How to Create Annual Family Goals


*UPDATED Jan 2021 with a revised goal setting sheet with new categories.

My husband and I sit down every New Years Eve to create and review our annual family goals.   It’s the start of the new year and a perfect time to reflect, address shortcomings and make plans for the future.

In 2015,  I asked my friend Emily to design a custom goal sheet for my family. It worked perfectly for many years but I recently updated to reflect more areas of our life.   I was previously using a “notes” app on my phone, random scratch pieces of paper and they would get lost or damaged during the year.  And even though I love technology, I felt disconnected from my goals when they were on my phone.

Why you need this template

You must write down your goals.   Science and thousands of research hours have repeatedly confirmed the power of writing down goals.   One study in 2016 found, you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.

Why you should WRITE down goals (vs. an app)

As you probably know, our brain has a left and right hemisphere.   Stay with me because I’m gonna get a bit “science-y”.

We have a wide, flat bundle of fibers connecting the two hemispheres called the “corpus callosum”. This is the channel through which the electrical signals between the right brain (imaginative) and the left brain (logic) make contact.

When you actually physically write down something (notes for school, annual goals, shopping list) these electrical signals move into the fluid that surrounds the brain and travels up and down the spinal column.  In other words, your’e using both brain hemispheres and this opens up neurological potential.   Don’t just THINK about goals (right brain).  You must physically WRITE them (left brain) and increase your chances of success.

How to use the template quickly

Be purposeful about your time. Find 25-35 minutes when you can think clearly.  There are 8 categories: Finances, Work, Education, Spiritual, Health, Home Projects, Family and Spiritual.   Set a timer for 3 minutes for each section because I don’t want you to overthink and get stuck with “what ifs” and worry.

3-5 minutes for each section.  That’s it.  You can go back and adjust or fine-tune but please don’t over-analyze. Dream big but be realistic.   Be specific and challenge yourself.

Keep the handwritten document in a binder to refer to next year.  I included boxes to to check off goals that are accomplished during the year.  If you’re super nerdy – make a reminder for July to review the year’s progress.  Are you off track?  Have you accomplished anything?

The Bigger Picture

I believe goal setting is not only a mental exercise but a spiritual issue.  Scripture says:

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  Hebrews 12:11

Writing down, tracking and accomplishing goals is a discipline.   It requires self-control, perseverance and dedication.

A man without self-control is like a city broken and left without walls” Prov 25:28

Don’t aimlessly “make” a New Year’s Resolution.  Draft and create goals for this upcoming year.

You can do this. Live with intent.

So – let’s hop to it.  Grab a pencil, timer and download my Family Annual Goals worksheet.


But … what about your kids? My oldest son turned 6 a few weeks ago and we did his first “goal session”.  We want him to learn this skill EARLY.

I created a Kid Goal Setting Worksheet you could use with your kids. It worked great with mine and it was fun dreaming with him and talking about his 6 year-old ideas.  I also included a “Thankfulness chart” and Questions to ask about the previous year.

Let me know what you think!

Happy New Years!