlene Uchtman

    08/09/2019

    I totally agree. But I also find that ticking off my to-do list can be my “drug of choice” keeping me very happy/high, while I avoid doing more difficult personal work or “sticking my head in the sand” and ignoring pressing decisions. I erroneously believe if I just work hard everything will be fine, right? How do I recognize when good things, like goals setting and hard work have become addictions with a life of their own, rather than tools to assist me? Maybe another blog topic!

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  3. Meghan

    08/09/2019

    Great post! I don’t have any huge goals at the moment. To love my people well is my daily goal with all the other life stuff worked in in a way that glorifies God. For a while I struggled with the fact that I didn’t seem to be doing anything “big” for God but have realized that raising my kids is the big thing God wants me to do right now.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    this is wonderful — thanks for sharing Meghan!

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  4. Alissa

    08/09/2019

    My “big” goal right now is to find a good rhythm and routine for food! For a variety of reasons, my husband cooked for the first 7ish years of our marriage, but now I stay home with our 2 year old and 4 month old and feel like it is more logical for me to cook supper most nights. Trying to find relatively healthy, relatively frugal meals that my family likes to eat is a challenge (or at least right now it is).

    Before kids I train and ran a marathon under 4 hours, retaught myself Calc 2 and 3 so I could teach it for high schoolers, saved for and planned a backpacking trip with my husband through the UK, and other more typical “big” goals.

    Posts like these are my favorite. Thanks for writing the great content Andrea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Alissa,
    My suggestion for you (if you’re looking for suggestions) is to find 1 or 2 meals that meet all your criteria (simple, healthy, liked by everyone) and make those EVERY week. Then the other days, mix in things that might not be as healthy or as well- liked, or as “balanced”. This method has helped me slowly incorporate more and more veggies into our meals while still making things that are easy and that everyone likes.
    Now, we eat spaghetti squash every week and no one ever complains (it only took a full year!)

    [Reply]

    Alissa Reply:

    Oh that is a good idea! Thanks Andrea!

    [Reply]

  5. Gail

    08/09/2019

    Andrea–Your blog this week was even more thoughtful than its usual wonderful self. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on all these topics. They are universal, and you are so real and human that people of all walks, even I, a 73 year-old grandma, can relate.
    I enjoy reminiscing about when my kids were little and about having a teacher in the family–I taught for over 30 years–but it is definitely your down to earth humanity that makes me love your blog every day. I am a clean-freak in the same way you are, too, so that is another reason it is of interest to me to read what you have to offer. You are the only blogger I read who is out there all work days, and the readers can count on this. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Gail Reply:

    I forgot to list my personal goals: be a good mom, be an influential teacher, be a loving and involved grandma. So far, so good! I have not met once-held goals of writing a kids’ book, going to NZ, and gathering friends from all the places I have lived and having them meet each other as I watched.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Gail!

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  6. Stel

    08/09/2019

    I have made peace with that!

    I used to think I want to be a vet, I want to drive this or that car, I want to travel the world, IO want to do this that or that…and then I’d seen some life situations and I had kids and I realised – I am my life goal. I did study and did not become a vet, but I did get a Masters in Science – and now I’m a happy stay at home mom. I did own a few very nice little sets of wheels, and now drive a very nice mom-car, but I do not strive for a flat red one, or a huge kid carrier, or a bigger 4×4. I have travelled and am so thankful, but I do not have to visit 90 countries.
    I’m truly happy and content, being a SAHM, raising my kids, taking them to the grandparents or the beach, keeping the home fires burning while my husband works hard out of town. I study a bit here and there, do some craft work, get the dog not to escape the garden, my goals are much smaller, But I Do Not Have To Change The World. I do my bit in my corner, and try to teach my kids to do theirs. And that is my Big Goal 😉

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good for you — and no, we don’t all have to change the world — that would be a lot of changes!

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  7. mara

    07/19/2016

    This was a great post!! I can definitely relate to this and it can be a weird feeling that I was at times ashamed of, to be able to say you are content is hard to do when our culture is so go-go-go all of the time! It does not mean that there are not still things I want to and do accomplish, it just feels different from the “bigger” goals we had a few years back!

    [Reply]

  8. Aa.

    08/20/2015

    I think society pressures us (especially us women) to have what is generally considered as BIG GOALS. We have to pursue carriers, we have to have everything perfect, a lot of time for taking care of your body, etc.

    I think that is the main cause why most of the time women who take good care of their families feel like they don’t have big purposes, is because, eventhough they are content with their life (which is a BIG GOAL, in my opinion), they feel that they don’t do what apperas appealing just because it is very mediatized. They don’t rise to the expectation of what is considered general opinion. But why should we?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes… my thoughts exactly!

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  9. Marta

    08/20/2015

    My big goal is to start a blog!!!!
    It would be about teaching languages to children (especially English). I am keen on learning and teaching this language. In Italy, where I live, people are not very good at languages. I’d love to help other moms play with their kids using English. Even 15 minutes a day would be more than perfect. So I think it will be interesting
    But I have 3 kids (8, 5 and 3 months) and consequently I can dedicate a very little time to blogging.
    Another big goal or better a life goal is to prepare my Cambridge proficiency English examination. Unfortunately, I can’t study more than 1 page a day.
    Then, I’d love to lose weight after my pregnancy!!!
    Finally, I must be present for my children: play, read, craft, laugh, learn, travel, talk….
    BTW, Andrea congratulations for your newborn baby. He’s a sweet boy, isn’t he?
    Marta

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Marta!! And wow, what a lot of great goals. Big goals… but definitely exciting goals too!

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  10. Melissa Q

    08/19/2015

    I don’t have big goals right now, either. It is too hard for me to look that far ahead or stick with something for a long long time. So I find it helpful to have smaller, shorter term goals, even like “just this week ” goals. This helps me have more tangible goals and actually achieve them!

    [Reply]

  11. JJ

    08/17/2015

    My big goal right now is to sleep as much as possible. I have a 1 year old, a 2 year old and a baby due in October. All the while, we have had our house on the market with 14 showings in about 30 days and had to house shop with a realtor for a few weekends. I’ve had hardly any rest this pregnancy, so my goal is sleep–as much as possible! And I’m okay with that! Love your post and your attitude of contentment!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes… sleep! Good goal 🙂

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  12. Mrs. Crackin' the Whip

    08/17/2015

    I relate to those readers 100%. We have some pretty big goals now but historically my goals were very much similar to your list above.

    [Reply]

  13. Michele

    08/17/2015

    My gigantic goal is to successfully raise 8 children in the fear of the Lord. It takes on the shape of little goals every day, in which I fail at often. But my eye is on the prize and I know that my little is much when God’s in it. So I keep striving, even through the seemingly little and unimportant tasks.

    Thanks for this post!

    [Reply]