Goals for a New Year

A goal is an achievement that requires effort or dedication. It is nice to know that "with God all things are possible." Goals help us determine how to spend our time, and how to give to others.

By Caryl W. Krueger

Categories: Freshness and Newness, New Year/Change

A new year always brings new opportunities, and many families set goals to achieve success. The Bible is filled with folks who recognized a challenge and went to work, eye on the goal, to bring about the best results.

  • Moses was given the challenge of bringing the Children of Israel back home. He wasn't keen on the idea, but his trust in God carried him through.
  • Ruth, who is highlighted in this issue, made it her goal to get her mother-in-law Naomi back to her homeland. This selfless act resulted in a happy life for herself and established her place in history as the great grandmother of King David.
  • Jesus was given the task of being the example of perfection as God's own son. It was hard work, but centuries later his life is still considered the standard for all mankind.
  • Saul/Paul had an evil goal: to get rid of the followers of Jesus. His plan was thwarted, as it is when goals are not God-based. He was given a new goal-to bring Christianity to the Gentiles, which he did willingly with great sacrifice.
  • Mary Magdalene had the goal of being supportive of Jesus' work; because of her dedication, she was the first to see the risen Christ.

So what are today's goals, and why do we still set goals for ourselves and our loved ones? A goal is an achievement that requires effort or dedication. So it is nice to know that "with God all things are possible." Family goals guide us to think about how we spend our time, how we choose our activities, what we'd really like to accomplish, and how we can help others. As Paul says (I Corinthians 9:24): "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." Yes, the prize, reaching a goal, can be just as exhilarating as winning a race!

Goal setting can be done two ways.

  • First, between parent and child. A quiet discussion can result in a few goals important to a youngster. These could be to improve a grade, to save for a bike, to be more kind to a sibling, to read the Bible each day, to smile more, and to offer help to someone in need. These will differ with age, but write them down and look at them together in a few months. Don't chide, just encourage! And when a goal is achieved, celebrate!
  • Second, family goals are equally important, and it is fun for everyone to sit around the fire and talk about some goals. This is not stubborn, unbending "outlining" of what must happen, but rather gently considering and then seeking some achievements that bring about family unity and affection. These could be to plan a car trip, to remember to turn the lights off when leaving a room, to teach the dog a new trick, to enjoy a sport together, to do something to improve the environment, to give service at church, or to learn to sew or drive. Again, a written list is helpful so that you can see how you're doing in six months and then cross some off and add some others.

While goals are an optional yet beneficial family activity, learning to achieve something does bring out more of a youngster's God-bestowed talents. And this increase in Christliness blesses the entire family and even the community. In setting and achieving goals, you will see a greater trust in God's ability to lead the way. As it says in Philippians (3:14): "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Press toward that mark by talking about goals this month. You'll be pleased with the results, and you'll find blessings for your family, your neighbors, and maybe even the world.