"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Thursday, September 13, 2012

new years resolutions

I'm not great at them in January, but then, my fiscal year for goal setting always seems to begin in August with the arrival of a new school year. We've been at it a bit now, and so far so good.

Maybe it's laying awake after feeding newbee in the quiet of night that gets my mind to churning but I can't help making 2 a.m lists of ways I'm going to do better, be better and help our family become more. Blame it on the quest for a scheduled life following the birth of a baby, I guess.

Traveling across the country at the end of the summer with plenty of time to think, I finally had a moment to make a list of all the areas I'd like to see our kids stretch. I read my list out loud to Newel.  He said it exhausted him.

But, there's so much more teaching to cram into these short years.

And it can't all be done at once.

And some of it lights a fire in me but then unfortunately gets shelved cuz life's busy.

And then I'm left feeling just like I do at bathing suit season when I wished I'd started working out ages ago.

So much depends on self motivation and initiative by the kids themselves and a little nudge in the right direction by their mother doesn't hurt :)

If I don't make a plan or write things down, I just know I'll always walk around wishing these kids were better at writing thank you notes or recording in journals or incorporating exercise into their days .... and on and on and on.

So ... this year there's a plan of action and it's working ever so very nicely. Before school began, I created goal setting charts.

The goal sheets cover four categories of growth:

1)Spiritual, 2)Physical, 3)Intellectual, 4) Emotional  Each child set their own goals for each group. There's a calendar to check off their progress. The goals should have a plan as to how they hope to succeed (I'm hoping over time they expand on that goal setting skill to be more specific in their planning).


Spiritual Goals include nightly scripture reading, work in our primary and youth program books — Faith in God, Personal Progress or Duty to God — daily reading from the Strength of Youth or New Era magazine, better remembrance of personal prayer both morning and night ... or any other areas they'd like to strengthen themselves.

Physical Goals include adding any sort of exercise program, healthy eating habits, improvements in dress and grooming, etc ..etc .. etc. (Self motivation in this area really helps me because I cannot remember to clip 70 additional fingers and toes or floss potentially 224 teeth twice a day).

Intellectual Goals are of a self improvement nature. Time management, reading, musical development, journal writing, school expectations, hobby or talent development. Really anything that expands horizons.

Emotional Goals revolve around what to do to be a builder in our family.  Avoid name calling? Give compliments? Serve an individual family member? Make daily thankful lists? Express love? Respond quickly and kindly?  How will you build.

And then, at the bottom of the page is listed their current chores and economy.  This is so I can remember to get a verbal acknowledgement as to how they think they are pulling their weight at fulfilling responsibilities to help our family run smoothly and individually save money on the side for college, missions, etc.

The sheet itself, looks like this:

Fresh goals are made on the first Monday of every month in a little Family Home evening planning session.

Each month's goals are given a final evaluation in a personal interview with Newel (or myself) on the first Sunday of the following month.

Every night as part of my bedtime routine, I remind each child to check off their goals and as I ask how they think they are doing, conversations ensue.  When they don't think I'm nagging — they get excited to do better.

At the end of each month, I keep the previous sheets in a binder to compare progress, improve on our goal setting and avoid too much repetition.

I've loved some of their choices for goals they'd like to see achieved in themselves.

I'm holding him to these and I've seen huge improvement.

Some things we are superb at and others not.  Sometimes there just needs to be more time in the day but we'll get there.

Some I'd like to continue indefinitely just because sharpening those skills brings about my favorite times of the day.

And, I've even made my own!

Now all those characteristics I hope to ingrain in these guys, might actually stand a chance.


  1. This is awesome! Do you care if I make a copy?

  2. Please do! You should be able to take a s teen shot and adjust in Word but if the resolution is poor, email me and I'll send you the file.

    At the top where it says "week", I had hoped to change goals weekly but found that too ambitious. At this point, it really takes a whole month to form a habit out of a goal.

  3. Keep having more babies Marlowe so you have time to think for the rest of us while nursing and up in the middle of the night, etc. LOL We do this yearly but it time to teach accountability and bring it down to a day to day remembering. Good work! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Marlowe, those look great! How is your teen responding? I'm not sure mine would go for it at all...but maybe we'll have a FHE on goal setting.

  5. I do this every year and I love to have the categories. I also add "occupational" and "financial".