Zones › Hitting the Mark and What to Do When You Don't

Hitting the Mark and What to Do When You Don't

Membership Level Guest

Author/Source: Janelle Hoos

Topic: Leadership, Goal Setting

Learning the skill of writing effective goals will go a long way towards accomplishing them. Janelle Hoos of the Well Equipped Volunteer blog provides a strategy of writing goals, accomplishing them, and knowing what to do when you fail to hit your goals.


As a Children's Ministry leader, you're constantly setting goals for your programs. Goals will help inspire you, grow your programs, and meet the needs of the kids in your church. I like using SMART goals because they force you to create well-thought-out goals.


Goals are the short-term steps that will help you reach your vision, achieve your mission, and fulfill your purpose. SMART is a mnemonic—a memory device to help you remember the five components that make up a good goal.


A goal should be simply written, explaining the what, why, and how of the goal. These must be clear to anyone with a basic knowledge of the program. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general one.


There must be tangible evidence that you have accomplished the goal. You want to put concrete numbers in your goal to know if you are falling behind or staying on track.


Action steps are built right into the SMART goal—it's going to tell you what to do. That means that you will need verbs.


This type of goal motivates you. Rather than dragging you down because you just can't see how you will accomplish it, a realistic goal both challenges you and motivates you because it can be met.


Putting a date in your goal creates a practical sense of urgency. You will know by a specific date whether you have accomplished your goal or not. You will also be able to see if you are on track to finish it or if you are lagging behind. Including a date for completion creates internal pressure to accomplish the goal.

Don't give yourself too much time, though, because this can affect your performance. It almost encourages procrastination.

What to do When You Fail

It happens! We don't always accomplish our goals. So, what do you do when you fail?

1. Take a Close Look at the Goal

Read it over carefully. Was it specific? Was it measurable? Was it actionable? Was it realistic? Was it timely? If the answer to just one of these questions is no, then that could be the reason the goal was not met. Try re-writing the goal (with a new timeline, of course!) making sure that you include each of these components.

2.  Consider Why You Didn't Reach Your Goal

You may have written a really solid SMART goal and still did not reach it.

Did you forget about it? Consider using a reminder to track and measure your progress—keep a journal, write the goal on a whiteboard that you see everyday, or use a tracking app on your phone or computer.

Did you procrastinate? If you are a procrastinator, consider breaking down the goal into smaller steps giving yourself some small task to accomplish on a regular basis that will help you meet your goal. Consider what can you do today, this week, or this month that will take you a step closer to accomplishing your goal.

3. Consider an Accountability Partner

It's much harder to forget about a goal or procrastinate working on your goal when someone else knows about it and is keeping you accountable.

Sometimes you can re-write the goal and try to reach it again. Sometimes a goal cannot be tried for again. In this case, don't beat yourself up too hard about it. Give yourself a break. But, also, don't let yourself completely off the hook. Look at why you didn't reach the goal and make it a priority to not make those mistakes next time.

Learn more about SMART goals and lots of other effective Children's Ministry strategies in The Well-Equipped Volunteer Children's Ministry Handbook. 

This post is located in the following zone(s): AdministrationArticlesLeadership
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