Beginning a New Year

At the start of every New Year, I love to take stock of what I am doing with my life. I explore whether or not I am caught up in the daily grind of life and missing my calling as a person, as a mother as a wife etc?

In Australia, having summer holidays over January as school holidays gives me an opportunity to take stock. Sometimes this gets swallowed up in the Christmas and New Year flurry of activities. With our 16 year old daughter on Beach Mission this year, this added another responsibility (frequent requests to bring chocolate brownies to encourage the team etc).

I find that I need to make a concerted effort to set aside the time to spend with God. Reflecting on the last year, reflecting on my goals and my calling in life and planning the next twelve months are all included. This year I have also added in the time for the book I am writing (currently in the process of editing it before it goes to a proper editor), a plan to grow my blogs and write a further book and some courses and also preparation for my role as a home schooling parent.

What about you?

Do you ever find that your diary dictates your daily life (or in my case it seems to be the activities of my teenagers who require a chauffeur)?

I love driving my teenagers to activities as it gives me valuable time listening to them and their thoughts, plans, concerns etc. Chatting with my 14 year old son last week, I asked him how he would describe me. His reply left me speechless. “Grumpy!!”. Probing further to understand what he meant by that and what I was actually communicating gave me more insight. I realised also that I needed to spend some time with him just doing some fun stuff. As a family, we had probably lost the fun in our family life. Another ‘thing’ that I need to look at incorporating into our life and calendar this year.

Last year we made the mistake of having activities on every night of the week. This had huge implications on our family time over our evening meal. This will definitely be something that we need to look at as a family.

It can sometimes seem never ending. And overwhelming.

This month we have set aside time as a family over several meals to brainstorm a travel goal we have. We also went to Kmart to buy a vision board for each family member, only to realise that the boards were quite large and we didn’t actually have the room in our home to put them up on the wall. Thus, we bought one board for the whole family to do a combined vision board plus a smaller whiteboard each where we can keep our goals updated.

Our vision casting time is separate to our yearly goals, but our goals come from our vision.

Some of the questions we are looking at for our family vision time are:

  • How do you want our family to be remembered?
  • What reputation do you want our family to have?
  • What dreams do we have for our family?
  • What values do we want to live by and incorporate into every aspect of our life?
  • What are some habits we want our family to have?
  • What are some memory ‘stones’ we want to incorporate into our family?

Once we have brainstormed and worked these out, it is a lot easier to set the goals for this year. We are still to spend time setting goals for this year as a family and for each person to set goals for themselves individually. I love helping my kids gain skills in this area as it is a fantastic life skill.

I believe our role as parents in this process is to help the child set achievable, measurable, inspirational, specific and stretching goals but also to help them through the year by reminding them of their goals and how they are advancing towards them. We don’t get in and ‘make it happen’ for them. We instead pray for them and for opportunities for them to step forward in these areas. When they have decisions to make that will affect their goals, we gently remind them to review what their goals are. We also share with them on a regular basis how we are going with our goals and the achievement of them.

In the area of financial goals, Scott Pape’s book “The Barefoot Investor for Families” is a great book to work through with your children. In fact, not just for goals but in money management. A book I would highly recommend.

Part of our goal setting is also reflecting on the past year.

The Questions we are using are:

  • What did we most love about last year?
  • What was each person’s highlight for the year?
  • What did each person learn this last year?
  • What three words would describe the last year for each family member?
  • What was our biggest single time waster this last year?
  • What choices did we make last year that were not the wisest or we would like to change?
  • What do we wish we could change about our life for this coming year?
  • What do we want to stop?
  • If you had last year over again, what would you do differently?
  • How did I help change the world this last year?
  • What was the nicest thing someone else did for me this last year?
  • What is the nicest thing I did for someone else this last year?
  • What did I start but didn’t finish?
  • What felt difficult this time last year but now feels easy?

We then look forward and put our goals into categories of this year and next year and some that will take several years to accomplish.

Questions to help set goals for this year:

  • What have I learnt from last year that needs to change this year?
  • What are the most important things I need to incorporate into my diary this year?
  • If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I attempt this year?
  • What risks am I willing to take this year?
  • How would I like to impact my community and the world this year?

Friends, being able to set goals that are achievable, measurable, inspirational, specific and stretching is a life skill that we need to be teaching our children how to do. But it doesn’t end there. We also need to help them in the walking out of that, in the daily, weekly and monthly grind of how we are moving towards those goals in small steps.

Children have a predisposition to focus on themselves. As parents, we are wanting to develop children who look beyond themselves and influence others. Children who can be world changers.

How do you manage a New Year as a family with planning what to keep and what to stop? How do you deal with goal setting with your children? I would love to hear your ideas so please feel free to comment below.

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