Last year I gathered my little family together for a special Family Home Evening. We had just celebrated the New Year and I decided that as a family, we would set some goals for ourselves.
Explaining what a “resolution” was to our then three and five year old was easier said than done.
“We are going to make resolutions!”
“What’s a resolution?”
“It is something that you want to do.”
“I want to go to McDonalds!”
“Oh, well, um it’s more of a goal, something you want to get really good at this year.”
After helping them to understand that concept, we sat together and my husband and I each helped one of our daughters brainstorm their list of goals and resolutions for the year. Their lists had things from learning to write their name (from our three year old) to learning to ride a bike (from our five year old). It was such a great experience to sit one on one with our children and hear what their little hearts wanted to get better at.
As the parents, we also set goals for ourselves. I found myself coming up with quite the list of things I felt I wanted to work on. Some of them were spiritually based such as attending the temple more regularly, reading my scriptures daily and challenging myself to bear my testimony during Fast and Testimony meeting. I also included a few goals that were “just for me”. I wanted to exercise more, read more books, and cut back on Diet Coke.
Then came our family goals. We wrote our goals down on paper ripped from a spiral notebook, nothing too fancy, and then hung them on the side of the fridge. We were able to see these lists every day last year. It was a great reminder of the things we wanted to work on. We sat with our family after we were finished and talked about the importance of pushing ourselves to be better and to work hard at accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves.
And here we are now, one year later. For our first FHE of the year, we again gathered our now four and six year old together to go over last year’s resolutions, and to again come up with new goals for this year.
We were able to go through our list from last year, and see what we had done well, and what we might need to work on this year. Since this was our second year in a row, I found it really neat to have the list from last year to go over. We really did accomplish a lot, but we were able to see where we need to keep working. Our children beamed with pride as we pointed out the things they had mastered over the year.
If you are doing this for the first time, and don’t have a family list from last year, you can still look back on your year. You can easily discuss as a family some of the things you feel you improved on, or point out the accomplishments of each family member. For example, If your little one jumped off the diving board for the first time, after working hard at it all summer, you can explain to your family how that was an accomplishment that was met.
After discussing the goals that we made both individually and as a family we proudly displayed our lists on our fridge once again. We decided that each Monday night when we hold our FHE we will quickly go over our lists and see where we are at with them and to keep us accountable.
While it is important to set goals, it is also important to make sure they are within reason and within our capabilities, while still pushing us to do better. It can be a hard balance to find, but in Mosiah 4:27 it gives great words of advice on having wisdom in setting realistic goals for ourselves while still working hard at what we have set out to do.
Mosiah 4:27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
It can be so easy to feel deflated or let down when a goal is not met. I would encourage anyone setting goals and resolutions to remember to take it one day at a time. I loved
when President Hinkley counseled us to “Try a little harder, to be a little better.” Sometimes it just takes that small step to get better and to do better each day. If you try hard to do something a little better each day, you may find that you are accomplishing much more than you ever thought possible.
I pray that setting goals as a family might be something that makes all the difference in each of your lives this year. I hope that it will help you draw closer to your family and help you to rely on the Lord a little more each day.
What you need for your FHE goals night:
an open heart and mind
Discuss goal setting with your family. What does that mean to each of you? Ask what will help you grow spiritually and emotionally? How can you share your talents with others?
Have each family member write down what they want to accomplish in the new year
Make a list of goals that your family wants to accomplish together
Discuss how you might reach the goals you have set
Consider picking a favorite scripture or quote that you want your family to focus on, include this on your goal sheet so you will see it each day
Place your goals somewhere visible so you can remember what you are working on.
Pick a certain time each month to go over your goals as a family