Its January! Still the fresh start of our new year. 2024 is here with fresh possibilities, stored triumphs and awaiting challenges.

My goal-setting heart was so pumped by the fact that a new year began on a Monday. What a perfect start! Goals always start on Monday for me or Tuesday since I often have Mondays off from work – lol.

This year, as I surveyed people in my friend and co-worker groups, I realized that fewer and fewer people are setting up new year resolutions. The big motivator I heard was that people do not achieve their goals, so setting them seems like a waste of time and a setup for disappointment and failure. Yikes!

I realized this same hindrance demonstrated in my kids even when it didn’t concern new year’s goals. When starting a new sport, or setting out on a new project, their participation level was initially determined by their perception of their likelihood of success. Essentially, if they felt like they were going to be good at it, they were into it. If their assessment left them feeling less than perfect, they didn’t put in as much effort. This resulted in many conversations about growth, being faithful, and giving our best, even if it’s not as good as someone else’s best.

One of the pillars of our church values is that we believe we are called to live transformed lives. This means that where we are now is not where we will be. We grow up! And, we never stop growing up if we don’t stop surrendering more of our issues, habits, and shortcomings to the Lord.

Jesus Christ lived a totally sinless life. He is the pure spotless Lamb; perfect in all of His thoughts and behaviors. He is the example of how to live and love. We take our cues from our Savior. Therefore, I am CERTAIN, there is room to grow.

I also know that growth happens slowly over periods of time when I am faithful to spend time with the Lord. My time with the Lord often leads to further revelation of areas in my life and heart that need more work. I do believe we are able to grow without goals, but I believe when the Lord reveals an area of growth that is possible in us, we grow stronger and faster when we apply more concentrated energy.

Think of a greenhouse…when the conditions are correct, things can grow out of season and even outside of what is normal for that region. I can grow tomatoes all year if I have the right environment focused on growing that one plant.

This year, there are a few areas I believe I am supposed to grow in. If I gave it more thought, I could grow that list to an unmeasurable amount. But with healthy focus, I am more likely to bring honor to the Lord by being able to bear fruit faster.

It’s ok to try and not be perfect. It’s ok to try and not succeed at all. The thing about goals and growth is that sometimes for the sake of growth, we set a goal and win because we grew…not because we achieved the goal. Don’t give up and allow culture to dictate a stagnant development in your heart and mind. Read books, try new things, make a new friend, eat healthier, drink more water, or whatever the goal for you may be!


Candace Cortez is Executive Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. She can be reached at or 559-582-1528.