Posted by: Diane | April 23, 2013

Goal Vs. Desire

One of the most profound truths that I have learned in the past month has really helped me see my life from a healthier perspective.  A friend recently shared this explanation with me but the original idea came from Encouragement; The Key to Caring, by Larry Crabb and Dan Allender.

A goal may be defined as a purpose to which a person is unalterably committed. He assumes unconditional responsibility for a goal, and it can be achieved if he is willing to work at it. 

A desire may be defined as something wanted that cannot be obtained without the cooperation of another person. It is an objective for which a person can assume no responsibility, because it is beyond his control.

A worthy goal in my life has been to prepare for and present the best speech possible because that is an outcome that requires only my cooperation to achieve. However, a desire would be to win the speech competition because a desire is an outcome that requires the cooperation of other people to be achieved. ie. the judges.  An attainable goal is to write a book; a desire would be to get it published.

Reaching a desire can not become the motivating purpose behind my behavior, because then I would be assuming responsibility for something I cannot fulfill on my own.

Get it? Got it! Good!

This is a wonderful distinction to understand and apply. When we make our goal and desire the same thing, we’re heading into trouble. Let’s face it – this world really hinges on desires. Many people put too much emphasis on their desires and end up going through a great deal of pain and frustration before realizing that they don’t have the power to fulfill them. The emphasis needs to be on pouring ourselves into our goals.

We need to be mindful not to make our desire and our goal the same thing – they’re very different.

Take a moment and filter your current life experiences through this grid.  See what you learn about yourself – it’s a worthwhile exercise.

Then go set some goals.

Goals are objectives toward which we should work. Desires are objectives for which we should pray. Larry Crabb

goal setting 2


  1. So well put. I’ll copy and keep this one!’

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