Goals for the New Year
By Patti Chadwick
As the New Year dawns, now is the time to think of your goals for the coming year. I'd once heard a saying, If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time! I found this to be quite true and have strove over the years to write down my goals and review them often. I find this helps me to accomplish the things that are important to me.
I suggest that you get away by yourself for a day in order to really think about the goals you want to set for you and your family. You will benefit by having several hours alone without any distractions. That way you can really think deeply about the things you want to accomplish. If you can't take a day, split your goal setting session into 2 or 3 hour sessions until you are done. If your teens are in school and your husband works outside the home (2 things that I don't have!), you can spend your time when they are gone setting your goals. Turn off the phone and television - and don't' go on the Internet! Since I don't have this opportunity, I've done it several ways. One year I went up to our summer cottage, lit the wood stove, and spent the day goal setting. Another year, I took a drive to a small, quiet restaurant in a neighboring county and spent the day sipping hot cocoa and setting my goals. Another year, my husband took my family away for the day and I stayed at home, spending the day writing out my goals. Anyway you can, make it happen! Setting your goals down on paper will help you attain them throughout the year.
As we think of these objectives, we might wonder what types of goals we should be setting. This is something personal. To set my goals I use a loose-leaf notebook with a yearly calendar in it. I break the notebook into 12 categories. You may find that more or less works for you. Think about what is important to you and set out to attain it! Below are some ideas to get you started.
This section will help you focus on what you would like to accomplish spiritually during the year. You might want to include things like:
*Studying the Bible more in depth
*Reading through the Bible in a year
*Practice the spiritual disciplines (prayer, fasting, journaling, etc.)
*Learn to be quiet and listen to God's voice and then do what he says!
*Read a certain Christian Book
*Develop a certain character trait
*Work on loving your neighbor as yourself
In this section you will focus on what you wish to accomplish as a family. It may include character traits you wish to instill in your children. You may want to include items such as:
*Work on treating each other with respect
*Discuss sexuality with my young teen
*Help your teen prepare to get his license
*Work on developing a closer relationship
*Help teens become more independent and self-sufficient
*Train teens in various practical living skills
*Continue to develop Bible study skills
*Have family devotions
*Strive to eat supper together at least 5 times a week
You may also want to break it down into separate goals for each member of your family.
This section will help you focus on improving your marriage relationship. You may want to include things such as:
*Work on understanding my spouse better
*Read 2 marriage enrichment books this year and practice what I learn.
*Remember to show respect and love
*Find a counselor who can help with marital difficulties (if needed)
*Plan a date night at least once a month
*Pray meaningful prayers for my spouse
This section will help you focus on yourself. What goals do you want to attain personally in the coming year? Do you have hopes and dreams for your own future? This is the place to write them down! You may want to include items such as:
*Take a college class community college
*Learn how to use the internet more efficiently
*Learn how to design web sites
*Read at least 3 books just for fun
*Make one new friend
*Work on living healthy - eating better, exercise, etc.
This section will help you focus on making ends meet and saving for the future. You may want to include items such as:
*Stay out of debt
*Work on living more simply
*Begin saving $40 per month in savings
*Eat out only once a week to save money
*Work out an investment plan
This is a section every WAHM will want to work on. You many include items such as:
*Develop a business plan for a new home business
*Research new marketing techniques
*Read at least one book on improving your home business
*Find a new customer base
Some families homeschool, others have their teens attend public or private day schools. Some have children in college. This section will help you develop educational goals for your family. You may include items such as:
*Decide whether homeschooling is right for your family
*Decide on which school your teens should be attending
*Help teens plan their schedule for next year
*Help teens develop ideas of what careers they'd enjoy as adults
*Look into colleges and scholarships with older teens
*Develop a savings plan for college
This section will help you to put (and keep!) your house in order. You may include items such as:
*Paint the Kitchen
*Clean out closets & toss old clothes
*Read a book on organization
*Have house powerwashed & windows washed
*Keep lawn mowed
After you set your goals, put your notebook in a place where it is readily available to you. You don't want to just write the goals down and forget about them! Throughout the year, make a special effort to get out the goal notebook and review it and see how your doing. If you need to work harder on certain objectives, then make a note of it and work harder! If you've accomplished a goal, check it off. If you do this consistently, by the end of the year, you will be amazed at how much you've accomplished and will have the satisfaction of knowing that you did indeed hit what you aimed for!