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Setting reachable goals for 2011

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?

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Amanda Kay

    The quite by Dave Ramsey is one of my husband’s favorites. Thank you for posting these questions! Our family has decided to make “purpose” our theme for the year and I can’t wait to share these with my family!
    Happy New Year!

  2. shorty

    Thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom and then making a PDF for us!!! This site is beyond a blessing!!! Thank you for the bottom of my heart:)

  3. Kasey

    I LOVE these goals. They are tangible, measurable ways to make changes. Thanks for such the great post!

  4. Sarah M

    Thanks for these questions. I’m currently printing them off and will be intentionally thinking/writing about these during naptime today. Just what I needed on Jan 1!
    Sarah M

  5. Kali

    I printed these off in 2009 and my hubs and I went through it for a date night…such a good tool and awesome to look back on and “take stock” on all that’s happened in 2 years.

  6. Beth West

    Yes, thanks for the questions. Will be thinking them over. Happy 2011!

  7. Jessica Washburn

    Thanks, I’m all about goals and personal best…moving forward. Thanks for reminding me to get the kids in on it today, they love setting goals and seeing progress to! Happy New Year!!

  8. Emily

    I haven’t made resolutions for a while, but I’d like to start again this year. Your questions are just what I needed to think through them!

  9. Kathy

    These were great suggestions. I would like to post a link to these in the next couple of days. As a homeschooling mother, and as a plain old individual, It always helps me to evaluate, mid-school year, and beginning of this new year, goals and plans for the future. I often use the phrase, “Begin with the end in mind.” This gives place to pencil those thoughts and answers. Thank you!

  10. Prerna

    Lovely.. Am all for setting realistic goals and not just vague resolutions. Thanks for sharing these! Happy New Year, everyone:-)

  11. becky f

    I have bookmarked this post so that I can really spend time on these questions. I’ve told myself that this year I am making resolutions. The past 3 or 4 I simply haven’t because I know I’ll end up breaking them (& that never feels good). But this year, I’m going to set some yearly goals.
    Thank you!

  12. Two Chicks and a Hen

    This is a great list of questions. I’ve decided to go with a resolution idea that I saw on The Happiness Project blog–you just choose one word as the theme for your year, and you work towards that idea in all areas (peace, health, evolve, inspire, etc.).

  13. Maggie

    Thank you for these thoughtful questions! I plan to talk some of them through with my SO this week. Two Chicks and a Hen, I also really like your idea about a theme for the year. I just blogged about that last night, and spontaneously found my theme!

  14. Tara

    I love the list of questions. I printed a copy for myself and a copy for my husband. We are going to fill it out seperately then we are going to go over it together.

  15. Trish

    I’d love to print this in my MOPS group’s monthly newsletter. Is there someone I can contact to obtain reprint rights?


    • Tsh

      Trish, as I mentioned in the PDF doc, you’re welcome to reprint them, pass them out, do whatever you need, etc. etc. 🙂 Thanks for asking.

  16. Trish

    I’d love to put this in my MOPS group’s newsletter. Does anyone know who I should contact for reprints?


  17. Alison @ Femita

    Thanks, these questions are really spot-on. For goals there is an easy trick: keep them SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

  18. Courtney

    I really love this and am going to print if off and fill in the blanks… do you mind if i blog about it, I would totally link to you page and give you credit but I think its a great way to really evaluate your goals this year!

  19. Rachel @ Jewish Mommie

    Wow these were terrific. I’m bookmarking them for Rosh Hashanah next year! Very thoughtful and thought-provoking questions – thank you!

  20. Consperacy girl

    I know im late to post here but when i read your blog it inspires me so much…thank you for the wonderful words that you have said here i am aiming my goals this year hopefully for success!

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