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How Families Can Avoid Bad Resolutions & Failed Goal Setting in 2014

"New Year 2014" by jscreationzs via
If you're looking for a way out of goal-setting this year, you're probably going to be a bit disappointed with what I'm about to say, but, on the other hand, if you're looking for a way to avoid boring goals, which usually are too big to fathom, and the guilty feelings that follow, this could help.

The following list is what our family is in the habit of doing when it comes to goals (from the small to the tall).

To start, over the last few years, we've ditched the long list of nagging resolutions and adopted the MyOneWord approach...

1. Picking One Word:
What do you want more or less of in life this year?
What would you like to be better at or stop doing?

What one word would help you focus on one or all of these things? (it's possible with one word)

...Next, while we all know we can't completely avoid making some sort of goals in life (as my
sweet-sixteen-ager is figuring out), we can at least find a better approach and be more successful with the outcome...

2. Goal Setting:
What are you or your teen striving to accomplish? (Is it finding a job, getting better grades, saving for a car, college or a vacation, spending more time together as a family?)

Write it down….
You have just set a long term goal- (Now add a date of when you would like to achieve it)

List what would need to happen, or what you'd have to do, for this to become reality by that date...
You have just set your mid & short-term goals- now add dates of when you think you could accomplish these things - use a 1, 3, 6, & 12 month range (make sure you have a linked task in each)

Now, the last part and often the hard part (which can be easy)…


  • Don't add goals to your list you know you cannot accomplish. 
(This is not limiting yourself, it's understanding yourself, and learning to set more realistic goals.) Understand that if you know you aren't good at something or have absolutely 0 interest in it
- I DON'T CARE HOW MUCH OF THE NATION IS DOING IT-DO NOT put it on your goal list! For instance, if you despise sitting still and never, in your life, have you been able to, DO NOT set a goal of taking up meditation or knitting! This is one way to fail instantly and bring about the best guilt you'll ever feel, never mind all of the negative self-thoughts you can imagine. If you tend to like a challenge-ok I get it-

Just do this…

  • List steps that could lead you there first (Do Not Pin what you want to do-PINNING=WISHING. Instead, talk to folks about it-use the internet to find forums on the subject, ask people their  experience in local meditation studios or crafting shops, find out where they started) and if you want to, you could follow experts on Twitter regarding the topic (there are great articles and people to follow who are much more motivating and engaging than just Pinning); even better, buy a book on it (e-books count), and then write a list of why you want to to obtain that goal (we all need a why). 

Bottom Line: Start SMALL (attainable) 

NOTEIf after a few days you're bored-and after a few weeks you're wondering why you made the goal…the answer is: you're goal isn't cool enough (or your why isn't GREAT enough).

Consider this:
  • What is similar but somewhat more fun/attainable for you?
  • What other completely different goal could you put in place of this? 
  • Maybe you just need to 'let it go'- (Which happens to be part of my motivation for choosing My One Word for 2014).


Easing Teens into Goal Setting:
For my teenager, the shock of learning to set goals was eased with simply getting her into the habit of making a To-Do List. Almost instantly (a day) she began feeling better about herself; knowing that the things she might have been thinking about doing, but procrastinated on (or ignored) were no longer weighing on her mind. And, each time she checked off something on her list each day, she felt accomplished.

Helping the Visually Motivated):
Some kids are visual learners (or are too young to do the To-Do List method). They might be more motivated by something they can see daily (or in some Teenager's cases, the To-Do List just isn't enough) so I use this method- post a picture of the goal on the fridge or in their room. Have them make their goal list with photos (go to the store, have them snap a pic of their desired item and use it as a screen saver on their computers or phones).

Goal Setting Ideas for Little Ones:
For littler kids, try making a graph or chart of what they are trying to achieve. One year my little girl was saving up for a bicycle, so we drew her a picture of a bike on a piece of paper and made lines to at each $5.00 mark, then she'd color in the sections until she reached the $60.00 goal; when she did, the whole bike was all colored in! She still vividly remembers that whole process, the bike and her age when she did it… Today, she is 12 years old, an EXCELLENT saver, and thinks about every purchase she makes.

As Always, with any goal, don't forget to reward afterwards. If your kids love electronics, restrict some of their time spent on those things until after they have accomplished something on their list. If you are Pinterest-or-FacebookAddicted- shut it off or hold back on using it until you've done something on your goal list. You can, for the younger ones, buy them little treats to give when they reach certain stages in reaching goals. For little kids, sometimes just a printer generated certificate of achievement or a congratulations card is enough of a reward. Holding back the reward is important in teaching kids to delay gratification, and is often a lesson which isn't taught anymore.

For mor New Year's Resolutions, One Word Ideas, or Tips on Goal Setting with your family, use those key words to search this blog or email me at

Good Luck and Happy New Year!

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