Just like every other year, as 2020 is upon us, many are envisioning what this new year will bring. This is often a season of reflection on the last twelve months, as well as a time to set goals for the coming year. 2020 in particular, though, is the beginning of a new decade, inviting us to reflect on the last ten years and calling us to look ahead to the ten years on the horizon.
As we begin this new decade, it's a unique opportunity to sit down as a family to reflect on the past and dream about the future.
One fun, visual way to do this is through creating a “vision board.”
One of my favorite memories is sitting on the floor with my family, with a fire in the fireplace, Christmas tree lit and creating a vision/goal board for the upcoming year and then keeping it in a place where we could check on our progress. Here are few things we've found helpful in this endeavor:
Create the atmosphere - Make it a fun, unique experience in which everyone can contribute.
Invite the Holy Spirit - As the source of life itself, holder of all things, Author and Perfecter of our faith, invite Jesus into your family's time together and ask Him to lead in the coming year.
Make time to reflect - Talk about what was challenging in 2019. While it may not be comfortable for most, we learn and grow from that with which we struggle most. In addition to identifying what was challenging, it may be helpful to discuss why. This also provides opportunity to support and encourage one another.
Dream - Ask and discuss, "What are the things that made you feel/come alive, energized or inspired you most that you want to continue pursuing in the coming year? What gifts and talents are you noticing that you would like to pursue and develop?"
Set goals as a family and as individuals - There is often a lot of hype about setting New Year's resolutions. In reality, resolutions tend to be short-lived. When looking to the future as a family or as individuals, it might be helpful to choose categories of goals that best fit your families interests and involvements instead of resolutions.
Rather than teaching or modeling for our kids the idea that "these are the things I want to change about myself in the new year (weight, bad habits, etc.)," perhaps a healthier approach may be to set specific goals as a family and as individuals. The best way to stick to a goal, instead of setting a broad resolution, is to make it specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (S.M.A.R.T.).
Encourage your teens to choose goals based on the "dream" discussion, what most inspires or energizes them. It may be helpful, too, to use insights from their reflection on the year's difficulties to
If your child is an athlete--energized through sports and competition--encourage them to set a specific goal in that realm such as: practicing a particular skill for a set amount of time everyday, trying out for the varsity team, seeking out tournament experience, etc.
If your child is passionate about the arts--inspired by music or visual arts or acting--encourage them to set a specific goal in that realm like practicing their instrument a certain allotment of time each week, trying out for a specific part in an upcoming school play, or adding a determined number of pieces to an art portfolio this year.
For goals with an academic focus and success in the day-to-day high school life, your teen may opt to implement some academic goals like not using the snooze button on school mornings, emailing teachers the first time they struggle with a classroom concept, or reviewing notes 10 minutes each night even when they don't have a test.
For goals that emphasize family and spiritual development, your family may want to consider volunteering together once a month at a local ministry, attending the same church services a set number of times per month, or memorizing a scripture passage together each quarter.
No matter what family or individual goals are set, it's crucial to maintain vision fixed on Jesus, His will and His ways.