A New Year’s Gift for You!

hand 2016

There is nothing magical about a new year’s resolution, but I do love the freedom and promise of a fresh start.  Don’t you?  The transition from one year to another is a perfect time to think about the year that passed and to plan for the year ahead, if for no other reason than because you probably have a little bit of time off when you could squeeze some reflection into your busy schedule.

New year’s resolutions get a bad rap.  I feel a little sorry for them, actually.  They don’t fail because they are a bad idea; they fail because we call them “resolutions” when they are usually just fleeting thoughts rather than sincere commitments.  We break up with our resolutions when we were never seriously dating them to begin with.

It’s not you, Resolutions.  It’s us.  We were just pretending. 

Setting personal or family goals is a great way to model for your kids or grandkids how goal setting is really supposed to work.  Put something in writing.  Break big goals into smaller pieces.  Post reminders where they are visible, and put checkpoints on the calendar.  Encourage one another.  Teach your kids the reward of accomplishing a goal, and teach them how to pick up the pieces (rather than quitting) when the train runs off the track.  Because it will.

That is not called failure.  That is called “real life.”

Sometimes we forget that reflecting and planning and goal setting are LEARNED SKILLS.  I have taught countless high school students who have huge dreams but no goals; they are confident that they will play for the NBA or become President of the United States or earn a Ph.D., but they have no concept of the thousands of small steps that they could begin taking right now that might ultimately lead to those accomplishments.  Trust me; you want your kids to have these life skills, and you want them to learn them early, you know, before they are making critical decisions about finances, marriage, parenting, careers, and dangerous temptations.  You and I both know that life will test our children’s resilience over and over and over again.  I want my own sons and all of my students to grow into people who are able to reflect, plan, and adapt.  Isn’t that what you want for your own family, too?

As a teacher and mom, I love it when I find a fun tool to use so that I don’t have to create something myself, so here is my new year’s gift to you!  Try out this printable pdf for yourself!  It can be a fun starting point for both kids and adults to discuss the coming year.  Talk about it over a family dinner this week, and don’t forget to contemplate the smaller steps that you and your kids can take TODAY to start reaching your goals in 2016!

Bring it on 2016


HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Thank you for sharing and reading!

What are your goals for 2016?  Leave a comment and join the conversation!


4 thoughts on “A New Year’s Gift for You!

  1. One your greatest attributes–as friend and colleague–is your willingness to share what you know/create/discover. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and the document. I was just thinking yesterday that I need to have goals posted on mirrors and walls in order to see them every day. I am glad you reminded me of the idea before it became one of those fleeting thoughts that are lost in the chaos of the day. And the pdf will make it even easier! Now I just have to decide what those goals are going to be! 🙂


  2. I hope it stimulates an interesting discussion, at least! 🙂 Thanks, my dear friend! So good to see you over the holidays! I miss you.


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