Setting personal goals for children and youth—and adults as well 😉—will help to build purpose, identity, and character, and help us to follow our Savior, Jesus Christ.
(**Updated printables are now available below- Not specific to any year!**)
Habits are—for good or for bad—the basis of our character. A habit is something we do without even really thinking about it, and they grow stronger and stronger over time, creating neurological pathways and ‘cravings’.
A good habit is one that is beneficial to a person’s physical, mental, or spiritual health, and is often linked to a high level of self-discipline.
THE IMPORTANCE AND BENEFITS OF GOOD HABITS
SUCCESS. Good habits help lead to success. They help you to accomplish and stick to your goals—even when you may feel less motivated about them—simply because you are in that sort of habit.
TIME. Having good habits also saves time. Your brain loves patterns. Patterns/habits allow the brain to free up space for other information. So if you have good habits established, your brain doesn’t have to spend time deliberating the pros and cons of a given situation, or talking yourself into doing one thing or another. It already knows what to do.
JOY. Good habits can also save us from a lot of pain and sadness. If you are in the habit of choosing to be in good places, with good people, doing good things, this helps to keep away the pain and sadness associated with wrong choices. Instead, your life will be filled with more joy and happiness.
CHARACTER. And probably the greatest benefit of creating good habits is that they establish good character. You become a person of integrity, and someone others can trust and depend on.
The best ‘good habits’ are the ones that Jesus taught us to follow. But how does one go about actually establishing a good habit? We set goals!
THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING Personal GOALS
A goal is ‘a desired result a person… envisions, plans and commits to achieve a …desired end-point.’ Or basically, a plan you set to accomplish something. Goals can be big or small, of great importance or of little consequence. But when there’s something you want to get done, goals help you to accomplish it.
Goals Provide Focus. They help you to see the bigger picture, and also provide the focus for what needs to be accomplished in the here and now.
Goals Help Measure Progress. A well-defined goal will also help you to see how far you’ve come in your journey. You can see where you started, and the progress you’ve made.
Goals Provide Motivation. Goals help to keep your end-prize in mind, so that you remain excited and encouraged about reaching it. They help to keep you moving forward, even when obstacles come. For every bit of inspiration and motivation, goals are at the root of it.
PERSONAL GOALS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
One of the things our church emphasizes is the importance of becoming like our Savior, Jesus Christ. After all, that is one of the main reasons we are here on this earth. And there’s no better time to begin those habits than early in life.
“Learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” (Alma 37:35)
What good and wise counsel! Habits and patterns that are set early in life become our core, and I can’t think of anything I want more for my children than for them to know—at their chore— that they are a loved child of God, and for them to desire to be with Him again. And not just desire, but to want it so much that they choose to do the things He asks us to do above all other things.
This kind of desire doesn’t happen overnight, or come from just a simple whim. But it WILL come with consistent, small and simple efforts.
How Our Family Sets Personal Goals
In our family, we participate in a church youth program that encourages the development of Christ-like habits and characteristics through setting goals in four different areas of life: Intellectual, Physical, Spiritual, and Social. This follows the pattern of growth set by our Savior— “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
The program is wonderful and has fun ideas for the kid’s goals/activities–and it’s free! I would encourage everyone to check it out and see how it can be a blessing in your family’s life.
Each of our kids fills out one of the goal sheets I made (see free printable below) each month, and every Sunday I spend some time with them talking about how their goals are going. (PS. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me… because otherwise I’m likely to forget. 😅) Their goals can be longer and take more than a month to complete (in the which case, we would just write them again on the new chart we fill out the next month), but at their age we tend to work on shorter goals so they can more easily see and feel the blessings of accomplishing a goal.
It’s a blessing to have something so positive for the kids to work on (and I admit, I enjoy filling out the goals to work on as well!), especially with so much chaos and negativity going on in the world. Filling our home and our lives with the examples of the Savior, and making a concerted effort to do small and simple things that point us to Him has brought the Spirit more fully into our lives. I know it can be a blessing to you too!
Want to Start Your Own Personal Goal Chart?
- Simply download and print the free printable file (there’s a more feminine version, and a more masculine version, but obviously anyone can pick whichever they want)
- Thoughtfully fill it out (if you need some ideas to get you started, you can check out ideas for children HERE, and ideas for youth HERE)
- Hang it up somewhere (on a mirror, or closet door) where you’ll see it often, and then make it happen!
On the printable, there’s room to write your goal, along with steps you want to take to make it happen. And then don’t forget to evaluate your progress along the way. That’s key to keeping you going on the right track. 😉
Download your Personal Goal Chart
Many blessings and happy wishes, from our family to yours!