I must admit that I have had a rocky relationship with my goals at times in the past. We would both get swept up in a New Year’s Eve romance but then we’d drift apart as the melodious notes of Auld Lang Syne faded from my memory. I guess that I am ultimately the one who broke it off but, to my defense, it is pretty easy to break up with anyone when you only really see them once a year. This year started out much the same way. By February, my grand aspirations towards making 2018 the most epic year of my life were slipping away. They may have been forgotten completely if not for the two most ingenious inventions ever created to help us stay in a committed relationship with our goals: chocolate and calendars.
Chocolate and Goals
What does chocolate and calendars have to do with nurturing that beautiful relationship between a dreamer and her goals?
Well, let me tell you.
We have tried the chocolate route before but this year we decided to add in what should have been obvious all along. You see, historically on January 1st we have made a tradition of indulging in Endangered Species chocolate bars while we reviewed last year’s goals and set goals for the upcoming year. After several years of failing to really achieve ANY of our goals from the past year, we sought a better way.
While everyone knows that chocolate can cover over a multitude of shortcomings, it was still depressing to face the puny success meter hovering at whopping 5% while the failure meter, plump on idleness, hovered at a generous 95%. We felt like underachievers due to our negligence to revisit our dreams and aspirations.
But I think what really bothered the husband and I was the fact that when we revisited our goals ever year, we hadn’t used the time the Lord had given us wisely. What had we done to inspire curiosity in other people’s lives allowing an opportunity for us to introduce them to our bestie, Jesus? And let’s not forget that losing 20 pounds has been my goal for 7 years. There’s that. The only moral booster of the yearly ritual was the local chocolate we were eating and the false promise that things would be different next year.
Enter the calendar.
Just like maintaining a relationship with your spouse, kids, friends, or God, you have to be purposeful about scheduling quality time to spend together to connect. The husband and I put date nights on our calendar. We schedule time alone with our kids on the calendar. We text friends to schedule times to have coffee. We have a routine to spend consistent time with God.
Why wouldn’t we be this intentional about spending time to nurture that struggling relationship with our goals? I don’t just hope that I bump in to a friend at some point during the year. I make a plan and schedule time together.
It should be no different with our goals. We are still early in 2018 but we are off to a much better start on staying in touch with our goals because we took the time to schedule monthly meetings on our Google Calendars for us to sit down with the whole family to revisit our goals and hold each other accountable on our progress. And because we include a little bit of chocolate at each meetings, I’m confident this will continue to happen throughout the rest of the year.
The Truth About Goal Setting
Each January I hear the full spectrum of comments ranging from, “I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions,” to “I’m going to set a goal for the first time this year,” to “I’m picking prestidigitation as my word for 2018.” No matter where you fall on the spectrum of goal setting, I want you to consider these interesting statements with an open mind:
- 92% of New Years goals fail by January 15th
- People who don’t make any goals have 0% chance of accomplishing that goal (duh)
- The act of writing down a goal down is a very powerful motivator
- People who write their goals down are 50% more likely to achieve their goals than people who keep track of goals in their mind
- Writing down goals forces us to be avoid being vague
- Specific goals which are time-bound and measurable work best for keeping people on track
- Most successful achievers agree goals should be reviewed frequently by hanging in a visible location
Our family goals are based off of a simple approach introduced in the book Oola Find Balance in an Unbalanced World. It was an easy way for the Oily Engineer and I to help our children move from where they were to where they want to be. By limiting ourselves to only one goal in each of the seven key areas of Oola, we are helping them manage and create a sort of balance in their life from an early age.
The seven Oola areas foster direction and stability — not to mention the family goals we all share create a set of grammar we all understand. (By the way, Oola is also a brand of tea, that I happen to LOVE.)
What is Oola?
oo-la (noun): That state of awesomeness. It is when your life is balanced and growing in the seven key areas of life .
Those seven key areas (aka the 7 F’s) of Oola are:
- field (career)
Steps to Teach Goal Setting to Your Kids
Now, I have to be honest — goal setting isn’t always fun. It especially isn’t fun when your family knows what your goals are and whether or not you are working towards achieving them. Big Brother is ALWAYS watching me (and so is little brothers, little sister, and husband for that matter). However, it is fun having my family partner with me and encourage me.
I mean, imagine if I forget my goals, so will my family!
We would like to help you and your family use your time here on earth with intention. Download a pdf of the our family goal worksheet based on the 7 oola areas.
Then, be intentional and schedule a time to meet with your family and work through specific and measurable goals. What I love about this particular goal sheet is that my husband took what he learned from engineering projects and applied it to this worksheet.
- You have to have a goal first, right? Write the goal down. A goal should be a statement of where you want to be, not simply and action that you complete.
- But then you’ll notice in the second column you are given the opportunity to write down the steps to get to that goal. Here is where the rubber meets the road. List the specific actions that you need to take to get you to where you want to be.
- When you meet the following month (we choose the first Sunday of every month), write down the steps you took that previous month to achieve that goal. At this monthly meeting, we typically have a few more squares of Endangered Species chocolate and sip on Oola Tea.
- At your meeting, then list the steps you will take next to bring you closer to your goal.
- Finally, guesstimate how much progress you have made by filling in your percent complete for each goal. Some goals you might be able to achieve in 2 months, but other goals, such as reading through the Bible in a year, that percent complete will move along slowly as the year progresses.
Printing this chart will get you closer to achieving your goals.
I can’t wait to hear how your family goal planning goes!