Setting Goals for the New Year
- Friday, December 16, 2011
A healthy family has healthy goals and a strong sense of direction. How can we improve our marriages? What do we want to impart on our children -- or grandchildren -- before they're grown? As we start off a brand new year, I want to share some practical steps for reaching family goals.
Most of us have made New Year’s resolutions once or twice in our lives. We made plans to improve in some way over the coming 12 months. Unfortunately, most of these goals were forgotten by Valentines Day. When it comes to our families, goals tend to fizzle out over time.
Goal setting is normally something that is more associated with the corporate world than family life. At work, a person can make it his or her goal to increase sales by 20 percent -- a very clear mark to reach for. At home, it's much harder to say you plan to increase quality time by 20 percent. Expecting quantitative results when it comes to the home front can seem much more difficult.
But the truth is you can set quantifiable goals. Family members CAN choose to have dinner together three nights a week and spouses CAN choose to have at least one date without the kids each month. Single professionals possibly have the most pressure to neglect personal goals, because there is no immediate negative consequence. A lack of personal goals for anyone, however, can have lasting negative results.
Once you have made a commitment to family goal-setting, four steps can help insure a positive result:
Visualize Victory. Some would say that we work hardest at what we care about the most and that is why most people don't have goals for their family. I would argue that many families simply don't know where to begin. They've never settled on what a fulfilled family would look like to them. The first question every person needs to ask is "What would make my a home a more pleasant place to live, and how can I make it better for the future?" I think every parent, for example, ought to know the five things that they want their children to remember forever. These aspects should be the focal point of parenting goals.
Identify Your Stengths and Weaknesses. Thousands of people have benefited by taking a few moments to complete the Balanced Life Evaluation, a free self-disclosure tool available online at www.homeontime.com. This 25-question quiz provides insight into the areas of your life management that could benefit from imrovement, and which areas are your stong points right now. By using an instrument like the Balanced Life Evaluation, or by asking friends and family members for some honest feedback, you can get a handle on those “blind spots” that are slowing you down.
Consider Action Steps. The next question involves your goal -- "What is the logical first step toward making that happen?" Then go out and do it. David Allen says that "Most people have a resistance to initiating a burst of energy that it will take to clarify the real meaning, for them, of something they have let in their world, and to decide what they need to do about it."
Focus on What You Can Change. Setting goals that depend in depth on what others do can leave you frustrated. Focus on actions that you can make happen. Oftentimes others will follow suit, but few do well when pushed out front.
The end of wisdom is to dream high enough not to lose the dream in the seeking of it.” -- Author Unknown.
Ryan Rush is a former family pastor of the Historic Thomas Road Baptist Church. He speaks everywhere on simple steps for success at home. Ryan and his wife Lana have two daughters -- Ryley Anne and Reagan. They live just outside of Austin, Texas.
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