If you made a New Year Resolution this year {there’s a 55% chance you did} there’s a 1-in-3 chance that your resolve didn’t last past January. Often, that’s because the goals aren’t clear or measurable, or there’s no strategy for getting there. I have something that might help – even at the risk of you thinking me “nerdy.”

It started several years ago when then-boyfriend-now-Husband and I lived in Canada.  Things were grim. Work was a challenge, and money was tight.  And ours is a second marriage for both of us… we were committed to “getting it right” this time.

We decided to be intentional about our lives together, and set long term goals…  What began as a simple conversation about the future turned in to a full-blown planning session, complete with flip charts! {No, seriously – he called the front desk at the hotel where we were staying, and asked them to send up a flip chart! I TOLD you it was nerdy.}

We both have a strategy background, so these New Year’s Resolution sessions evolved into annual “white board sessions.”  While it may sound odd, think about it – we do it in business… why wouldn’t we give as much effort to planning the other parts of our lives?

These days, the day typically starts on New Year’s morning, over {a lot of} coffee. It can last awhile – especially if we need to pull together financial updates or other info, so it’s not uncommon to end with lunch.

Here’s how it goes {here’s a template if you want to follow along}:

We’ve categorized our lives into 6 “buckets”… the “Six F’s” we call them. {Who doesn’t love a little alliteration?!} The categories are:

Faith
Family
Friends
Fitness
Finances
Function {“Function” is “work” – I needed another “F”}.

We do this as a way to ensure balance – too often I think we focus so heavily on a single issue or goal that we don’t pay attention to other important stuff.  And since our faith is a big part of our lives, we felt it important to get some Biblical guidance for each “bucket.” So there’s a scripture attached to each. There’s also an over-arching one we use to remind us that while it’s great to be deliberate and intentional, we are not in control…

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. {Proverbs 16:9}

A few years ago, we set some long term goals that are now not so far away. So the first thing we do is look at last year’s plan and rate how we did, and gauge our progress toward some of those bigger goals. {Truth be told, last year, many, if not most, of my “buckets” sprung leaks, so I was glad to sit down and make some adjustments.}

Next, we make individual and joint goals for the coming year. They’re written down {on this chart} and kept where we can see them.

Hopefully, you’ll find this tool helpful for your personal or family planning.

May your new year be full of lots of love, precious friends & countless blessings!

Image: Flickr

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