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Fun & Easy Ways To Help Your Family Set Goals For The New Year

   By: Rondi Davis

Here's something for January besides the usual diet promises. The start of the calendar year is a wonderful time to celebrate life and new beginnings. It is no wonder so many of us choose this time to set goals for ourselves. Most of us define goals as objectives that are within our control to obtain. Wishes, on the other hand, are our hopes and our dreams. It might seem impractical, but we still throw pennies into fountains and long for our wishes to come true. Here, we offer a different take on the standard New Year's resolutions. Introduce your family to goal setting in a fun, child-friendly way.

Begin at dinner by discussing your own wishes and asking other family members to do the same. Give everyone a day or two to organize their thoughts, then gather in the room where your family feels most comfortable and begin to write. Let each person write as much (or as little) as they want. Leave a piece of paper on the breakfast table or in the car in case someone is suddenly inspired. Remember that dreams are very personal. Encourage everyone to share ideas without adding the slightest criticism or suggestion. Let your enthusiasm motivate you. By writing and sharing your dreams you make them real. Let your enthusiasm motivate you. Often, the greatest reward is not the destination but the journey itself. This New Year commit to building your own family traditions.

Here, we offer a child-friendly way to help families visualize their goals.

The Wishing Tree

The start of each calendar year is a wonderful time to celebrate life and new beginnings. It is no wonder so many of us choose this time to set goals for ourselves. The wishing tree visually proclaims your hopes for the future. Have family members inscribe thoughts on colorful ribbons. Tie the ribbons to a barren winter tree. Listen to them whisper their messages as they flutter in the wind.

You will need:
8 x 11-inch colored card stock
A hole punch

1. Let each person choose a different color of bright card stock. The sheets should be 8 x 11-inches. You will need several sheets of each color.
2. Cut strips 2-inches wide by 8-inches long. Using a hole punch, make a hole at the top of each strip.
3. Cut a 10-inch length of string for each colored tag. To make a loop, thread one end of the string through the hole and tie a knot.
4. Have each family member write their wishes on the tags.
5. Hang the wishes over the branches of a designated tree and announce your dreams to the world.

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About the Author: Rondi Hillstrom Davis is the co-author of the award-winning book Together: Creating Family Traditions. To check out her website that's jam packed with family ideas, visit

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