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Setting Goals that are Actually Useful

  • January 18, 2019
  • By Donielle
Setting Goals that are Actually Useful

It’s a new year. That means a goal setting session as a family. We sit down with colorful cardstock and markers and set goals. We have learned a lot through years of going through this process. We’ve learned to set realistic goals, while still reaching high. We have learned to write out steps that will get us to those goals. And we have learned to savor the feeling of satisfaction that comes with a checking off our goals.

Sometimes our lists are more visual or more creatively presented. They are always colorful, always written, and always laminated! And who doesn’t want to use the little home laminating machine (a terrific investment)?Training in goal setting is one of the best gifts I can give my children – the ability to articulate what they want to achieve and to visualize and implement steps to get them there. After all, if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.

The Whole Family Gets In On It

I encourage my kids to think of their activities and hobbies and set goals for achieving the next level: another belt in kung fu, mastery of a sewing technique, finishing a project, or reading a hefty volume. For me, it helps to make myself vulnerable and ask my family where they see me struggle. They are typically pretty gentle with me, so I get insight without damage to my feelings. But I never get the answer I am expecting!

Getting Personal with Goals

This year my family brought up meal planning. Before baby #3 I was so good at it! Since Rainbow Baby I have developed a bad habit of staring in the pantry at supper time, hoping for a miracle to materialize before my eyes. Which usually results in pasta – not great for my “lose 10 pounds” goal. Which brings up my ever present weight loss goal. I have ditched the weight loss goal because, even if I come near achieving it, I celebrate my success with a little cheat, and. . . you can guess the result. I have learned to use healthy lifestyle goals instead.

Successful health goals have been cut out soda and sweet tea, add weight training and resistance exercises 2x per week, double salad intake, and increase running speed and distance. This year my health goals are to try intermittent fasting once per month, double my water intake, and try the keto diet for two months. The fasting goes on my calendar, the water goes in a bottle that will stare accusingly at me until I consume it, and the keto diet – wish me luck starting in February. Wish my family luck. I am very crabby on a diet.

Defeated baby
Vague goals like”lose weight”, “don’t yell” or “read more” are sure ways to fail.

I also set goals for my spiritual health. These include prayer and devotional habits, dealing with my besetting sins, or trying a fresh approach in my current personal worship habits. This year I am memorizing another Psalm, finding new ways to give, and praying the names of God in a personal way. Picking out and praying a verse of each child and my husband has been one of my favorites. Praying for our kids, with my husband, has meant a lot to me.

I have goals as a homeschool mom, including scheduled one on one instructional time, instead of whenever I can fit it in. My personal and career goals overlap. I am going back to a using a planner to help with homeschool and meal planning goals, among other things. I want to expand to producing youtube videos with my Vintage Doll and find a publisher for my interactive toddler devotionals. Maybe even finish my book on co-ops. I am still prayerfully seeking guidance on these goals before I scrawl them in Sharpie on my bright green cardstock.

The Keys to Goal Reaching Success

There are no shortcuts. Reaching your goal will be hard work. I stick to 2 or 3 goals per category. Too many goals will be overwhelming. I make them as specific as I can on my personal sheet of paper. The paper is laminated and sitting next to my bathroom mirror. Each goal is put on my calendar in manageable steps. Sometimes a goal has to be altered as I find out more about the resources it will take to reach that goal. Sometimes one or two goals is enough! You may want to try Parent-child Journaling. scripture memory, or a Passport To Purity weekend with your tween. Vickie at Ponder365 has some short and sweet restart ideas.

Satisfied baby

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Psalm 37:4-5 ESV

If you have never set written goals, or been unsuccessful with goal’s skittish and unreliable second cousin, “New Year’s resolutions”, I suggest starting with one goal. Write it down. Then think through and write the steps to accomplishing that goal. Pray about your goals. “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3. Then write your goals in permanent marker, post in a place you will see at least weekly, put the steps down in your calendar, and get to work!

My goals, at least generically, are out here for you to see. Let’s hold each other accountable!

By Donielle, January 18, 2019
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