At the beginning of each year, my family and I sit down and develop family and personal goals. We never call them resolutions because resolutions are easily broken. Goals are more tangible.
I learned the importance of goal-setting as a child. Although my mother never held formal goal setting sessions with my sister and me, she consistently modeled the behavior. My mother never sat in a corner office or amassed tremendous wealth, but she always set goals and developed plans to achieve them.
When my parents divorced, my mother was left to raise two children with only a high school education. Determined to make a better life for us, she enrolled in night school to earn an Associate’s degree. Two years later, we were celebrating her graduation.
My mother also set some financial goals for our family. Starting in January, she would deduct $5.00 from her weekly paycheck and place it into a Christmas Club account so my sister and I would always have presents during the holidays. And she always saved money in order to pay cash for cars or other major purchases.
Watching her taught me the importance of making a plan and sticking to it. And now I share these same strategies with my own children.
We always begin our goal setting session by reviewing our written goals from the previous year. Although we achieved our major goals from last year, we fell short of the 100% mark. In fact, I had to scramble during the last week of December to take the kids fishing and set up a college savings account for my daughter in order to show progress.
We realized that one of the reasons why we didn’t achieve everything was that our goals weren’t visible enough. My wife, KayEm, wrote them down in her journal and stashed it away. This year, KayEm printed each person’s individual goals, placed them in frames, and positioned them in conspicuous locations in each person’s bedroom. The family’s goals are posted on the refrigerator. With the goals constantly in our faces, we have a better chance of achieving all of them.
I’m a firm believer that goal setting is the key to success in any area of life. Properly-set goals can be incredibly motivating and help to build self-confidence. My job as a parent is to build my children’s self-confidence. And one day, I hope they will do the same for their children.