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Never Go Back: 6 Questions For New Year Goals

Never Go Back: 6 Questions For New Year Goals

Never Go Back: 6 Questions For New Year Goals

Every year I look at a blank journal page and wonder to myself, “Am I really going to accomplish my goals this coming year?” Regardless of this self-doubt, I manage to scribble out some goals that I would like to see accomplished and then pray for guidance in attaining them.

I’m happy to report that over the years I have reached some of those goals. But I would be lying to you if I said I made every one of them.  The truth is that I have failed to attain many of the goals I set out for myself. Frustrated by the process of attaining those goals, I would beat myself up and quit.  Aided by a few juicy self-rationalizations, I would say to myself “I don’t have what it takes.”  Or, “God just made me this way.”  Both are lies but they helped in getting too disappointed with myself.

But because I have been in the habit of journaling and reflecting on my goals year after year, I have seen patterns emerge in my life – goals that keep persisting but haven’t been achieved. Some of the goals have been hampered by unhealthy patterns at work preventing me from accomplishing my deepest desires.

Never Go Back

Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again

So to help me out this year, I recently ordered a copy of Dr. Henry Cloud’s audio book, “Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again.”  In the opening chapter, he relays the story about how he and his publisher arrived at the title.  As a psychologist and Christian, Dr. Cloud conveyed how he originally wanted to title the book Repentance.  But his publisher discouraged him from this and instead chose the phrase “Never Go Back.”  This is the  major idea behind the concept.

In essence, Dr. Cloud argues that one of the primary mistakes we make in relationships, business, or attaining personal goals, is the failure to recognize unhealthy behavior patterns that contribute to our problems. When a relationship goes sour or a business venture doesn’t work out, we fail to recognize the underlining problems in the relationships or the hidden challenges preventing the success of the business venture. Frustrated we quit for a season.

But then time passes and we jump right back into the same unhealthy patterns. We try to hang on too long. If given the opportunity, we give the relationship “another chance” failing to see that we are merely repeating the same mistakes time and time again. It seldom works.

Over the years, I have seen this happen in my own life and the lives others – individuals repeating the same patterns of behavior or hanging onto relationships thinking “this time will be different.”

Ask These Questions First

So how do we begin again? In order to avoid this happening in our lives, Dr. Cloud suggested six questions to ask when evaluating a relationship or opportunity with a track record of potential failure. “If the answer is ‘No’ to any of these questions,” Dr. Cloud warns,  “then you had better have a good reason to proceed.”

Six Questions

  • Why am I doing this? 
  • Is this something God equipped me to do? 
  • Is it a sacrifice I’m suppose to make? 
  • Am I suited for it? 
  • Does it fit me? 
  • Is it sustainable?

If you are evaluating an opportunity this coming year, remember this closing comment by Dr. Cloud: “In my experience, successful people never go back to thinking they can be someone else in order to get what they want.”  If in attaining a goal, accepting a position, or entering into a relationship causes you to be something other than yourself, then you might stop and reconsider what you are doing. Sage advice.

All Citations From Cloud, Henry Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again. Audible Version.



About The Author

Jonathan G. Smith

The Rev'd Dr. Jonathan G. Smith is the Senior Minister of Redeemer Church in Orlando, Founder of Grace Nation, and owner of Higher Purpose Coaching. His passion is to see people transformed by the Gospel, the liberating power of Jesus Christ.

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