“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
We all begin the New Year with great expectation and anticipation, almost as if we’ve turned the page of a book. And it is true, we have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the previous year and celebrate our wins and look forward to the New Year a little wiser and more determined to make it a great 2016. It’s great to make New Year’s Resolutions, but do we have the direction, persistence and determination to turn our resolutions into reality?
Most of us go through life from one day to the next with no real plan. We allow life to happen to us and then we react. This year, I truly want it to be a great 2016, and that includes setting goals, and having a plan on how to achieve those goals. Last week, Loren wrote an excellent article on having an “Insuperable vision” for the New Year, and the internet has great articles on goal setting.
How do we translate this into our family life and into raising our teens? Do we take the time to teach our teens how to have an “insuperable vision” or develop goals to not only grow but influence others around them? It’s not enough to simply tell your teens to write down their goals. They must be taught why they must have goals, and why they must write them down. If their “Why” is not strong enough, then when the winds of adversity blow, they are likely to give up on their dreams.
It’s important to start by applying thesis four principles:
1. Having Family goals
Make the time to sit with your spouse or significant other to discuss what your vision for your family is this year. Think of what legacy you want to leave for your teens and the world around you. What changes do you have to make as a family to get closer to your goals? Do you need to work a little harder on your relationship with each other and with your teens? Do you have to be more committed in your spiritual growth? What about your financial goals? Are you considering any major changes? What sacrifices will the family have to make as a whole? Do you want to become healthier as a family, making changes on increasing physical activity and making more nutritious choices in your diet? Make the time to sit with your spouse and write things down and develop a realistic plan. This holds both of you accountable to making 2016 a great success.
2. Teach your teens to write down their goals.
Your teens are not going to write down their goals just because you say so. Why should they write anything down? Especially if this is new for your family, you need to make a case. People who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. They are happier and less distracted because they know exactly what they want and how they intend to get there, even when they face adversity. Give them examples of people you know who have excelled through goal setting. Help them to write realistic goals depending on where they are in their life. Help them realize the importance of reading the goals every day if possible or at least once a week so it becomes part of their life. The goals must be measurable and they should feel comfortable adjusting them if necessary. This is not going to be a one day affair. Realize that it’s going to take time to sell them on the idea. Don’t beat them on the head with it. Explain it to them and let them buy into the process and then help them start the process.
3. Discourage your teens from broadcasting their goals.
This is controversial. Some motivational speakers advise you to tell people about your goals and that this keeps you accountable and more likely to achieve those goals. I totally agree if the people you are talking to or having your teens talk to are your mentors or people who have a significant impact on how you live your life. Unfortunately some of your teen’s friends may ridicule them or tell them that they are not capable of achieving their goals and this has a negative impact on the whole process. Be careful who you tell your plans to. Some people are only too glad to pull you down. Your mentors and real friends will encourage you and help you in your journey so it’s important to teach your teens to choose wisely who they speak to.
4. Congratulate your teens as they achieve their goals.
Over the years, I’ve realized how important your feedback is to your teens. Unfortunately most of us parents are very good about pointing out our teens’ mistakes and wrong choices, but we don’t take the time to recognize them when they excel or put in great effort towards achieving their goals. It’s like watching a football game. There is celebration along the way. The team and coaches recognize a good play and applaud each other. They don’t wait till the end to acknowledge the players. They are recognized for the effort they make. We have to do that for our teens. They are not perfect. They will make mistakes, but take the time to acknowledge their wins. The small wins along the way and the big wins that the whole world sees and congratulates them for. And remember to do the same for your spouse. We all need the occasional pat on the back, and the reminder that we are in this together.
So here’s to a great 2016. I wish you God’s abundant blessings and great success. I wish you strength and perseverance as you go through the setbacks that will invariably come. Remember to constantly remind yourself of your goals. Somehow life gives you the opportunity to achieve those goals despite the setbacks, when you have a plan in place even if that plan needs to be modified along the way. In 2016, I wish you success on the path towards achieving your life’s purpose, not only for your family but hopefully to leave a great legacy for the world at large. Make 2016, the greatest year yet. Write down your goals and your plan to achieve them.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery