New year’s resolutions get a bad rep, and I totally understand why.  Almost nobody keeps them past January.  Why?  They’re usually overly-ambitious, they’re made in haste, or the timing is off.  The post-holiday letdown tends to give people excuses to throw in the towel before they’ve given their goals a fair shot.

I’m right there, too.  Very rarely does a “resolution” of mine cross the finish line in December.  I like making them, and I’ve gone as far as the spring in keeping them.  But instead of resolutions, I like to make annual goals.  The thing that makes a goal a goal is that it has a concrete, reachable plan with logical and do-able steps.  After all, as Dave Ramsey says, “A goal without a plan is just a dream.”

Yesterday I provided some reflection questions for 2010.  Today, I’ve got some springboards to help you think through 2011.  Here are some ideas for creating healthy goals for this year (along with another free PDF for you to print these questions).

Questions to Get You Started

Photo by Bing Ramos

I.  Personal Growth

1.  What healthy character traits would you like to see developed in your life this year? What are some specific steps you can take to develop these?

2.  What is your plan for maintaining accountability for progressing in personal growth?

3. What are some of your learning goals for this year?

4. What books would you like to read this year?

5.  Do you enjoy your job or jobs (include being a stay-at-home mother, if this pertains to you)?  If so, what are your favorite things about your work?  If not, what are some ways you can change this?

II.  Physical Health

1.  What is one area of progress you’d like to see this year for maintaining or improving your physical health?

2.  What are some tangible, daily choices you can add to your life that will improve your health?

3.  In what way would you like to be physically healthier by December of this year?

4.  What is your plan this month for starting this progress towards a healthier you?

III.  Marriage & Family Life

If you’re married, proceed to question 1.  If you’re single with children, you can skip to question 5.

1. What are some goals you have as a couple to strengthen your marriage?

2. In what ways can you grow in intimacy with your spouse this year?

3. What are your plans for having regular date nights?  How will you handle childcare?

4. What plans will you make to pray and/or have “family meetings” together?  What books would you like to read together this year?

5.  What will deliberate, regular family time look like this year?

6. Do you have specific planned vacation time in mind for this year?  What needs to happen to make this vacation a reality?

7.  How is your current physical living space working for your family?  Do you need to make changes to this?  If so, what are they?

IV.  Goals for Your Children

1. What are ways you’d like each of your children to grow in the following areas?

a.  Physically:

b.  Emotionally:

c.  Relationally:

d.  Spiritually:

e.  Educationally:

f.  Other:

2.  How will your children be educated this year?  What are some resources you’d like to explore to help your children develop intellectually and academically?

3.  What are your children’s strengths?  How will you help them use these well?

4.  What are your children’s weaknesses?  How will you help them overcome these?

V.  Money Matters

1.  What is one specific area of progress you’d like to see this year in your financial health?

2.  How is your current income?  In what ways can you make this increase?

3.  How much debt do you have?  In what ways can you eliminate a sizeable portion of it (or all of it) this year?

4.  How is your savings account?  In what ways can you save more money this year?

5.  What are some of your long-term financial goals?  In what ways can you make progress on them this year?

6.  Are you giving regularly?  If not, in what way can you give financially this year?

7.  What is your plan this month for starting progress towards better financial health?

VI.  Relationships Outside the Home

1. In what specific way would you like to grow in relating to your friends this year?

2.  What are some ways you can be of service to your immediate community?

3.  Who are some specific people in your life that can use some encouragement?  What will you do to encourage them this year?

4.  Who are some people in your life that you admire?  What are some practical ways you can positively use their influence in your life?

5.  Are there any damaging relationships in your life?  What will you do this year to make these relationships better?

New Year’s Goals

Take a moment to reflect on your answers to all these questions.  If you’re inclined, apply these answers by setting a few goals for this year.  Call them resolutions if you feel like it.

If you’d like to print these off to journal your thoughts, download a free PDF of these questions. They’re also on the downloads page.

Have you already made New Year’s resolutions/goals?  What are they?