Now that you’ve discovered and written down your family mission and values, you are ready to pursue and establish specific goals. If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, please go back and check out, Five Tips to Discovering Family Mission and Values, before diving into family goal setting. Many people shy away from setting goals because they feel if they don’t achieve them, they’ve failed. What I have found is I rarely ever achieve all of the goals I set out to accomplish, but this never discourages me! If you only achieved 20% of the goals you set out, that’s still more than if you had set zero goals. Life is a journey, filled with ups and downs, successes and failures. We need to remember it is Biblical to make plans, especially if they are bathed in prayer and made with the intention of glorifying God. Never stop dedicating and planning your family goals with the Lord (Proverbs 16:3; 19:21; Isaiah 32:8). Here are five practical steps to pursuing family goals.
- Review Your Dreams. In Five Tips to Discovering Family Mission and Values, I shared how to develop a family mission statement, along with family values. This is important because knowing why God has established your family and what He has laid on your heart to prioritize will act as guideposts and reminders for why you’re doing what you’re doing. Take a moment to review these. When you go to step three and begin writing big picture goals, you’ll have these priorities and values fresh in your mind. For example, our family’s mission statement is: The Landi family was established by God to love, serve and glorify Him with all of our hearts and to inspire others to do the same. We know as we begin to set goals, we want them written so that we might carry out this calling on our family. We know our goals are going to be focused on glorifying God, loving and serving others, and seeking to help others know Jesus and follow Him.
- Set Big Goals. Personally, I like to make goals in six categories: Spiritual, Family, Personal, Financial, Physical, and Professional. I set at least three big picture goals for the year that I want to accomplish in each category. For Family, I connect with my wife to set these and plan them. We base our large family goals on our family mission statement and values. Our three big goals we committed to for this year are: 1. We commit to glorifying God in our marriage. 2. We commit to cultivating an environment for our kids to own their faith and follow Jesus. 3. We commit to positioning our family as an instrument to advance God’s Kingdom. I print these goals and place them on my desk where I can see them every day. They serve as a reminder to the destination and path I trust God is leading our family. The reason I start with bigger goals is because as you’ll see in the next step, regardless of whether I have smaller steps written out to achieve these, I know I can be flexible and use any opportunity to reach these and, therefore, bless and serve my wife, family and others.
- Take Small Steps. This next step is crucial. This is where you get very specific. What we like to do is look at the year in quarters: January through March, April through June, July through September and October through December. We then think quarterly on very specific, measurable, steps – what you might call “small-steps” – that helps us reach our bigger goals. These usually go on the calendar. They sometimes have a monetary investment associated with them. For example, when we say our big goal is to cultivate an environment for our kids to own their faith, a quarterly step might be, “Read a chapter in the Book of Romans once a week on Saturdays and teach our kids how to journal.” It could be memorizing a Bible verse by a certain date or scheduling a family-serving day. We have found these smaller steps add up over time and keep us moving towards our bigger goals, which in turn, ends up moving us toward instilling the values we want in our family and fulfilling our family mission. If you start with the big picture destination in mind and start taking little steps, eventually you arrive!
- Relentlessly pursue them. I’m a big believer in planning and writing things down, but planning and writing things down isn’t the goal. The goal is actually implementing them. A good mentor of mine says, “Intentions mean nothing.” If we intend to do something, but never actually do it or take steps to make it happen, we’ve just practiced wishful thinking. Pursuing family goals looks similar to what we’ve already mentioned before: calendaring. For example, one of our big family goals is to cultivate an environment for our kids to own their faith. A small step we planned to help us create family time and build community so that we can have deeper conversations about faith was to plan a family cooking night once a week. We all help in the night’s meal and during it, we talk and converse about life and look for God Moments to discuss. My wife and I talk each weekend and actually calendar our “family cooking night” each week. Calendaring isn’t the only way to practically pursue your goals. Sometimes you will need to invest financially to pursue a goal, sacrifice or say no to something, or recruit help from outside sources. Remember, the investment you put toward achieving these goals has an incredible long-term payoff!
- Review them Often. I want to encourage you and your spouse to continually review your family mission, values and goals. Continue praying for the Lord’s wisdom and guidance on how to pursue them. As the years go on, kids will grow, life situations will change and circumstances will place new pressures on you and your family. By continuing to pray and review your mission, values and goals, your family can keep them a priority. This is why setting quarterly steps are so helpful. For our family, it ensures that my wife and I continue to connect, pray and discuss where the Lord has our family headed. If done with intentionality, goals can help drive your family forward towards glorifying the Lord. Don’t be afraid to tweak or adjust your family mission statement, values and goals from year to year. These are always meant to serve you and your family.
I really hope you’ll take the time to pray through the goals God has placed on your family so that you might carry out the mission and calling He has for you. Once you set these goals, be relentless at carrying them out with passion. I have no doubt the Lord will bless you and your family if you take the time to pray and plan.