How We Set Family Goals for the New Year

How We Set Family Goals for the New Year //

Each January, no matter which salesman is pitching the perfect system to plan out my whole life, I’m too much of a realist. I can’t buy the hype that, with a little vision-boarding, this will be my “best year ever.”

That said, I recognize the basic truth that goals matter. What we focus on matters. Expectations matter.

I just want to make those expectations and goals realistic.


This year, I expect:

  • to have real trials. Maybe some big ones. Last year– 1 year ago today– brought a cracked occipital bone and emergency helicopter ride for my daughter, and (3 months later) a medicine reaction that landed my husband in the hospital, too.
  • to meet some new challenges and adventures that I do not now yet know about. 2016 started without me even knowing about a 93-mile family backpacking trip around Mt. Rainier, and a little Fisher Barnabas.
  • to see God more clearly. This year, through the Old Testament, God gave me a greater understanding of His delight in holiness– and how the Law gives insight into the way set-apart-ness matters to Him.
  • img_6035to see others more clearly. This year, I had some insights into ways that I can truly, prayerfully entrust God with my pre-teens & teens. Some friendships have grown deeper this year; I praise God for these transparent relationships.
  • to see myself more clearly. This year, God let me see deeper into my ugly heart, in many ways– especially my anger. I’m still processing that, but I’m truly thankful for how He keeps deepening my awareness of how much I need Him.



This year, Lord willing, I’ll be:

  • file0559writing articles each Monday, here at
  • publishing Mom On Purpose podcasts on Wednesdays. Season 2 starts back on Feb. 1st.
  • spending far less time on social media (Doug & I have set some personal guidelines– off hours & off days– as well as limits set on our Circle— to help me stay faithful with this.)
  • using Productive Free Time in the afternoons to write longer projects.
  • working with our family on some of the goals we’ve set.


screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-11-11-10-pm2017 CONNELL

This year, instead of my typical list of personal goals I’ll write in a journal and then lose and forget about, we brainstormed & wrote family goals to post on the wall and work toward together.

Here are our family goals for 2017:

  • Memorize 50 verses
  • Enjoy 10 family game nights
  • Complete 17 hikes (17 in 2017)
  • Visit 3 National Parks
  • 51 miles hiked or backpacked (17 x 3=51 …we’ll probably do far more than this, but we wanted an achievable goal)
  • Spend 5 nights camping
  • 1 walk, jog, or bike ride per week.
  • Observe 52 (device-free) days of rest.
  • Have 12 families over


We could have made a goal for EVERY Friday to be “family game night“… but we know that’s unlikely to happen. But 10? …we can manage 10 over the course of a year.

Last year, we hiked over 150 miles over the summer. Maybe more like 200? But we aren’t planning to do the Wonderland this year, and so we wanted to keep our goal achievable.

We’ve got a chalkboard that hangs near our dining table, and the plan is to write our weekly verse on it, there where we’ll all see it multiple times a day. We want to set ourselves up to achieve the memorization goal, and that will help.

It was fun to talk through these goals with our kids, praying that God will help us, and begin dreaming up new plans for the year, together. I’m looking forward to working on these things as a family unit.


In the comments: What are *YOUR* expectations & goals for 2017? Have you ever set family goals?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast ( I write and wrangle kids.

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3 Responses

  1. Sara says:

    I think my goal is to help my mom friends more by dropping by offering to help with chores etc. I’m single and have way more flexibility than they do! suggestions on stuff I could volunteer to do? When my parents were dying of cancer the support group I was in always said never to ask people what they want because they will be too shy to ask. just come over and do it!

    • Jess Connell says:

      That sounds really awesome Sara!

      I’ll tell you some things that have really knocked my socks off & made me feel like a million bucks:

      * a friend who offered to come and bring lunch and games for all my kids so I could go have lunch in quiet and spend time reading/journaling alone.
      * a young lady who, before we were coming home (she’d been watching the kids for us), got the kitchen counters completely cleaned off, tidied, and it SMELLED clean when I walked in.

      Just offering to come and sit during nap time could give a mom the ability to go shop alone, or to go grab a coffee and have an hour of two of absolute silence.

      Other options would be if you know there’s something going on at the local library (a playdoh day, Lego event, toddler fun morning, etc.), to offer to take the child who’s the most needing of being watched (usually a 2-4 year old) :) and let her have a quieter hour or two.

      Things like that would mean a lot to me. Like you said, just jumping in and making yourself a blessing to someone is really the way to avoid getting a “oh, there’s nothing really…” or “I’m not sure…” sort of answer. What a neat friend you are to want to bless other women you know. :) Thanks for asking!

  1. January 31, 2017

    […] How We Set Family Goals for the New Year […]

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