#149: 3 Reasons I Failed Miserably at Achieving My Goals This Year

And 5 Things I'll Do Differently Next Year

True confession time, I failed miserably at achieving my goals for 2015.  As it turns out I am not alone.

Goal, Resolution, Goals

According to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology , 62% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions at least occasionally. How many are successful in achieving their resolution? A whopping, mid-blowing 8% succeed. That means 92% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions fail to achieve their goal!

To make matters worse, 24% make the same resolutions over and over every year and never succeed—they fail every time!! It’s the very definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome!

As bad as that is, their research suggests that people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals than people who don’t make explicit resolutions! You kind of feel bad for the people who don’t even make resolutions—they don’t have much of a chance to achieve their goals!

My Goals Report Card

Actually I didn’t fail completely, I did achieve some of my goals. I established nine goals for 2015. Here’s my report card:

  • I achieved my personal development goal of reading through the Bible.
  • I achieved my relational goal by taking three vacations with my family.
  • I’ve almost completed my goal to read 12 books. I actually finished 11 and am part way through two others.
  • I failed miserably at my goal of losing the last 8 pounds I needed to lose, and instead gained back weight I lost earlier, so now I have twice as far to go this year!
  • I didn’t achieve my goals to double website traffic, triple podcast traffic, or quadruple my blog subscribers, though I did make substantial progress on each.
  • I didn’t complete a new lead magnet for my website.
  • I cancelled one goal about developing products for sale on the website.

The analytical part of me doesn’t celebrate the victory of a goal completed as long as there are goals that didn’t get completed. I naturally look at the ‘fails’ to see what went wrong.

What went wrong

First, there is a lack of focus. Having nine goals across personal, relational, and vocational spheres was too much. I can’t focus on that many goals with competing demands at once.

Second, while the effort to achieve each individual goal was reasonable enough, the combined workload was beyond my capacity. My eyes, as grandma used to say, were bigger than my stomach.

Third, I made the mistake of taking on another piece of work early in the year without thinking about how it would impact my ability to achieve the goals I had already established. This extra work took several hours a day seven days a week all year long. Once the commitment was made this work superseded work on all my other goals.

What I’ll do differently this next year

  • As I consider each individual goal I will estimate the amount of time each will take so that I don’t exceed my capacity. I couldn’t have finished all the work in these nine goals if I had worked twice as many hours!
  • I will leave a significant margin in my work plan for unexpected opportunities. I had overbooked my capacity so much there was no margin.
  • I will limit the number of goals I establish to the ones that will make the biggest difference.
  • I will evaluate my progress more frequently, and make needed course corrections. This year I established my written goals, but didn’t look at them frequently enough to ensure I was staying on track.
  • I will be more disciplined in evaluating the opportunities that arise during the year. If they don’t align what God has called me to do the answer is an easy, “no.” If they don’t contribute to the completion of an existing goal, the answer again is “no.” Saying “yes” to good things that didn’t help me accomplish my goals is what got me into a deep hole this year that I couldn’t climb out of.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Do you establish written goals? If you are achieving your goals what are you doing that makes you successful? Do you have any other advice/tips to help me as I consider establishing goals for next year?


Category: Personal Development | Priorities


#148: What Holy Night is This?

I am the kind of singer that King David had in mind when he said, “Make a joyful noise unto the world” (Psalm 100). I cannot, as they say, “carry a note in a bucket.” However, I am a joyful singer, and I am most joyful at Christmas time when I hear hymns like O Holy Night.

O Holy Night

O Holy Night was written in 1843 as a poem by French atheist, Placide Cappeau, at the request of a local parish priest. In 1847 Adolphe Adam, a French composer, added a musical score to Cappeau’s poem. It was later translated into English with some slightly different lyrics by John Sullivan, founder of the Harvard Music Society.

O Holy Night

  1. O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
    It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
    Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
    ‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
    A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
    For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

  1. Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming;
    With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand:
    So, led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
    Here come the wise men from Orient land,
    The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger,
    In all our trials born to be our friend;

He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! your King! before him bend!

  1. Truly He taught us to love one another;
    His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
    Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
    And in his name all oppression shall cease,
    Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
    Let all within us praise his Holy name!

Christ is the Lord, then ever! ever praise we!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!

O Holy Night–Verse 1

The first verse of O Holy Night describes the coming of Jesus. His coming should fill us with hope and joy. God loved us so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, that whomever might believe in him might not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

The price of our redemption from sin was not gold or silver, but the precious blood of the spotless lamb, Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). The fact the Father was willing to sacrifice His one and only Son on our behalf indicates how much He loves us.

O Holy Night—Verse 2

The second verse of O Holy Night reminds us the King of kings and Lord of Lords was born as a human infant and placed in a manger. The wise men followed a star and found the baby Jesus laying in a manger and they worshipped Him there.

The wise men worshipped at His feet in the manger. We worship Him at the foot of the Cross. Jesus bore all our sins so we might we might be adopted into God’s family and cry out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).

O Holy Night—Verse 3

The third verse of O Holy Night calls us to love one another, to set aside differences that separate us and become one in Christ. His law is love.  Teaching His disciples, Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

His Gospel is peace, praise His Holy name. Teaching the Philippians, Paul said, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

As we celebrate this Christmas season, let us remember the reason for the season is a tiny baby who lay in a manger, who lived a sinless life to redeem us from our sins. At the foot of the cross we meet our Savior.

My Christmas prayer for you is that the love of God and His peace will be with you always.

In His Service,

RonRKelleher clear 200 x 123

Join the Conversation

Do you have any favorite Christmas hymns that hold special meaning to you? What are they?


Category: Personal Development |Dependence on God

#147: Is Being a Servant Leader Really a Good Thing?

There’s been a lot of talk of talk the past few years about the importance of being a servant leader in business. In my experience most of the time it’s just talk. It sounds good to be called a servant leader. It strokes our frail little egos if we can convince ourselves that we are servant leaders.

Jesus Servant Leader

But the cold-hard truth is being a real servant leader is hard, and it requires more dedication, trust, and work than most people are willing to put forth.

The Servant Leader

The priority of the servant leader is to equip, enable, and encourage their subordinates to live up to their full potential.

Servant leaders combine a desire to serve others with a steadfast commitment to lead. They are often described as being visionaries, empowering, relational, trustworthy, and humble.

Examples of Servant Leaders

There are many servant leaders in the Bible. I’ve selected just four examples to share today:

  • Abram (Abraham) led his men to victory in battle. He refused to take any spoils for himself, but allowed the men who joined him in the battle to take their share of the spoils. Abram cared more about the men who risked their lives in battle than he cared about enriching himself. (Genesis 14:21-24)
  • David cared for Mephibosheth. King David, out of loyalty to his friend Jonathan, son of Saul, took in Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. David restored Mephibosheth all the property and possessions that had belonged to Saul. David served Mephibosheth out of love and loyalty to Jonathan. (2 Samuel 9:1-13)
  • Mordecai worked to save the entire Jewish population. Not concerned for his own safety and security, Mordecai enabled Esther to confront King Ahasuerus with Haman’s evil plan to annihilate the Jews. The plan was foiled and Mordecai, along with Esther, ended up saving the entire Jewish people. (Esther 9:1-10:3)
  • Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. Foot washing was the job of a household servant, but Jesus washed the disciple’s feet as an example of what it meant to be a true servant leader. Jesus turned the world’s values upside down: The Son of God, lived and died serving others. (John 13:14-15)

Disadvantage of Servant Leadership

The primary disadvantage of adopting a servant leadership philosophy is it is a long-term strategy. It takes time to establish the levels of trust, employee engagement, loyalty, etc. that positively impact results.

Leaders who naturally operate out of an autocratic style of leadership often do not have the courage to release authority and trust subordinates. They don’t have the patience for a long-term leadership style like servant leadership. They want results now and they want it done their way!

Advantages of Being a Servant Leader

There are many advantages to being a servant leader, but here are five that I think are most important:

  • Servant leadership maximizes the career development of employees.
  • Servant leadership leads to high levels of employee loyalty. Turnover is reduced.
  • Servant leadership builds trust within an organization which leads to high levels of employee engagement.
  • Servant leadership leads to high levels of customer service and customer loyalty.
  • Servant leadership has the power to impact society in a positive way.

Of all the advantages of servant leadership it is this last one; the potential to impact society in a positive way, that makes servant leadership worth all the effort, and counters all the potential disadvantages.

Join the Conversation

Have you worked for servant leaders in the past? How does that compare to non-servant leaders you know? Do you think being a servant leader can be an effective leadership philosophy in today’s business world?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?



Category: Relationships | Servant Leadership

#146: There are only Two Kinds of Leaders

There are only two kinds of leaders.


There are those who view their leadership position as an opportunity to take as much as they possible can from the organization. I call them the takers.

The other kind of leader views their leadership position as an opportunity to give to the organization. I call them the givers.

Givers and Takers. As a leader it all boils down to, are you a giver or a taker?

The takers take things like the big office, the title, the salary, and the extra perks. They believe organization owes them these things because of who they are.

The givers look to see what they can give to the organization. They look for ways to serve the organization. They care less about themselves and more about the organization.

On the very top of my takers list of Biblical leaders are Judas and Herod the Great.

Taker: Judas

Judas was an apostle of Jesus. He was called to be one of the top 12 leaders to take the Gospel to the world. But what was he worried about? Judas was stealing some money out of the money bag when he saw fit, and then complaining when a woman anointed the Lord with perfume.

He hoped Jesus would crush the Romans, and establish Himself as king. Then, being in the inner circle, he would score a nice plush job, with a big office in the temple. Knowing his fondness for money he probably had his eye on the job of Secretary of the Treasury. He was in it for what he could get; money, power, and position.

Taker: Herod the Great

It is said that it was safer to be a dog in Herod’s palace than one of his family members. Herod had most of his wives and even his own children killed because he saw them as questioning his authority or a threat to his rule. Of course Herod was also the king who heard about a baby born in Bethlehem who would be king, so he ordered all the babies in Bethlehem under two years old killed. Herod loved to tax the Jewish people to fund his lifestyle and his personal building projects. All Herod wanted to do was hang on to the money, power, and position he already had.

There are quite a few Biblical leaders who were givers. Aside from the obvious choice of Jesus, one of my top picks for a giving leader is Barnabas.

Giver: Barnabas

Barnabas was a Levite from the island of Cyprus who converted to Christianity early on. Barnabas’ first act of service to the young Christian church was when he sold some land he had and gave the entire amount to the apostles to distribute as they saw fit.

Later, when a new convert to Christianity named Paul wanted to work with the disciples in Jerusalem, it was Barnabas who stood up for Paul, introducing him to the disciples, and vouching for him.

Barnabas saw a need and helped to meet the need out of his own resources.

He saw a young man named Paul and believed in him. He helped Paul establish himself as a preacher of the Gospel.

Some time later Paul and Barnabas were working hard in the mission field with a young man named Mark. Mark was younger and less experienced. Rather than continuing on with Paul, the star of the mission field, Barnabas took Mark under his wing and mentored him.

Barnabas saw something special in Paul and Mark. He cared not for his own status, but was a giver who was only concerned with doing everything he could to further the Christian church.

The End Result is Relationships

The kind of leader you are, whether a giver or taker, will have a bearing on the kind of relationships you build with those you lead.

Judas sold out the movement and ended up killing himself all because he didn’t get what he wanted.

Herod ruled through fear and intimidation. Paranoia was the guiding light to his leadership style.

Barnabas, on the other hand, was a generous and supportive leader. He was not afraid to stand up for what he thought was right. He cared little for his own position and more about equipping the fledgling organization to take the Gospel to the world. Barnabas’ name means “Son of Encouragement” and it is easy to see why.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What kind of a leader are you? Are you a giver or a taker? What kind of leaders have you worked for – givers or takers? Which did you want to work for?


Category: Relationship | Servant Leadership