005: The Tension Between Goals and Gratitude [Podcast]

Today is a re-broadcast of a podcast episode that I recorded over a year ago. I recently finished an excellent book by Jeff Goins entitled The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing. As I was reading this book it reminded of this podcast episode and post. Enjoy!

There is a tension that exists between goals and gratitude. Maybe you have never thought of it this way. I love setting goals. I think everyone ought to have goals in life that they are striving for.

the tension between goals and gratitude

However, what I have come to realize is that setting goals often “exposes the gap” between where I am and where I want to be. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think if you are not careful you can cross the line and live in ungrateful land.

The Tension Between Goals and Gratitude [Podcast]


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There is a point that we can become so goal focused that we are never grateful for what we currently have. Rather we want to admit it or not, we mistakenly think that once we accomplish “x” we will have finally arrived.

The best example is an illustration that Anthony Robbins told in a seminar. He asked the audience (using my own words), “At what point do you become wealthy and financially free?” On the front row was a millionaire worth about 3 million dollars. Anthony put the mic in front of the millionaire an asked the question specifically to him.

His response to the question: “When I get to 10 million dollars.”

I believe that the missing component to all of our goal setting is to start first by:

  • Listing what we are truly thankful for
  • Writing down what we have already accomplished
  • Thanking God for how good He has been to us
  • Showing appreciation to those around us who support us
  • Giving to those who are less fortunate
  • Remembering that apart from God we can do nothing

“Be aware of the tension that exists between goals and gratitude.” tweet that

Gratitude will not show up on its own. Gratitude is a mindset and attitude that you have to empower. Make it a part of your morning routine. I’m not perfect at it, but before I start my day I try to take a moment, close my eyes, and think of what I am grateful for.

Two years ago we started a tradition in our home. Every November, we create a Thankful List. We take several 3×5 cards, tape them together vertically, and number to 101. Each family member gets their own pen color. We try to add to our Thankful List every single day with the goal of reaching 101 before Thanksgiving Day.

Each November my heart is filled with gratitude as I see the long list of things that I am thankful for. I want to offer you the same challenge. Recognize the importance of gratitude when it comes to setting goals.

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    12 thoughts on “005: The Tension Between Goals and Gratitude [Podcast]

    1. Excellent podcast! Being able to stop and be thankful for what is right in front of you is very important. I have to admit that I get caught up in what I am doing so much that I forget to do it and should really start making time for it myself.

    2. I like the analogy there. There is a tension between goals and gratitude and many of us forget to be grateful for what we have as we are often looking for the things that we don’t have.

    3. Those are some very powerful words to live by. Being thankful for what you have makes you value it that much more and, for me, it makes me want to be able to take better care of what I have and maybe in the process, I will end up bettering myself and my life.

    4. What a lovely post, Jonathon!
      I guess this blog is another thing to be thankful for 🙂

    5. Right. I think this is what I lack that’s why I keep on struggling about goal setting. Very helpful indeed…merci