Every year we guide our kids through a little exercise that my father taught me: we sit down in the living room, put on good music, have a warm drink like hot chocolate and a bring a notebook so we can start writing down this year's accomplishments and our new goals for next year.
Some questions we use to get them started:
Did I do enough sports and exercise? Did I do my best in my team? Am I eating right or am I having to much junk food? Did I stop biting my nails? Have I done good to others? How have I treated my friends, my brothers and sisters, my parents?
How did I do at school? What can I do to improve my grades, my reading level, my math skills? How is my handwriting? Can I do better? Am I learning new languages and music? Am I being challenged?
How did I treat God this year? Have I forgotten Him? Have I read good spiritual books?
It is important to always remind them that good intentions are not always enough to accomplish our goals. The most likely reason that we did not achieve our goals is that we lacked perseverance, lacked motivation or we simply set unrealistic goals.
Usually we like to see results right away and we fail because we want to run a sprint instead of a marathon. Sometimes we don't want to move from the comfort zone we are in now. We need to persevere with strength; the continuous effort on the things we set out to do, is something that will help us be different, to stand out from the crowd. With a little effort every day, we can accomplish our goals.
In order to persevere, we must set realistic goals and be clear about our motivation. Even if the goal seems far away, the fuel that keeps our perseverance going is what drives us in the first place: it can be that somebody is counting on us, or that somebody has put their trust in us. Only we have the ability to produce a change inside of us.
Our next year resolutions must be realistic and very few. They cannot be impossible, they must be attainable, so we build confidence in ourselves first and later, as our confidence and strength grows, we can accomplish more demanding goals. Plan ahead, and keep track of your progress.
Finally, we encourage them again to don't give up, to persevere. We remind them that their parents and brothers and sisters will help them along the way to their goals as best we can.
These year-end meetings are getting better every year and we have made them a tradition, brought forth from my parents' home into ours.
Happy New Year!!!