5 Secrets to Achieving Your Goals in the New Year

Welcome to a New Year

It's an exciting, fresh start for all of us and an opportunity to reevaluate and focus on the things we want to accomplish. This is true both in our personal lives and in our homeschools. 

You Can Be Part of the 8%!

Sadly, according to research done by the University of Scranton, only about 8% of people who set goals in the new year actually achieve them. But you can be one of the elite who accomplish the things they set out to do by following a few "tried and true" guidelines that we are sharing here.

Begin With The End In Mind

It was Stephen Covey and his "7 Habits" who made this a popular phrase, but it has always been wise advice. When you are planning to make changes, you want to remember your original goals.

1) Evaluate and Reevaluate - look at where you are and what your target is and then re-evaluate what your current focus is based on where you intend to end up. 

As homeschoolers, now is the time to go back and re-read your homeschool's mission statement and revisit those ideals that you set up as your "end game". If you haven't yet created a mission statement for your home education program, now is a great time to jot down why you chose home education and what your educational goals are for your children and your family.

You may find while reviewing the activities of the past few months, that some of the things you are doing in your school year are not working towards those goals. Be proactive and cut those things out of your schedule.

It may feel like you are giving up on something, but remember, you are going to begin again in the new year -  this time with your end in mind. Evaluate each area of your homeschool and determine if your curriculum, classes, extracurricular activities and family time are all working together toward the purpose, and priorities of your homeschool overall.

Once you have determined if there are things you need to clear out of your homeschool days, now you have made room for the good habits that are going to get you to your targets!

2) Make Your Goals Specific

In order to know if you have succeeded at your goal you will need to be specific about what it is you truly want.

For example you may want to be more organized, but that is a broad goal and maybe you are not actually disorganized. There may be something that if it changed, could make a huge difference in your outlook and the organization of your home.

One day a homeschooling friend stopped in to my house with her kids for a play date. We were chatting away and then she stopped and looked around her and said, "No wonder you are so organized, you have a place to put everything!"

She was right. I tend to be a natural pile-r instead of a filer, so I have found ways to "contain" my piles to keep them neat and so that I could find the things I needed. Having a place to put things also helped me feel less stress since I knew I where to locate things and I didn't have to think about them until I had time to deal with them.

A way to set some more specific goals may be to ask yourself what things you need to add to your life that will make a difference in the area of organization. Think about what the real issue is and then think of creative ways to solve it.

For example, the true issue may be that the kids' books and school materials are everywhere. That problem is solvable and specific.  You may be able to move the schooling area to a less public room of the house, you could corral the kids school materials with a box system or cubbies. Maybe something a simple as installing a bookcase near the school area could be just what your family needs to be "more organized."

3) Use Tools to Help You - find tools that will help you meet those more specific and true goals that you have written down. 

That bookcase or those cubbies are tools. Our planners and calendars, are tools. Self Improvement books or books that focus on spiritual guidance are also tools. Websites, chore charts and even "Swiffers" are tools that can help us get more done.

There are wonderful organization and time management apps for your computer or phone that are tools to help us achieve our goals and build good habits. use a  Google search to locate tools that may help you in the areas you want to target, and ask your friends about tools they use.

4) Create Good Habits

It was the creative educator, Charlotte Mason who reminded us:
"Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend."
When we work on creating good habits for ourselves, we are naturally modeling good habits for our children, but more importantly, in my view, you are showing them that we can and should continue to learn and grow.

5) Reward Yourself

Changing a habit or finding a solution is something to celebrate. You have accomplished something that is going to make your life or family environment better and that is something that only a small percentage of people do each year! So be sure to pat yourself on the back in some way. Awarding yourself with extra reading time when you implement a time saving technique or treating yourself to something special is a great way to make sure that you are not going to burn out during the busy homeschool year. Self-care is not selfish and doesn't have to be anything expensive.

Living By Design, Not Default

Don't fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent and let your plans fall by the wayside. Instead, document your desires by writing them down. Track your goals, breakthroughs, and progress even if it is only to jot it on the family calendar. You can also add goals to your phone calendar or other apps as "tasks". If you prefer to go "old school" you might keep a handwritten journal to remind you of your plans, make note of tools you need, and recall to mind your achievements throughout the year.

Using these five secrets to achieving your goals in the new year, you will be living by design, not by default!

The 5 Secrets:

1) Evaluate and Reevaluate
2) Make Your Goals Specific 
3) Use Tools to Help You Reach Those Goals
4) Create Good Habits
5) Reward Yourself 

Written By: Merit Kirkpatrick


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