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Questions to help you make some goals

It’s already the second week of January, so many of you probably have already made some goals. I know, I know… It’s all I talked about last week.

But I still want to share my list of questions that I use when making annual goals. These are questions you can use privately, as you journal, or with your spouse over a cup of tea (and perhaps a white board).

You don’t need to go through all of them, of course. I don’t. Last week, Kyle and I picked about five, and we just chatted. It was a great, mid-afternoon date.

I need to continually remind myself that goals are all about making myself more available, not making myself perfect. Don’t throw in the towel when you screw up once…. because you will screw up. Dust yourself off, and keep on going.

I’m excited about this year. Are you?

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 parent, 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?

Here’s the free PDF of all the above questions, if you’d like to print them.

Psst… These questions are also part of my e-book, One Bite at a Time. It’s on sale for $4 until January 10, 2012 with the code HAPPYNEWYEAR. Just thought you’d like to know.

A word

My word for 2011 was no. I can look back and say that, for the most part, the word served me well. I’m ready to look forward now… my word for 2012 is story.

Do you have a word for this year? Made any 2012 goals?

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Kika

    I printed these goals from your ebook this past weekend and worked through them. I do have a ton of goals/projects on the go – many came from creating a list of “40 in 40” (40 things to accomplish in my 40th year) rather than from the new year. But fun all the same.

  2. Eve Rowan

    This is an excellent list of questions to consider, many which affirmed some of the goals I’ve set for the year, and also some that make me want to think further!! Glad to hear the previous commented had 40 goals! I differentiate (this year!) between routines, resolutions (things I pray for and aspire to daily, renewed) and goals (attainable, close-ended) and have different categories (taking care of myself, taking care of my relationships, taking care of my blessings)… and I like the idea of “3 for 30” that I ran across on pinterest where you target 3 things for 30 days… It all means I have 36 goals!!! But hey, some are easy (paint my toenails – it has been more than a year!!) and they are all geared toward my One Little Word for the year: JOY. Now I just need to pray some more and make sure I’m not self-striving too much, that I’m following God’s direction. Er, how do you tell that anyways?!!!

  3. Jeanette

    Yes. I have many goals this year. What I’ve done, is to identify them and then breaking them up into small tasks I can actually do, one at a time, and make daily to-do-lists of them. The trick is to not bite off more than you can chew, it can be hard to hold back enough to actually getting things done without burning out. I’m so happy to see my goals manifesting bit by bit! 🙂

    • Successful Woman's Resource Center

      This is the PERFECT way to work on goals! Many times people make their list and then wonder on December 31 why they never accomplished any of them!

  4. Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    I really like this list of questions. I also made some goals for 2012 and have them listed. I have broken these big goals down into little steps so that it won’t seem overwhelming, and I can do a little bit each day, or week, to accomplish them.

  5. Beth West

    I love planning, listing and goal setting. LOL – for years I loved the planning much more than amethe doing! Not good if you want to reach goals. Last year was different. I’ve planned so much of the basics that it only take me a minute to rework a schedule or re-organize something so there wasn’t much choice left to me. It was do or die and I DID.

    My word for this year is “Professional”. I’ve been a student and amateur painter for several years. If the Lord is willing, in 2012 I’m going pro and doing all I can to be prepared to have my first sold out art show by the summer of 2013.

    I’m loving all of these posts on goal setting and resolutions. I’m currently reading Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles, and it fits right in. Best of luck to everyone with their goals this year!

  6. Beth West

    Hmmm. I should also have a mini-goal of proof reading my comments before I post them. In the first paragraph it should read, “I loved the planning much more than the doing”.

  7. Bejama

    Nice list, Tsh… comes in extra handy for the new year. Solid post!

    @Beth: don’t sweat it.

    -Bee 🙂

  8. Melitsa

    2012 my word for this year is growth.
    I want to learn and experience more intentionally this year.

    A goal I have is to run a 5K before summer. Excited and scared 🙂

  9. Courtney

    Thanks for this list. I can’t wait to sit down with my hubby and talk through some of these questions. it’s so easy to let the days just run together without taking time out to thoughtfully consider how we’re using our time and resources. My word for 2012 is intentional.

  10. Darcy Nugent

    My word this year is present – I want to be in the moment this year.

  11. Karen

    Exactly what I’m doing this week! I call it Dreaming instead of goal setting. I love your questions. It seems there a million different direction one can go with dreamin or setting goals!

  12. Karen

    Not sure how to submit my latest post…but this time it worked!
    Thanks Tsh for all your wisdom!!

  13. Keya

    Great questions Tsh! My focus this year is on discipline. This first quarter I’m applying that focus to my eating habits. Funny thing about becoming disciplined in one area of life often leads you to be more disciplined in other areas of life to. I’ll call that an added bonus.

    • Successful Woman's Resource Center

      This is SO true! When you learn to master your self-control in any area, it does spill over! Good luck!

  14. Dee

    Tsh, I just wanted to tell you how valuable your blog is. I wish you were my neighbor! You just seem so grounded and get right to the heart of it in a way that is non-judgemental and practical.

    Thank you for your blog.

  15. amanda d

    I love that you have a word for the year. These questions are good too. My husband and I have had short conversations (w/ three children in the house it’s hard!), but we said this weekend we’re going to make it a priority to look and plan and makes goals for 2012. I’m going to use this – thank you!

  16. Betsy

    I’m with Dee, Tsh: your blog is so valuable! I loved your idea from last week about goals making us available. “Available” is a much more attainable ideal than “perfection.” I set about 5 goals for myself this year, and for the first time chose a word for the year. It’s “fellowship.”

  17. Amanda

    My husband keeps talking about sitting down and setting goals and I think this is just the thing to get us started. Thanks!

  18. Linda

    I love having a word for the year. In years past it has been GRACE or PEACE. This year it is CAN. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

  19. Amy

    Tsh, I love your e-book and I just printed your list of questions! My husband and I need stuff like this.

    I have never done a word before, but my word for the year is HEALTH. Spiritual, mental and physical.

  20. Stephanie

    My husband and I sat down with these questions last weekend. It was an amazing springboard to talk about many areas of our life and set goals for the upcoming year. We spent the entire week mulling over these questions and finally wrote out our goals last night. So appreciate this insightful list. Thank you!!!

  21. Jennifer

    My word for 2012 is ‘Simply’. This year’s goal is to go through your 52 Bites and to also use Organized Simplicity to finally tackle our house.

  22. Bethany

    I asked for “Organized Simplicity” last Christmas, 2010. By this Christmas, 2011, I was reading it again. I love some of the concepts and have determined that clutter is literally getting in the way of my effectiveness as a mom (three boys 5,3,1), wife, homemaker, and even friend (I realized the real reason I didn’t invite them over is because I never felt my house was straight enough!) Anyhoos, I’m determined to change things….I’m not just talking storage solutions, I’m determined to not even have to STORE extra clutter. So I’ve been working through all that I guess for a year or so now, and we just finished a bathroom remodal (mandatory-shower pan leaked/ rotten floor, we used it as a storage room for a year before ripping it all out!) Now that that project is wrapping up, the rest of the house has nowhere to hide! Thank you for your sensible approach, concepts, and motivation! Bless you.

    • Christina

      Oh Bethany, I think we are kindred spirits! LOL My clutter also hinders my roles as wife, mom, homemaker, teacher, and friend! Your comment is inspiring me to get and read this book, too. 🙂

  23. Stephanie's Mommy Brain

    My word this year is “grow.” Grow my faith. Grow my marriage. Grow my relationships with my kids and Grow my blogs. My word for my blogs is Audacious.

  24. Sarah

    We couldn’t wait for you to post these questions…so we printed off the 2011 goal setting questionnaire again.

    It is between Boxing Day and New Years that we are the most motivated and excited to go over both the reflection and the goal setting questionnaires–one after the other! 🙂

    Glad to see them posted again though!

  25. Audrey @ Mom Drop Box

    Enjoyed this list! I have been working on goal-setting through my blog, and have asked some of the same questions you’ve posted here. I haven’t done a word- I’m not sure that would work for me.

  26. Emily

    My word this year is “Intentional”. I want my actions and decisions to be intentional. If there is a book I’m reading, I want there to be a reason behind it. I want to be “intentional” with relationships. The same goes for my faith in Christ. All of my goals this year have been made for specific reasons and my prayer is that I stick with them. Taking bite sized pieces, setting a few weekly goals in an effort to achieve the larger goals is helping me stay focused & on track!

  27. megan

    What a list…Lots to think about. I would love to set family goals. Do you have suggestions for getting hubby on board? Maybe its it “52” and I havent gotten that far yet!

  28. Clover@farrbetterlife

    Holy Cow. How did I just discover your blog?!! Well I clicked over from The Nester and I just spent too long going back through your archives. Living in Southern California is hard to keep with the Simople Life but it is at my core of growing up on a farm in Oregon. I look forward to reading more.

  29. Jo@simplybeingmum

    To simplify further…great progress has been made however more is still required…but it’s getting easier

  30. Deirdre

    I just stumbled upon your site- wow, so comprehensive! I could spend all month reading the various articles, but I especially liked this one. I find myself getting so overwhelmed in the new year. I think of it as a fresh start and want to make changes or enhance my/my family’s lives in many ways, but where to begin? The questions you ask are simple, basic, but a great place to begin addressing all these issues in the various areas of our lives. Thank you for giving this jump-start!

  31. Arthur

    These are nice set of questions that really helps one shape up their future in terms of long term goals.

  32. Michelle W

    Love the questions. Love your word for 2012. You have given me more to think about and discuss with my husband. Thank you!

  33. Brownstone NY

    Thanks for this great listing … hope u ll be providing some more great information on these topics..

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