As another year (and WHAT a year!) is in the books, we are invited into a season of reflection on the last twelve months, as well as a time to set goals for the coming year. From a mental and emotional health standpoint, this process is especially important this year. For a year unlike any other we've experienced, it's a unique opportunity to sit down as a family to reflect on the past and dream about the future.
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 throughout the year. Here are a few things that may prove 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 2020. While it is likely that we have all engaged in many conversations about what has been hard this year, 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 - Though many of the uncertainties of 2020 will carry over into this new year, setting goals as individuals and as a family is a great way to create structure, stay motivated, and feel a sense of purpose.
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.
No matter what family or individual goals are set, it's crucial to maintain vision fixed on Jesus, His will and His ways.