One Sunday after church, my three girls and I walked through the parking lot toward our family van. As we walked, everything seemed normal. Both sliding doors were closed (which wasn’t always the case), and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

That is, until I couldn’t find my keys.

I loaded the girls into the van and turned the key to start the ignition. Something felt funny. Why was the key not turning?

That’s when it hit me. I never turned the van off earlier that morning. It had been running the entire time we were at church—almost all day. The van not only had a dead battery, it was also out of gas.

When I got home that day, I realized I had way too much going on. I was totally overwhelmed with life. In trying to do it all, I was floundering. Although I was showing up to all the things, nothing was being done with excellence.

This was a far cry from how I started the year—full of gusto and motivation. Where had I gone wrong?

 

RETHINKING GOAL-SETTING

Until this moment, I prioritized planning for my personal goals each year. There is nothing wrong with investing in your personal goals. However, I realized one of the reasons I was feeling overwhelmed was that, although I had clear goals for my personal growth, I lacked vision for my family. When it came to them, I bounced from one thing to the next each month with no real clarity.

After recognizing this pattern, my husband and I asked ourselves: “What if we allowed ourselves to prioritize our family goals over our personal goals?” This seemed counterintuitive. Wouldn’t this mean we were giving up on our personal dreams?

There was no real answer. Maybe it would. However, this is perhaps the way of Jesus.

Matthew 20:26-28 states, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

With this, I began reconsidering my goals. While still investing in my personal goals, I now first prioritize the future of my family. To clarify, my husband and I still love talking about our individual dreams and goals, but now we think through our annual family goals together first.

Thinking through family goals this way helps us start the year with intention, both in our marriage and with our kids. It encourages unity within our schedules and finances.

 

THE NEED FOR CHILD-SPECIFIC GOALS

Intentional goal planning not only helps my husband and me. It also helps us understand how to consider each child’s needs. This reveals how we can best help them in the coming year.

An important part of thinking through our goals for the year, then, is considering appropriate goals for each child.

For example, one of our daughters is dyslexic. One year, our goal for her was learning to read. For her age, she was very behind in school, and the stress of not reading was taking its toll.

In order for us to help her reach this goal, we rearranged some things in our schedule. We temporarily stepped back from a few commitments, and even homeschooled for a few months. This allowed us the family time and resources we needed to help her thrive. Thankfully, all our effort paid off and she is reading well and flourishing in school.

HOW TO DREAM BIG FOR YOUR FAMILY

Do you want help dreaming big for your family? I have included some questions below to help you set family goals. Make time with your husband to go through them and dream big things for each other. Don’t forget to include your entire family in the process.

Having clear goals helps the family get behind one another with support. Sometimes support means helping each other take the first leap to start. Other times, it means carrying one another across the finish line. As you dream big together, remember to let everyone know you are their biggest fan, and plan to make 2021 a great year filled with intentional growth for your family.

 

FAMILY GOAL-PLANNING QUESTIONS

What values do you want your children to have before they turn 15?

What goals do you have for your family for the next five years? (vacations, financial, behavior, etc.)

What are you doing each day/month to contribute to your family’s five year goals?

What are a few strengths of each member of your family?

Describe the status of your family in 10 years within each area:

  • Physically
  • Spiritually
  • Emotionally
  • Intellectually
  • Relationally with each other
  • Communally in the environment

FAMILY GOAL-PLANNING QUESTIONS

  • Collectively, we are at our best when we are …
  • Collectively, we are at our worst when we are …
  • What are the top four priorities we want our family to value?
  • Name three things we think we could do better as a family.
  • What would people say today about our family as a whole?
  • What would we like people to say about our family as a whole in 30 years?
  • What is the main purpose of our home?
  • What is the secondary purpose of our home?
  • If our home could be filled with one emotion, what would that emotion be?
  • Name three adjectives we would like people to use to describe our home environment.
  • What are practical ways we can serve each other?
  • What are practical ways we can serve others outside our family?
  • What is the individual purpose in life of each member of our family?
  • What is one way we are unique as a family?
  • If we had a completely free day together as a family, how would we spend it?

*Portions of this article first appeared on A Wife Like Me.

How has this article inspired you to dream bigger as a family? Share with us in the comments.

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